The 2009 Ridgerunner soccer team is looking to expand on the success they enjoyed last season.

“Our goals this season are the same as last year,” said Ridgerunner Soccer Head Coach Sean Botts. “We want a winning record and we want to make the playoffs. But we want to add one goal: we want to win at least one playoff game.”

Last season GHS finished with a 6-5 record and hosted the opening round of the playoffs. The win-loss record was the best in school history and it was the first time the program had played in the post-season.

“We’ve lost four of our top five scorers (to graduation) but we have six starters who will be returning,” Botts said. “I like to think of it as reloading instead of rebuilding because we’ve got some talented kids.”

Among those returning to the pitch from ’08 will be senior goalkeeper John Meggyes and junior fielder Walker Botts.

“John was All-District last year and Walker was our leading scorer,” Botts said.

Three other seniors will also play crucial roles in ’09.

“Sean Monroe started at right defender last year and he’ll play mid-field and forward this year,” Botts said. “Spencer Barrett started every game last year and he’ll be back this season. And Justin Falley is coming back after a year off. He’ll be the anchor of our defense.”

Ridgerunner basketball players Reid Harding, a senior, and Adam Hardesty, a junior, will be getting a late start with the soccer team owing to the extended court season. Botts expects both players to come up to speed quickly and contribute heavily to the soccer team again this season. Both players were starters in ’08.

“Once we get them in (Harding and Hardesty) we’ll have more flexibility with our team,” Botts said. “We’ll be 15 to 16 players deep with no drop off.”

The ’09 team looks to be a mix of proven leadership and fresh potential. Botts is looking for good things from a trio of sophomores.

“Kyle Earp saw significant playing time last year,” Botts said. “He’s got nerves of steel and is a talented all-around player.

“Dillon Boydston has looked good in our scrimmages,” Botts said. “He’s fast and very skilled.

“Andres Caratachea is a very talented player with good skills,” Botts said. “He’s had a good pre-season and has worked hard in practice.”

Adding to the mix will be some senior vets looking to make an impact in their final season.

“Chris Winnie is a back-up goalie who can also play mid-field and forward,” Botts said. “Hayden Matthews is vying for a starting spot at defender and he can also play goalie.”

A new wrinkle in the ’09 season will be tournament play. The Oologah Tournament in early March will mark the first time the GHS soccer program has entered such an event.

“Right now I think we’re in better shape than we were at this point last season,” Botts said. “Our attitude and work ethic have been better than ever before.”

As the team finds success it is also drawing the attention of the community.

“We had a JV scrimmage (in pre-season) and we had a lot of parents there and athletes from the other school sports,” Botts said. “People at school the next day were asking about the game in the halls, wanting to know how we came out. I think the program is picking up interest.”