HOOSICK, N.Y. — They're young and inexperienced, but the Hoosick Falls boys soccer team still believe they can compete with the best in their conference this season.
"We're very young and a lot of our guys don't have a lot of varsity experience, but I still think we can compete with the teams in our league this season," said Hoosick Falls coach Tim Ossont. "The Wasaren League is up in the air this season, so as the season goes on we will see how our team develops and what they can do."
It's a different situation than Ossont has been in accustomed to in his four years at the helm for the Panthers.
After having veteran teams throughout in his first few years, Ossont admits it's a little different coaching a team with little varsity experience and he has to be more patient with the kids, but he does feel that the team is filled with kids who will be able to pick up the game quickly because of their athleticism and can compete.
Ossont does have some veteran players back from last year's team in seniors Michael Haynes and Jordan Case.
Both seniors will be the team's captains this season and will be huge impact players for Hoosick Falls on the field, with Haynes being a key player on offense and Case being the team's top defender.
Joining the two seniors with some varsity experience are Zaine Becker, Anthony Amidon and Tanner Cahill.
"We have a couple solid veteran players coming back in Michael and Jordan that will be a big help in helping the younger players develop quicker," Ossont said. "Alongside them we have some talented guys that have some varsity experience back, so that is beneficial. We're still a young and inexperienced team, but we do have some experienced guys back in the fold this year."
The inexperience of the Panthers starts in net as sophomore Evan McCart will take the role as starting goalie in his first year playing on the team.
A tough role for a player new to the sport to step into, Ossont believes McCart will do just fine because of his size and athleticism.
"Evan is just a pure athlete and since he's tall and has a large wingspan, he fits the build of a goaltender," Ossont said. "He's going to have big learning curve to deal with, but he has continued to get better throughout the beginning of the season and as he gets a better understanding of the position, I think will become a key player for us."
Also new to the squad this year is CJ Baker, who after not playing on the team for the past couple of season is back and Ossont said can be a impact player for the Panthers down the line.
Other players that are stepping into key roles for Hoosick Falls this season are sophomores Cody Hodges and Ethan Mattison.
Both players have seen more playing time at the start of the season and have impressed, said Ossont.
Senior Alex Haynes is stepping into an impact role for the Panthers this season and had a goal scored in Hoosick Falls' first win of the season against Waterford last Friday.
John Reynolds has also performed really well for Hoosick Falls to start the season and will see more playing time as the year goes on, said Ossont.
With a 1-2 start to begin the season, Ossont said he is pleased with his team's growth and feels that the team as it gains more experience can be a team that can compete in the league.
"I think the hard work the kids have been putting in is starting to pay off and they're grasping the game better," Ossont said. "We still have some things on defense to work and we're still trying to see where certain kids fit best. Will see how things play out for us this season, but I'm really looking forward to seeing how our team develops throughout the season."
Hoosick Falls will next travel to play rival Cambridge today at 4:15 p.m.