By OUA athletic standards, the turnover from 2011 to 2012 for the Voyageurs men’s soccer team was a mild one. “We didn’t lose a lot of guys, but we lost some quality,” noted head coach Carlo Castrechino.
“But we brought in some really good rookies.” Indeed, there exists a sense of optimism throughout the late summer training camp, despite the graduation of the likes of goaltender Dave Szczepaniak, midfielder James Bond and part-time defender, part-time striker Andrew Posteraro.
Some of this positive outlook is simply a by-product of the on-going maturation of a core of talent across the back-end and midfield, with Cameron Brooks, Cam Coulter, Liam Dougherty and Daniel O’Connor all back in the fold.
Fifth year central defender Brian Kavaratzis will help provide some additional experience, while P.E.I. native Davor Alisic provides much the same impact up front, serving as a key offensive catalyst.
Throw-in keeper Matt George, who Castrechino considers among the best in the province, and plenty of veteran depth with striker Dieri Drame, midfielder Stephen Fattore and versatile Lo-Ellen graduate Stephane Jacques, and the Voyageurs really begin to take shape.
But where the rookies, in most years, are often still in their late teens, the incoming class of 2012 features 22 year olds Omar Allison, a transfer from Plattsburgh State, and Woodbridge midfielder Aaron Reeves.
“Our bench is going to be deep this year,” Castrechino said. “I think we’re a better team offensively, that we’ll be able to create more chances. Our defense, I’m pretty comfortable with.”
Looking to secure a home playoff berth for the first time since 2009, the long-time Laurentian coach knows exactly where the make or break game will lie.
“If you want to compete at the top, you can’t give away points to teams below you.” Therein lies the challenge for the 2012 edition of the Voyageurs men’s soccer team.