Muncy, Sullivan boys look to move up in conference
In the last eight years, Jason Gresh has done a nice job of building the Muncy boys basketball team into a strong team that competes every year. Now, he’ll spend his fall afternoons trying to do the same for the boys’ soccer team. Gresh now leads a program that has just one .500 season or better in the last six years and one playoff win that came in 2016. Gresh faces an uphill battle with a Muncy squad that was 6-12 last season and, for starters, he has to replace more than 50 percent of its goal-scoring from 2017.
“The players have worked hard all summer. The team, as a whole, is going to have to step up to fill the scoring void left through the loss of last year’s seniors,” Gresh said. “I don’t think that one player will fill the void on their own. It will be a compilation of the team.”
“The team has really worked hard and really jelled. We understand that it is a long season and we want to make sure that we are better tomorrow than we were today,” Gresh added. “As long as we do that, we will be on our way to a successful season.”
Muncy has a good start with a turnaround in goal. The Indians have three formidable keepers, including Grady Oden who stopped 70 shots last year, while splitting time with graduated Josh Hall.
“We are fortunate to have three solid goal keepers in Pavel McMonigle, Grady Oden, and Todd Modispaw,” Gresh said. “They all worked hard this summer with Coach Karichner and they are all playing a multitude of positions. They all have a great attitude and are willing to play other positions to help make the team stronger. I couldn’t ask for better attitudes from all of them.”
Despite being young, Muncy still brings back 14 letterwinners from last season. The loss of leading goal-scorer Bryce Phillips, who accounted for 12 of Muncy’s 22 goals last year, will hurt. But five players return who tallied at least one score last year, giving the Muncy offense plenty of options.
“Last year’s youth allowed all of the players to get significant time at the varsity level,” Gresh said. “We have a ton of on field leadership from multiple players, which is a huge benefit. We just need to keep building on the hard work that they put in this summer.”
Sullivan County put together one its better seasons in recent memory last year when it went 12-4, its most wins since 2011, but its season ended in the district quarterfinals. All-state selection Lucas Shultz and his 27 goals are gone, but Sullivan still returns a strong core from last year.
Mid-Penn first-team midfielder Cameron Fiester and first-team defender Brian Lewis each return for their senior seasons.
Sophomore Jalen Thomas is the team’s leading returning goal-scorer as he posted six goals as a freshman a season ago. Lewis tallied five scores and Feister added four for the Griffins in 2017.
Donald Miley is also back in goal for his senior year and he boasted a 10-1 mark last season, while making 52 saves and posting three shutouts for Sullivan.
Both Muncy and Sullivan will try to make its move up in the rankings this season as Millville (14-4) and Benton (13-5) finished first and second, respectively, in the conference and combined only had two conference losses.
Coach: Jason Gresh
Assistants: John Karichner, Bob Titman
Last year’s record: 6-12
Roster: Seniors- Jack Pepper, Nathan Wetherhold, Trey McCollum, Tyler Girven, Tyler Sampsell, Pavel McMonigle. Juniors- Tanner Gold, Collin Smith, Isaac Boring. Sophomores- Joe Edkin, Ernie Coppes, Connor Sassano, Aiden Welch, Spencer Ort. Freshmen- Loudon Boring, Rocco Pepper, Seth Vickery, Connor McLean, Todd Modispaw.
Coach: Chris Koschak
Last year’s record: 12-4
Roster: Seniors- Cameron Fiester, Brian Lewis, Donald Miley, Jacob Saxe, Joseph Stabryla, Josh Molyneux, Jacob Doyle, Dustin Birdwell, Jacoby Fitzgerald. Juniors- Colton Ammerman, Jordan Williams, Kess McDonald. Sophomores- Alex Schweitzer, Cobey Saxon, Jake Immel, Jalen Thomas, Trace Neary. Freshmen- Bryon Fitzgerald, Kye McDonald, Owen Schweitzer, Bryan Hope.