Liam Gilfillan rolls to his left to stop “a shot” during a ground goalkeeping drill on the first day of practice. Gilfillan will replace the graduated Nick Bruesewitz in net.
Liam Gilfillan rolls to his left to stop “a shot” during a ground goalkeeping drill on the first day of practice. Gilfillan will replace the graduated Nick Bruesewitz in net.

   For the last past several seasons, the Ripon Tiger boys’ soccer team has been defense-oriented.

   That figures to change this year.

   The Tigers will shoot, literally, to be a more offensive-minded team this year following the graduation of all but one of its defensive starters, as well as its starting goalkeeper.

   “I kind of tweaked our formation this year to kind of play to our strengths,” said new Ripon head coach and former assistant/JV coach Steve Nankervis, who takes over following the resignation of Kyle Sackett. “We didn’t score a lot of goals the last few years and it wasn’t because of the lack of effort. It’s just the formation that we ran just wasn’t conducive to producing a lot of goals because we were so strong defensively. 

   “Now this year, since we’re not as strong defensively ... I’ve got to put more firepower into our offense to hopefully compensate.”

   The offense is the main area where the Tigers have some experience as three of the five players they return who logged significant varsity minutes last year played there.

   That group is led by senior Jordan Whitrock. The first-team all-conference attacker from last season was deemed this year to be “a major threat” by Nankervis.

   The other two returning offensive threats are fellow senior Tyler Granados and junior Conor Diedrich. Nankervis noted Granados will switch positions this season.

Read the full story, which includes information on the defense and Ripon's goals, in the Aug. 29, 2019 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.