The Seahawks lost just one of its 12 regular-season matches in 2016, and hosted and won their opening round playoff game before falling 2-1 to Plainedge in heartbreaking fashion in the Nassau Class A boys’ soccer quarterfinals.
While Carey lost just five seniors, to say it didn’t lose a lot would be an understatement. All five received individual honors ranging from All-County to All-Conference. Despite losing a slew of talent, expectations remain high for the Seahawks.
The team is off to a relatively tough start, earning just one point over its first two matches. In the season opener at Mepham, the Pirates scored with just 10 minutes to play and the teams played to a 1-1 tie. Corry Brinken had Carey’s only tally.
In its second match, Carey again saw its opponent score late as MacArthur’s Brandon Metzger found the back of the net late in the second half to give the Generals a 3-2 victory. Brinken and sophomore Nicholas Rescigno each scored for the Seahawks.
Head coach Matt Princi is confident that his team will jell. “We lost guys who were basically irreplaceable, but this group has talent and a lot of potential,” Princi said. “They still have to find themselves, but they understand that. They’ll start clicking soon, and should be tough to beat. The key is improving every day, getting to the playoffs, and to be playing our best soccer in October.”
An injury to the starting keeper led to Ben Wettstein being called up as a sophomore late in 2016. The experience playing as an underclassman should bode well for Wettstein. He not only registered two shutouts, he earned the victory in the team’s playoff victory over Bethpage.
Senior Christian Viti, a four-year varsity player, anchors the defense. Viti, who missed the MacArthur match with an injury, is a skilled player who wins everything in the air. Senior John Ngoy and Viti form a solid tandem on the backline.
Senior Andrew Higgins and junior James Hansen man the outside for the Seahawks. Higgins, a four-year player and All-Conference honoree, is versatile and good with the ball. Hansen is strong and aggressive, and may be the fastest player in the conference.
Senior Patrick Mehr is great with the ball. He handles the free kicks and corner kicks. Talented senior center midfielder Chris Maggi is terrific at controlling the ball and distributing. Senior Vincent Moreno has good foot skills and plays well with Maggi.
Senior Vito Lombardo is a defensive-minded midfielder. Lombardo marks his man well and is good in transition. Rescigno, a highly-skilled player who can score from anywhere, came up as a freshman and performed in the playoffs. Junior Justin Bowen and senior Nicholas Valenti round out a deep group of midfielders.
Brinken, an All-Conference honoree as a junior, wears down the defense with his speed at striker. He’s expected to score a bunch as a senior. Seniors Steven Lopez and Kenny Cuilla are fast and physical players. Cuilla’s athletic ability is off the charts.
Carey welcomes in Garden City this Friday at 4:45 p.m.