Got grit? Patriots look to return to playoffs
For MAU coach Mike Molloy, it means having guys that are physically and mentally tough.
"I think it's the mental side of the game, we've had lapses in the past, so part of our focus is, 'Hey, are you playing gritty or not?'" said Molloy in between scrimmages. "Are you taking responsibility for yourself or blaming somebody else? I think that's one of the things we have to do."
The team is 18 strong to start, with three seniors — Franklin Cody, Matt Glanovsky and goalie Dylan Woodside. The main force is the junior class, which is 12 deep.
"With 18 guys on the squad, i'm looking for a good majority to play a role," Molloy said. "We have very few goals returning [from last year], so we're still trying to figure out who's going to score for us."
One player that definitely will do that is Jeff Potter, who is moving up from defensive midfielder to forward.
"I look for him to put the ball in the back of the net, he scored a couple of times during the scrimmage," Molloy said. "That's his job. Before the scrimmage, I told the guys, the only thing you have to worry about is that you play better than you did at the last scrimmage. Worry about your roles and responsibilities."
Molloy returns four starters, his three seniors and Potter. Others will have to take on starting spots after being role players a year ago.
"You have guys like Dave Peterson or Adam Sampsell or Brandon Anderson, they've played roles," Molloy said. "We'll see if those guys can step into a new role."
Molloy also kept a trio of sophomores on the squad — Aiden Maturski, Leo Sedlock and Chris Nolan — all of whom are expected to contribute significant time for the Patriots.
"I like how they've played, they all came up from [freshman coach] Ken [Turn's] team," Molloy said. "There may be some starters from that. I wouldn't bring up a sophomore [to varsity] if they weren't going to play."
Molloy said they are still trying to figure out a set formation, but also having flexibility is a major boost.
"To be successful this year, they have to buy in to the roles they have," Molloy said. "It might be five or 10 minutes at the outside midfield or 40 minutes at the center midfield, but that's what they have to do. My job is to get that and be gritty while doing it."
The schedule is a tough one, with games against CVU at home and Essex to start the season on the road, along with the usual slate of Marble Valley League opponents, including Burr and Burton, Hartford and Rutland.
"We wanted a tougher schedule, and more than half our schedule is against tough Division I opponents," Molloy said. "We start on the road for the first five games, except for the John James Tournament. The future looks good for us."
The roster: Jack Rogge, Thomas Pietrzak, Brandon Anderson, Aiden Maturski, Emiliano Salazar, Sam Chaney, Dave Peterson, Franklin Cody, Adam Sampsell, Leo Sedlock, Chris Nolan, Matthew Glanovsky, Luke Williams, Ryan Rogge, Joshua Schmid, Jeff Potter, Dylan Woodside and Hogan Elming.
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