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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, September 1, 2005

Guilderland boys soccer pre-05

By Tim Matteson

GUILDERLAND — The Guilderland boys’ soccer team has plenty of holes to fill from last year’s team as the players continue to make strides in the Suburban Council.

"At our scrimmage the other day," said Guilderland Coach Mike Kinnally, "my assistant, Arn Armstrong, and I were counting who saw substantial time last year and that number was two. We lost nine starters. We’re also putting in a new formation and system and we’re starting to see the new club influence from the younger teams. It’s kind of exciting. We’re about to turn the corner. Whether we do that this year, I have no idea."

The only two returning starters are senior Mike Camardo and junior Kyle Tassone.

"Camardo has been with me for three years," Kinnally said. "He is the only player that’s been with me for three years. He is also one of our captains."

Kinnally said that the team will be all right in the middle and front, but it is the back on defense that worries him.

"We have to build the entire back," the coach said. "We lost Bryan Puspurs and Mark Malamood. If I could keep just two kids from last year, we’d be all right. And to make matters worse, Bethlehem, Niskayuna, and Shenendehowa are loaded. They might be the best in the state. And I haven’t talked about Shaker yet.

"But our goal is to win one more game than last year," Kinnally added, "score one more goal than last year, and give up one less goal than last year."

"No stars here"

Kinnally likes the attitude the team has in learning the new system and the way the players work on the field.

"There are no stars here," he said. "That is a nice thing to have. They work very hard. There are no stars so there isn’t any pressure like that."

Kinnally hasn’t even picked a number-one goalkeeper. Senior Barry Kinlan and junior Uriah Myrie have split time in the goal during the pre-season.

The program has had a youth movement as younger players have filled in spots on lower-level teams.

"We have three or four freshmen on the junior varsity," Kinnally said. "We have three 10th-graders on the varsity and we have eight eighth-graders on the freshmen team. We have a lot of young kids, but we are looking good."

Most of the players have competed for the Dutchmen United FC club team that has different age levels.

Kinnally has liked what he’s seen from the team, for the most part.

"The way we’re playing up front, we’re possessing and moving the ball up front," he said. "My concern is in the back."

The Dutchmen have moved into a different division based on last year’s record. Guilderland will be joined by Ballston Spa, Colonie, and Saratoga.

"We play them twice and everyone else once," Kinnally said. "We want to be better the second time we play them."

But Kinnally said that this is a great group of kids that are willing to put in their time to get better.

"This is one of the hardest-working teams I’ve had in the last five years," Kinnally said. "They are blue collar. They are willing to go through a wall for you. They have a great work rate. Their camaraderie is unmatched; this is an unbelievably tight unit...This is a great group to work with. All the teams I’ve coached had great kids but not like this as a unit."

Guilderland opens the season today (Thursday) at Amsterdam, then hosts Mohonasen on Tuesday and plays at Bethlehem next Thursday.

Guilderland girls soccer pre-05

By Tim Matteson

GUILDERLAND — The Guilderland girls’ soccer team is looking to fill a key role as it prepares for the upcoming season.

The Lady Dutch are looking to replace the scoring and play-making ability of graduate Deanna Wachtel, but haven’t been able to as yet.

"Deanna was a quality player," said Guilderland Coach Barb Newton. "She could play all over and was a versatile player. I don’t know if we can find anybody to fill that spot. Deanna was big on corner and re-starts. We don’t have anyone who can go get the ball off a re-start. We’re still working on filling that spot. Deanna was tough in the air."

Wachtel is playing soccer at The College of Saint Rose this fall.

But that doesn’t mean that Newton isn’t happy with what she has seen so far during the pre-season.

"We’ve had one scrimmage against Oneonta," she said. "And it was successful. We played well. The passing game was working well. We looked good. And no one is injured and that’s good. That is one of our goals to get through the pre-season uninjured."

The Lady Dutch have 11 players returning from last year’s team.

"It’s good," Newton said. "I have my goalkeeper back, who is also my top field player. We also have some young kids that have quite a bit of talent. There’s competition on the team for positions."

Jen Mihok will see time at goalie, but Newton wants to get her in the field and let Julie Malkowski play some in goal, too.

"I want to keep Jen on the field," Newton said. "Jen is a more technical goalie at this time and more experienced."

Mihok split goalie duty with Linsday Gillis last year.

Mihok is one of four seniors who has shown leadership on the team.

"Kayla Best, Jen Mihok, Bianca Germain, and Sam Ruppenthal have done a nice job with uniting the team," Newton said. "This is a close-knit team. We feel like we don’t have any stars. Everyone gets along right now and is working on improving as a unit."

Newton has seen improvement in players from last year to this year.

"The returning seniors have improved since last year," the coach said. "The four I’ve mentioned have made major improvements. From offense to defense, it seems they all have improved since last year."

New divisions

The Lady Dutch will play in a new division this year. They are in the Gold Division with Columbia, Shaker, and Ballston Spa.

"We have to play everybody anyway," Newton said. "I would like to play tougher teams. We have to play them to get out of the section. It doesn’t really matter. It could help us record-wise, which will help out the players’ confidence. But I’m happy wherever we are, it’ll work out fine."

The Lady Dutch open the season with three games next week.

On Tuesday, Guilderland will play at Scotia-Glenville High School. Then the Dutch host Mohonasen on Wednesday and Bethlehem on Friday.

"We’re starting with good teams," Newton said. "Bethlehem will be a challenge, but it will be a non-league game. League games start the following week. This will be a good week for us.

"It’ll be three more chances to find ways to score," Newton added. "We have some kids that can shoot from outside the box with speed and accuracy. We need more opportunities to score. We have kids that will fight for the ball inside the penalty box. They will cause havoc and maybe we can create opportunities off that."

Voorheesville boys soccer pre-05

By Tim Matteson

VOORHEESVILLE — The Voorheesville boys’ soccer team is looking to build on last year’s success, though they’ll do it a little differently.

"We’ve had a successful pre-season," said the first-year coach, Mike Young. "I’ve installed a new system that’s different than the past. We’ve made progress in our scrimmages."

Last year, the Blackbirds won the Section II Class B championship but lost in the regional competition to Westhill of the Syracuse region.

With six seniors on this year’s team and seven starters returning, the Blackbirds might not have liked the change in the system.

"I guess some people would be reluctant to change something that works," Young said. "But I re-looked at the personnel that I had and they have started to get used to it. We are going to an attacking style with high defensive pressure. If they do it right, it works. And they are starting to buy into that system."

The Blackbird players also bought into the system because they want to accomplish things that they just missed last year, said the new coach.

"I think we have some unfinished business," Young said. "Just by the way we were knocked out of the state tournament. We won sectionals, but that was not good enough. We’re also a team on the rise."

Easy transition

Young said that his transition from coaching junior varsity to the top level of high school has been made easy.

"The seniors are the only group that I haven’t coached," Young said. "The transition has been very easy. I’ve coached the j.v. the past two years and was an assistant with the varsity. I’ve worked with the seniors."

There are 19 players on this year’s team and the team is loaded with juniors. There are two sophomores and two freshmen on the team as well.

"I don’t like to bring underclassmen up," Young said. "But, when we started out, I saw that they could play at that level."

The Blackbirds will have experience at both ends of the field. Greg Klopfer returns to lead the offense and Tom Cavanaugh returns to play goalie for the Blackbirds. Matt Belgiovine and Lee Dudek also return on defense and Greg Jones returns in the midfield.

"Greg Klopfer is not a secret," Young said. "He’s scored between 17 and 20 goals a year. I’ve been impressed with Greg Jones this pre-season. He’s controlled the midfield more. We have two seniors back on defense and our starting goalkeeper. The seniors all have a leadership role."

The players off the bench can also fill spots and get some minutes during the season.

"We only have three or four that don’t have varsity experience," Young said.

High hopes

That experience will motivate them to the next step, Young said.
"The seniors let one go last year," the coach said. "The team we lost to, I believe, was in the finals. We’re happy we won the sectionals but we want to go further. We also want to win the Colonial Council for the first time. We want to go to states and come out as Class B champs."

The Blackbirds open the season next Thursday at home against Albany Academy. Voorheesville then will play at Ravena on Monday and at Schalmont on Wednesday.

"We start off with a bang," Young said.

Voorheesville girls soccer pre-05

By Tim Matteson

VOORHEESVILLE — After Tuesday’s scrimmage, Joe Santos, the varsity soccer coach for the Voorheesville girls was a little disappointed in his team.

He was disappointed because his players didn’t perform in the second half with the experience and the talent that they possess.

"I expected that out of new players," Santos said, "not out of veteran players. But I explained to the girls that this was just a scrimmage game. They do a lot of running by putting themselves out of position and by giving their opponents a lot of room."

Because of injuries to key players last year, a few players got experience at the end of the season.

"The way we finished the season," Santos said, "all 11 players on the field return. I looked out there and saw that all the kids played a lot. Out of all the returners, we do have one that is injured, and that hurts. But McKenzie [Conroy] played a lot and so did Monique Bidell. The 11 people that are back are all capable of doing good things."

There are 16 players on this year’s team — seven of them are seniors.

"It’s good to have seven seniors this year," Santos said. "But next year it will be hard to replace that many players. But I told the junior-varsity players that it is a big opportunity to step up and play here. I think it’s the first time that I will lose that many starting players.

Santos said that the positions are pretty much filled and are looking pretty good.

"The forwards are strong, the midfield is strong, and we’ll be strong in the back," the coach said. "The players that come in to play off the bench can come in and play well."

The Lady Blackbirds will also be strong in the goal as junior Rose Skladanuk gained experience last year filling in for an injured Eva Levingrub, who has now graduated.

Brittany Holcomb played in goal in the second half of the scrimmage as Skladanuk played in the field.

"Brittany has done well," Santos said Tuesday. "She had a lot of work today, but she is an athlete. She has good instincts and good hands. She can come in and help us. We had two or three people volunteer to play because we don’t have one that is just a goalie. It’s great Brittany volunteered, she’s done very well."

Dictating play

Santos said that his players have the physical skills to play well but need to work on another aspect of the game.

"The girls have been there," the coach said. "They need to think of things before they happen and they need to dictate play. It’s not physically, but mentally. They have to know where to play the ball, wider and not in the middle like they did in the second half."

But, Santos said, that the season can be a really good one. The players just need to keep learning and playing to their potential.

"It will be an exciting season," he said on Tuesday. "We played yesterday, so we are a bit tired. I told them to rest next to their opponent not far from them and then have to run back when tackling them. They really run themselves into the ground."

The Blackbirds should be able to move on from Tuesday’s scrimmage as they prepare to open the season on Wednesday at home against Holy Names.

"I’m glad that this was just a practice game," Santos said. "I know we can play tremendously better than this. I expect a lot more."

After the season opener on Wednesday, the Lady Blackbirds will play at Ravena on Tuesday and at Schalmont on Thursday.

Berne-Knox-Westerlo boys soccer pre-05

By Tim Matteson

BERNE — The Berne-Knox-Westerlo boys’ soccer team is rebuilding this fall.

The Bulldogs lost 12 seniors. The graduates are being replaced by seven sophomores who played on the modified team last year. The players moved from the seventh-to-ninth-grade level up to the varsity because BKW does not have a junior-varsity team due to lack of numbers.

"We’ve got two of our best players hurt and we have seven sophomores," said BKW Coach Jim Gillis. "We are going to struggle. I think, by the end, this could be a good team. But this isn’t modified. It’s a big jump to the varsity. The pace of the game is different."

BKW lost returners Bobby Patrick and Brandon Motschmann to injuries; both players are hoping to return before the start of the season. One is out with a broken shoulder and the other broke bones in his face.

"We’ve got to get them healthy," Gillis said.

Motschmann is one of six seniors on the squad along with Aaron Moseby, Evan Place, Peter Primiano, Ian Smith, and Pius Gakure.

Patrick is one of five juniors with Nick Cross, Alan Diamond, Sam Emory, and Jason Villeneuve.

The sophomores are Ben Burton, Joey Conklin, Keith Cunningham, Matt Lounsbury, Greg Mulson, Sean Picinich, and Josh Skinner.

"Learning process"

"As a modified team they dominated at that level," Gillis said. "Now they’re up at this level and they are getting dominated. It’ll take time. It’s going to be a learning process. They just can’t make the same mistakes over and over again. That’s why you scrimmage."

Gillis’s words came after the Bulldogs struggled in a scrimmage Tuesday against Greenville.

A lot of the new varsity players got thrown into the fire at the scrimmage.

"Ben Burton did pretty well and I put in Greg Mulson at stopper," Gillis said. "He hadn’t done it at that level. Josh Skinner did well up front. Hopefully, we’ll get better."

Gillis said that they have some speed up front with Primiano, but goals will still be hard to come by.

"We’ll struggle to score goals," he said on Tuesday. "After today, it looks like we’ll struggle to keep the ball out of the back of the net."

The Bulldogs were green in two key defensive positions.

"We had a player playing his first time at sweeper," Gillis said. "We had had Sean Wolfe back there for two years. We also had someone playing his first time at stopper and that’s because of the injury to Bobby Patrick."

Gillis added that hard work will be a factor this season.

"It allows you to stay in games," the coach said. "We have to keep working and get to the ball and let them know that we are going to work to get the ball. We are not going to dazzle people with our footwork skills."

Gillis hopes that his team gets the work ethic and sticks with the team, as there could be some rewards at the end of the season.

"We have to be patient," he said. "I hope they don’t get discouraged and I hope the seniors don’t get discouraged and keep working."

The Bulldogs open the season on Wednesday at Schenecatdy Christian. BKW then plays on Friday and Saturday at the Fort Plain Tournament before its first home game against Canajoharie on Monday.

Berne-Knox-Westerlo girls soccer pre-05

By Tim Matteson

BERNE — Berne-Knox-Westerlo has a new varsity girls’ soccer coach — Coriellen Travis. The experience the Lady Bulldogs have coming into the season should ease her transition from coaching modified.

Twelve seniors return for this year’s team which will help Travis, who last year coached the modified team for seventh- and eighth-graders.

"So far, so good," Travis said after a scrimmage on Tuesday. "This is a great team and the girls welcomed me."

Travis said she was pleased with what she saw on the field.

"I’m proud of what they did today," Travis said. "We only have three new players. Out of 18, fifteen players are returning. The team looks good. We have a lot of experience."

There are a couple of key spots where that experience will come in handy.

"We’ll have a strong offense," Travis said. "We have strong shooters. We also have an experienced keeper who is very aggressive."

Sarah Hannay returns as goalkeeper for the Bulldogs. She started there last year.

Returning to lead the attack on offense are Mariana Bartonicek and Cara Swain.

One of the nice aspects of having players with experience is that they know a lot of the basics of the game, said Travis.

"I don’t have to re-teach skills," she said. "I can teach advanced skills and playing. They have a willingness to learn. When something doesn’t work, they have other options. They are aggressive and are willing to step to the ball."

Leading by example

Travis is entering her sixth year as a middle- and high-school music teacher at BKW. She earned her bachelor’s degree at The College of Saint Rose and earned a master’s degree in administration at the University at Albany.

"I love the community," Travis said of BKW. "That makes it easy to love the school you work for. I can’t say enough about the kids."

Travis played soccer at Ballston Spa High School and continues to play on indoor and outdoor teams.

"Being a player myself and continuing to play," Travis said, "it’s important to show how they can improve skills by example on the field."

Travis said that teaching advanced skills is one of the differences in coaching varsity and modified.

"With the modified," she said, "you spend a lot of time going over fundamental skills. With varsity, those should already be in place, so you can work more with the team and moving the ball and trying to score. But, whether or not you’re scoring, they are using advanced skills in moving the ball. They have greater passing ability."

The new coach hopes to improve the fortunes of the Lady Bulldogs, who struggled the past couple of years with younger players. Those young players are now seniors.

"They play together as a team," Travis said. "They really support each other and help each other improve. They play equally as a team.

"We have strong seniors on defense," she added. "Our offense is younger than our defense. But in all parts of the field we are playing equally."

Not only have the players on the BKW team made the transition easy for Travis on the field but off the field as well.

"They absolutely have a phenomenal attitude," she said. "They are fun and exciting to work with. They make me laugh. That is a key to a good season. They don’t pick on each other and do those things that bring a team down. If you’re not having fun, you’re not working together."

Travis said she is ready for the regular season, which starts with a contest against St. Johnsville on Wednesday. BKW follows that up with two games in the Fort Plain Tournament of Friday and Saturday.

"I’m looking forward to the rest of the season," Travis said. "Rain or shine, there is nothing like a soccer game."

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