SCRANTON — The Scranton Prep boys soccer team returns six starters from the squad that was defeated by Coughlin, 1-0, in the second round of the District 2 Class 2A playoffs last season.
An influx of new talent has head coach Sean Curry, who is starting his 16th season at the helm of the program, feeling optimistic about the team’s chances.
“We’re very excited about our freshman and sophomore classes,” Curry said. “We feel like we have some depth and can pressure a lot of teams. We have a lot of fresh legs and players we can move around. We don’t have a lot of guys who are only defenders, midfielders, or forwards. We have guys versatile enough to be moved based on situations or injuries.”
The Cavaliers will be led by senior goalkeeper Blake Hammert and senior midfielder Justin Hammert. Other returning starters include junior midfielder Biagio D’Apollonio, junior defenders Thomas Pfaeffle and Billy Weiss, and sophomore forward Cullen Myers.
“We put a lot on the seniors to take leadership roles with the guys and be good examples for them,” Curry said. “Right now, we have seniors in probably the two most important positions on the field (goalie and center midfielder). They are twin brothers who are very good players. They play club (soccer) at a high level and will be our leaders this year. We’re going to really lean on them to keep the other team out of the net and lead the attack.”
Freshman midfielder Alec Buttner and freshman forward Corbin White are projected as likely starters.
Returning players who should see playing time include senior midfielder Brandon Richards, junior midfielder Kyle Zaboski, sophomore defenders Sam Bednarz and Santo Insalaco, and sophomore midfielder Henry Rusak.
Freshmen Greg Fisher, Kenny Kincel and Mario Rotel will likely also see the field at several positions.
“We’re young player heavy,” Curry said. “We only have four seniors on this team so (our success) is going to depend on how fast our young players can learn to work with our more veteran players. Right now, we’re trying to find the right combinations.”
The Cavaliers must replace defenders Ben Baileys and Doug Ooms, and midfielders Patrick Connell, Noah Dolphin and Alex Rieder, who all graduated.
Curry expects Abington Heights, North Pocono, Valley View and Wallenpaupack to provide the toughest competition within Lackawanna League play.
“I think it will be a lot of teams you’re normally used to seeing at the top,” Curry said. “I think if our chemistry happens the way we’d like it to, we can put ourselves in that mix, too. We don’t have a lot of numbers this year, but our quality (of players) is very good.”
Scranton Prep will host Scranton at 4 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 4 to open its Lackawanna League schedule.