Tuckerton Leader

Pinelands Boys Soccer Expects Balanced Attack This Fall

Sep 01, 2017
Photo by: David Biggy Pinelands Regional senior Caden Sundermann.

Given the success the Pinelands Regional boys soccer team had during the past two years, it’s safe to say the Wildcats have reached the point in which expectations begin to tick upward from one season to the next.

However, this season might be a bit of a struggle, at least in one sense.

“Matt O’Connell had 32 goals for us last year, so we’re going to need players to fill that void with our scoring,” said new head coach Nino Scotto di Carlo. Coach Jason Asch stepped down after the Wildcats’ 16-5 season last fall.

“We have players who are capable, and I think they’re ready for the challenge,” Scotto di Carlo predicted.

Now at American University, O’Connell was a scoring machine. His graduation absolutely dealt a blow to the Wildcats’ scoring punch for this season. However, in soccer, a team doesn’t need six or seven goals a game to be a consistent winner. Scotto di Carlo believes his team might be in good shape this fall despite the loss of O’Connell and graduate Deni Salgado, who also delivered a bunch of goals.

“We’re going to be more balanced with our scoring attack, and I think that’s a good thing,” he said. “With one guy scoring a majority of goals, it’s easy for good teams to put three defenders around him. We don’t have to worry about that this season.”

Leading the charge on offense will be juniors Kieran Sundermann and Dominic DosSantos as the forwards, with juniors Frank Aguilar, Anthony Diaz and Aniello Lubrano behind them in the midfield. Newcomers to the offensive scheme include senior Matthew Ingold, sophomore Creed Nass and freshman Carter Mathis as forwards, as well as sophomore midfielder Tony Aguilar and freshman midfielder John Hart.

“Kieran and Dom are the main guys on offense now, and we definitely need them to develop into bigger scorers,” Scotto di Carlo said. “But we’re going to be looking to a lot more players to increase their scoring touches as well. We need all of our guys on offense to rise up and score more.”

But even if the Wildcats can develop a solid, balanced scoring attack, they’re still going to have to take care of the ball and keep a lid on opposing offenses. With a new goalkeeper – sophomore Logan Johnson – getting the nod between the pipes, Pinelands will rely on the solid play of returning senior Caden Sundermann and junior Luke Mathis to keep the defense glued together. The new guys in the back include sophomores Tyler Piazza, Carter Courtney and Alexander Dimm.

“We’re young in the back,” Scotto di Carlo said. “Caden is a very solid player and he’s our leader back there. We’re trying to solidify our right side in the back right now, so we’ll see how that goes. But a key for us on defense will be the play of Frank Aguilar, who’s going to have a major role on the defensive side of the midfield. We need him to be big this season.”

A Pinelands graduate himself, Scotto di Carlo bleeds green and gold. He spent several years as an assistant to Asch. But even though the program is now his to guide, he’s not planning any major changes for the time being.

“We’re doing things pretty standard to the way Jay set them up,” he said. “I’ve taken a lot of the good things Jay did and put my own little spin on it. We changed up the conditioning a bit, putting more focus on that. But otherwise, we’re just going to try to build on what we’ve done the past few years while Jay was here.

“This is as technically sound a team as I’ve witnessed. We have players with good experience and they don’t mind the physicality of the game. They can ball. We’re going to do our best to keep the ball on the deck and play possession soccer.

“We have a good chemistry on this team. And I expect us to have another good season.”

— David Biggy


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