Carl Albert boys soccer making turnaround
Titans matched win total from past four years combined
By Jeff Harrison
Midwest City Beacon
Carl Albert’s boys soccer team hasn’t had a lot of luck in recent years.
But that misfortune is changing.
The Titans (6-2, 2-1 District 5A-2) are off to their best start in nearly a decade and continue pushing towards the postseason. So far this season, the team has matched their win total from the previous four years combined. That includes a 1-2 record in a pandemic-shortened 2020 season.
“It feels a lot better than the last few seasons that I’ve been here and it’s nice seeing what [winning games] does for our program as a whole,” said senior forward Chancy Lester.
The Titans have been winning with a solid core of seniors and talented underclassmen. Coach Levi Karnes said many of those pieces were in place last year when he took over the program.
“Last year, we had a lot of good players and kids, but the structure wasn’t there to win games,” he said. “We started going from a team that was losing by big margins to one that was competing in a lot of games.”
Karnes said they are now reaping the benefits of that hard work.
“I really feel like the training and practice that we did last season is the reason we’re having success now,” he said. “We were not able to show it in games, but this year it’s coming together, and the boys are excited.”
Lester and fellow senior Fabian Romero have powered the Titan offense. Lester, who was a standout defender on the state championship football team, leads the team with 10 goals.
“Coming from our football program there’s this mentality that we’ve brought over and coach [Levi] Karnes does a great job of keeping that going with our team,” Lester said.
Romero transferred from Choctaw last year but was ineligible to play in 2022.
“Fabian Romero has been phenomenal for us,” Karnes said. “It’s hard to find a better player in 5A than him.”
Karnes said they are loaded with young talent as well.
“We have a really good sophomore class, and many of those guys played last year and have developed and become more mature,” Karnes said.
The Titans have posted wins over rivals Del City, Shawnee and Choctaw this year. Last week, they dropped a close game with Bishop McGuinness 3-2 and beat Guthrie 3-0.
“We were tied with McGuinness 1-1 at halftime and our guys believed they could win it,” Karnes said. “Last year, we would’ve lost a game like that 7-0 and had no chance.”
In the loss to McGuinness, goalkeeper Maddox Wilkerson scored on a penalty kick and Lester added his 10th goal of the season. On Thursday, Romero tallied two goals and Louis Tataglione had the other.
The Titans are building confidence with every win.
“When you go to Carl Albert, it seems like every team is winning and you feel left out,” Karnes said. “We’ve talked about how fun it is for them to go to school after a big win. That’s something our seniors haven’t experienced before.”
The Titans still have work ahead of them as they try to qualify for the playoffs. They played at Piedmont on Tuesday night and travel to Southeast on Thursday for another key matchup.
“Last year, we might have been shaking in our boots about these games, but I think the boys are really excited,” Karnes said.