Gielczyk: Roscommon Making A Good First Impression
Roscommon’s boys soccer team finished 19-3-1 last year, and expect to be just as good, or better this season.
The Bucks opened the 2017 campaign Tuesday with a 3-1 non-conference victory over the Kingsley Stags. Roscommon took only 11 minutes to score its first goal of the season, but the Bucks’ defense was even more impressive.
Six minutes later, the Bucks had their second goal and the dye was cast.
“It was a great game for us,” Roscommon head coach John Sinnaeve said. “I felt both teams were fairly even through the first half. We were able to capitalize on a few of their mistakes and come home with the win.”
Carter McCarthy, Logan Strickler, Conner Kozumplik and Caleb Jacobs made an immediate impact with their defensive play, helping shut down the Stags. It was a display of the kind of lock down defense fans should expect to see from the Bucks this season.
Strickler played his first game at sweeper after playing on the right side last year, and proved that he’s adjusted to his new position without a glitch.
Roscommon’s midfield is strong as well, with Eric Turner, Landon Adams, Trey Heliin, Chris Black, Brady Hilts all appearing to be in sync despite it being the first game of the season.
They moved the ball up the field to create scoring opportunities for attackers Brenden Spencer and Gage Sarna, who in turn created havoc for the Kingsley defenders with smooth movement of the ball and crisp passing.
Equally impressive was the play of senior keeper, Hunter Hoffman who had 15 saves and came breathtakingly close to recording a shutout.
Heliin and Jacobs are the only juniors in the bunch.
Although the Bucks will clearly lean on their experience this year, they also have a young bench that will provide Sinnaeve with invaluable flexibility to spell his starters without fear of a drop off in talent.
Hoffman is new and had never played before, but any questions about his capability in net were erased by his performance in the open
Sinnaeve isn’t worried about the bench, despite its youth, based on what he saw against Kingsley.
Riley McNamara, Richard Wilson, Kadyn Williams, Jackson Strickler and Mac Schultz all played well when they were sent into the match.
Naturally, the season is young and there’s still plenty of work to be done. Sinnaeve admitted that the Bucks still need to work on moving and controlling the ball. But, he’s confident that will come with time.
McCarthy, for instance, is new to soccer after learning that he could no longer play football because of a health issue. Fortunately, his condition does not prevent him from playing soccer, so he joined the team.
Despite a few rough edges that Sinnaeve will address with the team in practice, the Bucks made a good first impression.
Greg Gielczyk is an award-winning sports columnist and sportwriter who worked a total 36 years — interrupted for an 18-month period from 1997-99 — at the Manistee News Advocate as sports editor until 2006 and is now retired. He currently is a freelance sportswriter for the Ludington Daily News.