BOGACZYK: Starcher, Herd Plan Comeback Together
The Word on the Herd-August 17, 2014
By JACK BOGACZYK
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Two years ago at this time, Trevor Starcher said he “wasn’t ready” to play NCAA Division I soccer.
Last season, the former Hurricane High School star went through a painful season with Marshall.
“We were that close in a lot of games,” said Starcher, who starts his redshirt sophomore season with the Herd on Wednesday at 5 p.m. in an opening exhibition against Bowling Green at Veterans Memorial Soccer Complex. “We were mostly in every game; we just couldn’t score.”
The 6-foot-2 midfielder, who experienced great success playing for veteran MU Coach Bob Gray with the West Virginia Soccer Club Titans, said the Herd prospects are positive after the struggles of a two-win season in 2013.
Personally, Starcher is looking for his own comeback, too. In a 2013 season in which he made nine starts, the redshirt freshman missed five games with a concussion.
“About halfway through the year I went up for a ball and collided head-to-head with a teammate,” Starcher said after the Herd opened camp last week. “I got the fat end of it.
“I ended up with a concussion and tried to return to early because I wanted to play and it progressively got worse. It put me out five games instead of two.”
Gray called Starcher “a blue-collar player … great leadership qualities, grew up through our local West Virginia Soccer Club, played for me with the Titans, a very successful team statewide and regionally.”
Now, Gray and Starcher hope the Herd can find success following a tough season in which MU was outscored 35-13 in 19 games, but was out-shot only 248-226.
“The goal is to get better every day,” Starcher said when asked about changing fortunes. “Last year, we struggled with team chemistry and leadership, and this year so far our leadership is there, team chemistry is much better.
“We don’t have egos on the team, everybody is playing for one another and that’s what we really need going into and through the season. It’s a family and we need to push one another to be our best and we can’t have somebody go out in practice and slack off or goof off, because every day we have to get better to be where we want to be at the end of season, which is in the (Conference USA) tournament.”
Starcher said a roster renovation should make a difference in Gray’s 20th Marshall squad, which includes four preseason nationally ranked clubs.
“We’ve got some newer players, including two good midyear transfers in Austin (Klueh, from Cincinnati State CC) and Ryan (Forde, from Concord University),” Starcher said. “We’ve got new freshmen who will hopefully be able to score some goals for us.
“If you break down most of our games from last year, we were in mostly every game, we just couldn’t score (the Herd was 1-8-6 in games when it was blanked or scored only one goal). That’s what we were lacking.
“Every good team in the country has a goal scorer, and hopefully somebody this year will be able to step up and be that for us. I think if that happens, then we can make the conference tournament and maybe make some noise.”
Starcher started nine of his 14 games and scored the Herd’s lone goal in one of its two triumphs, a Sept. 15 home win over IPFW. And although it was a long season for the Herd, he was just glad to be part of it after redshirting in 2012.
“The main thing is I wasn’t ready to play,” Starcher said, “and that year allowed me to mature, to understand how to get better. And it kind of put a chip on my shoulder to come out in the spring to show the coaches what I could do.
“That whole fall, you’re training and training. You’re doing everything the team does except for traveling (to road games) and playing games, but you’re busting your rear end in practice to help make the team better. But it was really hard. It was a little bit of adversity, going your whole life at being one of the better players on your team to coming in and not playing at all.”
At center midfield and center back, Starcher, an accounting major at MU, is preparing to add to his game to boost the Herd.
“I definitely need to pick up my technical ability, getting the ball off my foot quicker, seeing things quicker,” he said. “I need better vision and need to step up a little bit.
“I’m one of the older guys on the team now. We have a lot of younger guys, so the older guys need to set an example for them to raise their games because that will help the program moving forward. We need to set the tone this season.”