Valley Sports Report
WAVERLY — Waverly boys soccer coach Eric Ryck has watched his program trend upward since re-booting it prior to the 2018 season. He’s hoping that trend continues in 2021.

(Waverly opens tonight at home against Watkins Glen. Game time is 7 p.m. at Memorial Stadium.)

“Last year was a big change for us,” said Ryck. “We went from getting spanked, 5 or 6 to nothing to losing games 2-1, or 1-0 … and having a chance to win every game. If we can continue that trend, and get the ball in the back of the net, we have a chance to do some good things.

“I think if we can play smart, and defend well, we’re going to have some success,” he added.

Ryck wants to win games, but really is looking for continued growth for his young squad.

“My biggest expectation is that we grow as a soccer team — grow technically as a soccer team.

“In the past we’ve relied on our size, and been very direct in our play,” said Ryck. “Because we’re so young, I want the boys to grow together as a technically sound team so they can progress as a possession-type team and play quality soccer.”

Senior Cameron McIsaac returns for his fourth season in net for the Wolverines, but he’ll have company this year, with sophomore Jon Searles slated to see time as keeper as well.

“We have two goal keepers this year, which is kind of nice,” said Ryck.

“Cam McIsaac has been back there for four years, and is a real strength for our team.

“(Searles) has really good instincts,” added Ryck. “He’s raw, but what he’s been doing in practice is really impressive.”

Ryck said his reasons for getting Searles playing time in net are two-fold.

“I’d really like to get Cam on the field because he can do a lot of good things, but he’s such an asset in the goal,” said Ryck.

“And, I’d like to get Jon some time in net to get him a little experience for next year,” Ryck added.

Ryck notes the Wolverines will employ a  4-4-2 to start the year

Seniors Declan Murphy and Austin Ingham will start at center-backs, with sophomore Sam Knight and junior Landon McCarty sharing time with sophomores Carter George, Ralph Johnson, and Alex Emanual at outside back.

“Murphy and Ingham will anchor our defense, but we have a group of five or six guys who will be interchangeable at outside back and in the midfield,” said Ryck.

Sophomores Charlie Larrabee and Griff Schillmoeller will start at center-mid, with sophomore Nehemiah Anthony playing inside,  outside, and on defense.

Senior Brennan Traub and junior Sheldon Huddleston will man the forward positions.

Ryck said his team has been working hard on putting the ball in the net, something he notes has been a problem, but he believes his new assistant coach could help in this area.

“Yeah, scoring goals has absolutely been a problem,” said Ryck. “We’ve been working hard on finishing.

“I’m really excited … we brought in Mark Mast as assistant coach,” added Ryck. “He played Division III soccer, and his father has been a Division III coach for more than 30 years — to have that tactical and technical knowledge now on the sidelines to go along with the upward trend we’ve been on, I’m hoping that really helps to get us over the hump.”

Ryck likes what he’s seen from his team in the preseason.

“I think this team’s cohesiveness is it’s biggest strength. Being young, they’re pretty skilled and they work together very well.

“They’ve played together for a long time, and having that spring season has really helped our sophomores become part of the team quickly, and that was invaluable to us.,” said Ryck. “To have that quick turnaround, it was like we never quit playing, and we picked up right where we left off.”

The Wolverines did lose some key seniors to graduation.

“Our size is a concern,” said Ryck. “We’re going to miss the size, and the physicality of the seniors we had last year

“We just don’t have that super physical player right yet,” he added. “I’m hoping that turns around as we get into the season, and these kids gain a bit more confidence.”


“I know SVEC is going to be strong,” said Ryck. “They didn’t lose much from last year, and they are a team that always plays us tough. They are probably the team to beat.”


IN PHOTO 1: Senior Cameron McIsaac (left) and senior Brennan Traub. …. VSR STOCK PHOTOS.