The Garden City boys varsity soccer team will be on the pitch for the first time in many years without head coach Carlo Mazarese on the sideline. "Maz" retired after last season and turned the controls over to new head coach Paul Cutter and assistant Tom Skrivanek.
The team will look to put Garden City back in contention for a strong playoff run with an up tempo offense and a skilled defense.
Cutter likes the makeup of the team. "We have a good blend of youth and veteran leadership, and I can see them already forming a strong team bond. Tom and I are stressing the importance of the team, all working together without any dominating individual," he said.
The squad has an almost equal number of seniors and juniors to go along with a handful of sophomores that will come together in a balanced attack. Cutter will look to develop their game with quick ball movement and good pace. This will translate to faster counterattacks, an effective transition game and hopefully more scoring.
Skrivanek adds, "We have good depth on the squad, with many interchangeable parts that are coming together nicely. If we can stay healthy and the boys continue to develop within Coach Cutter’s game plan, we’ll be in every game at the end, and that’s what you want in this game."
On the girls field the optimism is even stronger. Although a year removed from the magical run to the state championship, Coach Mike Heedles still has several players that tasted the glory and are hungry for more.
Led by team captains Lily Schmitt, Erin Greiner and Kelsey Tierney, the Lady Trojans will push the ball hard through the midfield, use their speed to attack and look to defend with a talented set of backs.
"The girls we’re getting at tryouts are now coming to us with more skill than ever before," Heedles said. "You can tell they play soccer at a high level, and that translates well for us."
Since more of the girls play travel soccer, assistant coach McCauley believes that this squad goes deeper than any they’ve had before. "We have at least four or five girls playing on the [junior varsity] team that in years past would easily have been up with the varsity. So when we need to reach down because of an injury or to look for a spark, we know we have that depth."
The team’s strength will be in the midfield where Haley O’Hanlon and Lauren Meissmer will control the ball and distribute it to keep the game moving forward. The scoring will come from a variety of sources – Greiner, Kayla Murphy, Katherine Malhame, Sam Meissmer, Cailee McCarthy, Paulette Mohacsi, Taylor Carpentier, all capable of hitting the goal from all angles.
Defensively the Lady Trojans will be stabilized by outstanding keeper Tierney – a technically advanced player. In front of Tierney will be Schmitt, Courtney Studdert, Caroline Beaty, Niki Berkery and Deanna DiPierro to name a few of the solid defenders.