Rams literally playing for next year
By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Vernon - posted Thu., Oct. 27, 2011
The Rockville High School boys' soccer team recently played Hartford Public in a game (actually just under half a game) that was unofficial, due to a playing surface deemed too hazardous by officials. Coach Jamie Bunker agreed, adding that the game would likely be made up sometime the following week.
Bunker said the game wouldn't matter much, as the Rams are in a very definitive rebuilding year, and have not won a match. With future seasons as the focus, however, Bunker said he has seen plenty from his younger players to make him optimistic.
“You could see the writing on the wall years ago,” Bunker said. “When this year's seniors and juniors came into high school, there were 10 players combined. So, we've taken our lumps.”
Bunker said this year's team has just four seniors and three juniors, but a much larger number of sophomores and freshmen.
“What's good about it is, the underclassmen are seeing a lot of time,” he said. “My midfield is all freshmen, one of the strikers is a freshman.”
Bunker added that sophomores Brian Bliek, Matt Tracey and Nico Petrella are among players who are expected to lead the team in the next two years. However, as a sort of blessing in disguise, injuries to Tracey and Nico have allowed freshman defenders André Lissé and Andrew Foreman to step up and show their skills.
Acceptance of where the team currently is, Bunker said, has been difficult for some of the older players, but has settled in.
“Losing is frustrating,” he said. “From a coaching standpoint, you're coaching half-by-half, game-by-game, and looking for the positives, which we have had, despite the scores. Our approach is looking at the mismatches and getting better, learning how to play better positionally, and with a tactical approach.”
Bunker said some of the team's close losses were against teams that had a lot of older players, and that is a good measuring stick for the Rams' future success.
“We think we've got something good down the road,” he said. “We've got a lot of young guys, and it hasn't been as bad as it could be. We haven't played any team that is anywhere near as young as us. Windsor was a 3-2 game, and a game we could have won. So, I'm anticipating that the future is going to be a lot better.”