Aurora -- There's plenty to work on in the off-season for the Aurora High boys soccer program, which will lose 10 seniors to graduation this year and 22 senior athletes in the last two years.
Head coach Chris Gentille, whose 14 consecutive sectional titles ranks among the top five records in Ohio, strives for consistency, and that begins with hard work in the off-season.
This fall, the Greenmen finished 11-3-4 overall and reached the district semifinals in Division I. It was a disappointing finish, though, after Aurora was the top seed in the postseason after reaching Ohio's 2012 Final Four, when the Greenmen had a school record 16-4-2 mark.
"Looking back, it was obviously disappointing that we didn't advance further, but when you look back at our schedule, it was the toughest in school history and it was extremely competitive," said Gentille, who completed his 15th year as coach.
"Our kids really did perform well and we were proud to be so competitive against such strong teams," added the coach, who had to deal with a host of injuries.
Aurora will lose 10 seniors to graduation, including seven starters and a trio of three-year starters in forward Dalton Browsky and midfielders Trevor Wendel and Prayag Jina.
Veteran starters also lost to graduation were record-setting goalkeeper Justin Pavlick, defenders Connor Burns and Ben Lazor, plus defender Ryan Studer and versatile players Scott Sutton, Matt Meyer and Kyle Sutton.
In their careers, this year's seniors posted an overall record of 56-12-12 (23-3-2 in the Chagrin Valley Conference Chagrin Division). "We will miss these seniors and it will be a great loss for us," said Gentille.
Browsky made second team all-Greater Cleveland and was a first-team all-CVC selection, as was Pavlick, who also was honorable mention all-district.
Jina and Wendel also were honorable mention all-Greater Cleveland and made second-team all-CVC. Burns was honorable mention all-CVC.
"This team will be young next year and we will miss the seniors, but we will return 13 guys," said Gentille, who will also lean on athletes from a 13-2 junior varsity squad.
Leading the way next year will be junior Nick Perez, who made second-team all-Ohio. Perez, who can play midfield, forward and striker, is a big-time offensive threat. He also made first-team all-CVC and first-team all-Greater Cleveland.
Junior Anthony Brockway also will return. He made second-team all-CVC and was an honorable mention all-Greater Cleveland selection. Another standout junior returnee will be Tyler Finkenthal, who was honorable mention all-CVC.
Matt Gordon, a junior, appears to be the replacement for Pavlick in the nets.
Strong experience will come from juniors Tyler Blechschmid and Robert Lacey, sophomores Justin Kowalski, Cory Bianco, Jake Martell, Anton Krondorfer and Michael Carbone and freshman Josh Famageltto.
"The off-season goes fast and we will focus on our training, which will include weight lifting," said the coach.