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SPRING SPORTS PREVIEW: Young Wildcats look to return to soccer Final Four

EHS Boys Soccer

The EHS boys soccer team pictured, left row, from bottom, is Kelan LeBlanc, Hunter Perry, Jonathan Denham, Tyler Howard, Anthony Venezia, and Logan Smith. Middle row, from bottom is Jalen Alvarado, Sam Mazariegos, Clayton Jenison, Uriel Gomez, Andre Mazariegos, Steven Barkley and Matthew Sheahan. Right row, from bottom is Julian Stuart, Jeremiah Grimes, Alex Rodriguez, Sebastian Guerrero, Rasheed Bolaji and Tyler Morrison.

Posted: Friday, February 9, 2018 10:16 am

Updated: 10:19 am, Fri Feb 9, 2018.

SPRING SPORTS PREVIEW: Young Wildcats look to return to soccer Final Four

By Josh Boutwell

The Southeast Sun


The Enterprise Wildcats soccer team made it all the way to the AHSAA Soccer Final Four in 2017 and an extremely young team hopes to return in 2018.

The Wildcats lost nine seniors from the successful 2017 team but returns a young, group of talented players that have their sights set on a state title.

“The goal is always the same,” EHS soccer coach Bruce Ladner said. “Our goal is to win our area and then make it to the Final Four. Once you get to the final four, you take your chances and see if you can win state.”

The Wildcats made it to the Final Four before falling to Davidson in the semifinals in a penalty shootout to end the game.

“It’s a new team basically because of how many players we lost off of last year’s team,” Ladner said. “We only have the three seniors but I really like this team. They are picking things up quickly and I believe we’ll have another very competitive team this year. We got close last year and the guys that are returning have set their sights on getting us back there again.”

Now, with a younger group of Wildcats, Ladner will lean on his trio of seniors to lead the team. Kelan LaBlanc, Julian Stewart and Jalen Alvarado are those senior leaders.

“I think it starts with the three seniors and goes from there with this team,” Ladner said.

Two-time Wiregrass Soccer Player of the Year and EHS captain Kelan LeBlanc is coming into 2018 healthier and hungry for a title.

“He looks healthier to me this year than he did last year,” Ladner emphasized. “He was battling a lot of injuries all last year. He’s our captain and a senior and I expect big things out of Kelan.”

Ladner said that the team will also look to Stewart and Alvarado for leadership.

“Julian Stewart has moved into the midfield and I think he’s going to be a big presence on the attacking (scoring) end of the field,” Ladner said. “The defense will be anchored by Jalen Alvarado. He’s another senior and co-captain. He’s got a lot of experience back there (on defense) and I think he’s poised to have a big year.”

Ladner said that the youthful Wildcats would concentrate on the defensive side of the ball early in the season.

“It all starts with defense,” Ladner said. “You have to be solid and not give up many goals, especially early on. We have a lot of new defensive players, so we have to make sure that we start off solid on defense.

“We just have to work on the basics and get better as the season goes on.”

The Wildcats start the season on Feb. 12 against Thompson on the road before traveling to Mobile for the Southern Shootout from Feb. 15 through Feb. 17 with matchups against Davidson, McGill-Toolen, Murphy and Auburn.

On Feb. 20, EHS hosts Providence-Christian and then travels to Hoover for a doubleheader against Hoover and Fairhope.

Enterprise will host Andalusia on Feb. 27 and Auburn on March 1, before a doubleheader with R.E. Lee on March 3.

The Wildcats will travel to Ozark to face Carroll on March 5 and then travel to Prattville on March 9, before hosting Northview on March 13, Vestavia Hills on March 23 and Eufaula on April 3.

EHS will travel to Lowndes High School on April 7 and Northview on April 9, and then host Prattville on April 17 and Davidson on April 19.

The Wildcats close out the regular season on the road against St. Paul’s Episcopal on April 21 and Stanhope Elmore on April 24.

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Friday, February 9, 2018 10:16 am.

Updated: 10:19 am.

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