High-SchoolWashington: Soccer

This story originally appeared in the April 2012 issue of ESPNHS Washington.

Beamer entered the spring poised to finally capitalize on its abundance of talent on the pitch. Despite graduating three D-I prospects, the Titans envisioned another stacked lineup headlined by junior MF Ike Crook.

But just weeks before the start of play, head coach Brett Lucas found out he would be without the services of several of his top stars due to restrictions from their Academy teams. Beamer, which opened the year ranked No. 8 in the POWERADE FAB 50, is without studs Austin Sweeney, Marcus Tinsley, Keplar House and Crook.

“Every team lost their star players,” says Lucas. “It will be tough, but our starting guys are pretty solid. I still think we could make a run.”

It will be virtually impossible to replace the talents of the missing players, who accounted for 21 goals in 2011, but Lucas is hoping to cultivate a more blue-collar mentality, putting an emphasis on hustling throughout games in an effort to maximize the talent on the roster.

Colorado-bound senior Keaton House is skilled in the middle and could be even better after improving his speed and adding to his skill set in the offseason. At the back, the senior tandem of Aaron Nordman and keeper Deshar House can suffocate the state’s premier offensive threats, while sophomore impact transfers Jong Paek and Aung Ta will be counted on to ignite the attack.

Freshman midfielder Hassani Dotson has Academy-level skills, and his rapid progression will be crucial to the team’s postseason prospects.

While the Titans’ current cast might not garner the same recognition as last year’s crew, the lesser-known players could also make it difficult for opponents to game plan for Beamer.

“People aren’t thinking we’re going to do much because we lost the Academy players,” says Lucas. “I think it will be their downfall to overlook us.”

David Auguste covers high school sports for ESPNHS. Be sure to follow him on Twitter @ESPNHS_Auguste or email him at David.Auguste@espn.com.

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