High School Boys Soccer Preview: Monroe County Division III

Arcadia’s Tyler Lewandowski (9) a second team All-State performer and Monroe County Division II Player of the Year, scored 22 goals and had six assists in 2017 for Greece Arcadia. (Photo: NOAH BRYANT)

Greece Arcadia joins a division which boasts a pair of Section V champs from a year ago in Brockport and Pittsford Sutherland. The Knights advanced to the 2017 NYSPHSAA Class A semifinals. Greece Athena is a season removed from a three-year run as sectional champs. Here is your preview:

GREECE ARCADIA TITANS (Class A1)

Last season: Finished 11-3-4, lost in the Class A1 semi-finals during penalty kicks to eventual champion, Brockport.

Coach: Matt Vergamini (combined 129-60-19 record between Greece Arcadia and Greece Odyssey/15th year)

Top returners: Tyler Lewandowski (Sr. Forward – awarded Second Team All-State, First Team All-County, and Monroe County Division II Player of the Year in 2017, led the team with 22 goals and six assists), Carter Englert (Sr. Defender — recognized on the First Team All-County squad in 2017, tallied two goals and one assist), Ryan Karker (Sr. Defender – 2017 Second Team All-County player with two goals and five assists), Cameron Misiurewicz (Sr. Midfielder – three goals and eight assists through 2017), Cooper LaValley (Jr. Midfielder – three goals and six assists), Jose Santiago (Sr. Midfielder – one goal and three assists)

Top newcomers: Taber Monks (Jr. Goalkeeper), Austin Wamser (Jr. Midfielder), Lorenzo Ramos-Chavez (Fr. Defender), Adam Hurlbutt (So. Defender), Aidan Lewandowski (Fr. Midfielder)

Outlook: The Titans are returning seven players who started every game for the past two winning seasons. All seven of these players are entering at least their third year at the varsity level, providing exceptional veteran experience. However, three graduating seniors left holes in the midfield, defense and goal, requiring newcomers to fill those roles. The Titans will face a set of new teams during the regular season, as they move from Division II to Division III in Monroe County. How will they fare against these teams?

GREECE ATHENA (Class A1)

Last season: 9-7-3, lost in overtime to Brighton in the Class A1 semi-finals

Coach: Mike Butler (194-93-23/fifth season).

Top returners: Othman Belhseine (Jr. Forward 11 goals, five assists), Ryan Burns (Sr. Defender), Dylan Rice (So. Midfielder eight goals, six assists, First Team All County), Yakup Simsek (Sr. Midfielder) and  CJ Takatch (13 goals, five assists, First Team All County).

Top newcomers: Jared Burns (So. Goalkeeper), Dylan McDermott (Sr. Midfielder), Brian Piendel (So. Defender), Gavin Rice (Fr. Defender), Zachary Smith (Jr. Goalkeeper) and Michael Tracey (So. Defender).

Outlook: Athena’s season opener against St. Benedict’s (N.J.), ranked No. 1 in the nation, was postponed, but scheduling that match says plenty about Butler’s confidence in his 11-man crew. Both Dylan Rice and Takatch have experience playing overseas as part of Team USA. Belsheine trained in Italy during the offseason. McDermott, who has played throughout his high school career with Empire Academy, will make an immediate impact. McDermott is committed to play at Rutgers University next year. Takatch recently committed to St. Bonaventure.

CJ Takatch scored 13 goals and added five assists during his junior season. (Photo: PAUL GOTHAM/PICKIN’ SPLINTERS)

BRIGHTON BARONS (Class A1)

Last season: 15-3, lost 2-1 in the Class A1 finals to Brockport

Coach: Adam Hiller (79-38-12/8th year)

Top returners: Gabriel Barraclough-Tan (Sr. Midfielder – 11 goals and eight assists), Sam O’Connor (Sr. Midfielder – two goals and four assists), Mat Ochs (Jr. Midfielder – four goals and four assists), Rikki Nord (Sr. Defender – four assists), Caio De Medeiros (Sr. Midfielder – four goals and four assists)

Top newcomers: Christian Burkhart (Sr. Goalkeeper), Luke Charlesworth (Jr. Defender), Torin Broderick (Jr. Midfielder)

Outlook: With a group of returning players that experienced an exciting sectional run last season, the Barons are hopeful for another winning season. Who will show their offensive power for Brighton this season?

BROCKPORT BLUE DEVILS (Class A1)

Last season: 16-2-2, Section V Class A1 Champions

Coach: Jeff Phillips, entering his first season as head coach after assisting previous head coach Chris Zorn for 15 years.

Top returners: Vander Hart (Sr. Midfielder), Calvin Moulton (Sr. Defender), Tyler Daly (Jr. Midfielder)

Top newcomers: Ryan Daly (Jr. Defender), Logan Peck (Jr. Goalkeeper)

Outlook: After winning a sectional title in 2017, Phillips takes over a young squad that graduated several players.

PITTSFORD MENDON VIKINGS (Class A1)

Last season: 7-9-1, lost to Greece Athena in Class A1 quarter finals.

Coach: Mark Hurley (189-68-33/16th season)

Top returners: Matt Bamford (Sr. Forward), Andy Hutkowski (Sr. Defender), Connor Krapf (Sr. Defender), Alex Morley (Sr. Midfielder), Mitchell Wambach Jr. (Jr. Defender and Midfielder)

Top newcomers: Jeremiah Anandarajah (So. Forward), Milan Blaakman (So. Goalkeeper), Pierce VanBenthuysen (Jr. Midfielder and Forward)

Outlook: With excellent senior leadership for the 2018 season, good things are on the horizon for the Vikings. In their first game of the season, Pittsford Mendon took home a win with a 2-0 victory over Eastridge. Returning seniors Hutkowski and Morley provided the offense with an assist from sophomore Blaackman. Can the newcomers continue to shine alongside the returners to make a splash in the division?

PITTSFORD SUTHERLAND KNIGHTS (Class A2)

Last season: 12-8-2, took home the Class A2 Sectional title and continued to NYSPHAA semi-finals where they lost to Section IV’s Vestal.

Coach: Sean Hopkins (51-33-12/5th year)

Top returners: Will Bowen (Jr. Midfielder – three goals and two assists last season), Dylan Kladstrup (So. Midfielder – four goals and one assist), Aidan Pellegrino (Defender), Jake Petrone (Sr. Defender), Nate Cotroneo (Sr. Defender), Sam Smillie (Sr. Goalkeeper)

Top newcomers: Carsen Ramsager (Sr.), Philippo Di Stefano (Sr.), Niklas Riewe (So.)

Outlook: Only seven players are returning from last year’s state semi-final team. Though they are a strong group, there are some holes that need to be filled. A young, talented group of newcomers will be competing for spots all season. Will the team’s growth lead them to another exceptional run?

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