Preview of 2018 high school boys' soccer

ECC Division I

East Lyme

Coach: Paul Christensen (31st year)

Key returnees: Sr. F/M Alec Kosinski, Sr. M Matt Kung, Sr. Brian Callegari, Sr. F Duncan Manthous, Sr. M Aiden Arsenault, Sr. B Akhil Chilamkurthi, Jr. M Kurt Mahlke, Jr. M Finn Power. Sr. M Cesar Navas, Jr. G Suneal Lall.

Top newcomers: Sr. F Robert Swenson, Sr. B Alex Jakubczk, Sr. D Ben Jakubczak, Sr. F Mason Robertson, Sr. F David Coburn, Sr. B Cole Hoffman, Jr. B Joseph Grubb, Jr. M Evan Kluge, Jr. B Rohan Vankatesh, So. G Owen Brown, So. F Cooper Pazzaglia, So. F Matt Tapia, So. M Noah Sokolovsky.

Outlook: The Vikings won the Division I title (6-1-1) a year ago and were hit hard by graduation losses, particularly on defense and in the midfield. But the dangerous Kosinski, an ECC all-star, returns and Christensen likes what he sees from his offensive players. "We have a good mix of upperclassmen and sophomores that once they jell should develop into a competitive team that has potential to have a promising season," Christensen said.

Fitch

Coach: Jay Wolfradt (9th year)

Key returnees: Jr. F Caleb Robbins, So. M Eric Leuchner, Jr. M/D Giovanni Valentine, Jr. M/D Keshav Garcia-Patel, Sr. D Shamus McLean, Sr. M Tre Adams, Sr. D Tommy Taber, Sr. D Tyler Cady, Sr. M Andrew Kerst.

Top newcomers: Sr. F Manish Rane-Castrodad, Fr. M Timmy Lynch, So. F/M Aidan McLean, So. D Shamus Greaves, So. D Ian Roche, Jr. M/D Owen Henderson, So. D Alex Delcampo, Jr. M Will Miner.

Outlook: After finishing 7-8-1 and qualifying for the ECC and Class L state tournaments, the Falcons return 19 players with varsity experience and expect to be a factor in the Division I race. They must replace a pair of starters, including ECC all-star Wes Jacey in goal, but fellow ECC all-star Cady is back to anchor an experienced defense with Taber and McLean. Fitch doesn't have that one dominant scorer, but Robbins, Valentine, Garcia-Patel and Kerst are all capable of producing goals.

NFA

Coach: Robert Briones (22nd year)

Key returnees: Sr. M Mason Larkin, Sr. F Wenderson Delphin, Sr. G Troy Maurer, Sr. D Jonathan Synott, Sr. M Jack Allen, Sr. M Andrew Gromko, Jr. D/M Micah Spruance, Jr. M Jackson Guertin, Jr. F Maxwell Knowlton, Jr. M Christo Moran.

Top newcomers: Jr. D Dylan Chapel, Jr. M Tyler DeVega, Jr. M/D Justin Le, Jr. M Dylan Watson, Fr. F Marc Josaphat.

Outlook: The Wildcats finished 5-8-1 in 2017, missing out on the postseason after losing their final three matches. They graduated some key seniors, including ECC all-star forward Nathan Cherenzia, but have experience at every position. Synott, an ECC all-star, is back to lead a defense that also incudes goalie Maurer. NFA should be competitive within the division and challenge for ECC and Class LL state tournament bids.

Stonington

Coach: Paul deCastro (11th year)

Key returnees: Sr. F Jamison Magowan, Sr. F Max Wojtas, Sr. M Graham Johnstone, Sr. D RJ Parrilla, Jr. M Ty Fidrych, Jr. D Rhys Hammond.

Top newcomers: Sr. M Ben Abely, Sr. M Jake O'Keefe, Sr. M Cooper Wall, Sr. D Joey Hinckley, Jr. G Peter Ferhnolz, Jr. D Will Cannella, Jr. D Sam Casadei, Jr. D George Limberakis, So. D Ethan Allen.

Outlook: The Bears will have a difficult time replicating 2017 when they went 19-0-2 and won the ECC tournament title before losing on penalty kicks to Ellington in the Class M state quarterfinals. They must replace 10 seniors, including The Day's All-Area Player of the Year Cam Whalen and fellow ECC all-stars Adam Gibbs (goalie) and Shane Smith (midfielder), but a strong nucleus returns led by returning ECC all-stars Magowan and Parrilla. The Stonington coaching staff has been very impressed in the preseason with Fernholz, who takes over in goal. The Bears move up to Division I this season with East Lyme, Fitch and NFA.

ECC Division II

Ledyard

Coach: Bill Glenney (16th year)

Key returnees: Sr. G Ken Turner, Sr. D Nick Bailey, Sr. D Adam Crawford, Sr. M Cole Dirico. Sr. M Ian Kamperschroer, Sr. F Ben Gordon, Jr. F Fabian May.

Top newcomers: Jr. D Xander Hutchins, Dr. D Ethan Munger, Fr. D Cam Reynolds, Jr. M Wes Hughes, Jr. M Elliot Smith, Jr. M Alex Warmus, Fr. M Daimon Pollard, Sr. F Eduardo Frias, Fr. F Nick Washington.

Outlook: Ledyard reached the ECC tournament final a year before losing 1-0 to Stonington and finished 13-6-2. They must replace some key players, including ECC all-stars Trevor Hutchins (forward) and Nate McCracken (midfield), but another ECC all-star midfielder (Kamperschroer) returns along Turner in goal and a pair of three-year starting defenders (Bailey and Crawford). Glenney will start a pair of talented freshmen in Pollard and Washington, but depth is a concern as a number of new players gain early experience. The Colonels will be competing in Division II with Bacon Academy, New London, Waterford and Woodstock Academy.

New London

Coach: Roger Desir (2nd year)

Key returnees: Sr. G Guiseppe Conte, Sr. D Thomas Stachen, So. M Cesar Amaya.

Top newcomers: So. M Wesly Paulo, Fr. Flavio Alvarado, Fr. Jose Hernandez.

Outlook: The Whalers struggled scoring goals a year, netting only 17 during a 4-11-1 season. But New London hopes to be more competitive moving down to Division II this fall and look to be solid on defense with the return of Conte and Stachen, a pair of four-year varsity performers. Desir said his new players "are eager to learn and compete."

Waterford

Coach: Joe Mendonca Jr. (8th year)

Key returnees: Sr. D James Gregg, Sr. M Harrison Seale, Sr. F Avery Albanese, Sr. D Robbie Negahban, Jr. D Abraham Gollsneider, Jr. M Jose Guevara Gomez, Jr. G A.J. Sachatello, So. M Alexander Ard, Sr. G Alexander Fayan, Jr. D Zachary Fayan.

Top newcomers: Sr. F Ben Podeszwa, Sr. G Esteban Reyes, Sr. F Nicolas Santangelo, So. D Cody Brown, So. M Norbu Ciren, So. M Oliver Searle, So. F Nikolas Zingus, So. M Robert Lokken, So. M Paul Lokken, Fr. F Jeremy Gibbs.

Outlook: The Lancers are coming off a .500 regular season (7-7-2) in what was a rebuilding year, but return nine starters led by ECC all-star Gregg, so expect Waterford to challenge for division honors this fall. Mendonca expects a number of his younger players, who earned valuable experience in 2017, to be provide balance on a roster that is still young.

ECC Division III

Montville

Coach: Colin Delaney (15th year)

Key returnees: Sr. D Iain Hatchett, Sr. D Jack Minas, Sr. D Sean Murallo, Sr. D Derek Strickland, Sr. F Julian Valdes, Sr. M Jack Varley, Sr. M Tyler Velazquez, So. M Quinn Bond, So. M Jacob Rose.

Top newcomers: Sr. M Ashwin Kuruchi, Sr. G Keaton Sulman, Sr. D Trey Tschopp, Sr. M Gabe Verde, Jr. D Tucker Doyle, So. M Ayden Frechette, So. M Zak Keenan, Fr. M Liam Cook, Fr. M Aaron Muncaster, Fr. M Morgun Whittaker.

Outlook: The Indians had a rare losing season in 2017, finishing 5-10-1. They must replace forward Ethan Rose, an three-time ECC all-star and all-state pick, but return a solid nucleus that will be bolstered by some talented newcomers, including three freshmen who could fit into the rotation. Velazquez, Varley, Valdes and Jacob Rose will be keys up front while Murallo, Hatchett and Strickland bring experience on defense which should help Sulman, a newcomer in goal. Montville moves to the realigned Division III which includes Griswold, Killingly, Lyman Memorial and Windham. "Our goal is to right the ship toward returning to the winning culture that our program strives for each season," Delaney said.

ECC Division IV

St. Bernard

Coach: Joe Purtill (8th year)

Key returnees: Sr. D Kyle Clement, Sr. D Burke Nils, Sr. M Jonathan Foster, Sr. F Aaron Caulouro, Sr. D Patrick Frechette, Sr. M Dan Kelly, Jr. M Tenzin Jamphel, Jr. M Billy Niles, So. F Shane Sutton, So. G Martin Arvidson, So. F John Tischio.

Top newcomers: Sr. M Quincy Francios, Sr. M David Crowe, Sr. D Emmett Brady, So. F Walker Baillargeon, Jr. D Peter Lawton, Jr. D Zach Weimert, Jr. D Matt Graul, Jr. G Mike Whipple, So. D Ryan Crowe, So. F Perry Belfiglio, So. F Santi Rodriguez, So. D Jordan Campbell, Fr. M Chris Gonzales, Fr. F Aidan Jakaielski, Fr. D Corbett Brassaw, Fr. D Charlie Niles.

Outlook: The Saints went 3-11-2 a year ago, but Purtill believes this team has the ability to qualify for the ECC and Class S state tournaments. Jamphel was an ECC honorable mention pick last season for St. Bernard, which moves into the new Division IV with Plainfield, Putnam, Tourtellotte and Wheeler.

Wheeler

Coach: Joe Mendonca (21st year)

Key returnees: Sr. B Seth Jones, Jr. G Bowen Baker, Jr. M Conor Melinosky, Jr. F Scott Pion, Jr. F Ian Spracklin, Sr. F Samson Hauptmann, So. B Lukas Jones.

Top newcomers: Jr. B Aidan Cameron, Jr. M Dylan Davino, Jr. M Joseph Demarco, Fr. M Mathew Pierce, Fr. B Blake Stedman, Fr. B Grant Colsen, Jr. M Kayde Rose.

Outlook: The Lions return an experienced lineup from last year's 5-11 team, plus Mendonca believes there are enough talented newcomers to make Wheeler competitive in the new Division IV with Plainfield, Putnam, St. Bernard and Tourtellotte. Qualifying for the ECC and Class S state tournaments are achievable goals.

Other

Grasso Tech

Coach: Paul Jones (7th year)

Key returnees: Jr. G Joel Potter, Sr. D Conor Cooley, Jr. D Robert Holland, Jr. M/F Kevin Vasquez, Sr. M Kevin Duarte.

Outlook: The Eagles lost some key contributors from last year's 5-11 season, their first in the new Connecticut Technical Conference, but Jones said the coaching staff has a plan for how those positions can be filled. "We're optimistic our team can build on some solid performances from last season," he said. "We are in a competitive conference, but we know our players will work had to compete again this year."

Norwich Tech

Coach: Jamie Lamitie (6th year)

Key returnees: Sr. F Kevin Porras, Sr. G Don Duca, Sr. D Jean Josile, Jr. M Ben McKenzie, Jr. D Jarred Schrader, So. D Vincent Cote, So. D C.J. Fusco, So. D Kameron Kosman, So. M Kenny McKenna.

Top newcomers: Fr. M Allen Fernandez, Fr. D Connor Dwyer, Fr. D Chace Davidson, Fr. M Xzias Bellamy, Fr. M Amisadai Flores, Fr. D Tyler Nadeau, Jr. M Jaron Zimmitti.

Outlook: The Warriors, who begin their second year in the Connecticut Technical Conference after going 3-11-2 a year ago, are extremely young. Lamitie said there are 31 players in the program, but 22 are freshmen and sophomores, so there will be a learning curve as the newcomers get their first varsity experience.

Old Lyme

Coach: Marc Vendetti (21st year)

Key returners: Sr. C/B Liam Holloway, Sr. C/F Quinn Romeo, Sr. M/F Peter Sherman, Jr. C/B Nick Fava Jr., G Ryan Tetreault, So. C/M Michael Milazzo.

Top newcomers: Jr. B Jackson Warren, So. G Gabe LaVoie, So. M Avery Welch.

Outlook: Old Lyme has had a positive vibe in camp after enduring a stunning un-Old Lyme-like season. The Wildcats finished 1-11-4 last year, something they both haven’t forgotten and plan on using as a learning experience. “We’ve talked a lot about understanding that and what it takes to make sure that does not happen again,” Vendetti said. “We’re optimistic of where we are in terms of roles and how we’re doing things as a group.”

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