Ocean City Today

WP boys’ soccer squad looks to get new players acclimated

By Managing Editor, Lisa Capitelli | Sep 07, 2017
Photo by: Lisa Capitelli Worcester Prep senior captain Sam Cantello reaches for the ball during a scrimmage last week. He will help run the team’s solid defensive line this season.

(Sept. 8, 2017) After graduating 10 seniors, seven of them starters, this year’s Worcester Prep boys’ soccer team is young and most players have minimal varsity game experience.

“We lost a big chunk. We graduated 40 goals,” said Prep Coach Terry Underkoffler. “The last few years we were deep, and the quality of the depth … we had players who were interchangeable. We graduated so many major contributors. We have to get the new players acclimated.”

The seniors won four regular-season titles, three Eastern Shore Independent Athletic Conference championships and recorded 50 victories in four years.

The 2016 team went 14-1 and captured the ESIAC championship with a 3-1 victory over Holly Grove. About a dozen of the 20 players on Underkoffler’s roster were members of the team last year.

The squad returns experience on defense and in the goal.

Junior Cooper Richins is back in goal for Worcester. His performance during the 2016 season earned him All-ESIAC Honorable Mention accolades.

“He’s playing outstanding. He’s quick and has excellent hands,” Underkoffler said.

Senior captain Sam Cantello and juniors Henry Elangwe and Cole Berry will run the defensive line.

Senior Brenner Maull and junior Colin Miller, both team captains, will play in the center midfield. Junior Owen Tunis and sophomore Ryan Cronin will also compete in the midfield.

“Over the past four years we’ve lost a lot of good players, however I think as we move up, my fellow seniors and I we’ve really brought the experience we need to lead the team,” Maull, a four-year player, said.

He has experience playing defense and in the midfield.

“I played right back for two years. I’m very familiar with the outside defense and moving to the [center back] I can show them exactly what they need to do and I can direct them,” Maull said. “In the midfield, it’s just all about communication. You’ve just got to talk and let the other players know what you’re doing and where you’re going so they can cover for you.”

Maull said it will take hard work and dedication to be successful this season and win the ESIAC championship.

“Mostly I think it’s going to take the seniors to really lead the underclassmen,” he said. “I’m very excited. It’s going to be a great season. I think since the first day of preseason we’ve really improved. All of our touches have improved and we’re really getting the ball skills down.”

Underkoffler, now in his sixth season at the helm, will count on senior captain Tucker Brown to provide offense for the team.

“I think he’s going to score some big goals in big games this year,” he said. “He looks really good. I think he will have a good season up top.”

Brown played defense his freshman and sophomore year. Last year he took the field as a striker.

“I know how coach Terry runs everything, the formations, everything we do. We’ve won multiple championships since I’ve been here so I know what it takes and it’s my job to kind of pass that on to the younger guys and show them what it takes,” he said. “We lost most of our starting lineup [and] a lot of our depth. We have a lot of new kids that are getting playing time this year. A lot of them were here last year and we have some good freshmen.”

Several new players will contribute this year including freshmen Vincent Petrera (forward/midfield) and Mason Brown (defense) and juniors Will Todd (forward), Tom Fager (defense) and Michael Curtis (defense).

“We have some good pieces. We have some good things to build on,” Underkoffler said. “The goal is to play good soccer and get better every week. We’d like to get to the final four of the league and finish strong at the end.”

“It’s more about your effort and how hard you try to complete a task in order to win a championship,” Brown added.

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