2019 H.S. boys' soccer preview capsules

ECC Division I

East Lyme

Coach: Paul Christensen (32nd season)

Key returnees: Sr. M Kurt Mahlke, Sr. M Finn Power, Sr. B Joey Grubb, Jr. M Noam Sokolovsky, Jr. G Owen Brown, Jr. F Cooper Pazzaglia, Jr. F Matt Tapia, Jr. B Tucker Mazzulli, Sr. M Evan Kluge, Sr. B Rohan Vankatesh.

Top newcomers: Sr. B Kane Salan, Sr. M Kyle Lynch, Sr. F Cameron McGurer, Sr. M Ethan Stewart, Jr. M Jonathan Northcutt, Jr. F Nico Meneses, Jr. B Sujesh Kurembail, Jr. B Tazim Hoque, Jr. M Jonny Gonzalez, Jr. B Steven Gonsalves, So. F Jonathan Zavaleta, Jr. G Connor Daugherity, Jr. M Carter Chambers.

Outlook: The Vikings went 14-5-1 a year ago and reached the ECC Division I tournament final, but were hit hard by graduation losses, including three defenders, a goalie and top scorers Alec Kosinski and Matt Kung. But East Lyme is always seems to reload and Christensen said, "Once positions are determined and the team has an opportunity to jell, we should be competitive."

Fitch

Coach: Jay Wolfradt (10th season)

Key returnees: Jr. M Eric Leuchner, Sr. D-M Giovanni Valentine, So. M Timmy Lynch, Sr. F Caleb Robbins, Sr. D-M Keshav Garcia-Patel, Jr. D Ian Roche, Jr. F Alex DelCampo, Sr. M Owen Henderson, Jr. G Ramiro Zavalo, Sr. D Will Minor, Jr. D Seamus Greaves.

Top newcomers: So. F Sebastian Duffy, Jr. D Aiden McLean, So. M Peter Petropoulos, Fr. F Diego Martinez, So. M Thomas Forde, So. G Matthew Amaral.

Outlook: The Falcons need to improve their offense but return some key pieces from a 2018 team which went 6-9-1 during the regular season and qualified for the ECC Division I and Class L state tournaments. Wolfradt calls Leuchner "the motor" in midfield, and he is a returning ECC all-star along with Valentine. Fitch is also expecting a big goal-scoring year from Robbins.

NFA

Coach: Robert Briones (23rd season)

Key returnees: Sr. D-M Tyler DeVega, Sr. D-M Jackson Guertin, Sr. D-M Justin Le, Sr. M Christo Moran-Vargas, Sr. M-F Devin Watson, Sr. M-F Maxwell Knowlton, Sr. D Dylan Chapel, Sr. G X-Avier Epperson, Jr. M Jareth Tosses, Jr. D Benjamin Hardwick, So. M-F Marc Josaphat.

Top newcomers: Sr. D Marcos Fernandez Flores, Jr. D Kameron Patenaude, Jr. F Anthony Vennero, So. D-M Connor DeVega.

Outlook: The Wildcats had their struggles last season, finishing 3-11-2, but Briones welcomes back a number of key veterans. He also had some promising newcomers ready to pitch in, so NFA should be more competitive in Division I and make a run at qualifying for the Class LL state tournament.

Stonington

Coach: Paul deCastro (12th season)

Key returnees: Sr. M Ty Fidrych, Sr. M Will Cannella, Sr. M Rhys Hammond, Sr. G Peter Fernholz, Jr. D Ethan Allen, So. F Sam Montalto.

Top newcomers: Sr. D George Limberakis, Sr. D Sam Casadei, Jr. D Alex Tobiassen, Jr. D Johnny Clark, Jr. F Alex West, Jr. M Elias Dahl, Jr. M Jacob Pereira, Jr. M Owen Lindenmayer, So. D Cole Devoe, So. M Billy deCastro, So. M Wynn Hammond, So. M Will Sawin.

Outlook: The Bears, who reached the Class M semifinals and won the ECC Division II title, move up to Division I this season and must replace nine seniors, including midfielder Jamison Magowan, The Day's All-Area Player of the Year. Stonington will need some sophomores and juniors to step into prominent roles, but the Bears still have plenty of talented with Fernholz returning in goal, Fidrych, Cannella and Rhys Hammond anchoring the midfield, and Montalto a dangerous scoring threat up front.

ECC Division II

Ledyard

Coach: William Glenney (17th season)

Key returnees: Sr. D Xander Hutchins, Sr. M Wes Hughes, Sr. D Fabian May, Sr. D Ethan Munger, Sr. F Elliott Smith, Sr. M Alex Warmus, Jr. D Owen Lessig, So. F Daimon Pollard, So. D Cam Reynolds, So. M Nick Washington.

Top newcomers: Sr. D Mason Barnett, Sr. D Noah Cayangyang, Sr. F Tyler Perkins, Sr. F Cesar Valiento, Jr. D Joey Burton, Jr. G Blake McLeod, Fr. M Tyler LaPerle, Fr. M Ben Fieldsend.

Outlook: The Colonels went 11-5 a year ago in a difficult division, sharing the title with Bacon Academy and Woodstock Academy. They must replace ECC all-stars Ken Turner (goalie), Adam Crawford (defender) and Ian Kamperschroer (midfield), but return their top two scorers (Washington and Pollard). "I think we are going to score a bunch of goals," Glenney said, "so if the defense can jell and we get some solid goalkeeping we could be a very solid team."

Waterford

Coach: Josh Bessette (1st season)

Key returnees: Sr. D/M Zac Fayan, Sr. G AJ Sachatello, Sr. D/M Abe Gollsneider, Jr. M Alex Ard, Jr. F Nikko Zingus, Jr. D Cody Brown, Jr. D Bobby Lokken, So. M Jeremy Gibbs.

Top newcomers: Jr. D/M Will Heenan, Jr. M Oli Searle, Jr. M Norbu Ciren, So. M Colin Palazzo, So. M Owen Lanunza, Fr. M Matias Arcelus, Fr. F Donovan Bousquet.

Outlook: Bessette takes over a Waterford program which struggled a year ago but expects to bounce back with a winning season with the return of eight starters. "This group has a lot of varsity experience and chemistry from last season, as well as strong new players to step into starting roles," Bessette said.

ECC Division III

Montville

Coach: Anthony Occhialini (1st season)

Key returnees: Sr. M-F Quinn Bond, Jr. D Jacob Rose, Sr. D Tucker Doyle, Jr. M Ayden Frechette, Jr. M Zak Keenan, Jr. M Liam Cook, So. M Aaron Muncaster, So. M Morgun Whittaker.

Top newcomers: Jr. F Cesar Amaya, Fr. M Sawyer Tighe, Jr. D Alexandre Louissaint, Sr. D Stephen Duhamel, Sr. D Jared Houle, Sr. D Mitchell Evans, So. M Rodolfo Reyes, So. F Zachary Handler, Sr. D Xavier Bogue, Sr. M Aaron Nonalaya, Fr. G Isaiah Gallagher.

Outlook: Occhialini returns to his alma mater to replace his former boss, Colin Delaney, as head coach, and inherits a team that went 12-4 during the regular season and reached the semifinals of the ECC Division II tournament. Rose, an ECC Division III all-star, returns to anchor the defense and will serve as team captain. The Indians did suffer some key graduation losses, including leading scorer Tyler Velazquez, but there is enough talent returning for Montville to enjoy more success on the field.

ECC Division IV

St. Bernard

Coach: Joe Purtill (9th season)

Key returnees: Sr. M Tenzil Jamphel, Sr. F Billy Niles, Sr. G Martin Arvidson.

Top newcomers: Sr. M Matthew Graul, Sr. D Ryan Jakubielski, Sr. D Zach Weimert, Jr. M Perry Belfiglio, Jr. G-F Ryan Crowe, Jr. F Santi Rodriguez, Jr. D Gabriel Ayrao, So. D Corbertt Brassaw, So. F Chris Gonzales, So. M Aidan Jakubielski, So. D Charlie Niles, So. D Joshua Porterfield, Fr. F Connor Harris, Fr. D Jahden Murphy, Fr. D Dan O'Brien, Fr. D-M Ben Wenzel, Fr. F Tom Wu, Fr. F Frank Wong, Fr. M Sam Rodriguez.

Outlook: The Saints are coming off an 11-5 regular season and a second-place finish behind Wheeler in Division IV, but must replace eight starters and a pair of key reserves. "Our emphasis during the preseason will be develop our younger players into a cohesive unit, especially on defense," said Purtill, who thinks St. Bernard still has enough talent to qualify for the Class S state tournament.

Wheeler

Coach: Joe Mendonca (21st season)

Key returnees: Sr. G Bowen Baker, Sr. F Scott Pion, Sr. F Ian Spracklin, Sr. D Aidan Cameron, Sr. M Ethan Foberg, Sr. M Dylan Davino, Sr. M Connor Melinosky, Jr. D Lukas Jones.

Top newcomers: So. D Blake Stedman, So. D Grant Colsen, So. M Matthew Pierce, So. M Michael Caster, So. F Emmanuel Peterle, Fr. M Maximus Seeley, Fr. M Owen Foberg, Fr. D Matthew Carroll.

Outlook: The Lions are coming off a 10-6 regular season while reaching the semifinals of the ECC Division II tournament and the second round of the Class S state tournament. Wheeler returns a veteran team, led by 2018 ECC Division IV all-stars Baker, Pion and Spracklin, and Mendonca expects to contend for the division title and make another solid run in the state tournament.

Others

Grasso Tech

Coach: Paul Jones (8th season)

Key returnees: Jr. Robert Holland, Jr. Francisco Colon, Sr. Joel Potter, So. Jorge Serrano, So. Meynor Sanchez.

Top newcomers: Jr. Chase McGrath, Fabricio Gonzalez, Adam Chiocola, Charlie Morrison.

Outlook: The Eagles, who compete in the Connecticut Technical Conference, went 2-11-1 a year ago and have a young team. But Jones has been happy with the preseason progress, adding, "We are excited to see how the players work together and are a hoping for a successful season."

Norwich Tech

Coach: Jamie Lamitie (8th season)

Key returnees: Sr. G Jarred Schrader, Sr. F Ben McKenzie, Jr. D Kameron Kosma, Jr. D CJ Fusco, Jr. D Vincent Cote, Jr. M Kenny McKenna, So. D Chace Davidson, So. F Tyler Nadeau, So. M Allen Fernandez.

Top newcomers: Fr. M Mateo Gonzalez, Fr. M Zachary Lamitie.

Outlook: The Warriors went 5-8-3 a year ago and qualified for the Class M state tournament. Norwich Tech, which competes in the Connecticut Technical Conference, will field a young team (23 of the 33 players on the roster are freshmen or sophomores), but Lamitie said the Warriors have talent, adding, "We are expecting to improve on our record of last year and hopeful to make the conference and state tournaments."

Old Lyme

Coach: Allyson Gleason (1st season)

Outlook: Gleason, who assisted her Paul during Old Lyme's recent run of four consecutive Class S state championships in girls' soccer, takes over the boys' program this season. The Wildcats are coming off a 3-12-1 season, but Gleason is hopeful Old Lyme can make a run at the Shoreline Conference and state tournaments this fall. "We have a dedicated and talented group of players whom, based on the intensity of our practices and rapid improvements we have seen in needed areas, we are entering the season with a fresh start full of confidence."

Williams School

Coach: Richard Connolly (1st season)

Key returnees: Jr. G Max Sarwar, Sr. D Seb Marshall, Sr. D James Knowlton, Jr. D JD DeLaurentis, So. D Josh Laggis, So. M Colby Pots, Jr. M Nate Marchesi, So. M Robbie Darling, So. M Will Oliver, So. F Harry Anselmi, Jr. F Shephen Zhang, Sr. M Eli Bunnell.

Outlook: Connolly takes over the Blues, who opened their season with a 2-1 win over Watkinson and return an experienced team, particularly on defense. Williams is still trying to develop some depth, but Connolly expects that to happen relatively quickly and help the Blues become a factor in the SENE race.

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