Tigers re­place stars with ex­pe­ri­ence

Cecil Whig - - SPORTS - By SEAN GROGAN

sgro­gan@ce­cil­whig.com

For the sec­ond year in a row, the Ris­ing Sun boys’ soc­cer team must re­place four Al­lCounty play­ers.

The task sounds daunt­ing, but the Tigers have proven ca­pa­ble of over­com­ing key departures in the past. They went un­beaten against Cecil County op­po­nents a sea­son ago for the sec­ond-straight year. Ris­ing Sun will look to re­main atop the county de­spite deal­ing with key losses yet again.

The Tigers have played a deep bench in re­cent years. Sub­sti­tut­ing en­tire lines at a time al­lowed the team to have fresh legs on the field at all times and out­run op­po­nents. It also means Ris­ing Sun re­turns a plethora of ex­pe­ri­enced play­ers, de­spite be­ing hit hard by grad­u­a­tion.

“Be­cause of the way we ro­tate, these guys have all had sig­nif­i­cant play­ing time,” Tigers coach Ken Ul­rich said. “We’re car­ry­ing enough play­ers to do that again. The level might not be quite as high, we cer­tainly don’t have the stars that we’ve had, but I think that they’re going to step up be­cause now they re­al­ize that they can’t just put the weight on Kane [Wat­son] or Lo­gan’s [Holt­man] shoul­ders. They have to use each other now, and I think we’re stronger in that as­pect. Since we don’t have that su­per­star, every­body has to step up to that level.”

Wat­son and Holt­man com­bined for 23 points while form­ing the County’s top mid­field.

Ris­ing Sun will com­pete in the Ch­e­sa­peake Di­vi­sion for a sec­ond-straight year. The Tigers won just one di­vi­sional game a sea­son ago, but chose to re­main in the up­per di­vi­sion even as Havre de Grace dropped down.

“We talked about it as a team. We want to stay up be­cause it’s kind of a pride thing,” Ul­rich said. “Plus, with play­offs be­ing open the way that they are, it doesn’t re­ally mat­ter what you do dur­ing the reg­u­lar sea­son. It’s what you do to get ready for the play­offs, and to be ready for the play­offs, you’ve got to play the bet­ter teams.”

Be­sides Wat­son and Holt­man, Ris­ing Sun re­places All-County for­ward Brad Alexan­der and de­fender Bryan Butler.

Third-year goalie Chris Orr will an­chor the Tigers de­fense again.

Fol­low Sean Grogan on Twit­ter: @Sean_Ce­cilWhig

CECIL WHIG FILE PHOTO

The Ris­ing Sun boys’ soc­cer team will be tasked with re­plac­ing four All-County play­ers for a sec­ond-straight year.

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