CARTHAGE, N.Y. (WWNY) - The Carthage boys' soccer program has had some growing pains over the last couple of years.
With the help of the more experienced players, it should result in more success for the team.
The Comets finished 4-12 last season overall and 2-9 in league play.
Despite the record, it's a program on the rise under fourth-year coach Joseph Mono.
"We are returning almost all of our starting lineup," he said. "We graduated some seniors, but most of the guys coming back have played quite a bit.
The coach says there are some holes to fill, mostly defensively. "Two out of our four captains were defensive players -- good leaders, hard working kids -- replacing them will be the challenge," he said. "Other than that, most of our core is coming back."
With most of the starters back, experience will help on the pitch.
"I think we have a lot of good leaders this year," Mono said. "With returning players, more experience helps. Our captains this year are really good leaders, they lead by example -- I think that will help turn things around for us."
"Since freshman year we've had about five kids who have come through the program, me being one of them," senior captain Bracken Feldmann said. "We have a lot of kids returning who have worked with coach that have done a lot of really good things together, learn how to work together -- it's a good foundation for the rest of the kids to come into."
Carthage is having the varsity and JV teams working out together so eveyone is on the same program.
"It's to bring some continuity, we are working on switching some things up," Mono said. "If we can have JV and varsity together, it helps on that continuity. JV guys know what the varsity is doing, it continues down to them, then when I get them next year, it's not re-teaching them, just filling in the gaps a little bit."
Players say they're happy to be back on the field.
"It's always nice to be back, nice to get the blood flowing, nice to get some exercise in." Feldmann said. "It's a little scary with this being my senior year, but it's really nice to be back for soccer."
Look for the Carthage Comets to improve this season.