By ALEX SPONSELLER The Pilgrim and Toll Gate boys soccer teams kicked off their seasons this week and squared off last week in the Injury Fund exhibition, with the Pats taking home the victory. Pilgrim is coming off another playoff run, as it reached the
By ALEX SPONSELLER The Pilgrim and Toll Gate boys soccer teams kicked off their seasons this week and squared off last week in the Injury Fund exhibition, with the Pats taking home the victory.
Pilgrim is coming off another playoff run, as it reached the Division II Semifinals in 2020, and is looking poised for another postseason appearance in 2021.
“We lost some good players from last year, but you’re always going to lose good players. The new guys have been filling in nicely, we will be fine, we just need to get a little bit sharper especially in the penalty area. We can’t get sloppy. They’ve got to sharpen everything up, but we’ll get there,” said Pilgrim coach Bill Carroll.
Pilgrim’s biggest loss is Paulo Frias, who was the team’s top scorer last season and one of the best players in the state. Although Pilgrim will need to make up that production, Carroll has confidence in the few returners he will be looking to on the offensive end of the field.
“I hope to have four or five kids score 10, 12, 13 goals … that would make me happy. If we are going to narrow it down to one striker, it’s going to be Ryan Annunziata, he is a real threat. We’ve got Declan (Faherty) up front who can score too, a couple of guys off the bench like Carter Robbins, he has shown a lot of promise,” said Carroll.
Overall, the key will be to play a clean, consistent game, according to Carroll.
“If they play sensibly, then it’s going to happen. That’s always a risk, they’re kids, you never really know what you’re going to get each day, but we should have a good season,” said Carroll.
Toll Gate had a down season last year and will feature a young roster this time around, with only four players having real varsity playing time.
“We are extremely young with only four guys with varsity experience. They’re going to be thrown into the fire early. We only have 22 field players, so everybody is going to dress and be available. They are going to have to learn quick. They are ready to play,” said Toll Gate coach Mike Kenney. “The speed of the game is completely different than the speed of their youth league games. It takes a little time, it’s just different and they need to get used to it. They didn’t back down (in the Injury Fund game), they battled, hopefully we can build on that and take it from there.”
The Titans will be led by guys like Jayden Pereira, Tyler Carpenter, Ryan Dacey, Alesandro Roca and Brodie Marinelli. Kenney believes that Carpenter and Pereira will need to hold down the fort on defense, especially in the early going, for the club to find success.
“Carpenter in front can slow a lot of people down. Pereira has his angles down, he’s as athletic as they come,” said Kenney. “He can make a lot of our mistakes look less troublesome. He’s the backbone. If he has an off day, we have an off day.”