When Andrew Moschetti sorted out the Shoreham-Wading River boys soccer team roster last year, he elected to keep an unusually large group of players. With 15 seniors at the beginning of the season, Moschetti feared losing so many players without having enough returnees with varsity experience for 2011.
Still, only a handful of players return that are playing on the team’s Town of Brookhaven Summer League team, meaning plenty of spots are there for the taking.
“A lot of young talent coming up,” Moschetti said. “I think we’re going to be competitive, but there’s definitely a lot of learning that has to be done before we will be at that competitive level. I’m hoping the rest of this summer and the couple weeks of preseason we can roll summer league into that.”
The Wildcats improved to 2-2-1 thus far in the summer with a 1-0 win Monday night over Harborfields at the Patchogue-Medford Youth Complex.
Already Moschetti can see one major difference from his team this year compared to his previous after becoming coach in 2009. Whereas in the past many of the players were good athletes who mostly excelled in other sports as their No. 1, this year’s group is mostly players whose main sport is soccer.
The Wildcats will bring up a big group that played together in the JV as sophomores last year, giving them two years now with Moschetti on varsity.
“They’ve all grown up playing soccer together,” Moschetti said. “There’s a lot of kids who played club ball, grew up all playing since they were 5 years old together. A lot of good communication. They know where they are on the field without having to even look. It’s a real good group of soccer players.”
Coming into the summer the Wildcats faced uncertainty of not knowing who could play goalie, the one position where they were most vulnerable. The varsity starter from last season graduated and another kid who played on JV last year opted to play football this fall. Another player from JV who could play goalie also plays baseball in and couldn’t commit to the summer soccer league.
A few seniors on the team knew one of their friends, Joe Cahill, played goalie in hockey and asked him to come out for soccer. Having never played soccer before, he’s started every game for Shoreham in the summer league.
Cahill has been a pleasant surprise, having allowed six goals in five games. Moschetti said he can see the improvement from one game to the next as Cahill, a senior, gets more acclimated to the position.
“I’m trying to change his style from butterfly to diving hands first instead of feet first,” Moschetti said. “He’s definitely picked up goalie pretty well so far in five games. He’s improved tremendously so far.”
The Wildcats may stay still have a few other options at goalie once the fall season starts, but Cahill could emerge as the best choice. Moschetti said he didn’t want to assume other players may show up to start the fall season.
“I’d rather be overprepared than have no one in goal,” he said.
The Wildcats scored the game’s only goal against Harborfields early in the second half on a hustle play from forward Charles DeMaio. As a Harborfields defender played a ball back to the goalie, DeMaio charged after it and got to the ball just as the goalie arrived to try to clear. The ball soared straight up into the air and curved back down toward the net and DeMaio slipped in to easily tap the ball into the open net.
DeMaio is a returning varsity player who will be counted on to provide some offense this season.
“He’s got some great speed,” Moschetti said. “He’s aggressive, not afraid of the ball.”
Moschetti said he’s also been impressed this summer with Toni Domingues, a senior who played defense last year. He’ll play more center midfield this season and he’s emerged as one of the leaders so far.
Matt O’Gorman has played well in the middle along with Greg Canellys, a JV player from last year, Moschetti said. Michael McDonnell, who came up as a freshman on varsity last year, has versatility to play all over the field.