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story.lead_photo.caption Travis Cairer

It's something new on the varsity soccer roster.

The Capital City Cavaliers will have their first-ever seniors and that's a positive. Maybe a positive.

"We'll see, I don't know yet," Capital City coach Travis Cairer said with a laugh. "I don't think we fully understand what it means to play for seniors yet, we don't have that culture. That will still come down the road."

The Cavaliers will be without one senior as Kory Smith will miss the season after tearing an ACL in the spring.

"He not only brought the knowledge and the skill to the game, he brought the right attitude, he never got down on anybody," Cairer said. "He'll be missed this season not only because of his skills on the field, but because he was a great teammate."

Smith was the only player who scored against Jefferson City in a Central Missouri Activities Conference game last season.

"That will be a great memory for him," Cairier said.

The Cavaliers, who open the season this morning by hosting Southern Boone, will look to use their versatility to be dangerous on the offensive end this season.

Six Cavaliers — Clayton Hamler, Nate Wilbanks, Miles Andrews, Eric Angel, Diego Chavez and Mo Yanis — figure to move between the forward and midfield spots

"I think all six of them can play any of the positions," Cairer said. "That will be something we will be working on throughout the season. If they work together how they are capable of working, it can cause chaos for other teams. At least, I hope it does."

Hamler, a junior, should see a majority of his time in the midfield.

"He does a really good job of controlling the field when he's at center-mid, but he's such a dynamic player up front," Cairer said. "When he gets into the attack, that can lead to some good things for us."

Wilbanks, a senior, returns after leading the team in scoring last season. Chavez, a senior, will join the mix, along with juniors Andrews and Yanis, and sophomore Angel.

"I don't think we have anybody that people think they have to man-mark," Cairer said. "But they are all very good players and that can make us dangerous at times."

On the defensive end, seniors Mark Echekwu and Carson Harper will start as center backs.

"They both have good size and experience," Cairer said.

Landon Carney and Cole Hankins, both juniors, will play at one wing in the back. Carney also could see time in the midfield.

Ben Conrad, a freshman, will start at the other wing.

"He'll hold his own out there," Cairier said.

Cuay Vertiz-Cruz, a junior, is  back at goalkeeper

"I think he gets underestimated a lot," Cairer said. "He's always impressing us in training, he does a really good job. He does great things for us."

Among the key reserves are senior Raphael Ike, junior Ted Krause and sophomore Trevor Vogt.

"They are all non-stop workers." Cairer said. "We've got some guys with experience who will be able to come in and help us."

The Cavaliers have 14 freshmen on the roster, which will allow for more of a JV team this season.

"It will be nice not to expect somebody to play a full JV game, then maybe have to play a half on the varsity," Cairier said.

The Cavaliers believe they can be in the mix for a finish in the top half of the CMAC after finishing sixth in the conference last season.

"I would be disappointed if we finish there again," Cairer said. "I don't know if we can win it, but we should be in the top three or four and be in just about every game.

"If we're not in the top four, it will be because we're not clicking or the ball isn't rolling our way."

The varsity game will start the action at 10 a.m. today, followed by one half of a JV contest.

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