PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. – The Pleasantville High School boys soccer team held its first practice Monday and the Panthers hope to improve on last year’s disappointing results.
The team finished 5-10 last season, received one of the lowest seeds in the section and lost in the first round of the sectional tournament. But the Panthers return a group of approximately 15 seniors for 2012 and hope to make a run in the playoffs.
Three senior captains make up the core of that group: left fullback Jeremy Onuma, sweeper Billy Stapleton and goalkeeper Paul Stapleton.
Onuma has high expectations for this year and wants to turn the team around. Defense was an issue for the Panthers last season but Onuma thinks the unit will finally gel this year.
“We’ve been playing together for the last two years besides this year and many of the players know each other and we should be able to work a lot better,” Onuma said.
Billy Stapleton said offensive improvement will be key for Pleasantville this fall.
“We have to obviously work on our attack because we didn’t score enough goals,” Stapleton said. “But I think, as a whole, we need to work on passing and spreading out the field and really moving the ball because I think if you give into the game it’ll give back.”
He also has one personal goal he hopes to accomplish in his final season.
“I’d love to score a goal on a header,” Stapleton said with a chuckle.
Paul Stapleton wants to end his high school soccer career on a positive note and has lofty goals for himself and his team.
“If we don’t win sections, at least get far in it and get a good seed unlike last year,” Stapleton said.
The team had only been together for a few hours on Monday but the goalie was glad to be back out on the pitch.
“It’s a good feeling getting everyone together, playing again, running, getting back in shape,” Stapleton said.