2016 Fall Sports Preview: Boys Soccer


Peter Warren

photo by Peter Warrenscreen-shot-2016-09-16-at-2-27-05-pm

  “Our expectations are, as they usually are,” boys soccer head coach Tom Breznitsky said. “Conference, county and state.”

   This year’s boys soccer team, ranked third in the country by TopDrawerSoccer, has the potential to accomplish that goal.

   Senior captains Patrick Ellman, Sean Murray and Ryan Peterson lead the returners from last year’s team, which went 20-2-2 and won the school’s 17th county championship.

   Also returning are seniors Andrew Borik, Robert Devine-Gelling, Stephen Scarcella, Robert Viglione and David Walker, and juniors Jack Brady and Jonathan Schwab.

   Joining from Academy soccer are senior Andrew Murray, juniors Tommy DeVizio and John Murphy, and sophomore Rock Valian. The inclusion of these four players does not only affects the starting rotation, but also adds depth to the squad.

   “I think that one of the biggest strengths is our depth because we have really good personel throughout the entire team,” Ellman said. “Within the midfield, forwards, and defense I think we are all pretty strong. And Sean [Murray] coming off a great season last year, I think we just have a lot of depth all around.”

   Not only are the Raiders deep, but they also have versatile players who can play all over the field. This versatility allows the Raiders to make adjustments not just before game, but mid-game as well.

   “All of those little things,” Breznitsky said. “Quirks, changes, make us more competitive.”

   Before the season, members of the team went on a ten-day preseason trip to Costa Rica where they played against local Costa Rican teams. While the trip does get the team in shape for the season, it has a major impact on the teamwork and bonding of the team.

   “There were a lot of kids coming into the trip that had never played with us or had only played with us at the seven-on-sevens we did at Kean,” Ellman said. “Throughout the trip, I saw the incoming kids get a lot more comfortable with each other. I think our chemistry got a lot better after the trip.”

   At the end of the day, the players have their eyes set on the prize. Just two seasons removed from a heartbreaking loss in the Group IV final against Washington Township, the Raiders are hoping to be the ones holding the trophy this time.

   “We have gotten to the [Group IV] final before,” Peterson said. “We want to get back there and win it this time.”