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Valley Sports Report
WAVERLY — Waverly boys soccer coach Eric Ryck likes the look of his team heading into the 2023 season, but is wary of the great unknown — the program’s first year in the Southern Tier Athletic Conference.

“My biggest concern is just the newness of what we’re going up against, and not being familiar with the teams that we’re going to be playing,” he said. “We’re kind of playing behind in terms of preparing for what we have in front of us.

“We’ve been in the IAC so long, you kind of know and gauge from season-to-season what each team is going to do,” he noted. “With this being our first year in the STAC, and us just not seeing a lot of these teams and not knowing a lot about them, the first half of the season is going to be like game-planning by Braille — you’re just going to be guessing a little bit, but once you’ve seen all the teams in the first half, you’ll know better for the second half.

“I think that’s our biggest weakness — the unknown, and the era we’re in trying to figure out exactly who we are in the STAC, and what we have to do to succeed in the STAC,” added Ryck.

Seniors Griff Schillmoeller and Charlie Larrabee will anchor the Wolverines as center attacking midfielders.

“Schillmoeller and Larrabee will be anchoring that midfield in the center of the park,” said Ryck. “Their  experience, and ball-handling skills are top-notch … they compliment each other very well in the middle of the field. I’m looking forward to that pairing.

“Hopefully, we can control the midfield with those guys,” he added.

Senior newcomer Micah Chandler will be starting on the wing, and will likely see some time at forward, and sophomore Andrew Larrabee will also start on the wing.

Sophomore Payton Robinson will start at striker, but will see time in midfield.

Seniors Nehemiah Anthony and Sam Knight will anchor the Waverly defense as center backs, with sophomore Porter Daddona starting at left-back, and seniors Alex Emanuel and Tyler Mitchell, who will also see time on the wing, and in the midfield, in the back as well.

Senior Thomas Morley and sophomore Aiden Doherty are vying for time in the net for the Wolverines.

“Both of them are going to get plenty of time in goal,” said Ryck. “I’m just not sure yet what direction we’re going to go for the majority.”

Sophomore Logan Roskow will be seeing quite a bit of time at wing, while junior Zachary Moran will sub in at wing, and as a defensive back, junior newcomer Paxton Grover will see time on the wing and on defense, and junior newcomer Adam Hirthler will see time at forward, and as a wing.

Sophomore newcomer Dakota French will see time on the wing, while sophomore Trevor Blauvelt will be at outside back, freshman Trent Vandyke will see time at center defensive midfielder, and outside back, freshman Collin Wheeler will split time between defense and wing, and 8th-grader Sam Cheresnowsky could see time at outside back.

Ryck said the strength of his team is right up the middle of the field.

“The biggest strength for our team is definitely the center of the park, and our defensive backs,” he said. “Straight down the center of the field is where we have the most experience.

“Griff (Schillmoeller) and Charlie (Larrabee) in the midfield, and our two center-backs — Sam Knight) and Nehemiah (Anthony), and even Alex (Manuel) at the center-defensive mid … we’re just very strong down the center of the field, which is where you want to be strong.

“We just have that good core group of seniors,” noted Ryck. “Seven seniors, and they are all very skilled with the ball at their feet … bigger guys, and confident guys.

“I’m hoping we can win the battles in the center of the field,” he added.

AROUND THE STAC CENTRAL DIVISION: Waverly joins the STAC Central Division with Owego, Seton Catholic, Chenango Forks, and Chenango Valley.

“Owego is the defending Section IV champ, and beat Oneonta in the championship game … Seton Catholic just beat Oneonta, 5-1, (Wednesday) night, so it’s tough to say what’s going to happen in our division,” said Ryck.

“Everything is up in the air, and that’s the thing with the STAC … all these teams, you never know day-to-day who is going to win because everyone is capable,” noted Ryck.

“It just depends what group you get to show up that night, and that’s what makes those teams so formidable when you get to the postseason because they’re use to that level of play all year long,” added Ryck. “It’s something we are going to have to get use to as well.”

Waverly opens the 2023 season Friday afternoon at home against Oneonta.


IN PHOTO: Waverly’s Griff Schillmoeller. … VSR STOCK PHOTO.

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