A team with more sophomores than seniors is generally viewed as building for the future. Not Hamburg High School boys soccer.
The young Bulldogs, with just six seniors on the 21-man roster, remain at the top in ECIC II and look strong in their quest for that elusive Section VI championship.
“That’s the standard now,” Hamburg coach Tony Schiappa said. “The standard now is that we compete to win an ECIC championship and then a section championship. We’ve been to the section championship the last two years … we have some unfinished business because we haven’t won yet.”
Despite the youth, the Bulldogs seem to have the talent to accomplish those goals. Hamburg entered Friday’s showdown with Sweet Home with a 7-2-1 record, including a 5-1-1 ECIC II mark.
“We’re just a family,” sophomore forward Gabe Mastrangelo said after scoring three goals in a 6-0 win over Amherst on Wednesday. “We’re all real close. We just have to keep working as a team, don’t fall apart and we should be good.”
Mastrangelo is one of eight talented sophomores on the roster. He has a team-best eight goals and six assists. Hamburg also has a freshman and four juniors, so the future looks real bright. But these Bulldogs aren’t about the future, they’re about now. And Hamburg is looking to peak when it matters most.
“It takes time to win,” said Schiappa, whose Bulldogs won the division in each of the last two seasons. “We’re still learning how to win. We’ve never been this young, so there’s a little bit of a learning curve. But our captains have done well; they’re the heart of our team. They’ve done well to have these guys keep their focus.”
The four captains are all seniors: midfielder Justin Weiskerger and defensemen Sam Wright, Mark Sheehan and Matt Evenden. Goalkeepers Tucker Reynolds and Zach Setara are the team’s other 12th-graders. And the leaders on the squad are making sure Hamburg brings its best every day.”
“We’re just grinding,” Weiskerger said. “We’re doing well as a team, working hard. We bring the fight to every game and we just have to keep doing what we’re doing.”
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