Over Randy May’s three seasons as the head coach of the Stone Bridge High boys’ soccer team, the Bulldogs have had good success. And the winning ways are likely to continue this spring season for the locals.
An experienced Stone Bridge team has 12 seniors on its roster and could be a Northern Region contender.
The Bulldogs finished 8-5-5 last year and were third in the Liberty District standings. At the 16-team Northern Region tournament, Stone Bridge defeated Wakefield High, 4-0, in a first round game before seeing its season end with a 2-1 quarterfinals round loss to Westfield.
One of the team’s key players this spring will be senior Ronnie Shaban, a fourth year starter. Shaban, who will play college soccer at Columbia University next school year, has played at a defender position in each of the previous three years for the Bulldogs. This season, he will play at forward.
"Ronnie is a very technical player, a very strong player," said coach May. "He’s a big kid and will give us a strong, physical presence up front."
Three other Stone Bridge players who will provide steady play will be center midfielder Eric Skogerboe, a senior captain, sophomore forward Mike Herndon and senior center midfielder Ryan Sullivan. On defense, junior center defender Chris Kamara, a strong, physical player, will provide leadership and stellar play in the back. Another defender to keep an eye on is sophomore Abdul Shaban.
Returning at goalie is second year starter and junior Matt Miscione. Last year, the 6-foot-1 inch Miscione did a terrific job in his first season as the starting goalie.
"He had a great year last year," said May. "We didn’t know what to expect, but Matt stepped up and had a huge season for us."
One of the team’s 2007 highlights came when Miscione stopped three penalty kicks in Stone Bridge’s playoff win over Woodson in a first round Liberty District tournament game.
<b>STONE BRIDGE</b> opened up its new season on March 13 with a 4-1 home win over non-district opponent West Springfield. Bulldog goals in the season-opener triumph came from senior outside left midfielder Nick Giffen, Ronnie Shaban (1 goal, two assists), Herndon and Skogerboe. Abdul Shaban had an assist.
"We played extremely well," said May, whose team scored all of its goals in the first half.
In beating West Springfield, coach May defeated his old team. May had outstanding success as the Spartans’ head coach from 2001 through 2004, leading West Springfield to state AAA state titles three times (2001, ’02, 04) before coming to Stone Bridge in 2005.
"Those four years were special," said May, of his time at West Springfield.
In 2005, his first season at Stone Bridge, May led the Bulldogs, who were then members of the Dulles District, to the Dulles tournament finals and a berth in the Region II Tournament. At regionals that season, the Bulldogs defeated Fauquier in a first round contest before losing to Harrisonburg in a quarterfinals match.
In 2006, May’s second season at Stone Bridge, the Bulldogs, as members of the Liberty District, reached the district finals before losing to Langley.
May said he has had outstanding senior leadership in his three years at the helm of the Bulldogs. The result has been three consecutive winning seasons for Stone Bridge.
"The seniors have played a large part [in our success] the last three years," said May. "That’s a plus. I’ve seen the team start to believe in itself and play at a triple-A level."
May would love to see his team make a strong run at a region crown in this, his fourth year as head coach. It would be especially gratifying because of the large number of seniors on the squad.
"This is the year to do something," said May, who teaches ninth grade health and physical fitness at Stone Bridge.
Stone Bridge’s team captains this spring are Ronnie Shaban and Eric Skogerboe.
Stone Bridge was scheduled to play a non-district game at Fairfax High on Tuesday of this week, and will be at home this Friday night against Robinson in part of a boys-girls double-header.