|IAC BOYS SOCCER: WAVERLY RETURNS TO FIELD; FIRST-YEAR COACH LOOKS FOR PROGRESS IN 2018 (2018-09-05)
By TIM BIRNEY
Valley Sports Report
WAVERLY — After one year on the shelf due to low numbers, first-year coach Eric Ryck is looking to rebuild the program from the ground up, beginning in 2018.
The Wolverines have just 14 players on the varsity roster, but only have one senior. The modified roster has 16 players.
As for 2018, Ryck said his team’s youth is a concern, but not his biggest concern.
“it’s a concern for this year, but it’s a blessing for the future of the program.
“From a coaching standpoint, it means I can build them up from the ground,” said Ryck. “The kids that we have who are young have been playing soccer for a while. They have pretty good soccer IQs, even though they are young.
“The biggest concern is getting them all confident enough to play together on the field,” Ryck added.
Another concern is that a large portion of the programs that are forced to take a year off rarely make it work in the long run following that sabbatical.
“I haven’t delved into it with the kids, but it’s constantly on my mind, as far as how we can keep the momentum going throughout the year,” said Ryck. “I have some ideas, and as we get later into the season we’ll definitely be talking about it.
“We’re looking to keep everybody interested and everybody involved, and try to bring more interest to the soccer program,” he added.
Freshman Cameron McIsaac will start in net for the Wolverines, while freshman Declan Murphy and junior Josiah Golden will play center backs on defense, and junior Zach Reeves and junior Jake Blair will play outside defensive backs.
Freshman Brennan Traub will play defensive holding-midfielder.
Sophomores Nate Ryck and Peyton Bowen will play center mids, while junior Rylan LaForest and sophomore Nick VanHouten will man the outside mids, and senior Seth Lloyd will play striker.
Freshman Austin Ingham will come off the bench and see time at defensive holding-mid, left center back or right outside mid, while freshman Gavin Schillmoeller will see action at center holding-midfield, outside mid or striker, and freshman Caleb Overdovitz will see time at center holding-midfield or striker.
Ryck said team chemistry is the Wolverines biggest attribute in 2018.
“Our unity is our biggest strength right now, they’ve come together very well as a group,” said Ryck. “They support each other and help each other. The unity is a big strength on this team.”
The Wolverines are young, but Ryck points out several players to keep an eye on in 2018, beginning with his keeper McIsaac.
“He is absolutely fearless in goal, and he’s a great leader back there,” said Ryck. “And, he just has a great mind for the game.
“He is a lot of fun to watch,” added Ryck. “He makes spectacular saves, and doesn’t let a lot get by him.”
With early-season contests against powerhouses Lansing and Notre Dame, as well as SVEC and much-improved Newark Valley, Ryck expects his young keeper to be tested.
“Unfortunately, I think (McIsaac) is going to be pretty busy early on.
“Hopefully, as the year progresses and we learn to defend better as a team, it won’t be quite so much, but we have some pretty tough teams early in the season, where I’m afraid he’s going to see some business,” said Ryck.
“Another one to keep an eye on is Rylan LaForest, he has an engine like nothing I’ve ever seen,” noted Ryck. “His last minute looks exactly like his first minute.
“And, I think our two center-midfielder — Nate Ryck and Peyton Bowen — are two kids you should keep your eyes on.
“Nate’s been playing since he was 8, and his skills are there,” he said. “It’s Peyton’s first year back after three years, but it seems like he hasn’t lost a beat with a soccer ball.
“I think those two are going to be in a position where they’re distributing the ball and assisting, but I think they’ll be good anchors on the team,” Ryck added.
Ryck expectations for this team don’t include wins and losses.
“I just want to see steady progress throughout the season, that’s really all I’ve been pushing.
“We’ve been talking a lot about the journey, and not focusing on what the scoreboard says at the end of every game,” said Ryck. “I’m looking for them to progress game-to-game, and week-to-week. If we worry about that, then the scoreboard will work itself out.
“I see this as the beginning of a re-building process for the program.
“My biggest hope is that we’re competitive,and we’re not seeing a lot of 10-0 or 12-0 games,” he added. “If we could get the majority of our games to be 1-0, 2-0, 2-1, or 3-2 — close games, I would be super-stoked, and that to me would be a win.”
AROUND THE IAC SOUTH LARGE SCHOOL: “Notre Dame is always tough. They always have a lot of guys who together year-round. They’re always pretty well organized,” said Ryck.
IN PHOTO: Waverly coach Eric Ryck.
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