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Young Traverse City West Boys Soccer Team Looks to Build Upon Program’s Success

TRAVERSE CITY – Traverse City West has finished as state runners-up in each of the last two seasons, but the Titans will turn to a lot of new faces this season as they try to build off that success.

“It’s a completely new group, half of the team has never played varsity soccer before this season,” head coach Matt Griesinger said. “So [we’re] building on that culture and building on that understanding of what it takes to win soccer games. But then there’s [also] a lot of new learning and new teaching that’s happening this year.”

After the 2019 season, Griesinger said the Titans lost just three starters. After last season, they lost seven starters to graduation.

Griesinger has certainly challenged his team in the early part of the season with a tough schedule. The Titans traveled to Ohio for two games, losing both, before topping Oxford 5-1 and hosting Holland Christian over the weekend.

The game against Holland Christian ended in a 2-2 tie after TC West gave up a goal in the final minute of each half. Griesinger said mistakes like that late in halves are an example of the learning curve his team will face this year. He said he’s relying on his seniors to help facilitate that learning.

“This year’s different. This year we’re asking a lot of the leadership,” Griesinger said. “We’re asking a lot of the guys who have played in big games before to really dig into those other guys and bring them along. And it’s coming. It’s happening.”

“I kind of just want to be a good role model for [the younger guys],” said senior Colin Blackport. “When I made my move up to varsity I had a bunch of cool guys kind of take me under [their wing] and help me out and I just hope I can make some memories for these guys.”

The Titans are 1-2-1 on the season and will host Strongsville, another team from Ohio, on Friday night.