CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- If Charleston Catholic is going to extend its 55-game winning streak and challenge for an unprecedented fifth consecutive Class AA/A boys soccer state championship it will be done with a new coach on the sidelines.
Sam Fox stepped down as Catholic's coach during the offseason, opening the door for former assistant coach Dom Chipollone to take charge.
Chipollone served as an assistant to Fox in the last three seasons and was previously involved with the Charleston Catholic Middle School program. That experience, Chipollone said, has made taking control of a team with a history of success in recent years much less of a daunting task.
Still, that does not mean everything will come as easy for the new coach as things have seemingly been for the Irish during its dominant run the last few seasons.
"It's a little challenging," Chipollone said. "With the high expectations that have been there the last couple years we'll see how the team does this."
In Catholic's 5-0 rout of Fairmont Senior in last season's state championship game, then-freshman Joey Trupo tallied a hat trick to help lead the Irish to state title No. 4 Trupo is back for his sophomore season along with a pair of sophomore midfielders -- Lucas Gocke and coach's son Anthony Chipollone -- that the elder Chipollone said would play a big part in a team that features just two seniors. That lack of senior leadership has not meant a lack of talent or experience.
"I wasn't expecting them to be as good as they are," Chipollone said. "We did very well at a scrimmage Saturday (against George Washington and Capital) and did very poorly tonight at a scrimmage (at Parkersburg)."
Charleston Catholic begins its season Saturday at 2012 state semifinalist Bridgeport.
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The Kanawha Valley claimed both boys soccer state championships last season, and much like Charleston Catholic in Class AA/A, Class AAA state champion Hurricane will begin its title defense with a new coach.