Pitch Preview: Union County Panthers
The Panthers won 15 games and made the quarterfinals last season. Since 2019, Union County has played for a state title, made the Elite 8, and the Sweet 16, with 2020 being shortened due to COVID. This program has been awesome, and though Tim Hunter swings back into the head coaching role for the boys for the first time since 2018, there’s plenty of reason to believe this team can be just as successful.
HEAD COACH: Tim Hunter (7th Season over boys, 1st since 2018)
2022 RECORD: 15-3-1; Region 8-AA Champions; 2A State Elite 8; #4 State Ranking
RETURNING STARTERS: 9
KEY DEPARTURES: Kyler Robbins, MJ Delatte
KEY PLAYERS: Wilson Walker, Zuriel Mancillas, Antonio Solorio, Trent Baker
STRENGTHS: Depth and experience, winning tradition
Gone are such players as Kyler Robbins (21 G, 12 A) and MJ Delatte (10 G, 7 A). But this year’s group does feature Preseason All-State selection Wilson Walker (14 G, 4 A) and Zuriel Mancillas (12 G, 9 A) for starters. Look for both players to up their production with Robbins and Delatte moving on. Robbins and Delatte were the only 2 impact seniors on a team that brings back 9 starters. Also worth keeping an eye on is Antonio Solorio (6 G, 3A) and GK Trent Baker (0.5 GAA). Other names to be looking to have breakout years include Benton Gregory, Nick and Zachary Depalma, Liam Smith, Joel Mendoza, Seth Rutan, and Wes Seiler.
In a word, this team is loaded. It should be another region title type season with a chance at making a quarterfinals (or deeper) run!