Vols looking to finish strong

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Nathan Lowery

For The Lancaster News

KERSHAW – So far, the Andrew Jackson High School boys’ soccer team is 13-2 on the year, undefeated in conference play, and making a push for a region crown, as well as the Class AA soccer playoffs.

It’s night and day from last year’s nightmarish 2-16 campaign.

 “Last year was tough. We were playing hard, but still losing.” said Vols soccer coach Alex Tarque, who is in his third year guiding the AJ booters.

That 2017 squad was all underclassmen. And the 2018 team is blessed with a wealth of depth and experience because of it.  

Junior forward Jared Truesdale is leading the AJHS charge this season with 10 goals. He was also team MVP in 2017 and earned all-region honors.

“Jared is going to be special,” Tarque said. “I enjoy coaching him, he’s always willing to listen.”

The team’s other leaders are seniors Bryce Phillips and Ethan Ellis, along with juniors Tyler Williams, Avery Funderburk, Mason McKittrick, Cam Vincent, Hunter Haven, Will Cauthen, Luke Faulkenberry and sophomore Rhett Bowers.

Bowers has tallied seven goals on the season, which ranks just behind Truesdale.

Vincent, McKittrick and Williams are returning all-region players.

McKittrick has eight assists on the season to lead the Vols.

Williams, the AJ keeper, received the team’s defensive award last season, while Haven was selected as the most improved player.

Funderburk reaped the Alvin Randy Catoe Best All-Around Soccer Player Award in 2017.

Junior Mathew Hegler, sophomore Rocky Kennington, and freshmen Jake Vaughn, Adam Hudson and Ross Brown provide plenty of depth. Nolan Plyler backs up Williams at keeper. Kennington received the 2017 Volunteer Pride Award.

“We’re making a big improvement,” Tarque said. “We’re giving our fans a show. Being with this group is amazing. I don’t do it for the money, I do it for them.”

The Volunteers, coming off a 2-0 home win over Class AAA foe Chester High School on Monday night, are taking games one at the time, their coach said. 

“The goal is to make it further and further every year,” Tarque said.

Tarque is assisted by Christian Tarque, Fernando Gonzalez and Cesar Ugualde. Bobby Funderburk is soccer team manager.