Excitement building over boys soccer at Hill-Murray

There seems to be a renewed enthusiasm surrounding the boys soccer program at Hill-Murray. With a new coach in the fold and a new stadium soon to be up and running, the Pioneers have lots to look forward to in the near future.

“There’s a ton of energy and excitement around the program, which is a lot of fun,” said first-year head coach Jeff Zupfer.

The stadium seems to have captured the imagination of many people inside and outside the program. Zupfer said it has increased interest from alumni and certainly has the players chomping at the bit to get on the new surface.

“The guys are pretty excited about it,” said Zupfer. “We’ve gone back to take a look at the progress.”

The team’s first chance to play a game in the stadium is Sept. 15 as a part of homecoming week. But until then, the Pioneers are playing the part of road warriors to start the season. They’re first six games are away.

As for the team itself, Zupfer has a good mix of veteran players.

“It’s a pretty seasoned group of kids,” Zupfer said. “We have quite a few juniors and seniors and most of them have varsity experience.”

The captains this season are seniors Sean Little and Jake Yocum. Little is an attacker and a lead-by-example player while Yocum plays in the back and is more of a vocal presence.

Other top players on the roster this season include senior Jon Lamb and juniors Troy Tischler and Andrew Moon. Lamb is a defender who usually matches up with an opponents’ top forward. Moon is a center defender who played junior varsity last year after transferring to Hill-Murray. Tischler is a center midfielder who has a knack for setting up teammates for scoring opportunities but also has the skill to create his own chances.

The program has a total of 60 players out for soccer this fall and that number is about 20 more than a year ago. 

Zupfer comes to Hill-Murray with a wealth of coaching experience. He played high school soccer at Stillwater and collegiately at the University of St. Thomas. He coached for nine years at Macalester College in St. Paul and has about 20 years of club soccer experience.

His coaching staff includes Jim Tonrey, an A-level coach who helped start the soccer program at St. Croix Prep Academy in Stillwater a few years ago. Zupfer’s brother Chris is also an assistant who works at Hill-Murray. 

Former Pioneer Miles Stockman-Willis returns to his alma mater to coach the JV and Nick Hoff is another younger coach who is working with the eighth graders.

Hill-Murray started the season off 0-3. The Pioneers kicked off the 2016 campaign on Aug. 25 with a match at St. Paul Academy and dropped that one 5-0. A trip to St. Croix Prep in Stillwater on Aug. 27 resulted in a 3-1 defeat and St. Paul Como Park handed Hill-Murray a 3-2 loss on Aug. 30.

The Pioneers have two matches on the schedule this week, which started with a trip to St. Agnes on Sept. 6, after the deadline for this edition of the Review. Hill-Murray then opens Metro East Conference play at defending league champion North on Sept. 8.

 

Brian Meyers can be reached at bmeyers@lillienews.com or 651-748-7819. Follow him on Twitter @BMeyersNews.

 

2016 Hill-Murray boys soccer schedule

Aug. 25 at St. Paul Academy 4:30 p.m.

Aug. 27 at St. Croix Prep 1 p.m.

Aug. 30 at St. Paul Como Park 3:45 p.m.

Sept. 6 at St. Agnes 7 p.m.

Sept. 8 at North 7 p.m.

Sept. 13 at Tartan 5 p.m.

Sept. 15 vs. St. Thomas Academy 7 p.m.

Sept. 17 at Minnehaha Academy 1 p.m.

Sept. 19 vs. DeLaSalle 7 p.m.

Sept. 22 at Hastings 7 p.m.

Sept. 24 vs. White Bear Lake 11 a.m.

Sept. 27 at Henry Sibley 5 p.m.

Sept. 29 vs. Mahtomedi 5 p.m.

Oct. 1 vs. Mounds Park Academy 1 p.m.

Oct. 4 vs. Simley 5 p.m.

Oct. 6 at South St. Paul 7 p.m.

 

 

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