Burlington soccer starts season 3-2

Michael Rodriguez (left) congratulates Brad Roe on his goal during a nonconference invite Aug. 25 at Burlington High School. (Mike Ramczyk/SLN)

 

Editor’s Note: Burlington is 3-2 this season, and will begin Southern Lakes action Thursday at home against Badger. Check out Thursday’s Burlington Standard Press for more updated information on the soccer team.

 

By Mike Ramczyk

sports@southernlakesnewspapers.com

You would have to go back all the way to 2011 to find the last time the Burlington boys varsity soccer team finished at .500 or better.

In fact, in the last five years, four with current head coach Joel Molitor, the Demons have endured a 10-64-8 overall record, including winless seasons in 2014 and 2015.

However, the Demons followed ’15 with three wins the next season and six victories last year.

This fall, Molitor is thinking differently.

The fledgling program finally may see the light, with a major change underway.

An infusion of youth talent, including nine freshmen, highlights a squad with the most club-level players in Molitor’s tenure.

That hope may be all that’s needed to turn things around, and Tuesday’s season opener is certainly a good start.

Burlington fired four first-half goals and cruised to a 6-1 nonconference victory about an hour west in Janesville at Parker High School, and a 1-0 beginning means the winning ways could already be here.

“We are very young, but also very experienced,” Molitor said. “This is the highest percentage of club-level boys players we’ve ever had at Burlington. Combined with a few returning upperclassmen, this should make for an exciting team.”

Along with assistant coaches Jake Cacciotti, Mark Kohout and Joel’s dad Phil, Burlington welcomes 40 players into the program.

Senior defender Max Cook and junior defender Kyler Lawer are the team captains, and other returning letter-winners include junior defender Dylin Sheetz and sophomore forwards Dylan Melchiorre and Luis Rodriguez.

But the Demons’ success may depend upon its new faces, which represent an overwhelming majority.

Molitor said key newcomers are: seniors Elpidio Andrade, Kyle Bonton, and Michael Rodriguez; junior David Tischer; sophomores Ishmael Andrade, Grant Koenen, Owen Kramer, Zach Pstragowski and Josh Stankus; and freshmen Zach Cowan, Korbin Kling, Kolton Krueger, Brady Marchese, Izac Nienhaus, Bradley Roe, Casey Sommers and Drew Stutzman.

“Our team goals are a top-four finish in conference and a top-half seeding in the playoff regional,” Molitor added.

Delavan-Darien, Elkhorn and Union Grove are the teams to beat in the Southern Lakes Conference, in that order, according to Molitor.

Burlington has its first home matches Saturday at the Burlington Quad at Burlington High School, against Woodstock North, Ill., Faith Christian and Racine Lutheran.

The first games kick off at 9 a.m.

 

Schedule

(HOME ALL CAPS)

September – 6: LAKE GENEVA BADGER. 11: ELKHORN. 13: at Waterford. 18: at Union Grove. 20: at Westosha Central. 25: at Wilmot. 27: DELAVAN-DARIEN. October – 2: SLC tournament. 11: FAITH CHRISTIAN.

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