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Main Line boys’ soccer squads looking strong again this fall

The Main Line high school boys’ soccer scene should feature a number of strong teams once again. Conestoga has 17 players returning from last year’s Central League champions, while Radnor, Harriton and Lower Merion also are coming off strong Central League seasons. Haverford School features a strong and deep lineup once again, with all-state senior striker Connor Gregory, and former All-Delco Players of the Year Shane Bradley and Conor Bradley leading the pack.
Here is a pre-season look at the Main Line high school boys’ soccer teams:
Conestoga
Head coach: David Zimmerman, 14th year.
Last year’s record: 14-4-3 overall, 9-1-1 Central League (champions.)
Key returnees: senior goalie Will Smith, senior defender Mason Sellig.
Others to watch: senior midfielder Matt Marcelli, senior defender Danny Leiser, senior defender Zach Brink, senior forward Evan Gibbs.
Lost to graduation: midfielder Jack Braun, forward Chris Ward, defender Chris Chappelear.
Outlook: Zimmerman said, “The biggest strength of this year’s squad will be its experience and depth. Seventeen players return from last year’s Central League championship team, and from top to bottom, this is one of the most talented group of players in Conestoga soccer history. However, this team has no stars, and the greatest challenge will be whether the parts can consistently play together as one unit.”
Devon Prep
Head coach: Tim McNally, first year.
Last year’s record: 7-10 overall, 6-6 league.
Key returnees: senior forward Tanner Daggett, senior midfielder Matthew Kelly, senior defender Andrew Welsh, junior midfielder Daniel Shannon, junior goalkeeper Jimmy Loftus.
Others to watch: senior midfielder Matt Bevilacqua, senior midfielder Tony Gallo, senior defender Grant McKnight, sophomore forward Tyler Wright.
Lost to graduation: forward Andrew Shannon, defender Gabe Palante.
Outlook: McNally said, “Our team’s strong points are our experience, overall team speed and fitness.  The biggest key to our team’s success will be team unity on and off the field.”
Episcopal Academy
Head coach: David Knox, seventh year.
Last year’s record: 9-9-5 overall, 4-4-2 InterAc.
Key returnees: junior goalie Matt Freese, sophomore goalie Matt DePillis, sophomore defender Zach Viscusi, sophomore defender Matt McDevitt, junior midfielder Ramon Gallegos, junior midfielder Quinn Dudek.
Lost to graduation: Aaron Bogle (playing for Kenyon), Michael Hinckley.
Outlook: Knox said, “Although we’re a young team, we have an experienced team, as many [of our players] got playing time last season.” EA is spending part of its pre-season in Charlotte, N.C., where they are playing some top-flight teams.
Friends’ Central
Head coach: Galen Guindon. fourth year.
Last year’s record: 3-9-1 overall, 2-4-1 Friends Schools League.
Key returnees: senior defender Mark Charamella, junior midfielder Matt Blackman.
Others to watch: junior goalie Nolan McGrann, junior midfielder Matt Nguyen, junior midfielder Chris Annas, junior forward Asa Bell.
Lost to graduation: midfielder Ben Lorry (playing for Washington University), forward Steven Nguyen.
Outlook: The Phoenix will look to put together a strong season with nine returning starters and the addition of what Guindon calls, “a talented freshman class.” Senior captain and 2014 all-league selection Mark Charamella will anchor a gritty defense in front of junior keeper Nolan McGrann. Returning junior midfielders Matt Nguyen and Matt Blackman will be counted on to create opportunities going forward and will look to link up with last year’s FCS leading goal scorer, Asa Bell.
Harriton
Head coach: Biff Sturla, 14th year.
Last year’s record: 11-6-1 overall, 6-5 Central League.
Key returnees: senior center midfielder and captain Felix Serlin (second team All-Central League); all five players who started as defenders last year – seniors Matt Binnion, Anthony Calligaro, Willie Marks, Aaron Dickman and Noah Hunt-Isaak; sophomore center midfielder Ethan Rodgers; senior goalie Lucas Serlin; junior goalie Jake Putnam; senior midfielder Ben Folds.
Others to watch: sophomore midfielder Serhat Sakarcan, sophomore striker Emil Andersen.
Lost to graduation: team MVP and first team All-Central League Kyle Gaeffke (scored 13 goals last fall, now playing for the Merchant Marine Academy).
Outlook: Sturla said, “All of our defenders are back, both of our goalies are back – we will be tough to score on.  Losing Kyle Gaeffke to graduation will cause us to totally rebuild on offense.”
Haverford School
Head coach: Bill Brady, fifth year.
Last year’s record: 16-3-2 overall, 8-1-1 Inter-Ac.
Key returnees: senior center back Shane Bradley; senior center midfielder Conor Bradley; senior striker Connor Gregory; senior winger Jerry Karalis, senior center back Jimmy Tricolli.
Others to watch: senior midfielder Alec Haas, junior fullback Josh Ridenhour.
Lost to graduation: goalie Quinn Letter, fullback Brandon Shima, midfielder Shane McBride, winger Tucker McBride.
Outlook: Brady said, “We have a very talented senior class that will provide a very strong backbone for the team up the middle of the field and on the flanks.  We return the Bradley brothers who have won the All-Delco Player of the Year award over the last two years as well as All-State and Conference Player of the Year Connor Gregory. Our team chemistry will be the main recipe for success. The players in our program relish every minute they get to play with each other.”
Lower Merion
Head coach: Nico Severini, fifth year.
Last year’s record: 11-7-1 overall, 6-5 Central League.
Key returnees: senior defender Quinn Vagnoni.
Others to watch: junior defender David Smith, junior forward Ryan Tillman, senior midfielder Anthony Haines.
Lost to graduation: goalie William Rosenbaum (was All-Central League), defender Gian Luca Hail (was first team All-Central League), center mid Evan Wolf, defender Greg Kastein, goalie Jordan Cantor.
Outlook: Severini said, “The team is looking to play hard.  Our strong points are that we have depth and players who are very motivated.  The biggest keys to success for us will be creating opportunities to score.”
Malvern Prep
Head coach: Andrew Kummerer, first year.
Last year’s record: 8-6-5 overall.
Key returnees: senior forward Mike Narzikul, senior midfielder David Bettenhausen.
Others to watch: senior midfielder Chris Savino, senior forward Christian D’Scenzo, senior defender Andrew Panzo.
Lost to graduation: defenders Derek Rudy and Sam Gilroy (playing for Ursinus.)
Outlook: Kummerer said, “We have a strong core of returning varsity players, so experience will play a huge factor. The biggest key to our season will be to develop depth on our roster to outwork and outlast opponents. We plan to be very disciplined, organized, and hard-working.”
Radnor
Head coach: Joe Caruolo, fourth year.
Last year’s record: 10-9 overall, 7-4 Central League.
Key returnees: senior forward Max Barish, senior center mid Alex Egg-Krings, junior goalie Ben Toomey.
Others to watch: senior center mid Wayne Flores, junior center back Cal Congleton, junior center mid Andrew Boujoukos, junior center mid Miles Maesaka.
Lost to graduation: center back Drew Ryan, Adrian Moscol, Sasha Abadi.
Outlook: Radnor looks to compete once again in the Central League and earn a bid to district playoffs. A solid core of six starters are returning, but a lot of new faces come to the varsity squad this year, especially on defense. Radnor will look to mix up some possession style with some direct play to create chances in the attacking third.

Shipley

The Gators go into this season with high expectations based on last year’s success, and is highly motivated due to its early exit in the PAIAA state playoffs last fall.
“I think the loss to Kiski Prep on penalty kicks has motivated the team to work harder all off season,” said Shipley head coach Thom Schauerman.  “You can react two ways when you face a disappointment – you can quit or you can use the loss as motivation to get better and work harder and that’s exactly what the team has done.  They’ve come to preseason in shape, their work rate is high and intense and there’s a great spirit within the team.”
Shipley have a strong amount of returning players.  Seniors Jake Trachtenberg, Michael Burns, Josh Liss, Tate Gallager and Owain Thorogood lead a strong backline. The attacking line is made up of a mixture of juniors and seniors as Joe Bradley, Ashkon Ashrafion, Wyatt Page, Henry Farr,  Austin Wylie, Bradley Lawrence and Ronan Higgins lead the front line.
Sophomores Ian McGrath and Emlyn Thorogood have had a strong start to preseason while juniors Jack Dougherty and Matt Blumenthal have stepped in to hold the back line firm.
Shipley will certainly miss the experience and leadership of several players lost to graduation last spring – seniors Konrad Bulanowski (playing for Goucher College), Brandon Peltz, Ian Hamilton and Conor Higgins (playing for Skidmore), Ethan Bradlow and David Bakali and Treyvawn Webster (playing for West Virginia University).
Schauerman said, “The best thing about this years team is we have a lot of seniors who have been playing since their freshman year. They have gained a tremendous amount of experience and can play anywhere on the field.”

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