WNY Athletics

Warriors Are As One

An Opening Day loss does not define your season. Not if you don’t let it.

And the Warriors didn’t let one loss ruin their season.

Junior Aaron Holler’s hat trick set the tone as Tonawanda beat Springville, 5-1, to claim the third place game of the Dan Durick Tournament that was held at Clinton H.Small Stadium, Aug.26-27.

The Warriors fell to eventual champion, Wilson 4-2, in the opening round. Though the Warriors say that game against Wilson was no where near what they were capable of as a group, it did serve as an early wake up call as to what needs to be worked on.

“I think we know our strengths and weaknesses,” senior captain Dylan Lewis said. “We’re just struggling (with) making better decisions.”

Returning virtually his whole team, Warriors head coach James Gabor will have plenty of pure soccer skill to work with as they return Seth Kowsky, Trey Lilly, Chuck Moore, Ryan Clark and Ryan Gardner, while Cam Brunetta and Nick Bitter return to anchor the defense.

Gabor said the biggest area the team needs to improve on is chemistry. Last season off field personality conflicts at times trickled over into games. Gabor, too frequently for his taste, had to remind his players you don’t have to be best friends off the field, but you do need to learn how to work together on the field. This season the Warriors have put that issue to rest as there was not only good communication on the field, but more importantly there was a steady stream of guys on the bench talking and cheering on their teammates throughout both games.

“I think that now that it’s our senior year, as a whole, we all just have the same mind set that this is the last year,” Lewis said.

“We’ve just got to go out, play as hard as we can and forget the drama.”

Aaron Holler (forward) said that an opening day loss meant the guys just had to take a look in the mirror and realize what everyone needs to do better to find the success that they all know the team is capable of having.

“Yeah I really think that games like this show what we really can and can’t do for the season,” Holler said after the loss to Wilson.

“What we can improve on. What our strengths are and what to build on to have a great season.”

In net, it appears it will be a repeat of last season as the Warriors will look to seniors Adam Moore and Jordan Kowalewski to share the goalkeeping duties. Nick Bitter and Aaron Holler were named to the All Tournament team.

Gabor said there was still work to be done, but as a whole he loved the way his team was able to shake off Friday’s loss and nail down the win Saturday against Springville.
“We talked about it (Friday) not letting one game define us,” Coach Gabor said. “Come back and try to use this game as an opportunity to come back, build confidence, work on some things. Obviously we’re not there yet, but hopefully it will give us a little bit of momentum going forward.

Dan Durick was just 14 when he lost his battle against Evans Syrdrome on May 31, 2005. He was a well liked house soccer player in the Twin Cities and member of the Warriors JV team.

Danny’s brother, Jeff Durick (Class 2008), scored the game winning to that gave the Tonawanda boys’ the 2007 Durick tournament title.

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