WOODSTOCK – Rebuilding is a part of sports that coaches don't always love to deal with. For Marian Central boys soccer coach Jim Colvin, that will not be an issue this year.
Marian Central will return 10 of its 11 starters from last sason's regional championship team that finished the season with a 12-7-1 record.
"It's huge for us," Colvin said of having nearly his entire team back. "We already have so much of that chemsitry of playing together and we all have that same goal."
The start of goal will be to compete in a brand new conference. The Hurricanes will play in the East Suburban Catholic Conference, playing a variety of teams that both Colvin and the 'Canes are unfamiliar with.
"As unfamiliar as we are with new teams, it is also very exciting for us to go against new competition."
Marian Central finished in second place in their conference last season with a 7-1 record, losing only to Wheaton Academy, who finished fourth at the state tournament.
A lot of the Hurricanes' success will rely on center defender Beau Meintz. The senior defender was an all-area first team defender and a rock at the back of Marian's lineup. Colvin knows Meintz will have a tough test, but if anyone can succeed, he knows it's him.
"I'm ready for the challenge this year," Meintz said. "I'm so excited to be playing with all of these guys again and we have so much potential. I can't wait to get on the field and show everyone what we can do."
Colvin stressed that the conference would be the first part of their goal, but there is no doubt about their main goal: a trip to the state tournament. Colvin said this team, coming off of a regional championship, wants go to further.
"I don't want to talk state tournament this early in the season, but we have the group, we have the movitvation and we have the skill to have a team that can go that far."
As far as what Marian is looking for on the field, a big stress to their game is speed and width. The wider Marian is able to get the ball, the more they can spread out defenses and use their speed to their advantage.
Liam Gries and Connor Hull are two players on the offensive side of the ball that opposing defenses will have to keep an eye on, while Meintz and crew will keep the ball away from goalkeeper Jake Higgins.
"It all starts with the players," Colvin said. "I can only coach and provide them with so much. If they do their job and play the way they are capable of, this team could do something very special."