PAC-10 Boys Soccer Team-by-Team Preview

Coach: Scott Didyoung, 24th season
Last year’s record: 10-3 PAC-10; 15-6 overall, PAC-10 finalist, District 1 playoff qualifier

Boyertown’s Danny Yudt, right, will look to help lead his team back to the PAC-10 championship game this season. (Kevin Hoffman - The Mercury)
Boyertown’s Danny Yudt, right, will look to help lead his team back to the PAC-10 championship game this season. (Kevin Hoffman – The Mercury)

Players to watch: Seniors Jacob Stauffer, def.; Adam Flaharty, GK; Darby Bauer, fwd.; Ethan Donohue, mid.; Sydney Kabinoff, fwd.; Adam Gilbert, def.; Levi Roberts, mid.; Danny Yudt, def.; Fred Agliano, GK. Juniors Alex Kidwell, fwd.; Erik Recke, def.; Will Schul, fwd.; Nik Verma, mid./fwd.; Sam Marks, def./mid.; Owen Kulig, mid./fwd.; Alec Brisbois, def.; Garrett Halteman, mid./def.; Connor McKeown, mid./fwd.; Kyle Sheahan, mid.; Nathan Reinhard, mid.; Oren Fanok, mid. Sophomores Jimmy Towers, fwd./mid.; Ben Margavich, def.; Connor Reiss, def./fwd.; Ben Wise, def.
Outlook: The Bears never seem to fall too far from the PAC-10 title picture and 2015 shouldn’t be much different. Their top goal-scorers from last year’s PAC-10 finalists have graduated (Noah Kean, Dan Bechtel) but a solid core returns, led by 2014 All-Area selections Levi Roberts and Danny Yudt. Establishing a team identity will be key for Boyertown according to coach Scott Didyoung, who believes this year’s team is “probably a deeper, quicker roster than last year.” Those factors will almost assuredly get Didyoung his 300th win – he enters his 24th year with a 292-133-37 career record – and have the Bears as a strong contender in the PAC-10.

Coach: John Smeykal, 2nd season
Last year’s record: 8-5 PAC-10, 12-8 overall, District 1-AAA second round
Players to watch: Connor Stevenson, mid.; John Lausch, mid.; Nick Coffin, mid.; Tyler Ziegler, fwd.; Kareem Elcskandarani, mid./def.; Eric Kihle, mid./def.; Vince Delisi, mid./def.; Nick Salerno, def.; Kevin Conrad, def.; Ryan Pellicano, def.; Eric Dietch, GK.
Outlook: John Smeykal’s first year in charge at Methacton was an up and down one – the Warriors were the in-form team of the entire district approaching the final third of the regular season only to struggle down the stretch. They missed the PAC-10 playoffs but managed to win a game in districts and were an overtime goal away from the quarterfinals. Eleven seniors graduated from that group, but Smeykal is confident in the leadership in place. “We have strong veteran leadership returning as starters and added several underclassmen, including a few freshmen from the 2015 EPYSA U14 FC Montco state championship team,” he said. The Warriors plan to keep things up-tempo in what should shape up to be a very competitive Liberty Division.

Coach: Eric Wentzel, 4th season
Last year’s record: 10-3 PAC-10, 12-6 overall, PAC-10 champion, District 1-AAA qualifier
Players to watch: Seniors Bruce Dowlin, mid.; Jared Cooney, mid. Juniors Brandon Ott, fwd., Jason Long, fwd.; Nolan Smith, def.
Outlook: The Wildcats entered last season wondering where the goals would come from with so many inexperienced players in the attacking third. The questions were answered by a medley of players that turned OJR into a balanced squad that claimed the PAC-10 championship. Those previously inexperienced players now have a successful year under their belts and can be eyeing bigger and better things. The bad news for OJR is having to replace the bulk of its defense, namely All-Area first team center back Ben Huzzard and goalkeeper Zach Serbin. “We lost three first team all-league players from the defense last year that we will be really tough to replace,” coach Eric Wentzel said. “Our goal is to be competitive in a very tough division and be in the playoff hunt come October. The team has been working very hard early in the season. This group of young men is an outstanding group to work with. I am very lucky to be their coach.” Wentzel isn’t the type to look ahead, but with a quality foundation led by All-Area first team midfielder Bruce Dowlin back, the Wildcats look like a team with the potential to repeat as PAC-10 champs.

Coach: Bob McCabe, 19th season
Last year’s record: 8-5 PAC-10, 9-9-1 overall, District 1-AAA qualifier
Players to watch: Seniors Jakob Fisher, def.; Matt Edel, def. Juniors Kyle Bessette, mid.; Chris Fiore, mid. Sophomore Michael Weir, mid.
Outlook: The Vikings graduated a vast number of players from last season’s District 1 qualifier that finished tied for third in the Liberty Division. That hasn’t deterred coach Bob McCabe from feeling ‘optimistic’ this season. “With a solid core of returning players and an enthusiastic group of young talent vying for varsity spots, we should field a competitive squad. With a positive attitude, good leadership, and a willingness to learn, this group should come together nicely,” he said. If the PV underclassmen can contribute quickly a return to the Final Four – the Vikings made the final in 2013 – could be in the offing. “Our ultimate goal is always to make the PAC playoffs, compete for a league championship, and qualify for district play. In order for that to happen, however, this team will have to gel quickly.”


Phoenixville’s Andre Souza, left, will return for his junior season to help steer the Phantoms toward another PAC-10 playoff berth. (Barry Taglieber - For The Mercury)
Phoenixville’s Andre Souza, left, will return for his junior season to help steer the Phantoms toward another PAC-10 playoff berth. (Barry Taglieber – For The Mercury)

Coach: Mike Cesarski, 2nd season
Last year’s record: 6-7 PAC-10, 9-9 overall
Players to watch: Seniors Michael Stokes, def.; Cole Strempel, fwd. Juniors Andre Souza, fwd.; Phil Meszaros, mid.
Outlook: The Phantoms went down to the wire to secure a spot in the PAC-10 playoffs in 2014. There’s reason to believe it won’t be as much of a nailbiter this season with the return of a few players, namely Andre Souza and Phil Meszaros, that have goals in them. Second-year coach Mike Cesarski also feels there in depth in the midfield. All together, Phoenixville should be contending in the Frontier Division. “Our team needs some of the new faces on varsity to step there level up. Some of them are young but the are very talented. I’m excited to see their progress,” Cesarski said. The Phantoms have their sights set on a berth in the District 1 playoffs and a winning record.

Coach: Tom Csongradi, 2nd season
Last year’s record: 1-12 PAC-10, 2-14-1 overall
Players to watch: Seniors Eric Brock, def./mid.; Aaron Lemma, GK; Jimmy Gallo, GK; Liam McCluskey, def.; Jack Harty, def.; Andrew Thomer, mid./fwd.; Shane Vereb, mid. Junior Andrew Snyder, mid./fwd. Sophomore Colin Flanegin, mid./fwd.
Outlook: Going forward was problematic for the Golden Panthers last season, but that isn’t deterring PJP from being forward-thinking. “The team is in a position to move forward this year and improve upon last year’s record. The players worked hard in the offseason to improve their play and their physical conditioning,” coach Tom Csongradi said. The bulk of the team’s experience is in the defense and midfield meaning PJP must find the goal-scoring that evaded them previously. If it comes, the Panthers have a chance to achieve their goal. “The team has set a goal to reach the PAC playoffs. With the right attitude and the great work ethic of the players, this is a real possibility,” Csongradi said.

Coach: Jay Witkowski, 12th season
Last year’s record: 11-2 PAC-10, 14-7 overall, District 1-AA finalist
Players to watch: Seniors Liam Abdalla, GK; Tyler Rolando, mid.
Outlook: Any team claiming to be hit hard by graduation has nothing on Pottsgrove. The Falcons graduated the largest class in program history, including standout forward Kevin Rodriguez, and return just two starters. In a word, according to coach Jay Witkowski, the Falcons are ‘rebuilding.’ Instead of being one of league frontrunners, Pottsgrove looks to have a battle of its hands to secure one of the Frontier Division’s places in the PAC-10 Final Four.

Coach: Jason Pace, 9th season
Last year’s record: 5-8 PAC-10, 6-10 overall
Players to watch: Seniors Chase McKain, GK; Logan Pennypacker, fwd.; Mason Pennypacker, def.; Justin Stewart, def. Junior Bryan Perez, mid. Sophomore Andy Reyes-Jones, mid.
Outlook: The Trojans’ 2014 season ended in heartbreak by missing the PAC-10 playoffs on the final day, pushed out by Phoenixville. With a handful of returning starters and the motivation of last year’s near-miss, Pottstown may have what it takes to make the Final Four. “We’re still looking for a couple players to step up and plug a couple holes but we have a solid corps of players that remember the Phoenixville loss that ended our run last season and we definitely have the tools needed to be successful,” coach Jason Pace said. Pottstown is looking for its midfield to possess and help create chances for forward Logan Pennypacker, who had his share of multi-goal games last season. With the Frontier Division more up for grabs than usual, this could finally be the Trojans’ year.

Coach: Doug Landis, 12th season
Last year’s record: 5-8 PAC-10, 5-13 overall
Players to watch: Seniors Owen Gulati, fwd.; Austin Betts, mid.; Cole Pajovich, def. Juniors Kyle Allan, GK; Matt Schweitzer, mid.; Tyler Holms, mid.
Outlook: Rams coach Doug Landis tells it like it is. “There is only one place to go and that is up. We had a disappointing season last year and look to fix the mistakes made last year and once again compete in the league and district.” It was an uncharacteristic season at Spring-Ford in 2014 without a huge upperclassmen contingent that is typically a given. Building team chemistry and learning from last season’s travails is on the Rams’ minds in the preseason. “We are focusing on being a team instead of individuals playing soccer. We have many returning players from last year with experience that I hope will lead the team and create cohesion,” Landis said. It’s hard to envision another year of Spring-Ford at the bottom of the Liberty Division. Expect the Rams to rise up and be back in the PAC-10 and District 1 playoff conversation.

Coach: Kyle Fisher, 2nd season
Last year’s record: 1-12 PAC-10, 1-17 overall
Players to watch: Seniors Eli Soto, def.; Aaron Lesko, mid.; Marcus Sobetsky, def.; Ethan Moyer, fwd.; Michael Stewart, def.; Evan Lutz, mid.
Junior Dakota Jamison, GK. Sophomore Ryan Casola, mid.
Outlook: It may have been a difficult one, but coach Kyle Fisher feels his returning players gained valuable experience in last year’s one-win season. Despite the setbacks, Fisher sees his group as a unified one. “The chemistry on this team is its true strength. The boys play for each other,” he said. “We need to stay tactically disciplined and support each other defensively then effectively counterattack.” Grand declarations aren’t in the cards for the Indians, only to compete hard and play a full 80 minutes with hopes that the positive results follow.

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