The biggest change from last year to this year is Afton combining soccer programs with Harpursville, who previously did not field a boys' soccer team in the Midstate Athletic Conference. Of last year's squad, only six of 14 players return, said head coach Todd Dancesia, with eight seniors graduating. "It will be a rebuilding year and an interesting one to start," Dancesia said. One of the returning six is last year's leading scorer and school goal-scoring recordholder, Conor Graven-Briggs. Veteran Joe DeVona is back, but he is dual-sporting this year along with cross country. "When he is on the soccer field, he brings a wealth of leadership and hustle," Dancesia said of DeVona. The Afton coach also pointed out senior Mitch Livermore, a senior at Harpursville, who will bring "speed and athleticism to the front line," he said.
Longtime B-G coach Pete Feltham has one of his most experienced teams in years with eight seniors dotting the lineup, and nine returning players from last year, most of whom will occupy a starting position. Adam Bauerle and Zach Smith return as the key playmakers in the midfield. Ryan Jones is a returning midfielder, while Jake Cuozzo and Kyle Hanvey are expected to start on the front line at forward and wing. The only non-senior on the front line is junior Daniel Norris."I'm hoping we'll score more goals this year," Feltham said. "It was kind of up and down last year, but generally we were able to find the goal." Goalie Brandt McCall returns to anchor the defense. Shawn Jones saw time last year as a freshman, and is back on the defensive end. Brandon Scherhaufer, a newcomer from the lower levels, is tabbed as a key component of the defense as well. Feltham is not forecasting championship contention, but does believe with the bevy of returning experience, the Bobcats should situate themselves among the top-half of the Midstate Athletic Conference. "It would be nice to give the top teams in the league a challenge," Feltham said. "I'm not sure what to expect."
It was a steep learning curve for Steve Antczak in his first season as the head varsity coach at G-MU. He learned his lesson, and expects a more disciplined fundamental group. "I'm going to have a young team behind our four seniors, but we've been looking good, and I'm expecting a big improvement," Antczak said. Leading the club this year are seniors Devon Fitch, Dylan Nichols, and Trevor Puerile. Upstart freshmen Camden McKown and Hunter Lockwood also stood out as up-and-comers in the preseason. While the goalie position was not quite settled, Antczak is turning to Mickenson Clune, just a freshman, but a young man with a lot of promise. "We have seven freshmen on the team, and we're working on the passing and control soccer style that I played," Antczak said. "If the young kids stick around, you'll hear about us quite a bit."