Central opens 2-1-1 on the varsity soccer pitch

Published 10:58 am Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Central High School’s varsity boys soccer team has set a striking tone to open the 2018 season, showing improvement from previous years. The Chargers experienced their first loss of the season March 28, a 7-0 defeat to elite host Prince Edward County High School, but they still entered spring break with a strong 2-1-1 record.

“I feel, overall, after playing this game, we played them better than last year, so we’re improving,” Central Head Coach Hunter Dipaolo said. “(We’re) not exactly where I want us to be right now, but we’re getting there.”

Dipaolo and Janet Johnson swapped roles this year, with Johnson moving to the assistant coach position.

The Chargers opened the season March 15 with a 4-1 road win over Buckingham County High School. On March 19, Central routed visiting Cumberland County High School 8-0, and on March 26, the Chargers tied host Randolph-Henry High School 2-2.

Central knew it was in for a particularly strong challenge when facing the Prince Edward Eagles.

“This is a tough team,” Dipaolo said. “This is the toughest team we’ve played so far. They were really good last year, and I knew it was going to be probably the toughest team we played this year — them, Goochland and maybe Amelia.”

Key Chargers to graduate last year include forward Ben Atkins and defender Michael Minnix.

This year, the team features three seniors, five juniors, four sophomores and four freshmen.

Dipaolo indicated the 2018 Chargers are an experienced group.

Leading them up front is sophomore Hunter Meade.

“He seems so far to have scored the majority of our goals,” Dipaolo said. “He’s pretty good at putting the ball in the net.”

The coach noted that aiding Meade significantly is a midfield that has been effective at feeding him the ball. Dipaolo said contributors to that midfield include junior Tyler Neal, junior Jordan King, senior Olivia Major, junior Colton Hinkle and junior Samuel Watson.

Dipaolo said standouts on defense include senior Darion Berrios and freshman Hunter Hinkle.

“At this point, I’m still optimistic that we can come away with a winning season,” Dipaolo said. “I don’t know where we’ll fall in the district, but I’m hoping we’ll have a good record at least that’ll give us a good seed in the regional playoffs.”

Central hosts Amelia on Monday at 6 p.m.