Warriors look ahead

Published 10:29 pm Thursday, March 8, 2018

The Warriors boys’ soccer team made it all the way to the state tournament last year but is focused on the upcoming season rather than dwelling on the past.

The Nansemond River High School boys’ soccer team last year advanced all the way to the Class 5 state semifinal before losing that game and ending its season.

It is easy to go into the offseason and the new season trying to chase that goal again, but that is not what the Warriors plan to do. They lost six players from that team last season but are excited about what they have returning.

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“I’m feeling pretty good about what we have this season,” Warriors Coach Dustin Tordoff said. “We have a bit of turnover from what we had last year, but we have a roster full of different pieces. We are probably where we should we be right now.”

Nansemond River will be without last year’s top scorer Sterling McGee as well as Sasha Karlov but will be returning Canandez Long and Seva Karlov. Long was an All-State selection for the Warriors last season a junior. Justin Littlejohn will also be a returning senior expected to be a contributor for the Warriors. David Wright returns in the goal for the Warriors after posting 10 shutouts last year.

“We have some younger guys who will be helping us out this year as well,” Tordoff said. “We want to create competition, so it’s a whole team effort rather than just one or two different guys.”

“We have a lot of new young players who are very skilled,” Long said. “That helps with the seniors we lost, but at the same time the returners have come back better and hungry for another great season.”

Tordoff has encouraged his team to shake off last season. This year is new, and they are coming in with a clean slate. They are not the same team with the same players, nor will they be playing the same teams from last season. He doesn’t want to rest on what they did last season; he wants the team to continue to push to be better.

“However good we thought we were, we are not, and we have to get better,” Tordoff said. “During the offseason I let the guys know it’s a new year, time to get to work. We have to take each day and try to win that day. I’m not looking at what are we going to do when June comes around. We are literally taking things one day at a time.”

The format is different with the changes to the Virginia High School League. Nansemond River will not be a part of Conference 10 anymore and will play each of their district mates once along with an out-of-district schedule. From there, the top eight teams qualify for the regional tournament.

Nansemond River will open the season at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at home against Lake Taylor High School.