2013 H.S. Boys Soccer Preview: Reloading
In 2012 the Northville Falcons advanced to the Section II Class D championship game and the Broadalbin-Perth Patriots claimed their third Foothills Council championship in four years.
Although graduation took key players out of both lineups, they appeared poised to make championship runs again.
“We are coming back with a strong core of players,” Northville coach Steve Clapper said. “We have some good talent, but more importantly we have guys who are putting in the effort day in and day out to improve. We still have several things to work on and sort out, but we have the goal of coming together by the end of October and into November. We are expecting many good games this season and we plan to be in the thick of the battle in every one of them.”
The Falcons return seven starters from last years team including Western Athletic Conference all-star and Section II Class D Goalkeeper of the Year, tim Monette.
Clapper will be looking for the returning players to step up their games in order to make up for the goal scoring of midfielder Jimmy Grega (13 goals) and forward Brad VanNostrand (9 goals).
The Patriots rolled to a 15-3-1 record last year before falling to eventual Class B state champion Ichabod Crane on a controversial late-game goal in the Section II Class B quarterfinals. During the season the Patriots connected for a school record 87 goals, while giving up only 12 and recording 11 shut outs.
The graduating class of Tucker Wilcox, Mark Sylvia, Ben Bellandi, A.J. Klemczak, Anthony Payne, Matt Myers, Jake Rasmussen, Conner Phillips and Pat Brown accounted for 60 of those goals while dealing out 52 assists.
While they will be missed, the returning varsity Patriots including Connor Monks, Joe Zarecki, Justin Marek, Logan Ackley, Frencesco Mastrocinque, Scott Everson, Ryan Dingman, Brandon Rafferty and Claudio Mastrocinque combined to score 27 goals and 27 assists.
“We will have a new look this season as we try to replace the nine seniors from the 2012 squad,” Broadalbin-Perth coach Brian Henry said. “This year’s team has shown a lot of effort and discipline during the pre-season and have done a great job with their conditioning and skill work. If we stay healthy, we should be in the mix again this season.”
After missing qualifying for sectional play in 2012 the Gloversville Dragons are looking to regroup, find their goal-scoring ability and move up in the Foothills standings.
“The boys have been working hard to get ready for a tough Foothills Council,” Gloversville coach Paul Ligon said. “We have more depth on the varsity roster this year and this senior-heavy team hopes to bring more experience and maturity to this season.”
The Johnstown Sir Bills return a solid core of players from last year’s squad that went to sectionals where they met Ichabod Crane in their opening round match.
Coach Mike Hill will be looking to goalkeeper Andy Camarra to anchor the squad that returns eight players with varsity experience to the pitch.
The Fort Plain Hilltoppers claimed the WAC Central division title last year and advanced to the Class C semifinals.
Matt Heiser takes over the Hilltoppers reins from Casey Russom and even though the team lost key elements to graduation, he has a good base of veterans to build on.
Although the St. Johnsville and Oppenheim-Ephratah schools have been merged on the sports fields, this year they will have a new look and a new name as the two districts merged.
The red and gray-clad Wolves have no seniors on the roster this year, but that does not appear to be a problem.
“Despite being young, we return many key players off of last year’s sectional semi-finalist team,” OESJ coach travis Heiser said. “We have been working hard in the off season and so far this season to find players who can fill the roles of those key seniors who have graduated. This year’s players should benefit from having experienced some success last season.”
Graduation hit the Mayfield Panthers hard as they lost Section II Class C Player of the Year and WAC MVP Dylan Toscano (31 goals, 10 assists) and Jordan Ryder (14 goals and 10 assists) along with goalkeeper Ryan Hennessy.
Coach Jon Caraco will be looking to the experience of league all-stars James Winsman and Josh Ivancic to guide the Panthers.
“The team returns a solid core of players who will be looked at to provide leadership and experience,” Caraco said. “The veterans have done a nice job of helping the new players to acclimate to the varsity level of play. The team is working very hard in the preseason th try to make all the pieces fit.”
The 2012 edition of the Fonda-Fultonville Braves were hit by the injury bug but ninth-year varsity coach Matt Bloom is looking for the Braves to be competitive this season.
“Last year we have many injuries to key guys that cost us a lot during the season,” If we can avoid that this year, then we could be competitive in the Colonial Council.”
The Amsterdam Rams started last season off strong, winning four of their first five games. However, injuries and eligibility issues took their toll on the Rams as they finished the season with six wins, one loss and 10 draws.
The Wells Indians turned in a strong season in 2012 and hosted a sectional game.
Unfortunately a slow start in the match hurt the Indians chance of advancing despite overpowering Westport in the second half.
“We will be relying on the experience and speed of our front line [Ken Chicoski, Stephen Raymond, Matt Michienzi and Adrian Collao] this year and support from Seth Weaver in the midfield,” coach Don Beach said. “Ben Brenan has improved in goal this year and is more aggressive. That will help since we have a young defense in front of him.”