Looking to Build on Last Season’s Progress, Hun Boys’ Soccer Primed for 2022 Campaign
STARK DIFFERENCE: Hun School boys’ soccer player Tyler Stark dribbles the ball in a game last fall. Senior defender Stark will be spearheading the Hun defense this fall. The Raiders, who moved to 1-1 with an 8-2 win over the Kiski School (Pa.) last Sunday, are hosting Scotland Chapel Academy (Pa.) on September 15 and then facing Malvern Prep (Pa.) on September 18 in the Mainline Jamboree at the United Sports Training Center in Downingtown, Pa. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)
By Bill Alden
Last fall, the Hun School boys’ soccer team produced some important breakthroughs, getting wins in both the Mercer County Tournament and state Prep A tourney and earning a share of the Mid-Atlantic Prep League (MAPL) title.
Looking ahead to the 2022 campaign, Hun head coach Pat Quirk believes that success has energized his group of returners.
“With the 12 or 13 kids who are coming back, they all have great experience here,” said Hun head coach Quirk, who guided the Raiders to a 10-7 record last fall. “They all got into games last year at the varsity level. Winning a couple games and being close in some of the bigger games gives them more confidence but we know it is a whole new season.”
The trio of senior Massamiliano Verduci (5 goals, 1 assist in 2021), junior Joey Bucchere (2 goals, 3 assists), and junior Zachary Stark figure to give Hun some high level play at forward.
“Mass Verduci is going to be our point guy in the 4-3-3 with Joey and Zachary out on the wings,” said Quirk, who got three goals from Bucchere as Hun defeated the Kiski School (Pa.) 8-2 last Sunday to improve to 1-1.
“He has gotten a lot stronger, he was in the weight room a lot this summer. He is really good with the ball at his feet and he is getting his shot off quicker. He just wants to play. He said I could play in the back and I said no we need you to score goals. He scored some in the summer, he got voted to our captain’s council again this year. He is going to be a strong leader up front.”
Senior Will Zeng (6 goals, 1 assist) should also be a strong offensive threat for the Raiders.
“I do expect Will to score some goals, he may slide into the midfield a little bit to be more of a distributor,” said Quirk. “He sees the field really well. He is definitely a guy we can push out in the wing and get dangerous.”
Quirk believes that Hun has the potential to score a lot of goals this fall.
“Our goal is to win the ball in dangerous areas and attack from there,” said Quirk. “I think we have the personnel that can do that. We have been working on finishing and getting creative in the attacking third.”
Hun boasts some good personnel in the midfield with senior Adhityan
Tamilselvan (8 goals, 5 assists), junior Connor Frykholm (4 goals, 7 assists), junior Michael D’Aulerio (1 assist), freshman Christopher Meehan, and senior Tyler Arthur
“I expect Adhityan to score a bunch and also be a guy with a lot of assists,” said Quirk. “Connor has gotten experience two years playing. He has gotten better in the air. He is looking to create and wreak havoc for us. Michael might pop into the midfield a little bit. Christopher might play a little bit there. Tyler is in his second year with us, he can come off the bench in that position.”
On defense, senior Tyler Stark (2 goals), D’Aulerio, junior Alden Hill, and senior Joaquin Pares will shore up the back line.
“We put Tyler back there last year even though he hadn’t played a lot of center back and he really grew in that position,” said Quick. “He is our leader back there now. We are looking for a guy to match with Tyler. It is coming down between Michael and Alden who have both got experience. If Alden doesn’t play there he will probably slide to the right back. We have Joaquin on the defensive wing but he gets dangerous attacking. He will fill that spot in the left wing.”
At goalie, sophomore Diego Pena, who was rostered for the Dominican Republic’s U-17 squad this summer, shows a lot of promise.
“Diego played in a tournament for them and they qualified for their next tournament but that won’t be until next December,” said Quirk. “We are excited to have him back, we think he will have a big voice back there. He is going to be very good.”
If the Raiders can get on the same page tactically, they have the ability to be very good.
“I think our biggest thing is to be ourselves and figure out our style of play and stick to it and not try to change too much,” said Quirk, whose team is hosting Scotland Chapel Academy (Pa.) on September 15 and then facing Malvern Prep (Pa.) on September 18 in the Mainline Jamboree at the United Sports Training Center in Downingtown, Pa.
“We have found a a good match right now. We are not really comparing ourselves to anyone else, we are just being our best selves.”