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Mitchell Christian soccer fighting low numbers

The Mitchell Christian/Mount Vernon/Sanborn Central soccer team looks to build off its two-win season in 2013, but finding depth could be an issue.

"One of the things we really are struggling with and we've struggled with the past couple of years is numbers," said head coach Bob Lemon, whose team finished 2-9-1 last year. "This year we will only have 14 on our roster and that's thin."

Mitchell Christian and Mount Vernon have been a cooperative in the past, but this is the first year with Sanborn Central joining the program.

Mitchell Christian/Mount Vernon/Sanborn Central opens this season against James Valley Christian at 7 p.m. Friday at the Pepsi-Cola Soccer Complex in Mitchell.

One player the team was able to pick-up for the 2014 season is Bailey Morgan, who played for Mitchell High School last year, but transferred to Mount Vernon this year.

"I'm excited to have her out," Lemon said. "She brings a lot of experience. She serves the ball well from the midfield."

While the team only needs 11 players to field a complete team, the South Dakota Activities Association allows the option for teams to carry as many players they want on a varsity roster.

"We are really trying to stay as healthy as we can," Lemon said, adding injuries can really limit his team. "We're just trying to be competitive."

Lemon said the four seniors -- Levi Knight, Craig Van Zee, Cody Gromer and Austin Bormann -- will be a big part of the team this season.

"Levi Knight has been the anchor of our defense," Lemon said, adding he will end up having Knight play several different positions throughout the season.

Gromer, a defender, had his season cut short last year due to a broken nose, and Lemon said he is excited to see what he can do in a full season. Bormann will join the team and solidify the goalie spot this year.

Ethan Cooper will be the team's main threat on offense. Lemon said Cooper brings a lot of speed to the team's attack.

"He will be a scoring threat for us," he said. "If he's healthy, he can pose some challenges to defenses."

Lemon added his team will need to play strong defense throughout the season in order to see success.

"We just can't give up the big numbers," Lemon said. "We've struggled with scoring goals in the past, so we need to stay strong defensively and connect well with the midfield."