Boys Soccer Preview: Bonner-Prendergast contends with ton of turnover

Soccer previews have been hitting the site all week, led by a feature on Marple Newtown’s senior-heavy squad and five players to watch. We’ve already looked at team-by-team previews of the contenders in the Central League, Del Val and Inter-Ac. Here’s the rest of the Delco schools.

Replacing 16 seniors is no small task for Bonner-Prendergast, but coach Jim Strandberg is hopeful that the group of four returning varsity players can help bridge the gap to promising youngsters in the pipeline.

The four back from last year include leading scorer Ryan Kerrigan, though his three goals spoke more to the team’s collective struggle to find the back of the net than his own success. James O’Connell and Miles Burton also were among the select group of eight that accounted for the Friars’ 11 goals last season, while JV callup Theo Ijeboi also notched a goal.

Ijeboi will join classmates Bach Clifton and Matt Hope in leading the attack. Junior Joe Nestel and freshman Andrew Markopoulos will hold the keys to the defense, while senior Josh Mathis will also contribute.

After a two-win campaign, Cardinal O’Hara turns the reins over to Kevin Curley, the former Archbishop Carroll coach.

Curley inherits a side that he hopes will be solid defensively, led by senior defender Mark Switlinski and defenders Stephen Finore and Kyle Budjick, the latter of whom earned All-Catholic recognition as a freshman last year.

Seniors Brooks West and Sean Noonan are among those charged with finding goals, while sophomore Derek Sacks will contribute in midfield.

Bob Chambers’ Sun Valley team endured a three-win campaign last year, but many of the losses were borne of inexperience that the coach hopes will resolve itself with another year of growth.

Much of the offense a season ago was provided by seniors, with forward Youseff Jouichate representing the only returnee to score multiple goals. The goalscoring burden will fall on younger players, like sophomore Evan Roland and freshman Silas Peterson, whose classmates Luciano Gutierrez and Zach Montgomery will be called upon from the start of their careers.

The Vanguards’ strength will be in defense, anchored by returning goalkeeper Brendan Skwirut, still just a junior. Kevin Cullen will lead the defense, with Braden Myers, Jake Benz and Steven Shapiro also returning with experience. Seniors Colin Harkins and Tyler Smith, junior Owen Parente and sophomore Joey Cairy will contribute in midfield.

The good news for the Christian Academy is that they brace for their first season in the PIAA by returning nine of 11 starters from last year’s 18-0-1 team that doubled as regular season and tournament champs in their Tri-State Christian Conference sendoff.

The bad news is that one of those missing starters is Evan Needs, a three-time All-Delco and the all-time leading scorer in Delaware County history. The other is long-time starting goalkeeper Joseph Opdenaker.

That means Brian Dennstaedt’s team must lean on the bonds they’ve formed through the years early and often. Brit Haseltine, who scored 31 goals last year as Needs’ running mate, is healthy after a collarbone injury that cost him the playoffs as well as his basketball season. Jake Sitkowski and Brandon Rochester return to anchor the defense, while sophomores Tyler Skaer and Caleb Robinson earned valuable experience last year. Senior Micah Sterrett will also step in this season.

The goal for season No. 3 of Delco Christian’s program reboot is to return to the District One playoffs, something they narrowly missed last season. With coach Rob Atkins’ squad swelling to 25 players and stocking a full JV team, they have the numbers to continue the once-great program’s revitalization.

Nathan Daniel, Ben Rowe, Ryan Hutzel and Josh Ogg all gained experience last season, while Bryce Shook and Nick Daniel are newcomers expected to contribute.

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