Mallards Have Big Shoes To Fill

BERLIN- Last year’s outstanding senior class has moved on, leaving plenty of holes to fill for Worcester Prep’s boy’s varsity soccer team as they prepare for their 2008 campaign, but with some veteran upperclassmen returning and a handful of young players ready to step into the breach, the outlook is great for the Mallards this fall.

Gone from last year’s team are veteran seniors Chase Humphrey, Christian Payne, Max DiFilippo and Clayton Perry, to name a few, leaving Coach Tom Westcott with plenty of big shoes to fill in terms of leadership, but Worcester appears to have the depth and talent at almost every position to maintain the successful continuity of the program.

“We lost a real nice senior class with a lot of leadership, so we have a lot of positions to fill,” said Westcott. “The door is open for a lot of other kids to step up and take over this year.”

Worcester will start freshman Alex Ternahan in goal, but Westcott isn’t worried about keeping the opponent’s ball out of the net. He has a lot of confidence in his young keeper despite his lack of experience.

“He doesn’t look like a freshman back there,” he said. “He plays with a lot of poise for a young guy. I really see him being our keeper for the next four years.”

Fronting Ternahan on defense will be a mixed bag of veteran players along with some new blood. Junior Brad Harris will anchor the defense as the sweeper back. He will be flanked most of the time by a pair of juniors in Hunter Marshall and Chase Powell, who just transferred to Worcester Prep this year.

The stopper back position will be shared by a couple of veteran senior players in Ross Roessler and Parker McIntosh. Worcester should be strong in the middle of the field with junior Martin Sanchez at the center midfield position. For the most part, Sanchez will be flanked by senior co-captains Evan Bauer and Stephen Pappas.

Of course, putting the ball in the net is the key to the success of any soccer program, and Worcester appears to have plenty of firepower up front. Juniors Mike Mollichelli and Fausto DiCarlo along with sophomore Matt Carey will be counted on to finish for the Mallards’ offense. Other players expected to contribute and see significant playing time include forwards Brandon Thaler and Billy Tyler, midfielder Chris Fisher, Zack Wilde and another transfer in Michael Dayton-Jones.

Westcott said his team’s success this year will revolve around how fast they come together as a team.

“I don’t see any one player dominating,” he said. “It’s going to take a total team effort from one end of the field to the other and from one end of the bench to the other.”

Worcester hopes to make up for some lack of experience with conditioning, which has long been a hallmark of Westcott’s teams.

“We might be overmatched in terms of talent in some cases, but I know we’ll never be outrun,” he said. “Conditioning is so important in soccer and it’s something we’ve focused on around here for a long time.”