the north face jackets uk Emmaus to beat in EPC boys soccer
The formation of the new Eastern Pennsylvania Conference is what it is the merger of the former Lehigh Valley and Mountain Valley conferences, and Parkland boys soccer coach Patrick Birns isn’t necessarily in favor of the consequences of the merger.
Birns cited the possibility of playing 21 games in seven weeks (regular season and EPC playoffs), the long road trips and the potential for postseason rematches as his reasons for skepticism.
“I’m scared the conference and district playoffs might mirror each another and I don’t think that’s a good thing. You don’t want to see the same matchup four times in a season. That’s definitely a possibility.”
The new conference notwithstanding, Birns is excited to see how the season unfolds.
He selected coach John Cari’s rival Emmaus Green Hornets as a solid favorite to claim the first EPC title.
“I think Emmaus has a really strong team and is the front runner,” Birns said. “I think we can play with them it’s a rivalry game and that changes everything. I expect it to be a really good match. But Emmaus is the team to beat.”
East Stroudsburg North (6 10 1)
Coach: Josh Fuller (1st season)
Key players: sr. D Zach DeSantis, sr. M Danny Ferruzza, sr. D Mat Lloret, sr. GK Sam Velez, jr. F Austin Allbaugh
Outlook: Timberwolves are hard working group with solid core of seniors who co exist well, according to their coach. Fuller hopes on field communication becomes a strength of this year’s squad. The new staff is preaching effort. Improvement and a berth in the District 11 playoffs are the goal.
East Stroudsburg South (5 13)
Coach: Bryan Laverdure (1st season)
Key players: sr. D Jake Hetner, sr. F/M Joey Jacona, sr. M/D Kyle McDonnell, sr. F/M Akinori Mollenthiel, sr. M/GK DJ Van Solkema, sr. F/M Raul Vegas, sr. M/D Mike Zanella
Outlook: Cavaliers are a senior laden squad transiting to a new coaching staff. The players’ desire to embrace a new system and the overall attitude are positives, according to Laverdure. Still, there is a natural transition period. Can they improve on five wins from last season?
Pleasant Valley (19 2)
Coach: Chris Pachuta (6th season, 69 30 4)
Key players: sr. M Justin Habick, sr. M Noah Fulcomer, sr. F Gabe Connell, Jr. D Enes Nikosevic, sr. GK Austin Smale, so. GK Bradley Brickman.
Outlook: Bears expect to be an intelligent team with a high soccer IQ and rely on strong goalkeeping to suffocate opponents. They did lose a lot of offense and leadership from last year’s team. Pachuta’s aim is for the PV program to join Emmaus, Parkland and Stroudsburg as a perennial power.
Pocono Mountain East (10 9 2)
Coach: Matt Pero (1st season)
Key players: sr. M Branden Bonifacio, sr. D Ricky Garcia, sr. M Junior Kouadio, sr. F Marcus Pluas, sr. D Jake Steckel, sr. F Colin Winey, sr. GK Brent Weiss, sr. M Andrew Yarosh
Outlook: Cardinals will rely on a strong senior class to provide both production and leadership for a new coaching staff. Pero identified on field communication as a preseason concern. The hope is to keep alive a strong tradition. “We will be successful if players place team goals before individual goals.”
Outlook: Panthers are a hard working, determined team that should rely on those qualities to remain competitive, according to their coach. Concerns include lack of a proven goal scorer and youth on defense. Below said his squad embraces the underdog role and aims to be a playoff contender.