SUMMIT, NJ - Replacing talented seniors is a fact of life in prep sports. The programs that do so effectively are the ones that find sustained success.
For the Summit High School Boys Varsity Soccer Team, they are challenged to replace the 30 goals that departed last June. Two and a-half dozen tallies that, remarkably, came off the feet and head of one player, Jafeth Reyes.
But, as good as Reyes was for the Maroon and White -- and he was frequently spectacular and at key times as well -- his absence presents an opportunity for Head Coach Ashley Sularz and his team, a chance to expand the offense and to make the Hilltoppers harder to defend, as the opposition will not be able to key in on one danger man.
"I think, potentially, we will be more dangerous offensively. I see four or five players getting five or more goals each. It gives us more options," said Sularz.
It is a virtual certainly that one player will not replicate Reyes' performance, it will take a village to generate that goal haul, but -- In their season motto -- perhaps is found the key to this equation: "We Will Either Find a Way or Make One."
Speaking after a recent training session on the eve of their season opener versus perennial power Scotch Plains-Fanwood, Sularz is bullish on several players to lead the way offensively, mentioning seniors Delmer Argeñal -- who he says has been "sharp, focused and energized" this pre-season -- and new transfer Javier Del Cid
Tactically, Summit will deploy different formations, depending on their opponent and specific match situations, but expect them to open in 4-2-3-1, with the backline anchored by Aiden Lines and Kieran McKeown in the center, with Cole Schneider and Andres Muñoz at the outside back positions to begin the season.
Senior goalkeeper James Ford starts between the sticks, the last line in a defense that did not concede a goal from the run of play in the pre-season.
Senior Michael Greenstein is a fixture as one of the holding midfielders, and will likely be paired up with juniors Ryan Hecker and Connor Little. They will sit behind a three-main attacking midfield with seniors Del Cid and Liam Galligan out wide and classmate Andres Chacon pulling the strings in the center of the park.
Argenal will operate up top.
Greenstein, Galligan and Chacon are the 2017 team captains.
Sularz has three simple tenants that he stresses relative to Summit's on-pitch play -- "be organized in the back, possess the ball in the middle and be creative in the final third."
Joint division champs last season, Sularz is looking for a fast start from his squad with a goal to to get a solid County Tournament seed, rack up some power points fir a higher State Tourney seed -- which would lead to playing teams at home as opposed to facing long treks to road matches -- and the sole ownership of that division title at the season's conclusion.
Summit will dive right in to the deep end of the soccer pool in their first match of the season, traveling to Scotch Plains Fanwood September 5, followed by home matches against Governor Livingston and Seton Hall Prep.
2017 Summit High School Boys Varsity Soccer Team Roster
17 - Kellyn Amozoqueno, Forward, Junior
7 - Delmer Argeñal, Forward, Senior
10 - Andres Chacon, Midfield, Senior (C)
00 - Preston Coke-Corkern, Goalkeeper, Senior
23 - Luc Curragh, Forward, Junior
9 - Javier Del Cid, Midfield, Senior
16 - Ryan Elliott, Midfield, Junior
2 - Jack Fineman, Defense, Senior
1 - James Ford, Goalkeeper, Senior
11 - Liam Galligan, Midfield, Senior (C)
19 - Michael Greenstein, Midfield, Senior (C)
21 - Ryan Hecker, Midfield, Junior
18 - Gray Humphrey, Defense, Junior
20 - Dylan Ingerman, Forward, Senior
13 - Matthew Kohaut, Defense, Junior
4 - Aiden Lines, Defense, Senior
12 - Connor Little, Midfield, Junior
15 - Kieran McKeown, Defense, Senior
3 - Andres Muñoz, Defense, Senior
6 - Edwin Navas, Forward, Senior
22 - Anderson Porsse, Forward, Senior
24 - Cole Schneider, Defense, Senior
8 - Kesley Souza, Forward, Senior
(C) - denotes team captain
Head Coach - Ashley Sularz
Assistant Coach - Chris O'Brien
JV Head Coach - Kevin Zaleski
Freshman Head Coach - Dan Trench
2017 Summit High School Boys Varsity Soccer Team Schedule
All home matches played at Tatlock Park
Sept. 5, 4 p.m. @ Scotch-Plains Fanwood
Sept. 7, 4 p.m. v. Governor Livingston 4:00 pm vs. Governor Livingston
Sept. 9, 11 a.m. v. Seton Hall Prep
Sept. 12, 4 p.m. @ David Brearley
Sept. 14, 4 p.m. v. Cranford
Sept. 19, 4 p.m. v. Union
Sept. 26, 4 p.m. v. Plainfield
Sept. 28, 4 p.m. v. Ridge
Sept. 30, Time TBD, @ TBD, v. TBD - Union County Tournament First Round
Oct. 3, 4:00 pm vs. Linden
Oct. 5, 4:00 pm vs. Westfield
Oct. 7, Time TBD, @ TBD, v. TBD - Union County Tournament Second Round
Oct. 10, 6 p.m. @ Cranford
Oct. 12, 4 p,m, @ AL Johnson
Oct. 14, Time TBD, @ TBD, v. TBD - Union County Tournament Quarterfinals
Oct. 17, 4:15 p.m. v. Perth Amboy
Oct. 19, 4 p.m. @ Elizabeth
Oct. 21, Time TBD, @ TBD, v. TBD - Union County Tournament Semifinals
Oct. 24, 4 p.m. @ Linden
Oct. 26, 4 p.m. v. A.L. Johnson
Oct. 28, Time TBD, @ TBD, v. TBD - Union County Tournament Finals
Oct. 31, 4 p.m. v. New Providence
Nov. 2, 3:30 p.m. @ Governor Livingston