Middle of lineup powers Sewickley Academy boys soccer
Friday, August 23, 2019 | 8:28 PM
Sewickley Academy’s boys soccer team is going to build from the middle this season.
With a large senior class lost to graduation, the Panthers return six starters, and most play in the middle of their formation: Nick Wilson, Jackson Coles, Cole Rychel, Bobby Serafin, Jack Wentz and Josh Chico.
“With all good teams, you have to have a proper spine. We like the spine we’re creating,” Sewickley Academy second-year coach Nathan Richter said. “We hope to put the key components around those players. We’re seeing what fits and what’s most comfortable. We’re finding out our best 11 and in what shape and what tactics, but we like our spine, for sure.”
Wilson (goalkeeper), Coles (center back), Rychel (left back/outside mid), Serafin (center mid), Wentz (center mid) and Chico (center mid/left back) bring stability.
“I think we’re coming together pretty well so far,” Wentz said. “Outside of soccer, we always go get lunch together as a team. Having that chemistry outside the field helps on the field.”
On the attack, Sewickley Academy will use senior Ben Mohan, sophomore Alex Marquis and freshman Michael DiSantis. However, Marquis was slowed with a leg injury.
“We have a lot of options, which is great,” Richter said. “Michael DiSantis is coming in as a very good player. He’s absolutely one to watch for the future. He is going to be a big-time player in the next couple years.”
The midfield has a lot of experience with Serafin, Wentz and Rychel. Max Belt was slated to start, too, but will miss the year with an injury. Freshmen Thomas Varghese, Garrett Smith and Daniel Torres could see minutes there as well.
“We feel pretty strong about the midfield unit we’ll put out this year,” Richter said. “We have a lot of talented freshmen, as far as technical ability. We’re excited about what they can do. We just have to see how they handle the rough-and-tumble life of a varsity soccer player because it can get pretty physical.”
Coles, who is sidelined with an injury, and Chico lead the defense. Freshman Aidan Zorn will see time at right back. Wilson returns in goal.
“The midfield is strong, but I think our back line and goalie will be strengths for us, too,” Wentz said. “We lost some players, but people are stepping up. Nick Wilson played amazing for us last year, and he looks really good already.”
Sewickley Academy hopes its experienced midfield can dictate the pace of matches.
“We were able to possess the ball well last year,” Wentz said. “If we can do that this year, I think we can be successful.”
The Panthers won the Section 1-A title at 11-1. They beat Monessen, 5-2, to open the WPIAL tournament, but Springdale ended their season at 13-5 with a 1-0 quarterfinal decision. Sewickley Academy wants to go deeper in the postseason but has its sights set on defending the section title first.
“I feel like we’ll be a good competitor in the section this year,” Wentz said. “I think every team lost some key players like us.”
Joe Sager is a freelance writer.
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