Louis Manoussos knows the growing pains can be difficult. But the Bishop McGann-Mercy Monarchs boys soccer coach also knows what it takes to successfully build a young program. In their fourth varsity season, Manoussos knows the scores right now are irrelevant.
While it was a difficult week on the scoreboard for McGann-Mercy — Center Moriches beat the Monarchs, 7-1, on Tuesday after the Mattituck Tuckers had shut them out, 6-0, last Wednesday — Manoussos said, “The effort was there, but the execution isn’t there yet.”
In the game at Center Moriches, the Red Devils jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead before McGann-Mercy’s Bereket Watts scored on a rocket of a shot from 18 yards out. Watts, who started last year as a seventh-grader, is now considered a veteran by Manoussos. Center Moriches (10-2 overall, 7-2 in Suffolk County League VII) scored the final five goals of the game. If not for 12 saves by McGann-Mercy goalkeeper Roger Young the score could have been even more lopsided.
Mattituck (9-1, 6-1), on its home field, thoroughly dominated the Monarchs (1-9, 1-6). The Tuckers, sparked by Andres Aldaz and Shawn Smiley, who scored two goals apiece, exploded for five first-half goals and added four more in the second half. Young had 13 saves. Cody Huntley (two) and Austin Scoggin combined for three saves as the Tuckers recorded their sixth shutout of the season.
“We are overmatched against the bigger schools like Center Moriches and Mattituck ,” Manoussos said. “We don’t have the experience to match up against them yet.”
The Monarchs are starting two eighth-graders, one freshman, and three sophomores. They have six seniors on the bench, and Manoussos is preaching patience.
“I’ve decided to go with youth,” he said. “I want the kids to gain experience so that we’re better next year. The scores of these games are not a true indication of how much we have improved. We’ve gotten spanked, but we will only get better. There is light at the end of the tunnel.”
Manoussos takes great pride in building a program.
“Right now we’re competitive in the first half, but we don’t have the experience to play a complete game,” he said. “These kids don’t give up. They are relentlessly on the ball. They play with emotion and passion. They are just young and inexperienced. Their conditioning is tremendous. They maintain their stamina. We’re getting respect, so I know we’re on the right path.”
Manoussos firmly believes “we’ll make some noise in a few years.”
“We’ve just [got] to continue to grow and mature,” he said. “This year we’ve added a junior varsity and a junior high team, which is a great feeder program. My vision is, what can Mercy do in one or two years? These kids really want to play. We’re not very far off.”