Under second-year head coach Mike Atkinson’s lead and several senior leaders, the boys’ soccer team is working to improve their standing one game at a time.
“As a season, I feel like we are growing more,” senior Jake Petrillo said. “This time last year we had a better record, but we did not play as well.”
The Cougars (5-7 overall, 1-5 conference) have been outscored 49 to 21 by their opponents. They have also been shut out of four games.
The team relies on its five seniors Nick Fekaris, Joe Haston, Jake Petrillo, Steven Rapp, and Jack Spreen to guide a number of younger players, including nine sophomores and one freshman, through this difficult season.
“We have a lot of seniors who are good leaders, and they keep the underclassmen in line,” junior forward John Autry said. Autry leads the team with seven goals.
Atkinson mentioned freshman Chris Guccio as contributing early to the team. Guccio follows Autry with the second most goals, with four.
The team is still looking for that chemistry on the attack that will lead to more goals, and a similar chemistry in the back four defense that will limit the damage done by difficult opponents in the final year of Cap-8 play.
“It took us a little while at the beginning but we are becoming accustomed to each other,” Petrillo said.
Part of that chemistry building requires the seniors to mesh with the number of younger players.
“We are really young and getting better,” Atkinson said.
Despite the losses, there’s one conference team the Cougars have had recent success against, the Wakefield Wolverines.
“We beat them the past two years, and they are our rivals,” Autry said.
The underclassmen were the deciding factor in the victory.
The Cougars blanked the Wolverines 2-0 Sept. 20 on the back of sophomore goal keeper Brad Beck’s 15 saves.
Sophomores Ross Genetti and Seth Green were responsible for the two goals. Autry netted a third goal, but the score was reversed on an onside call. Junior Edy Arguetta assisted both scores.
The next couple games will determine how the rest of the conference season will go for the team. The team faces the Sanderson Spartans (8-2-1 overall,4-1 conference) and the Enloe Eagles (5-4-1 overall, 0-4-1 conference) for the first time.