A trio of area teams will seek to add another memorable chapter to their decorated programs.
Queensbury is in pursuit of its fourth consecutive league title in the Foothills Council’s North Division. The Spartans won an area-best 21 matches, including a clean sweep of 13-0 against league opponents. It couldn’t get by Somers in last year’s Class A semifinals. Coach Pete Crotty expects the Spartans to be in the hunt for another deep run.
Fort Ann secured its ninth straight Section II Championship under coach Rich McCabe and went 16-4 before bowing out to Mount Academy in the Class D state regional final. The Cardinals will have to do it with a lot of fresh faces this time around, as they graduated nine seniors, including eight starters. Despite that, McCabe, who enters his 39th season, said that the team should still be in every game and the goal remains to shut teams out.
Lake George also returns as another prohibitive favorite after winning the Adirondack League with an unblemished 14-0 record. The Warriors stayed unbeaten until their 1-0 sectional loss to Maple Hill. Although they graduated 13 from their team, Lake George returns core players and has exhibited great chemistry.
Argyle: Coach Frank Endieveri enters his sixth season at the helm and will be tasked with teaching eight first-time varsity players. The Scots (6-10 in league play in 2018) have lost some key contributors on defense and will be seeking a rebuild. Argyle will need to fill a void left by top scorer Liam Keating. Their strength will be their experience in the middle of the field led by midfielders Tyler Humiston and Gabe Wood and senior midfielder/forward Andrew Cormie. Sophomore Jared Montello will keep goal in his second season as a starter.
Bolton-Warrensburg: This iteration of the Eagles (8-4-1 in league play) has undergone extensive changes to its roster, as the team has lost 17 seniors to graduation over the previous two years. The loss of perennial first team league all-star midfielder Adam Seamans will be apparent, but fifth-year coach Rob Thomas has confidence that senior J.J. Giron and sophomore Dan Cunniffe are two that can rise to the challenge. Junior strikers Eric Sherman and Jordan Nieves are other top scoring options. B-W suffered a setback when it was discovered that goalie Kevin Neacy would not play this season due to injury. Look for senior Tommy Moore to have an opportunity there.
Corinth: Brayden Thompson will anchor the defense, relying on his field vision and intelligent decision making. Curtis Rigley is expected to see time in net, but will likely be adaptive to different roles. Jordan Pincheon leads the offense while Issac Melville can be the team’s Swiss Army knife. The Tomahawks (3-10 in league play) return most of their squad and are anticipating marked improvement in 2019.
Fort Ann: Only Maple Hill coach Dan Gillespie has more all-time wins (658) among active boys’ soccer coaches in the state than the Cardinals’ Rich McCabe (550). Senior striker and team captain Aidan Barnes returns as one the area’s most lethal threats to score. Junior Adam Winchell will take over goalkeeper duties having last played the position during the 2017 postseason. Sweeper Tanner Lunt is a top returning defender.
Hartford: Coach Caleb Sutliff’s squad is coming off a season in which it finished in second place in the East Division behind Fort Ann, but the Tanagers lost a significant portion of their top players to graduation. Gavon Darfler is back, however, to tend the net after having one of the best seasons among league goalkeepers. Forward Nick Mattison is one of only three seniors on the team and is a three-year starter. Center midfielder Cody Baker has shown good touch and awareness as a freshman. The defensive unit of Jacob Fish, Xavier Potts, James Lavin and CJ White has worked well together in preseason.
Lake George: Until its sectional defeat, the Warriors were the state’s No. 1-ranked team that set program records for the fewest goals allowed in a season (four) and most shutouts (16). It graduated 13 players from last season’s 19-1 squad, but Lake George is expected to still pack a punch. Adirondack League Player of the Year Ethan Knauf will be joined by Paul Lindsay, a second team all-league selection, and hounding defenders Colby Sejuljic, Justin Blanco and Patrick Huber. Center midfielder Sam Knauf is a top ball handler and passer, Owen Sutton complements him well along with senior forward Brandon Willard, who has a high motor.
North Warren: The Cougars graduated up from a two-win campaign in 2017 to an 8-8-1 record and a sectional berth in 2018. Changes abound as North Warren lost eight players to graduation and were also affected by the football merger with Warrensburg, which claimed several quality soccer players. They’ll also look different as far as strategy goes with new coach Rob Smith patrolling the sidelines. Senior captain Connor Monroe is an all-star caliber player on offense and will be supported by James Steen and Ryan Miller up top. Wyatt Gereau is a good athlete and may shift from goalkeeping duties. Juniors Jack Jennings, Victor Hernandez, Dominic Giordano and Ryan Hill will look to provide mentorship to the younger players.
Salem: The Generals have a new coach in charge as Treavor LeBlanc takes over duties from Dawn Parker.
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Glens Falls: The Indians took a step forward and pushed their win total from one to five in a year’s span. They’ll look to build off that with new coach Michael Shaver in a stacked North Division. Key players include Cyrus Guillet, Jack Motsiff, Neil Hogan, Ethan Schrammel, Kieran Dowd, Evan Wiggins and goalkeeper Ben Difiore.
Hudson Falls: The Tigers improved their win total by two matches to finish at 8-9 a year ago. Although Hudson Falls loses Shane Grimes, who heads to the University of Rochester, the Tigers are backed by one of the top defenders in the league in Alex Varney. On offense, senior midfielder Nik Heasley and junior forward Carter Lewis have also taken on captainship.
Queensbury: The Spartans (13-0, 21-2) are poised to be a top contending team once again as they eye a fourth consecutive league title. Coach Pete Crotty brings a wealth of experience as he enters his 30th season. The senior-laden quartet of Teddy Borgos, Alex Roca, Peter Crawford and Lucas McCane should provide plenty of direction. Senior goalkeeper and three-year starter Ethan Willis is stubborn as a keeper and “will be invaluable to the team” according to Crotty. Queensbury will have to absolve the losses of Ray Jones and Jerod Osika in the back as well as midfielder Aidan Jordi-Donnelly and forward Drew Crawford.
Schuylerville: The Black Horses are coming off the heels of a 15-win campaign and will return many of their key defensive components with three of their four starters returning on the back line. Coach Dave Gauci will seek new offensive weapons with the departures of Mike Lanfear (Clarkson) and Jared Everleth (Nazareth). Zach Saddlemire has been lauded for his work rate and vision in the middle of the field, while Matt McCarthy is a flexible player, who can slide into all positions if needed.
South Glens Falls: The Bulldogs (9-4, 11-7) finished in third place in a highly competitive North Division behind top squads Queensbury and Schuylerville. All-Star midfielder Bobby Bruschini and center back Lanning Torebka are returning seniors with crafty, technical skills. David Cohen, who enters just his second season playing the sport, gets the nod as the starting goalkeeper. His predecessor was Section II Class A Goalkeeper of the Year Sebastian Maynard. Coach Travis Birkholz calls Cohen a really fast learner and somebody who fits in well with the group.
Cambridge: The Indians have a new coach in Nicholas Wiltey, who takes over a team that finished 7-7-2 last season. Cambridge is looking to reload after losing key players such as Austin Hackman (SUNY Adirondack), Alex Hummel and Ryan Linsted. Senior Parker Robertson is coming off a solid season in goal. Seniors Judah Edwards and Matt Romack will need to be playmakers and Jordan Brown anchors the defensive unit.
Greenwich: The Witches have moved up to Class B because of the new classification system. Greenwich does return nine players, but most did not engage in a continual training program in the offseason. Three-year defensive starter Tommy Abate will be trusted to protect the back side and first-year goalkeeper Andres Gonzalez. Charlie Gartner is a proven scoring threat and midfielder A.J. Rumph will be primed for a breakout season.
Saratoga Catholic: Coach Brett Simpson brings a fairly experienced squad to the pitch. Five players are four-year varsity lettermen including midfielders Dante Marin and Aidan Khoury, forward Ben Urbaetis, and defensemen Sam Bouchard and Luke Apy.
Northern Soccer League
Johnsburg-Minerva: New merger of the schools brings up a new varsity squad. Within their inner circle, coach Randy LaFountain says the team is calling themselves the “Irish Jaguars.” Johnsburg played a junior varsity schedule last season and finished 7-6. The roster has 14 players, but they’re young with only one senior. Forward Gabe Freebern showed promise with 29 goals scored on the JV team. Midfielder Anthony Galle is expected to provide hustle and junior defenseman Jaxon Roblee is returning to the game after a two-year hiatus. He was a second team all-star.