This year’s Soccer Wolves seek to redeem themselves from a rare disheartening end to last season.
Because the expectations for the soccer team are state championship or bust, there is no secret that last year’s soccer season ended in disappointment. An 11-year-long streak of state championship appearances was shattered last year by a heartbreaking loss to the underdog Dutchtown Griffins.
As I stood despondent in the stands last year after watching the team’s shocking overtime loss, I knew next year would be a revenge tour to remember. Heading into the season, the Wolves hold these same expectations, and the stars are lining up to meet them; nearly all of the starters from last year are returning, the team is healthy, and they are ready to run through a brick wall for coach Sean Moser.
Of course, there are more components to a state championship-winning season.
Coach Moser shares clear opinions on what he believes are the team’s strengths and weaknesses this year. He first highlighted the strengths: “There is good senior leadership and a renewed focus because of the way we went out last year. They had some great summer workouts with two or three [members] of the coaching staff.”
However, he also discussed the team’s weaknesses: “They think they are better than they are right now. Some of the quality at the tryouts hasn’t been good. As we cut out some of the weaker players and establish a varsity team that practices together, the practices will get better.”
The Wolves have their work cut out for them this season because they play their usual demanding schedule that consists of many of the best teams in the state. However, the team is ready to take their opponents head-on.
While there is a buzz surrounding the early season rematch versus the Griffins, team captain Brennan LeBlanc looks further than this game. When asked for his most anticipated matchup, Leblanc simply responded, “All of them.”
Coach Moser was more focused on beating the teams that challenged Saint Paul’s last season. “Every game that we lost or tied that we should have won, and there were seven of those, we are taking as a personal challenge.”
Of course, every varsity player will make an impact this year. However, a few players in particular are expected to be great leaders for the team. Senior striker Kristian Ernst, who led the team in goals per game last year, looks to lead in the same way this year. In addition, junior goalkeeper Connor Allen will anchor down the stingy Wolves defense, which did not give up a single goal to a district opponent last year. Senior captains Christian Waguespack, Lucas Piazza, Max Pellegrini, and Brennan LeBlanc are also ready to lead the rest of the team and their position groups.
With these individuals, the ensemble of support players, and the expert coaching of coach Moser, the hopes are high for the Soccer Wolves 2022-23 season.