For the Record-Journal area boys soccer teams, the season can’t come soon enough. Given the recent heat and humidity, neither can crisp air and changing leaves.
Now that’s soccer weather.
What’s the forecast this fall for area teams? Several have high hopes. Others are looking for returning players to step up and fill the shoes of accomplished predecessors. Some are looking for a reason for optimism.
Here’s a look at the upcoming season for the seven area teams.Lyman Hall
Entering his 24th year of coaching, Arnie Jandreau will look to lead the Trojans to success.
Coming off of a 7-7-2 season, Lyman Hall has some key losses. All of last year’s captains — Jack Gaynor, Kevin Ransom and Ryan Doyle — are gone. So is veteran goaltender Andrew Mastroianni.
Gaynor, the 2017 Record-Journal Boys Soccer Player of the Year, scored 21 goals and assisted on 11 others. He was named All-SCC First Team and All-State Class L.
Even with the graduation losses, Lyman Hall has several solid returning players, starting with senior Tyler Stowik, an All-SCC Second Team selection who notched 13 goals and seven assists last year.
Fellow seniors Quinn Crowther, Corey Flynn, Jameson O’Connell, Justin Guidet, Sebastian Gonzalez and Luis Rodriguez will also look to take the reins and deliver for the Trojans.
With the SCC leagues being realigned prior to this year, LH will now play in the SCC Oronoque with Cheshire, Hamden, Branford and East Haven. The Trojans open Tuesday with a crossover at Xavier. Their home opener isn’t until Sept. 18 against Hamden.Sheehan
Coach Lou Rodriguez and the Titans aim to rebound from last year’s 2-10-4 season.
To do so, Sheehan will have to replace a major talent in Jason Umbehr. Last year’s leading scorer was named All-State Class M, All-SCC Second Team and All-Record-Journal.
Another vacancy is in net with the departure of veteran goalkeeper Nic Trivino, a senior captain in 2017 along with Camdyn Pegg and Umbehr.
Also lost to graduation were Patrick Christensen, Camden Wallace, Cesar Dominguez, Jonathan Cambizaca, Connor Funaro, Adrian Gorczyca, Shane Peterson and Jacob Hutchinson.
The Titans move from the SCC Housatonic to the Hammonasset. They are grouped with Shelton, Fairfield Prep, Career and West Haven.
Sheehan was supposed to host Lyman Hall on Thursday to open the season, but that rivarly doubleheader has been bumped to Sept. 24. Instead, the opener is Saturday when East Haven comes calling for a 1 p.m. crossover.Cheshire
The two-time defending SCC Oronoque champs remain in the same division and will look to three-peat against Lyman Hall, Hamden, Branford and East Haven.
The Rams won the division at 7-1 a year ago and went 9-7-2 overall, bowing out in the first round of the Class LL tournament against Trumbull.
Veteran coach Artur Branco graduated an All-SCC player in Second Team midfielder/defender C.J. Andes, but returns one in First Team midfielder Toby Goldstein, who also made All-State Class LL and All-Record-Journal.
Given the number of postponed scrimmages in the preseason, the Rams don’t open until Hand visits Wednesday night. In the meantime, they’ve rescheduled a scrimmage with Bristol Eastern for this Saturday.
The Rams were young a year ago; they graduated just six seniors. Look for them to contend for more than just a division title this fall. Maloney
The Spartans are coming off a successful 10-6 season that saw them win a pair of Class L tournament games and reach the state quarterfinals. Yet the team has more questions than answers going into 2018.
The Spartans lost All-Conference and All-Record-Journal players Francisco Ortega and Bryan Brazel. In all, they graduated a 10-man class that included regulars Isamel Mendez, Jonathan Sanchez, Adilson Cardosa and Kamar Mullings.
On top of that, Maloney has already been bitten by the injury bug. The departures, the injuries and the heat-abbreviated preseason have head coach Dave Parness not fully certain of his team’s season outlook — other than that Spartans aim to return to the state tournament.
Devin Juan, who started last year as a freshman, returns in goal. Dannys Blandon is among the promising newcomers.
The Spartans open Thursday on the road against CCC South rival Middletown. Their home opener is Tuesday night against Berlin at 6 p.m. All Maloney home games are at Falcon Field.Platt
Coach Tim Redican’s Panthers will look to turn things around after a 3-12-1 season last year.
Things aren’t necessarily going to get easier for the Panthers. Seven of their 2017 starters graduated.
They can still hang their hat on All-Conference goalkeeper Cameron Germe. With 339 career saves, the senior is already the school record holder in that department.
Germe will serve as team captain with senior forward Hubert Brzoza, who carries nine career goals into the season.
Fellow seniors Jontae Otano and Adriel Gill will join Brzoza up top. Otano will also cycle through the midfield, where the Panthers will deploy sophomore Elian Nava and juniors Alec Perry, Pedro Solis and Jonah Concepcion.
The defense will be built around senior Andy Flores, junior Alfred Dushi and sophomores Anthony Buscemi and Michael Urban.
Sophomore Josiah McLeish is a midfielder and backup goalie. Defenseman Xavier Febles and midfielder Casey Rintharamy crack the varsity ranks as freshmen.
Platt plays its season opener at home Friday against Berlin at 3:45 p.m.Wilcox Tech
Coach Joe Testa’s Indians, the reigning CTC champions, will look to continue their success after going 15-0-1 during the 2017 regular season, winning the conference tournament and then taking a Class L first-round state game before falling to Lewis Mills.
There’s no reason to think they won’t. Retruning senior forwards/midfielders Chris Aceves and Kelvin Cortez are considered among the best players in the state.
Last year, Cortez broke Wilcox Tech’s single-season record with 34 goals. He also had 17 assists and was named All-State Class L and All-Record-Journal.
Wilcox returns additional senior starters in Eli Henry, Geo Solis, Cruz Leon and Ely Boulibat.
Henry will anchor the midfield. Solis and Leon are combination forward/midfielders along with juniors Victor Ahuatzi, Andres Farfan and Isaac Marks.
Boulibat is a defender. He’ll line up alongside sophomore Jaden Myles and juniors Jesus Valbuena and Shawn Angiletti.
Juniors Geo Morales and Ahmad Alhallak provide depth at defense and in the midfield. Alex Cortez is the goalie backed by fellow junior Sebastian Dominguez.
The Tribe opens with two non-conference games on the road: Monday in Bridgeport vs. Harding and Wednesday in Waterbury vs. Sacred Heart. The home opener is next Friday afternoon against CTC rival Wolcott Tech.Southington
Southington goes into its 12th season with head coach Dave Yanosy fully expecting to contend in the CCC West, a rugged division that includes perennial powers Glastonbury and Farmington.
The Blue Knights did lose valuable players from last year’s 10-6-2 team, which won the CCC West-Colonial and reached the second round of the Class LL tournament. All-State and All-RJ goalie Evan Daddona is now at the University of Hartford. All-RJ and All-Conference players Hayden Burbank and Kieran Tindall are gone from the midfield and defense, respectively.
Southington returns several proven varsity players, particularly on defense, where senior captains Colin Burdette and Eli Rodriguez will both be starting for a third season.
Neither is a stay-at-home defender. Burdette and Rodriguez both have seven career goals. Burdette is very good in the air. Rodriguez has a sprinter’s speed.
Up top, the Blue Knights will rely on their third senior captain, Joe Colaccino. With his excellent finishing touch, Colaccino led Southington in scoring in each of the last two seasons. The big question is who will emerge to help Colaccinio carry the scoring load.
Big Blue opens at home Friday vs. Conard at 3:45 p.m.