A preseason stop last week to check in with Hazelwood Central Hawks soccer, a member of the Suburban XII North Conference (with Hazelwood West, McCluer, McCluer North and Hazelwood East). The boys finished 10-6 last year, 3-1 in the Conference just behind Hazelwood West. Class 4 District 4 includes West and North as well as Pattonville, who were the District Champions in 2016 before falling to CBC in Sectionals.
The team returns a core of five key players from last season. Seniors Devin Matteoni and DJ Matteoni were All-Conference picks are joined by Justin McCoy and Kelly Grant as well as Junior Bailey Lallis. McCoy and DJ Matteoni will anchor the defense, Devin Matteoni will pull the strings in the middle while Kelly Grant will play in the middle and up top. Lallis is crafty winger that will be called on with Grant to provide scoring as the team lost their top two scorers in Jarame Crawford and Peter Gakuo (21 of 37 goals).
PHOTO GALLERY – Hazelwood Central Hawks soccer
New in goal this year is Nic Matteoni, a sophomore who takes over for the graduated Jordan Hurt who is now at UMSL. Players who will be counted on to take on new responsibilities this season include Senior Jerred Wooten who will get time in the defense or midfield and Junior Caleb McClinton on the wing. Given the loss in scoring, several players will get opportunities to make a difference including Mahandad Mahmoud, Deebo Bada, Ladi Bada and Trey Ester (a freshman).
Head Coach Jeff Facchin returns for his second season at the helm, only the third coach in the programs history after Pat Rocco stepped down in 2015 to concentrate on the girls program and have more time for his growing family. Facchin is assisted by Claire Lovercheck, the Class 3 goalkeeper of the Year as a senior at Hazelwood Central in 2008 when she helped lead the team to Fourth place in Class 3, before moving onto to play for SIU Edwardsville. She was also a member of the U15 St. Louis Busch SC National Championship team in 2005. She’s been assisting the program for a number of years while teaching in the Francis Howell school district.
Facchin spent 2006-10 as an assistant with the team, returning in 2013-15 before taking over the Head Coaching position. He was a 1997 State Champion with DeSmet and played college soccer at Rockhurst & UMSL.