By RUSSELL JONES
After suffering an embarrassment of riches for the past several seasons, West Rutland soccer is now left trying to fill a large hole in their lineup.
Eric Maxham scored 128 goals in his high school career adding 69 assists on top, but he graduated this past spring.
How do you replace the all-time leading goal scorer in Vermont high school history? You don’t.
“He’s going to be tough to replace. We kind of leaned on him to take over games,” agreed the Horde’s new head coach Dillon Zaengle. “I think these guys are up to the challenge, though, and are ready to start a new era of West Rutland soccer.”
Westside has 11 returning players and are adding a couple freshmen and a new sophomore. The defense is all returning and Zaengle expects them to perform well.
“We have two strong midfielders in Tim Blanchard and Tyler Serrani,” he said. “We’re going to focus on possession and move the ball around.”
Zaengle said their goal this season is to play simple soccer and not over-complicate things by trying to run confusing, unnecessary plays. He was the assistant coach last year under Scott Maxham and played soccer at Castleton just a few years ago.
Suffice it to say, Zaengle knows quite a bit about the game and can spot talent when he sees it. And there is some talent on the West Rutland field.
“We’ve got three or four guys that play club soccer,” he said. “That really helps bringing the experience and knowledge of the game to field.”
The coach said he gave his players a seven-week fitness program over the summer to get them ready to go.
“We took a fitness test the first week of practice,” he said. “Almost all of them were ready and for those that weren’t we have been doing a little extra work to get them there.” The Golden Horde’s first challenge was Friday, Aug. 30, against White River Valley at home. They beat White River, 2-0 before losing to defending state champs Arlington, 0-2 and falling to Rivendell, 1-2 the next week.