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PreSeason Breakdown: #1 Dallas Jesuit Rangers

02/01/2013, 5:15am CST
By Editor

Depth, talent, and desire. The Rangers have unfinished business.

After making the Final 4 the last 3 consecutive years, the Jesuit Rangers are once again poised to make a run deep into the THSLL playoffs.  Led by 7 committed seniors, Jesuit boasts the most talented 2012 class in the Great State of Texas.

Committed Players:
Zach Coker – Attack - Furman 
Garrett Van de Ven – Midfield - Duke 
Carson Buell – Midfield - Rollins 
Sam Rosengarden – FO/M - Jacksonville
Hunter Hill – Defense - Air Force 
Dan Morris – Goalie - Maryland
Christian Banister – Goalie - BU 

(Pictured: Dan Morris & Hank Likes)

Potent 1st line of Mids.  The Jesuit Rangers' 1st line of midfielders is without a doubt the most potent line to be assembled since Highland Park’s group in the late 2000s.  Garrett Van De Ven is as dynamic an athlete as you can find and a ferocious competitor.  Carson Buell is definitely one of the top, two-way middies competing in the state.  A ground ball machine who can push transition and execute on the offensive side of the field, Buell is a catalyst for transition opportunities.  Lee Belland, the lone junior in the group, is as pure of a righty shooter as you will find.  Whether on the run or with time and room, Belland can bring it.  Defending this group will be a nightmare for any D1 opponent.

Belland, Buell, VDV.

Zach Coker – The toughest cover of any player in Texas.  Zach Coker is a strong carrier / initiator from X who demands attention.  Coker forces defenses to collapse, while the other remaining Ranger shooters hang out ready to bring the noise.  Coker has the ability to initiate contact and forces opposing defenses to slide regularly.  Jesuit’s ability to draw slides from up top and down low will pose as formidable a 1, 2 combination as any team in D1.  Quite possibly the most exciting, 1vs1 matchup will be when senior, St. Mark's defender, Bear Goldstein, locks up with Coker on March 20th at St. Mark's.

Defense wins championships?  Dan Morris & Carson Banister – In the cage, Jesuit is second to none, boasting not 1 but 2 D1 Goalie commits.  A feat never attained before in Texas, the Rangers have goalies who you can build a defense on.  This year, the Jesuit goalies will be tested and relied upon unlike any year in recent history as Jesuit’s close defense has always been a source of strength, producing several top notch defenders along the way.  This year, the Jesuit close defense will be missing Michael McCarney – D, Nico Esteve – D, and Robbie Holland – SS D Mid.  These three are key losses and will force players to assume new roles.  Senior defender, Hunter Hill, and junior LSM, Hank Likes, will assume the predominant, shut-down roles in 2013.

(Pictured: Dan Morris, Hank Likes, Hunter Hill, Bryce Green).

Depth of Offensive Talent – A wise coach once said, "It is not your first 10, but your second ten that wins a championship."  The Rangers definitely have depth in 2013!  Some players who will score big goals include three junior attackmen - Will Carney, Jason Myers, and Jackson Buell.  These three, skilled attackmen will compliment Coker providing an excellent supporting cast.  Jason Myers asserted himself in the 2012 campaign providing a serious spark against ESD in the regular season.  Myers can finish AND create.  There are few players as skilled or as crafty as this junior.  Carney is a strong carrier & capable finisher, with a huge frame, while Buell is solid in every facet of the game.  Carney, Myers, and Buell will have to replace the production Matt Miller & Mac Maguire provided during the 2012 season.  When it was all said and done, Maguire was Jesuit’s most consistent offensive threat, so the Rangers will have to make up for his finishing prowess and leadership.

At the midfield, Jesuit has players in addition to their first group.  Most Jesuit players can score, as they are more than proficient with most of the offensive skills.  One of the best pure shooters in addition to Belland is senior middie, Connor Fox.  A natural lefty, Fox has the ability to finish pipe & in with regularity.  Fox will chip in timely goals and run the offense seamlessly.  In addition to Fox, senior Sam Rosengarden is an effective offensive option as are juniors John Wheeler and sophomore Gavin McClure.  Gavin, the younger brother of 2x All American Buck McClure, is one of the most technically sound players in the 2015 class.  McClure saw substantial playing time at the varsity level as a freshman and could definitely challenge for second line minutes in 2013.  Finally, the Rangers have picked up one of the most important transfers of the 2013 season in Sam Wensinger.  In 2012, Wensinger was the #1 draw man at Avon Old Farms for the Founders League Champions.  Wensinger has logged big minutes against potent competition and will add value to an already athletic midfield core.

Maguire & Carney in the State Championship Semifinal.

A potent offensive group, but they need to peak at the right time in 2013.

Jason Myers.

Final Thoughts:  2013 is undoubtedly the "Year of the Ranger" as they are our preseason favorite to take it all in May.  With a roster laden with D1 talent and unrivaled depth, this should be the year Jesuit wins its first State Championship!

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