Boys’ Soccer: It is our time

Kyle Bordner, Sports Editor

The Boys Soccer team is looking forward to another exciting season this year. Although the team was not able to complete all of their goals last season, there are many positive things returning to the turf.

   The first positive is the large number of returning players from last season. Scorers Chris Blandy, Gabe Watkins, and Ray Horner all return from strong 2011 seasons to go along with captains Connor McFadden, Dan Walsh, and goalkeeper Sean Mullarkey. Other returning players include defenseman Mike Clauss, Pascal Dylewicz, Harry Bach, and Carlo Martines. Younger players include Cory Bond and Justin Major (to name two), who are only sophomores. The amount of talent entering this season is higher than most previous years. Junior defenseman Mike Clauss expects other teams to “fear” the Lions, while Pascal Dylewicz believes the team “has talent across the field” and that “the team will be looking to win its 3rd straight Olympic conference championship.” With huge expectations and huge talent, the Lions have a long road ahead of them.

   The second positive is the success that the Boys soccer team has had in its recent history. With back to back conference titles in the rear view mirror, the Lions are one of the favorites to win again. Also, the number of all conference and all South Jersey soccer players the Lions have produced cannot be ignored. West has a reputation to protect and this year is no exception. The Lions are going to come out hungry and excited to tear through South Jersey and possibly the entire state.

   The Lions have started their season and with three games thus far, and have looked for the most part very strong. In their opener, a home game against Eastern, the Lions played a great game highlighted by excellent goalkeeping by Sean Mullarkey, stellar defense by Mike Clauss, and a fancy goal by Ray Horner. Unfortunately, the efforts were matched by the strong Eastern club, and the game ended in a 1-1 draw. In game 2, the Lions went away to Seneca and got their first win of the season. The defense was phenomenal and Chris Blandy scored the only goal in a 1-nil affair. Game 3 brought the Lions their first loss of the season against Bishop Eustace. Gabe Watkins scored for the Lions, but defense allowed 2 goals, produsing a 2-1 loss. All in all, the Lions played “great soccer with unlucky results” says Pascal Dylewicz. However, even with high expectations, 1-1-1 is a respectable record against 3 of the finest opponents in South Jersey.

   The Lions will continue to have a rough schedule throughout the  season. The team will play several times a week for the months of September and October and hope to reach the playoffs after that. One of the main goals for the squad is to “get revenge on East” on October 26th. The Lions have a long way ahead before reaching that date but it will remain in the back of their minds as inspiration throughout the whole season. The Lions need fan support if they want to reach their goals. As the hilarious Jimmy Fallon once said, “If you’re a sports fan you realize that when you meet somebody, like a girlfriend, they kind of have to root for your team. They don’t have a choice.” Even if you don’t want to, support the Lions. You could witness a stellar season.