BY MICHAEL KELLY
NISKAYUNA — Coming off a season in which the Niskayuna boys’ soccer team made it to the Section II Class AA championship game, the Silver Warriors will need to replace 15 seniors who graduated from their 2014 team.
But while he reckons his squad is rebuilding at the moment, head coach Joe Carosella said he can see a not-too-distant future where he is able to look back at this preseason and view his team as having used this time to reload.
“What I’ve seen so far is very encouraging,” Carosella said at one of the team’s first practices.
That’s how his squad sees it, too.
“It’s going to be tough. We were so senior-heavy last year,” said Mateo Parzych, a senior on this year’s squad. “But we’re going to manage it. … We’ve got a good bunch this year, we’re strong together as a team, and I think that will show for us on the field.”
A season ago, the Silver Warriors finished 12-4-4 and fell 1-0 in the championship game against Shenendehowa. Key for Niskayuna in 2014 was its staunch defense, led by now-graduated keeper Riley McDonald. As a group, the Silver Warriors defense allowed only 18 goals in 2014 — an excellent average of fewer than one per game.
Two of the team’s top defenders are back from last year in Noah Daviero and Dan Laurilliard, who figure to be linchpins for the squad this season. Carosella, though, said this year’s team may have enough defenders at its disposal that the squad is able to try out some new lineups and tactics.
“We have some other guys that could fit the bill on defense this year, so we might not be using Noah on defense all the time like we did last year,” Carosella said.
The most important defender for Niskayuna this season will likely be Joey Romano, the team’s expected senior keeper. While it has been an adjustment this preseason stepping into a leadership role, Romano said he — and the team’s other seniors — accepts that challenge.
“I’m used to having Riley here, he was such a nice mentor for me,” Romano said. “Now, I’m going to be that for the younger guys.”
Carosella’s squad is scheduled to start its season Sept. 1 against a Ballston Spa squad expected to be one of the top contenders in the Suburban Council, which now has 16 teams in it on the boys’ side. While the coach would like a positive result in the team’s opener, he said his hope is that the Silver Warriors’ season builds into something to remember.
“At the end of the season, we want to be able to say, ‘Wow. that was great,” Carosella said.
The Niskayuna boys’ soccer schedule for the 2015 season:
- Sept. 1, 4:15 p.m.: hosts Ballston Spa
- Sept. 3, 4:15 p.m.: at Mohonasen
- Sept. 8, 4:15 p.m.: hosts Columbia
- Sept. 10, 4:15 p.m.: at Colonie
- Sept. 12, 11 a.m.: hosts Albany
- Sept. 15, 6:30 p.m.: at Troy
- Sept. 17, 4:15 p.m.: hosts Averill Park
- Sept. 24, 4:15 p.m.: at Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake
- Sept. 26, 11 a.m.: hosts Guilderland
- Sept. 29, 4:15 p.m.: at Bethlehem
- Oct. 1, 4:15 p.m.: hosts CBA
- Oct. 3, 11 a.m.: hosts Baldwinsville
- Oct. 6, 4:30 p.m.: at Schenectady
- Oct. 8, 7 p.m.: at Saratoga Springs
- Oct. 13, 7 p.m.: hosts Shenendehowa
- Oct. 15, 7 p.m.: hosts Shaker