Boys soccer preview: New Wilton coach aims for turnaround

Liam McLaughlin (left) is one of the top returnees for the Wilton boys soccer team.

Liam McLaughlin (left) is one of the top returnees for the Wilton boys soccer team.

Scott Mullin / For Hearst Connecticut Media

Edwin Carvajal is treating the preseason as a test kitchen.

“We have 30 players on the roster, so it’s a matter of seeing who fits best in certain positions,” said Carvajal, the Warriors’ first-year head coach. “The practices and the scrimmages are a way for me to see what we are missing and what our strengths are.”

After four seasons as an assistant coach, Carvajal takes over a team that went 4-9-3 last fall, failing to qualify for either the conference or state tournaments.

But Carvajal, a former Wilton player himself, is thinking turnaround.

“We have an incredibly strong team,” he said. “We just have to put it all together.”

One area of focus has been the backline.

“We gave up so many goals last year,” said Carvajal. “I don’t think that will happen again this season. We are changing the mentality, although we still have things to work out.”

Carvajal is hopeful that the Warriors can alleviate pressure on their defense by keeping possession of the ball.

“We have been able to do that for the majority of time in the scrimmages and it lessens the amount of chances for the other team,” he said.

Although Carvajal was still sorting out positions and starters ahead of ... he will likely use Michael senior Michael Zizzadoro as striker and senior Liam McLaughlin as an attacking midfielder.

Junior newcomer Nathan Bennett could also contribute at forward, while senior Connor Uitterdijk and junior Owen Lillis return at midfield.

“We have so much power and so much speed up front,” Carvajal said. “They could really do some damage.”

Carvajal expects senior center back Karl Pfeiffer to anchor the defense.

“He is such a strong presence back there,” Carvajal said about Pfeiffer. “He is going to be the voice behind everything we do on defense.”

Notes: In addition to the players mentioned above, Wilton’s roster also includes seniors Gonzalo Alonso Alvarez, Larry Huang, Philip Klinga, Luke Macdonald, Liam McGovern, Isaac Quantock, Rishabh Raniwala, Damien Schmidt, Rohit Singhal, Ryan Vanderwall, and Parker Ward; juniors Zachary Abud, Joshua Grass, Cole Iannuzzi, Matthew Koleszar, Jacob Lash, Jeremy Lucas, Arman Peters, John Sharpe, and Owen Steckel; and sophomores Ross Edkins, Jack Lynch, and Andrew Zizzadoro.

Michael Zizzadoro, McLaughlin, Pfeiffer, and Ward are the teams’s captains.

Raniwala and Lynch are Wilton’s goalies.

Carvajal replaces longtime coach Jim Lewicki, who resigned following the end of the 2018 season. Lewicki was Wilton’s head coach for 15 years.

The Warriors open the season Friday at home against St. Joseph at 4 p.m.