The Metro-East Lutheran Knights struggled to a 0-9 record last year and are looking for improvement in the 2016 campaign. It's the second and final season of the co-op with Madison High School.
MELHS head coach Matt Tschudy hopes that chemistry and experience from the co-op in 2015 will create a better product this fall.
“We went 3-1 at the junior varsity level last year,” Tschudy said. “These kids are a year older and more experienced this season.”
The team returns six seniors — Kyle Johnson, Josh Johnson, Vince Wilson, Barl Green, Jeremiah Brown and Kinden Griggs.
The Knights open the season with a non-conference showdown with Bunker Hill at 7 p.m. Friday in Edwardsville. They have five home games this season, three on the MELHS campus and two at Madison High.
The Knights’ boys’ cross country team has just one senior — Ian Key. Junior Javon Watkins should be the team’s No. 1 runner this fall.
Lutheran qualified for sectionals last year and coach Ruth Thompson said she hopes the team will improve its standing in sectional competition this fall.
The girls' squad returns no seniors but has two juniors returning — Kinnie Vincent and Brynne Wallace.
Kate Muravjova, a foreign exchange student from Latvia, could join the team should she meet eligibility requirements.
“She (Muravjova) is looking really good right now, she’s pushing some of the boys in practice,” Thompson said.
Coach Noah Enke returns for another season in the boys’ soccer program.
Lutheran returns seven seniors — John Hubbard, Kendric Norwood, Noah Coddington, Steven Korte, Michael Papka, Edward Prenzler and Thomas Schroeder — off of a team that fought its way to a 13-7 record. Norwood led the team with 21 goals a season ago.
Enke said the team has improved over the past few years and has worked hard over the summer to turn in a quality season.
The Knights lost to East Alton-Wood River, 3-2, in the semifinals of the Class 1A Greenville Regional last season.
Jon Giordano will lead Lutheran’s girls’ volleyball team as head coach again this season, his 19th season directing the program.
The Knights finished last year with a 12-23 mark and won the Class 1A MELHS Regional championship. Metro's season came to an end in a 25-20, 23-25, 25-21 loss to Clay City in the St. Elmo Sectional semifinals.
The Knights have six seniors on the roster for 2016 — Claire Cunningham, Emma Eberhart, Courtney Fenelon, Lydia Flaherty, Katherine Lange and Danielle Timmermann.
Flaherty returns as the setter after posting 636 assists last year. Fenelon, Timmermann and sophomore middle hitter Ellen Schulte each collected more than 100 kills in '15, so the Knights could be poised for another big season. Schulte is sidelined until the beginning of September with a knee injury.
Tim Lorenz and John Zilm are co-coaching golf this fall. Lorenz returns after a one-year hiatus.
The Knights have six seniors on the roster in 2016: Mike Coulson, Owen Gusewelle, Jacob Jump
Garrett Niemeier, Lucas Scheibal and Braden Woolsey.
Woolsey was a sectional qualifier last season along with Jordan Brown, who graduated from the program. MELHS finished fifth with a 386 at the Class 1A Wesclin Regional, failing to advance as a team to sectionals.
David Roderick returns as the Knights head coach this season.
Lutheran placed 7th in the Alton Sectional last year with four points.
This season tennis expands to a two-class system in the IHSA playoffs and MELHS will be a Class 1A program, hoping for better success.
Members of the Metro girls' tennis team are: Heather Moore-Malec, Maycen O'Leary, Kathryn Butler, Cierra Frields, Tori Roderick and Amber Keplar.