S. ABINGTON TWP. — Abington Heights boys soccer coach Frank Dyska believes he can rely on a multitude of players to contribute this season.
“We have 22 field players that I have total confidence in right now,” Dyska said. “If we need to put them out there, they’re ready to go. We graduated some key players, but it seems like when one guy graduates, two are ready to take his spot. We have a lot of guys who are ready to step up right out of the gate.”
Senior Cole Madera is expected to switch from defense to forward, senior Luke Abdalla returns as a midfielder, senior Antonio Maletta returns as a wing/striker, junior Jimmy Lefchak will likely move from the midfield to defense, sophomore Gray-Paul Bossi returns in the midfield and sophomore Sean Wilkerson is back as a striker.
“Lefchak has been a big scoring threat, but I think we’re going to see him more on the defensive end this year as an anchor for the team,” Dyska said. “We graduated many senior defenders and he’s been a rock back there.”
Junior Jack Slusser, along with sophomores Seth Blakiewicz, Hugh Dempsey and Harry Johnson, are expected to see time on defense.
Freshmen Yoshi Matsui and Aidan Crum and competing for time as midfielders.
“We have a lot of guys who are dangerous,” Dyska said. “I think we’re going to see a little bit of scoring from everywhere this year.”
Senior Anthony Lionetti is expected to take over as the starting goalkeeper.
“He’s been great so far,” Dyska said. “It was obvious from day one that he’s very focused on getting better every day in practice.”
Dyska was also encouraged by the team’s play during the two preseason scrimmages.
“The team chemistry came together a lot faster than we thought it would,” Dyska said. “We’ve done a nice job defensively and possessing the ball through the midfield. Attacking and scoring goals has been our main focus in practice.”
After winning the District 2 Class 3A title in 2014, the Comets were eliminated in the semifinals the past three seasons. Dyska feels the team may be poised to make another deep postseason run.
“I’m pretty convinced we can compete with any team we play,” Dyska said. “We hope to contend for the league title and be a district contender when the playoffs roll around.”
Dyska expects Scranton Prep and Wallenpaupack to provide the toughest competition in Lackawanna League Division 1 play.
Abdalla thinks it will be important for the team to find its groove early and remain committed to the game plan.
“We need to really focus on different aspects of the game, such as positioning right from the start so we can keep progressing throughout the season and eventually have a great outcome.,” he said.