PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. -- Pleasantville is optimistic, and with good reason, going into the 2012 varsity boy’s soccer season.
The Panthers return 13 experienced seniors who are aiming to reverse consecutive sub-.500 seasons the past two years.
“Last year we lost five one-goal games and we qualified fot sectionals, but got a low seed,” said senior Jeremy Onuma. “A lot of us spent the off-season playing high-level club soccer to gain even more experience.
“Because of this, some of the guys have really stepped up in our scrimmages.”
Onuma and the Stapleton twins -- Billy and Paul -- are the captains. The large senior class returning includes Matt Santora, Matt Pastore, Cameron Demaree, Luke Scales, Jeremy Schneider, Chris Vallejo, Jack Passadomo, Charlie Tulchin, Terrence Roney and Aidan Heintzelman.
Paul Stapleton is back in goal with his brother and Onuma in front of him. Three players are currently vying for the last starting spot on defense.
“We feel we are a more experienced team as well as stronger and faster,” Ounma said. “We are very motivated and ready to step it up this season.”
Pleasantville is 1-1 in two scrimmages and ahead of where it was last year. This, as a result of captain’s practices over the summer where the team ran three miles to warm up.
“In our scrimmages we did a much better job of passing on the ground and retaining possession,” Onuma said. “In our win, we were able to score four goals in the first 16 minutes.”
Pleasantville opens the season with three games in the first three days against defending Section 1 Class C champion Alexander Hamilton Wednesday, Sept. 5, followed by Briarcliff and Valhalla.
“Everyone has been focused and a lot more serious, giving it 150 percent,” Onuma said. “We’re anticipating to have a very good year.”