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August 25, 2012

 

Dryden fine-tunes, Marathon, Groton re-tool

By TOM VARTANIAN
Staff Writer

As the Interscholastic Athletic Conference boys’ soccer season gets underway Tuesday, Dryden High is fine-tuning its young team for a run in the North Large School Division. The Purple Lions join Lansing, Trumansburg, the new Union Springs-Port Byron combined team and Whitney Point in the Large School Division wars.
Both Groton Central and Marathon Central are doing a little more rebuilding in the North Small School Division. The Olympians and Indians will be part of the Small School Division with Moravia and Southern Cayuga.
The IAC South Large School Division will feature Elmira Notre Dame, Newark Valley, Watkins Glen and Waverly. The South Small Schools include Candor, Newfield, Odessa-Montour, Spencer-Van Etten and Tioga.
The local season begins Tuesday as Marathon heads to Lansing for a 4:30 p.m. match while Dryden host Moravia. Groton had its Tuesday opener at Whitney Point postponed until a later date. The Indians will open their season Thursday by hosting Dryden at 4:30.
The North Large champion will meet the South Large champion for the Overall Large School title with the two small division champions meeting as well. The two boys and two girls overall championship matches will be October 20.
Here’s a look at the three local teams:
DRYDEN PURPLE LIONS
Coach: Laszlo Engel, 13th year

10-4-1 IAC, 11-5-1 overall in 2011
Dryden lost five seniors, but returns 20 players, 10 of which played starting roles during the 2011 season. The Purple Lions have a total of 24 players, 15 of them juniors.
“We are still a young team, but more experienced,” said Engel. “These guys have a good work ethic and are working very hard. They have been a fun bunch to work with in the preseason.
“What is nice is that we spent a lot of last year working on fundamentals,” he continued. “This year, we are able to work more on the tactical side of the game. We are certainly starting off better than last year, but there is still room for improvement.”
Heading the list of returnees are seniors Greg Nostrand (central midfield), Randy Bushnell (central back), John Czapranski (outside midfield) and Jacob Soroka (outside midfield-back). The first three are entering their third year of varsity play and were starters one year ago. Nostrand, a first-team all-star in 2011, and Bushnell are two of the team captains this fall.
Heading the 14 returning juniors are third-year players and team captains Michael Harvey (outside forward) and Jonathan Becker (defender-midfield). They are joined by classmates Ross Cole (outside defender), Ryan Prunty (outside midfielder), Joe DeLucia ( outside defender), John Whitmore (outside midfielder), Ben Lewis (central midfielder), Levi Crognale (outside defender), Sean Iannello (defender-midfield), Pericles Hayes (defender), Jacob Czapranski (attack midfielder), Josh Hutchinson (outside midfielder), Haile Cutter (goalkeeper) and Daniel Fuller (midfielder-defender). Cole, Harvey, Whitmore, Becker, Hayes, Czapranski and Cutter were 2011 starters. Becker was another all-star in 2011.
Rounding out the returnees are sophomore Tim Lewis (central midfielder-forward) and Gabriel Guisado (forward).
The four new faces are junior walk-on Howard Lauretti (midfielder), plus sophomores Jacob Yatsko (defender-midfielder), Matthew Horton (forward-midfielder) and Walter Vasquez (forward)
As for the competition in the North Division, Engel believes his team can hold its own.
“Trumansburg will be tough in the Large Division,” Engel said. “Lansing is always good and Marathon is always tough (among the Small Schools). The one team I’m not sure about is Union Springs-Port Byron. It really is a tough division. We certainly can be competitive is the division.”
GROTON INDIANS
Coach: John D’Antonio, 12th year
4-10 IAC, 4-11 overall in 2011

It’s another year of thin numbers for D’Antonio as he has just 13 players on the varsity roster. Seven of the 13 are returning players, but the Indians did lose seven seniors to graduation.
“We are extremely young,” D’Antonio said. “There are eight players who are sophomores or younger.
“With that said,” he added. “The guys are really working hard and are competing every day in practice. They all get along and are coming together. We are doing some good things and we continue to learn as we go.”
The returning players include seniors Nathan Cotterill (midfield), Joel Twitchell (stopperback), Alan Codner (midfield-defender) and Justin Tinelli (defender), plus juniors Tyler Totman (midfield) and Will Stoughton (midfield). Freshman forward Kyle Weldon completes the returning group. Cotterill and Twitchell are the team captains and providing good leadership in the preseason.
The new faces belong to sophomores Tim Baxendell (goalkeeper), Alec Young (defender-goalkeeper) and Kenny Tallman (midfield-defender), plus freshmen Luke Lauchle (defender), Garrett Lockwood (striker) and Tristen Nevins (midfield-defender).
In the competitive North Small School Division, the Indians are looking to give everyone a stiff test.
Marathon is still the team to beat in the Small School Division,” D’Antonio said. “Southern Cayuga and Moravia have some good players.
“Lansing, Trumansburg and Dryden are going to be tough again in crossover games,” he added. “The IAC North Large and Small School Divisions continue to have some of the best soccer talent in the state. It will be a learning process, but we look to improve every day. If we can stay healthy, I think we can be a competitive team.”
MARATHON OLYMPIANS
Coach: Chip Stewart, 18th year
11-1 IAC, 17-2 overall in 2011

IAC North Small School & Overall Small School champions; Section 4, Class C runner-up.
Marathon captured its 13th overall IAC crown and seventh straight division title during the 2011 season, but fell to fellow IAC rival Lansing in the Section 4, Class C championship match. The 2012 season will present some new challenges for a younger Olympian team in the IAC and an even bigger change in sectional play as the Cortland County powerhouse is now in Class D. The smaller enrollment means Marathon will play against schools in Class B and C during the league season and will see just one Class D opponent (Southern Cayuga) before post-season play.
“That will present a challenge for sectionals, but we have a lot of work to do before then,” Stewart said. “We lost a lot of scoring to graduation and we don’t have a JV team for the first time in a long time. Our numbers are down.
“You don’t replace guys like Eric Barry, Evan Holl, Tyler Nelson and Anson Dann,” he continued. “We are very young. We have a number of freshmen who will be tested in game situations. Our defense should be all right. We have to get the offense coming along.”
The Olympians lost four of its five top scorers (previously mentioned above) and a total of 13 seniors, including some solid defenders in Austin Fox and goalkeeper Robbie Peri
Returning for this 2012 season are seniors Cody Barry (defender-midfield), Jeff Contri (defender), Dan Wickham (defender-goalkeeper) and Tyler Abbott (attack-midfield), plus the junior trio of Dan Lincoln (midfield-defender), Tyler Hollerer (defender) and Cody Morrison (midfield-attack).
Marathon also has two players who played JV soccer for a couple of years , but took their junior seasons off. Making their senior year returns are Tony Salisbury (attack-midfield) and Andrew Doane (defender-goalkeeper)
Moving up from that 2011 JV squad to complete the roster are juniors David Lincoln (defender-midfield), Tim Larkin (defender-midfield) and Zack Brandstadt (attack-midfield); sophomores Kyle Young (goalkeeper), Jacob Doran (defender-midfield), Kyle Vann (midfield-attack) and Jacob Palmer (defender); plus freshmen Ryan Tillotson (attack-midfield) and Matt Barry (attack-midfield).
“Guys need to know more than one position,” Stewart explained. “Those that do learn will certainly be seeing valuable minutes on the field.”
The goals are the same for Coach Stewart as in previous seasons: win the division, play in the IAC Overall Championship match and do well in sectionals.
“We need to defend well as we try to find our scoring,” Stewart said. “Groton is always a scrappy team. Southern Cayuga and Moravia have some guys that can hurt you. The crossover contests with Lansing, Dryden, Trumansburg and Whitney Point are always tough games. The new Union Springs-Port Byron merged team will certainly prove to be a tough opponent.
“Sectionals will be a new challenge,” he added. “We really will be going in blind since most of those schools are closer to the Oneonta area and we don’t see them during the regular season.”

 

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