ARLINGTON -- With the graduation of leading scorers Freddie Pickering and John Esposito, the Arlington Memorial High School boys soccer team has a tough task in store to find some offense.
Of course, with the experience, size and speed in the defensive half of the field, scoring only one or two might be the winning combination for the Eagles.
Pickering and Esposito combined for 22 of the team's 32 goals in 2012.
"Freddie was our main scorer, he generated probably 70 percent of the scoring last year," said Arlington assistant coach Travis Hess. "Todd [Wilkins, the head coach], said there's no positions filled, so we'll see how it runs. If the younger guys want it, the spots are there."
The Eagles have four seniors -- DJ Jennings, Payton Agresta, Peter Macksey and Noah Arian. Macksey will likely patrol the center of the field, while Jennings will be in net.
"DJ [will be] in goal, [that's] the one spot that's set," Hess said. "He's been in goal for the past three years, and when you have a guy 6-foot-5 with the wingspan of a 7-footer that takes up most of the goal, you put him back there."
Out of 26 players that came out for the team, nearly two-thirds are back from a year ago.
"We're young on the freshman, sophomore end of it," said Hess, an assistant for the Eagles for the past seven years. "Konnor [Andrews] played up front some, but the majority of our scoring is gone. It's a young squad and anything's possible."
Along with Macksey, another strong candidate to be a main cog in the back is sophomore Nathan Mattison.
"He started every game last year," Hess said. "He stepped it up last year, he might move to [become] the spine of the team."
Arlington finished the season 7-7 a year ago, upsetting Chelsea as a No. 10 seed in Division IV before falling to Twin Valley.
There's been a change in the Marble Valley League as well, as other teams have moved up in division, so the schedule looks different than usual. Arlington will face division opponents including West Rutland and Black River, but also play up against Fair Haven and Otter Valley, both Division II teams. They'll also face at least two Division I opponents in the John James tournament.
"We have a lot of different opponents," Hess said. "Poultney and Mount St. Joseph folded. You get better playing the bigger schools. There are benefits to play a tougher schedule." Cross-country
Coach: Bianca Hoose (3rd season)
The team: Arlington has a very small lineup with only six runners, all female. But Hoose said that's a blessing in disguise. "It's enjoyable to have a small team because it's easier to focus on them individually," Hoose said. Amber Welch and Bhumika Patel are the seniors, while Celia Smith is the lone junior. Freshman Jena Staab, who ran for the middle school last year, could make some noise. The schedule is tough, with events at Mount Anthony, Mill River and Rutland.
Opener: Sept. 3 at Rutland, 4:30 p.m.
Coach: Dan Wood (3rd season)
Last year: 10-5-1, loss in Division IV semifinals
The team: Three main starters from last year's semifinal team are gone -- Jennah Lacoste, Mazie Holton and leading scorer Rayleen Sherman. Sherman scored 19 of the team's 44 goals. Junior Molly Elwell, who has scored nearly 40 goals in her three-year career, tallied 14 times in 2012, including three times in the postseason. Stopper Becca Solari, sweeper Shelby Baker and goalie Hannah Andrew return as well from a year ago. Junior Anna Fischer and freshman Riley Lane could be surprises as the season goes along. Junior Brooke Hawley returns after a hiatus.
Opener: Sept. 3 at Twin Valley, 6 p.m.