MAU looks to lay foundation in 2019 season
BENNINGTON — The youth movement is in full effect for the Mount Anthony boys soccer team.
After last year saw six freshmen suit up for the Patriots before season's end, MAU enters the 2019 season with an underclassman-laden roster.
The Patriots have a total of 12 freshmen and sophomores on the roster, along with four seniors and three juniors.
Being that the team is young, 11th year coach Mike Molloy is hoping he sees constant development throughout the season.
"One of the good things of this bunch is that key components are playing key positions," Molloy said. "There are some guys that are only going to improve as the season moves along. All that we're trying to do this year is compete on a day-to-day, game-to-game basis."
Jordan Gardner played a complementary role as a freshman around upperclassmen like Jeff Potter and David Chorlton, but will be tasked with taking on a much larger role as a sophomore in the midfield.
"Jordan is going to be a key player for us going forward," Molloy said."He's the best soccer player in the program and he's only a sophomore."
Sophomores Nate Potter, Charlie Dobson and Ayden Parizo were also in role player positions last year and should take on a bigger role as well in the midfield and on the attack.
Senior Randy Armstrong will also be crucial in those spots.
Goal scoring is expected to be a balanced effort for the Patriots, after the departures of their top-scoring threats in Chorlton and Jeff Potter, who at times could create goals just by having the ball on their foot.
"Our goal is team-wise to get team goals contributed," Molloy said. "We're doing it a little bit [in practice], where we'll play it wide and funnel it to the middle and get three or four bodies in the box and then somebody can finish it. The objective is to get as many people in the box to be in the mix."
MAU had two senior goalkeepers last fall in Jack Rogge and Hogan Elming. With that pair graduating, MAU has been working through its options in goal during the preseason.
Junior Charlie Gratton, freshman Aiden Moscarello and sophomore Eric Whitman are battling for the job.
"We have scrimmages coming up, so that will be a big tell [for who will be the starting goalkeeper]," Molloy said.
On the back line, the Patriots lost a handful of seniors, most notably two-year captain Ryan Rogge, but have a group that still boasts some varsity experience.
Senior Reiss Forrest, junior Ethan LaBatt and sophomore Tristan Gardner all have varsity experience and should step into larger roles on defense.
When it comes down it, this season is about laying the groundwork for the next MAU team that could be among the states best a year or two down the line, just like they were during the 2014 and 2015 seasons.
"If they stick with it, two or three years from now, there's no doubt that this group can be back where we were four or five years ago," Molloy said. "We were in back-to-back semifinals and winning 12 or 13 games a year. That's the goal, but in order to get to that, that [2014 and 2015] team that made it had that tough freshmen and sophomore campaign. They stuck with it and kept competing."
MAU opens the season on August 31 against Essex on the road. They added a trio of Division II schools in Middlebury, Otter Valley and Woodstock to their schedule in 2019 and dropped games against Fair Haven and Mill River, which were blowouts in the Patriots' favor last fall.
MAU hosts the annual John James Tournament in mid-September, where it leads off with a matchup against defending Division IV champion Arlington.
Roster: Randy Armstrong, Reiss Forrest, Giovani Gina, Anthony Mazzola, Chase Gosselin, Charlie Gratton, Ethan LaBatt, Cameron Cummings, Charlie Dobson, Jordan Gardner, Tristan Gardner, Ayden Parizo, Nate Potter, Jacob Tibbetts, Eric Whitman, Peter McKenna, Aiden Moscarello, Silas Rella-Neill, Oliver Salazar.
Adam Aucoin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed at @AAucoin_Banner on Twitter.
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