Grey Ghosts soccer grows in numbers

Drew Veskauf TimesNewspapers
IVC boys varsity soccer head coach Nolan Wilson conducts drills with the 2014 team Friday.

The first week of official practice is over and the IVC boys varsity soccer team is geared up with new players and a new coach.

Head coach Nolan Wilson accepted the position earlier this summer and was preceded by Bennett Riber who finished the 2013 season with the Grey Ghosts with a 3-16-1 record.

Last year’s roster was at 23 players and had many players playing both junior varsity and varsity games just to fill the spots. This season, Wilson said there have been a total of 33-34 players that have committed to play.

“I think the numbers will definitely help our results this year,” Wilson said.

As the new head coach, Wilson said the players are itching to get back on the field.

“I think they’ve adjusted really well. The efforts higher, the patience we have as coaches are higher. So I think the kids know that and the kids understand that,” Wilson said.

Two new faces on the field will be seniors Travis Spencer and Jack Mellen.

“They have adapted pretty well. They’re both athletic kids and I think they’re both going to bring a lot to the team,” Wilson said.

The selected captains are senior Matt Keffeler, senior Kyle Wendland and junior Jack Ressler.

Ressler was the high scorer last season to put eight in the net and Keffeler had five.

“Our key seniors like (Keffeler) and (Wendland) are definitely stepping up in the leadership roles. They’re getting the kids motivate and I couldn’t ask for a better group,” Wilson said.

The Grey Ghosts will not be entering the Corn Belt Conference with the rest of IVC, but will face a lot of the same opponents from last season.

“Seeing the competition we’ve had last year, what we’ve started to develop I think we’re going to give a lot of teams a run for their money this year,” Wilson said.

“We had a few games slip away but being mentally stronger this year and having the numbers and the quality players, we’ll be able to stick in with those games that got away from us and really challenge them.”

IVC will open the season with a home match against East Peoria at 6 p.m. Monday.