Statesmen learning while rebuilding

Published 10:02 am Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Randolph-Henry High School’s (R-H) varsity boys soccer team had a solid 2017 season and now faces a challenging 2018 campaign with a younger group that is learning as it goes on the pitch.

The Statesmen enter Wednesday’s 6:30 p.m. home game against Nottoway High School in possession of a 0-2-1 record. They opened the year with a 7-2 home loss to the perennially elite Prince Edward County High School on March 19. R-H then fell 5-1 at Bluestone High School on Friday and tied Central Lunenburg High School 2-2 on Monday at home.

Speaking after his team’s season opener, Randolph-Henry Head Coach Patrick Shay expressed optimism for his team’s season.

“I think we’re going to have a good year,” he said. “I think the guys are learning, and so we just need to make sure that they’re learning and applying it in the games.”

Last year, the Statesmen advanced as far as the Quad Rivers Conference 34 tournament semifinals and finished 10-7-1 overall.

Conferences are gone this year, as are some key R-H players who graduated. The graduates include the all-conference first team trio of goalkeeper John Walker, midfielder Shayne Maloney and defender Michael Nichols.

This year, Randolph-Henry features six freshmen, five seniors, five juniors and three sophomores.

“The captains that we have I think are good captains this year, and they’re taking that leadership role seriously,” Shay said, referring to junior offensive midfielder Jose Perez, senior offensive midfielder Daniel Hamlett and sophomore midfielder Noah Napier.

The coach noted a few positions in his starting lineup are in flux, but players either starting or in contention to start include senior defender Evan Czaplicki, junior defensive midfielder Billy French, freshman defender Nathan Michaelson, freshman forward Isaac Napier, senior defensive midfielder Hurley Noblin, freshman defender John Schutt, junior goalkeeper Bailey Miller, freshman goalkeeper Jaylon Hansen, Hamlett, Noah Napier and Perez.

Shay said he is looking for Noah Napier, Perez, Isaac Napier and Hamlett to score goals for the Statesmen this season, assisted by the other members of the team.