[Oct. 2016 Sports] Training added to boys’ soccer amplified success

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By Brendan Massoud ’17 and Lili Romann ’19

 

Coming off a bit of a slow start, the Staples boys’ soccer team is beginning to flourish with their polished mindset and intensified fitness as the air becomes chillier and the leaves begin to turn. Sitting at 7-3-6 currently (as of Oct. 25), the Wreckers are looking to succeed as the season continues.

Following first round losses to Darien and Hall last year in the FCIAC and state tournaments respectively, the team is back with a new vengeance for this season.

Captain Josh Berman ’17 is confident that this year’s squad has the tenacity needed to thrive in November. “The biggest change is our change of mindset, and that mindset is now a much tougher one than it has been in recent years,” Berman said.

In addition to the mental toughness, which the Wreckers have developed, the team went through vigorous off-season training in order to prepare for this year’s competition. A new fitness test has been added, requiring each player to run a two mile distance in less than 12 minutes and 20 seconds.

In-season running further enables the Wreckers’ success. “We’ve been doing more fitness in practice which is helping us end games and outlast teams,” Will Birch ’18 said.

In order to successfully enforce these changes, the coaching staff split up responsibilities. While Chris O’Dell, a former freshman coach, focuses on the mental aspect of the team, Tom Henske works on the physical fitness and Kurt Dasbach is working individually with the players.

“We just tried to be a better coaching staff,” Dan Woog, the head coach, said.

Although there have certainly been some changes to the way the Wreckers approach their business, players have responded incredibly well. “They are working very, very hard,” Woog said. “They are starting to believe in what we’re doing.”

Among a number of key players on the Wreckers’ lineup, Woog considers Thomas Nealon ’17 as a significant standout. Having played with the Beachside Soccer Club in seasons prior, Nealon decided to join the Staples roster for his final year and has made both tactical and technical contributions.

Other notables include Teddy Lawrence ’17 and Sam Kantor ’17, both anchoring the defensive end and goalie Ziggy Hallgarten ’17, as he has let up only nine goals thus far.

After playing a solid regular season, the Wreckers are certainly confident they can go deep in the FCIAC and state tournaments.

The Wreckers are looking to carry out their success in the remaining time they have left, as well as post-season competitions. Berman, for one, seems confident about the team’s future.

“What makes our team successful is that from the starters to the last man on the bench, everyone has a role,” Berman said, “and everyone plays their role exceptionally.”

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