MADISON — The Scott High School boys soccer team led by Head Coach Zach Boyd is working through its sanctioned conditioning period at its facility.
The Skyhawks went 19-3-1 in a memorable 2019 campaign that saw them lose a 1-0 heartbreaker in sectional play to Cardinal Conference foe Winfield. Additionally, Scott went 10-1 in Conference play last season.
Assistant Coach Rodney Miller spoke about the process of navigating an off-season led by senior returners like Ian Gillispie. Tanner Hale, Harrison Parsons, Carson Asbury and Luke Older.
With the three-week WVSSAC sanctioned practice sessions beginning on July 6, the Skyhawks, along with teams across the state, are in phase 1 of the conditioning sessions.
“It is straight physical conditioning without any game-related equipment like balls or anything associated with play,” he said. “We’re doing lots of cardio work, speed drills and associated elements of conditioning.”
Miller said that, overall, he and Coach Boyd are pleased with the workouts and the work that players have put in on their own, but there has been COVID-19-related stay-at-home-order rust to shake off for the student athletes.
“I think it was obvious who has been working on their own and who has not,” he said. “It immediately shows when we begin drills and running.”
Miller said he expects the squad to once again perform at a high level, and the team is expected to contend in Class AA. Expectations are high for the black and gold, and the coaches like it that way.
“Much of the preparation and conditioning season won’t change much for us,” he added. “We work on sprinting and distance conditioning. We want them to understand that focus is important and that in game situations, moving a ball on a big field with authority, social distancing will naturally take care of itself to some extent, so that is also an element we are cognizant of moving forward.”
Miller stated the team has raised money for a new field house with a larger dressing room for the players. Those plans were delayed, largely due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Miller said the team will continue a defensive-minded philosophy that Coach Boyd promotes in his program.
“Low-scoring games come with that philosophy and good competition and we have several quality Class AAA teams on our schedule,” he said. “We’ve drawn interest from good teams who appreciate good competition and we want to play the better teams.”
Miller said one element of the program he is proud of is that former players are still connected with the Scott High soccer team and they still contribute to the program through speaking engagements.
“We are fortunate that our soccer family is strong at Scott High for boys and girls teams,” he said. “I’m proud of that and I know of families and coaches, as well as our players both current and former are proud of that.”
While there has been no news regarding the potential cancellation or shortened seasons for fall sports due to the pandemic, Miller said it is something coaches are monitoring closely, and they communicate with other coaches across the state.
“The No. 1 priority is the health and safety of our student-athletes and their families,” he said. “We do hope that we can compete without any delays or alterations to our schedule, but we will certainly comply with any guidelines presented to us moving forward.”