SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ -- A year after reaching the championship game of the Greater Middlesex Conference Tournament, the South Brunswick boys soccer team will look to remain in contention with a strong back line.

Vikings head coach Chris Hayston, whose team was 13-7-1 last year, looks at the back third of the pitch as the place where South Brunswick poses the biggest challenge to opposing teams in a season where the Vikings will be looking for a new combination up front.

"Our strengths will be the three returning members of our back line and several midfielders with varsity experience," Hayston said. "We will be young and inexperienced in the forward and goalie positions."

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Seniors Pranavan Sriranganathan, Colin Harbison and Aiman Arif are the backbone of the team, providing protection for a new goalie this season. Junior Advik Sachdeva is likely to take over as the new netminder in 2020.

The midfield will consist of senior Surya Rajan; juniors Ishaan Bhardwaj, Eric Mejia and Krish Shetty; and sophomore Adhityan Tamilsevan. Senior Swayam Srivistava is the one forward returning on an otherwise inexperienced front line.

Newcomers who'll get a shot at playing time include: Shivang Luthra (SR  Def), Arav Patel  (SR Mid), Ryan Polilen (SR D), Srijohn Bhanna Choudhury (JR Mid), Nihaal Bhojwani (jr D), John Cole (Jr Mid), Jordy Giraldo (jr Mid), Jaden Man (Jr Def), Advik Sachdeva (Jr G) and Arshyan Hatefi (Soph Mid). 

The season is starting nearly a month later than usual because of the NJSIAA's COVID-19 guidelines. South Brunswick's first game is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 1 at home against J.P. Stevens. The Vikings have a GMC final rematch scheduled against East Brunswick on the road on Oct. 22.

"We believe we will be competitive in every game and will be looking to earn a good seed in our sectional tournament," said Hayston, who has a 222-110-15 career record in 18 seasons at South Brunswick.