On paper, it looks as if Newfane is the odds on favorite to claim the Niagara-Orleans title in boys’ varsity soccer.
The Wilson Lakemen, however, are on a mission to remind everyone that the game is not played on paper. And that things like heart and soul simply cannot be accurately measured when making predictions in the world of sports.
The Lakemen got off on a strong note when they beat Maryvale to claim the championship of the Dan Durick Tournament that was played at Clinton H.Small Stadium, Aug.26-27.
The Lakemen advanced to the finals when they defeated host Tonawanda,4-2, in the opening round.
“This was a nice chance to get out and see somebody else,” Wilson coach Jeff Hart said after the win over Tonawanda.
“It’s always nice to get that first win. A lot of these guys it’s really their first time getting competitive touches on the ball at the varsity level. I always say it sets the stage for the rest of the season. It sets the tone for our team.”In search of its first N-O title in 10 years, Wilson has struck sectional gold recently when it captured the Class B2 title in 2014.
This years line up look primed and ready to make another serious run.
Leading the way are captains Josh LiPuma, Brayden Skobjak, both seniors and junior forward Cesar Carlin, who had two goals and assist against Tonawanda and was named MVP of the Durick Tournament.
Carlin, a varsity starter since ninth grade, had 19 goals last season and was an All-League First Team selection. LiPuma, another N-O First Teamer, is the Lakemen’s top lock-down defender.
Having lost six starters to graduation, LiPuma said that its up to the captains to step up and be the kind of leaders their coaches and teammates can depend on.
“It’s definitely a learning experience molding a new team,” LiPuma said.
Wilson will also rely heavily on the playmaking skills of senior midfielder Tyler Van Buren. A very underrated player, Van Buren makes the Wilson offense hum and is one of the biggest reasons why Carlin gets so many scoring opportunities. Mason Secor will take over as the starting goalie for the Lakemen.
“We play well as a team, I think,” Skobjak said. “We lost a lot of guys, but I thought we played pretty well for the first game back.”
Kyle Lyon and Alexander Chiappone will also be counted on to help the offensive attack.
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