September 06, 2006

Pierson Boys' Soccer Preview Whalers Expectations Are High

Last season, the Pierson boys' soccer team saw much success along the way to a 7-3-2 record in Suffolk's League VIII. The Whalers, then coached by Don McGovern, even handed top playoff seed Southold a 1-0 loss late in the regular season before falling to the First Settlers in the semifinals of the Class C championship tournament.

This season, first year head coach Sean Kelly, a former Pierson graduate, will look to maintain the program's path to a title that was paved by McGovern, his former coach.

"The level of excellence here is high," said Kelly. "I think that we can win our league, go to the playoffs and make a challenge at the county title. The sky's the limit from there.

"And I know that what's guaranteed is that this is going to be a fun, enjoyable season for our team. This team has had one of the best coaches in Suffolk County guiding its program for quite some time. He has been a mentor to me and I'm proud to have this opportunity."

Senior keeper Craig Caiazza is one of the top goalkeepers in the league, possessing tremendous skill, athletic ability and amazing reflexes; he's a leader on the field as well as off.

He'll be well-guarded this season with defenders Stephen LaFountain and Kevin O'Brien, the Whalers respective sweeper and stopper, who both "have lots of ability and heart," according to Kelly. "They each have confidence on the ball that you need at the center of your defense and they will make opposing offenses think twice."

Midfielder Keith Robinson, one of Pierson's multi-sport athletes, has looked impressive with his composure on the ball as well as his ability to distribute. "He sees the value of a pass where some others might try to dribble out of pressure," Kelly said.

Wingman James McMahon, another senior, is a leader on the field with strong offensive ability. "He understands the type of game plan that I am trying to implement whether it's using his skills or distributing."

Up front, the Whalers offense will feature the talented tandem of David Rodriguez and Peter Alarcon. "They're two players that work very well together and they're both good ball strikers, but are unselfish in the sense that they like to further break down defenses," according to Kelly. "I like the high standards that they hold for themselves because they are constantly trying to improve."

Tony Abbene, Mike DePetris, Marcelo Escanuela, Kevin Geddie, David Hess, Matthew Rojano, Paul Stoutenberg, Nick Tagliasaczhi, Wolf Van Wehran and Irvin Vaquero round out the Whalers' impressive roster.

Pierson will feature one of the deepest teams in League VIII, with either 17 or 18 players making the varsity squad and Kelly has been pleased with his team's positive chemistry and camaraderie, which he believes will be the Whalers number one asset.

"I've been very happy with what I've seen so far from them in the pre-season. We have very strong leaders and positional players. Soccer has been a part of my life . . . all of my life and I have never seen a team this balanced. Kids who may not start every game can bring so much to the table for us. The role players on this team are going to be as important, if not more important, depending upon the situation. Everyone's excited to get going."

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