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MacArthur seeks postseason return

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A rare early October end to the 2018 season is providing fuel for a veteran Macarthur boys’ soccer team to take the 2019 campaign deep into the cold days of fall.

A 3-5-1 season in Conference A-1 caused MacArthur to miss out on postseason play for the first time since Andy Atkins took over as head coach in 2012. Only one starter returned last year from a 2017 team that reached the county finals, but now the Generals are armed with plenty of experience on a 34-player roster eager for a deep run.

“Last year we had growing pains and now we are looking to recoup the benefits of that growth,” said Atkins, who guided MacArthur to a county title in 2014 just two years after inhering a program that was coming off back-to-back winless seasons. “We have a veteran team now and are looking to back into the playoffs and make some noise there.”

MacArthur opened up the new season on a strong note with a 3-1 non-league win against Division in the annual Levittown Cup on Sept. 4 aided by two goals from senior Danny Conigliaro. Three days later the Generals romped East Meadow, 8-3 with junior Vincenzo Montefusco registering four goals and two assists.

Conigliaro was MacArthur’s lone returning starter last year and is coming off a 10-goal season as a junior where he earned All-County honors for a second straight year. The fourth-year varsity player already has six goals through the Generals’ first to games entering the week despite being moved from the striker position to more of a midfield role.

“We’re expecting big things from him,” Atkins said of Conigliaro, who is a second-year captain. “His shot is deadly.”

Senior midfielder Tim Weber gives MacArthur another experienced weapon in the midfield after an All-Conference junior season. Versatile senior Joe Traenkle was also an All-Conference midfielder as junior and is capable of playing multiple positions closer to the net or on defense.

“We can put him anywhere,” Atkins said of Traenkle, who tallied two goals and an assist in the East Meadow win. “He brings a lot of energy to the team.”

Montefusco is taking on a strike role after progressing as a scoring threat during his sophomore season. Dustin Genco and Jimmy Mahoney are also offensive weapons in the midfield. Eighth grader Joey Mahoney is already making waves and will see time either at forward or midfield.

The Generals backline features two returning senior defenders in Peter Soguero and Sean Dempsey. Juniors Kyle Wagner and Joe Misuraca are also big focal points of the defense that is anchored by senior captain Ryan Bray in net.

“His confidence level is through the roof,” Atkins said of Bray, who registered four saves in the season-opening win against Division. “We feel like we’re solid defensively and we have confidence in our keeper so we can we can push forward.”

MacArthur opened up the Conference A1 schedule against Mepham, after presstime, and then returns home Friday to face Herricks at 4:30 p.m. The top five teams in the 11-team league will qualify for the playoffs.