Most years, the Wilton High boys soccer team has a senior-heavy roster, with 15 or more 12th graders vying for playing time.
This fall, though, the pattern has been broken.
“We have only seven seniors,” said Jim Lewicki, who enters his 15th season as head coach. “That’s the smallest senior class I have had here.”
Wilton went 7-8-4 in 2017, missing the conference playoffs and losing to Maloney, 2-1, in the second round of the Class L state tournament.
With nearly all of their starters gone, the Warriors aren’t regarded with high expectations this fall.
“We’re hoping we can surprise people,” said Lewicki. “No one is counting on us as being a playoff team (in the FCIAC).”
Despite the departures, Lewicki believes the Warriors can be better this season.
“We possess the ball, and we move the ball,” he said. “We have looked pretty good during the preseason.”
One focal point is junior striker Michael Zizzadoro, who has the ability to be among the league’s top scoring threats. “He’s quick and he has great skills,” said Lewicki about Zizzadoro. “He also reads the game well.”
Zizzadoro’s younger brother, Andrew, a freshman, should also be a factor on the front line along with seniors Chase Connolly and Matt Newfield and junior Philip Klinga.
Juniors Connor Uitterdijk and Liam McLaughlin and sophomore Owen Lillis give Wilton three talented central midfielders. Connolly and fellow seniors Clayton Latone and Harrison Jung should also contribute, along with juniors Isaac Quantock and Luke Macdonald and sophomore Jacob Lash.
“I think we have some midfielders who can control the game,” said Lewicki. “That could be a big advantage for us.”
Senior Andrew Bucciero and junior Karl Pfeiffer lead a defensive unit that also includes senior Sean Flanagan, juniors Damien Schmidt, Ryan Vanderwall, Parker Ward, and Larry Huang, and sophomore Zack Abud.
Senior Kace Stewart will start in goal, backed by junior Rishabh Raniwala.
“This team can be pretty good,” said Lewicki. “I definitely think we can be better than last season and maybe make a run at qualifying for the FCIAC playoffs.”
Notes: The Warriors have moved up to Class LL this season.
Wilton opens the season Saturday (Sept. 8) on the road against New Canaan at noon.