Locally strong thunderstorms - a few could also contain very heavy rain, especially overnight. Damaging winds, large hail and possibly a tornado with some storms. Low 64F. SW winds at 20 to 30 mph, decreasing to 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 100%..
Locally strong thunderstorms - a few could also contain very heavy rain, especially overnight. Damaging winds, large hail and possibly a tornado with some storms. Low 64F. SW winds at 20 to 30 mph, decreasing to 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 100%.
If the playoffs started today, the West Monroe boys soccer team would be a top four seed in Division I.
This was always the vision for West Monroe soccer coach Steven Dickman when he took over as head coach of the squad six years ago.
“We’ve always been building toward something like this,” Dickman said. “We lost some really good seniors last year and knew we had some good players returning. Being a top four seed is huge. We’ve never been close to that.”
The Rebels are led by three team captains: seniors Brendan O’Toole (winger), Kareem El-Giar (center midfielder) and Cayden Henry (center back).
O’Toole leads the team with 10 goals and 15 assists. El-Giar has scored eight goals and recorded six assists. And Dickman has described Henry as a leader on defense, which is saying something if you’ve been paying attention to a Rebels squad that has given up just seven goals in 20 games this season.
“I think Cayden is one of the top defenders in the state,” Dickman said. “Without him, we wouldn’t have had the success we’ve had. Kareem is really talented and Brendan is our leading scorer.”
Because the Rebels defense has been so superb this season, Nolan Bentz hasn’t had the most active days as a goalie, but Dickman would argue that makes his job even tougher. He has to stay sharp and ready for the moment he’s needed, and so far he’s been up to the challenge with 15 clean sheets.
“It’s tougher becauseyou can be sitting there for the majority of the game, but you always have to be ready. The last two games in particular he’s been lights out,” Dickman said. “The last two teams we played are really good on set pieces, putting the ball in the box. He saved a penalty kick (against ASH last Monday).”
West Monore has averaged 2.9 goals per game this season while giving up 0.4 goals per contest. El-Giar’s game-winning goal against Alexandria Monday night clinched a district championship for the Rebels.
Since losing to Mandeville, West Monroe has rattled off five consecutive wins and hasn’t given up a single goal in those five victories.
The 1-0 loss against Mandeville goes down as a defeat against a fellow top four team in Division I, but Dickman sees it as another confidence boost. The Rebels aren’t far from the top of the mountain.
“The Mandeville game was a tough one because we kind of gave away an easy goal, but the guys still believe they can stay with those teams and keep the games close,” Dickman said. "We're still building."
Award-winning sports writer for columns and features since joining the field in 2013. As the first-ever featured columnist of the month at Bleacher Report, Martin cut his teeth with online media before joining the newspaper business in 2014.
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