Boys soccer preview: New look for Wilton

In his 22 years of coaching the Wilton High boys soccer team, including the last 10 years as head coach, Jim Lewicki has had his share of rebuilding projects.

But he’s never experienced anything like this year.

The Warriors lost 18 players from last year’s 14-5-1 squad, and return only one starter. Only five players have any varsity experience.

With so much varsity inexperience, Lewicki knows there will be ups and downs early in the season. But overall, he’s happy with where the Warriors are now.

“We do have some growing pains we need to go through. I’m happy with the team I have. They’re excited, and so am I,” he said. “We’re going to go out there and we’re going to be competitive. We’ll see what we can do.”

The rebuilding process would have been daunting to begin with, with 15 seniors having graduated. Then, in the off-season, the team learned the forward line of senior captains-to-be Kyle Dedrick and David Brown, and junior Sean Dedrick, would forgo the season to compete in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy program. Those three accounted for 50 of the team’s 59 goals last year.

That leaves senior defender Troy Lamason — an All-FCIAC East pick last year — as the team’s lone returning starter. But he has been sidelined with leg issues and missed all four scrimmages so far.

“That makes a big difference,” said Lewicki of Lamason being sidelined. “But the other kids have stepped up.”

The Warriors’ other captains are seniors A.J. Galimi, Oliver Quantock and Matt Przybysz. The only other returning varsity player is senior Connor King.

Defensively, in addition to Lamason, Wilton will also look to Galimi and King in the back, along with seniors Alex Libby and Charlie Rodiger, junior Jack Dineen and sophomore Matt Ravichandran.

The Warriors bring in a pair of new goalies in juniors Will DeSantis and Mike Legaz.

The midfield will be anchored by Quantock and Przybysz, and also features seniors James Arthur and Justin Shepard, junior Wyatt Dean, and sophomores Jack Brandt and Cole Hawthorne.

Seniors Brandon Turk and T.J. Watson and sophomore Patrick Prinner will see time in the back and in the midfield.

The forward line features two seniors who are returning to the program after not playing last season, and should impact the play.

Chauncey Allers, who attended another school last year, is back and has been a pleasant surprise, said Lewicki. Brendan Devane, who didn’t play soccer last fall, “brings a totally different dimension to the game in the sense of physicality.”

The front line also features junior Mike Lynch and sophomore Josh Reeve.

Lewicki said the Warriors don’t have anyone who’s going to score 15 or 16 goals, but hopefully will get goals from multiple players.

“There’s no one kid who’s going to do the scoring. We’re going to have to score by committee,” he said. “I expect our midfield to come through and put some balls into the net.”

At this point, Lewicki said the focus is on “finding out what we lack, and what we can do about it, and work on it,” as the Warriors prepare for the season opener next Tuesday.

“We’re a young team and we haven’t had a lot of time to gel,” he noted.

That said, Lewicki is encouraged by the team’s work ethic and teamwork.

“It’s a great group of kids. They work as a team,” he said. “They’re great athletes. They’ve all got skill and talent. They have great vision. All in all, I have 23 players. I think all 23 are great kids who can do a nice job on the field.”