Lee trying to keep tradition-rich St. Aloysius going after Agostinelli

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 19, 2002

This is the second of three local soccer previews. Wednesday: Vicksburg High.

[11/19/02]St. Aloysius coach Carlos Lee has a lot to live up to.

Lee has the dubious distinction of taking over for the highly successful Shirley Agostinelli, who, among other things, had taken the Flashes to the South State championship in 2000, the North State championship in 2001 and won the Vicksburg Post Coach of the Year honors in 2000-01.

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Lee doesn’t appear to be feeling the pressure.

“Our goal is a state championship, nothing less,” he said. “With the people we got, we can get there, no problem.”

The Division 4-1A champions will return eight seniors from a team that went 16-3 last year, but a state championship will not be that easily obtained.

The Flashes lost five starters from last year’s team and will be supplementing experienced players from a group of four sophomores, seven freshmen and seven eighth graders.

To compound the inexperience, the Flashes will be without 2001-02 Vicksburg Post Player of the Year Michael Head, who could miss action until December after suffering a concussion to the spinal cord during the Flashes’ football season.

The loss of Head will leave midfielder Joe Theobald as one of the few returning scorers for a Flashes team bent on winning the state championship.

“We have seven strong spots and then we have some younger kids filling in in the other spots,” said goalie Andy Gough, the 2000 Vicksburg Post Player of the Year. “Basically the success of the season is contingent to how they play.”

The young Flashes can rest assured that they won’t be walking the high wire without a net.

Gough is back in the goal after returning from last year’s knee injury, and the defense, fronted by fullback Greg Smith and sweeper Michael Engle, should help erase mistakes the youthful Flashes make while overcoming growing pains.

“We’re trying to work with them, we know they’re still young and this is a lot of their first years to play soccer, but sometimes it’s a little frustrating,” Gough said. “But we’re working with them and trying to be a little more patient.”

Sophomore Daniel Edney and eighth grader Bray Jones have already established themselves, and senior Jeff Rottman will see his playing time expand on the defensive side of the ball as “one player that is going to have to take one of those roles that was filled by a senior last year.”

“We’ll make playoffs,” Gough said. “And it should be a fun year because this is our senior year and we want to win the state title.

“We lost some players, but we have enough talent to make it.”