The Whaler boys soccer team was an experienced bunch last year that made it all the way to the Round of 16 before losing to Wahconah Regional High School 4-3. This year they will need to find a way to replace several high-end starters from last season such as defender Max Beebe and midfielder/attacker David Lemus-Castro.
“Generally, the group is young and not a lot of varsity experience as a whole,” head coach Rich Brannigan II said. “The objective early in the season will be to get guys experience and get them that experience quickly. That means we will probably have a bigger roster and probably be more liberal with our subbing patterns just to get a lot of guys looks early in the season and to see what combinations work. That is what the early part of the season is all about.”
The Whalers will lean on Eddie Chacon and Ryan Coleman defensively but will need a few more players to emerge from the pool of young, athletic talent Brannigan says he has at his disposal. Offensively it will be much of the same. Outside of senior captain Treyce Brannigan, who was one of Nantucket’s most lethal scorers last season, there are unknowns throughout the lineup with plenty of spots up for grabs.
“I like what I see from this group. Good attitudes and good energy,” Brannigan said. “The effort is definitely there. Nobody is cutting corners, so we are getting a lot of work in. We lost a lot of seniors who played key positions, so this is an opportunity for some guys to step up and make their mark.”
The Whalers played in a pair of scrimmages Wednesday afternoon. They tied Dennis-Yarmouth 1-1 and lost to Monomoy 1-0/ Brannigan said he liked the offensive opportunities his team created against DY in game one.
“I changed our lineup a bit against Monomoy and just didn’t create as much offense in that second scrimmage. That was interesting because I thought we would have even more offense in that second scrimmage, but it didn’t play out that way. It could have been some fatigue too since a lot of our guys are getting used to the varsity level and getting into game shape.”
“Last year we had a lot of hybrid players that gave me a lot of choices and options when I made my lineups and substitutions. I learned that more and more as the season progressed last year. This year I don’t think we will have as much flexibility with what we do or what kind of combinations of 11 I can throw at the opponent. But we will see how it plays out. There is a lot of unknown right now but the attitude this group has and the energy they bring every day is a great start and certainly moving us in the right direction.”
The Whalers will host Ramapo for a scrimmage on Sunday, September 4, at 10 a.m. and begin their regular season on Thursday, September 8 against the Nauset Warriors in a home matchup at 4 p.m.
For the full boys soccer schedule, click here.