Carroll High School junior Conner Osterholt dribbles the ball during a scrimmage against Loveland in August 2019. Osterholt led the Greater Catholic League Co-ed Division with 21 goals last fall as the Patriots won 19 consecutive games. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY MICHAEL COOPER

Boys soccer: Carroll looking to build on previous success

Expectations are always high for the Montgomery County program that’s advanced to the state tournament 10 times since 1980, winning five championships.

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The Patriots return several strong players from last year’s team that went 19-1.

“We’re looking forward to it,” said Patriots coach Scott Molfenter. “It’s an exciting time of the year. Hopefully, we’re ready to go.”

Carroll graduated eight players from last year’s team that won its first Greater Catholic League Co-Ed title since 2014. They’re already off to a great start. The Patriots are 2-0, beating Troy 5-2.

“We’ve got some key pieces back, but we’re also replacing some key players,” Molfenter said. “We realize that and we’re still in the process of moving some guys around and trying to find some combinations that will work for us.”

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Carroll won 19 straight games last season before falling to Cincinnati Moeller 2-1 in a Division I district final shootout.

“It’s water under the bridge,” Molfenter said. “The guys learned from it, but this is a whole new version of Carroll soccer. We move on from that and go from there. The guys that were there hopefully picked up on it and the guys that are new to the team will create our own history and see what we can do.”

The Patriots also have a new playing surface for its home games. FieldTurf was installed at Patriot Stadium since the end of last season.

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“It’s nice to have it here,” Molfenter said. “It allows us to not have to worry about the weather conditions. When you’re sharing the field with multiple teams, it really starts to wear out. We’re very excited about it at the facility.”

The Patriots return junior forward Conner Osterholt, who led the GCL Co-ed with 21 goals, and his brother, midfielder Brandon Osterholt (three goals, six assists).

“(Conner) is a dangerous player and he plays well with the guys around him,” Molfenter said. “He gets himself in a position to be dangerous. When the guys are around supporting him, he gets a lot of chances for his teammates. That’s just the type of player he is and his brother is the same way. You need pieces like that to be successful.”

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The Patriots also return junior Conner Bailey, who led the team with 10 assists. Senior Cade Greer will be the team’s goalkeeper.

“A lot of it is getting better and staying healthy,” Molfenter said. “Our goal is just to be better every time we step onto the field. What you’re seeing now is hopefully a small version of what we’re getting later on down the road.”

The Patriots will play a tough schedule in the revamped GCL Co-ed. Instead of two divisions, the conference is now one eight-team league.

5 things to know

• Dayton Christian was the D-III state runner-up last season, falling 2-1 to Archbold in its first state title game. The Warriors have a new coach in Paul Holliday, who was promoted after four seasons with the Warriors. Holliday succeeds Neill Craft, Fairmont’s new head coach.

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• The Greater Western Ohio Conference will field nine boys soccer teams. There are fives teams in the GWOC American Division (Beavercreek, Centerville, Fairmont, Springfield and Wayne) and four in the GWOC National Division (Lebanon, Miamisburg, Northmont and Springboro). Centerville and Lebanon won division titles last year.

• Tippecanoe and Fairborn won the other two GWOC division titles last fall and will seek championships in the new Miami Valley League. The MVL is split into the Miami Division (Butler, Greenville, Piqua, Tippecanoe and Troy) and the Valley Division (Fairborn, Sidney, Stebbins, West Carrollton and Xenia).

• Two area coaches rank among the top five in all-time Ohio wins: Catholic Central’s Shane Latham (484) and Carroll’s Molfenter (468).

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• A third coach ranked among Ohio’s top five for career wins — Beavercreek’s John Guiliano (No. 5, 427 wins) — resigned after 29 seasons. He’s staying with the program as an assistant for new head coach Jason Guiliano, his son and longtime assistant.

5 players to watch

• Conner Osterholt, jr., Carroll: Led the GCL Co-Ed last year with 50 points, netting 21 goals with eight assists.

• Ryan Forino, sr., Centerville: An All-GWOC selection as a junior, Forino scored seven goals for the Elks last fall.

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• Andrew Blank, sr., Springboro: The Panthers’ midfielder had eight goals and six assists last season. He was also a first-team All-GWOC selection.

• Ben Sundermann, sr., Miamisburg: The defender scored seven goals and was first-team All-GWOC.

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• Jalen Hudgins, sr., Sidney: Scored 27 goals and added nine assists at Troy Christian last year, earning D-III All-Ohio second team honors. He’s back at Sidney, where he scored 17 goals for the Yellow Jackets as a sophomore in 2017.

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