KEARNEY — The Kearney boys soccer squad will return to the pitch this fall after posting its best season in recent memory in 2018.
The Bulldogs went 17-5 overall and beat Smithville 2-0 for the district championship, advancing to their first state sectional round since 2012. Kearney then bowed out in sectionals, falling to Van Horn 3-2.
The Bulldogs expect to contend for district titles each season, according to Kearney coach Bill Forman, and this year is no exception.
“We have the same expectations year in and year out,” Forman said. “Win the conference, contend for a district title and then go as far as we possibly can. That’s the way we’ve been doing things.”
Six starters and eight seniors return after five Bulldogs were lost to graduation.
“I feel good. We’ve got a good core group coming back,” said Forman, who enters his 29th year leading the team. “Like anything, if you figure out how to put points on the board you’re going to be successful, and I think that’s going to be the issue is.”
Forman, who enters the season with 425 career wins, listed a few heavy contributors for his Bulldogs — senior four-year starters midfielder Kian Hayes, defender Hunter Billings and senior goalkeeper Parker Snider.
“Those guys are going to lead us,” Forman said. “We’ll expect things from the others, too.”
“We’ll be solid defensively,” he added. “I don’t think we’ll give up a lot of goals, and therefore that is going to help us be in most games and give us some opportunities.”
The Bulldogs hope those opportunities turn into another state tournament berth.
They open their season against the Smithville Warriors at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 3, at Smithville High School.
Sports Editor Adam Burns can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 389-6643.