hen you lose seven of your eight All-Stars to graduation, as Cooperstown boys soccer coach Frank Miosek did this season, you might find it hard to be positive about the 2012 season.
Unless, the lone returning All-Star was Michael Rowley, The Daily Star 2011 Player of the Year, and the Redskins unquestioned senior leader.
Even if the Redskins aren’t the favorites to make a return trip to the Section Three finals this season, or go undefeated in the regular season, with Rowley playing somewhere on the field, there is reason for optimism for Miosek.
“We have so many young, talented players on this team,” Miosek said. “It will do them good to play with Michael for a season.”
Where exactly Rowley will play on the field is an open question with multiple answers likely to be tried over the season. However where ever Rowley plays — and however opposing defenses play him — Miosek said it won’t hamper his player.
“I don’t think it will be a problem for him,” Miosek said. “He is used to being able to create from anywhere on the field. If anything, it will be a challenge for me, as a coach, to make a decision where to play him.
“If I have to, I will drop him back to fullback and let him create from there. Then we can let the other team waste a player marking him,” he continued.
Still, the Redskins will have to replace a lot of talent. Jay Davine, with 13 goals and 14 assists, also made The Daily Star first team All-Star team, and several other players certainly could have been included. Goalie Kevin Huggins set a team record for shutouts last season, and his entire defense — All-Star defenders Ben Bauer, Wes Lippitt, Harrison Clinton and Sam Bowen — graduated with him.
Sophomore Kevin Frevele is the top candidate to replace Huggins, and has started the season in goal. Seniors Matt Frevele, Ethan Bliss and Steven Schultz should step in on defense.
Still, Cooperstown will have to replace a lot of goal scorers. In addition to Davine, it lost All-Star Will Derouin, who added 12 goals.
Seniors Liam Heneghan and Liam Dolan, and junior Park Summers all proved they can put the ball into the net last year, but all will have to play a bigger role this season.
Miosek is also high on his underclassmen. “We’re got four or five players coming up that are going to be really good,” he said. “They are going to help us a lot this season.”
In 2012, Cooperstown boys will play in Center State Conference Division III, which includes Hamilton, Mt. Markham, Saquoit and Waterville, a switch that Miosek said allows the Redskins to “renew old rivalries.” The Redskins will also return to the Chic Walshe Tournament in Davenport, which they won in overtime last season against South Kortright.
Like the Rams, the Redskins won’t be a favorite this season, in Davenport, the CSC or the section. However with Rowley leading the way, the team will try to pull a traditional play out of Miosek’s playbook: take a few losses early on, grow as a team and as young players, and peak in time for the tournament.
“We look forward to competing for the league championship and doing well in section play again,” Miosek said.
The Redskins started the season last Thursday with a 3-2 loss at Section Three Class C champ Clinton. Rowley and eighth-grader Max Clinton had the goals for Cooperstown.
On Monday, Cooperstown got its first win of the season, beating Mount Markham 3-1 in league play. Heneghan scored two goals and Summers had the other score.
The Redskins hosted Morrisville-Eaton Wednesday after deadline and travel to Waterville on Friday.