New faces make up Wolverine varsity boys' soccer squad

By Janice Steinhagen - Staff Writer
Griswold - posted Mon., Sep. 10, 2012
Freshman Skye Shogren makes a shot to the net during a recent Wolverine practice. Photos by Janice Steinhagen.
Freshman Skye Shogren makes a shot to the net during a recent Wolverine practice. Photos by Janice Steinhagen.

Vin Laraia’s got his work cut out for him. After bidding farewell to 14 of his Griswold High School boys’ soccer players at commencement in June, he’s got just one returning senior – sweeper Scott Goyette – to lead his team. But that doesn’t spell a lack of leadership. At a recent practice, Goyette doggedly kept after the newer players, calling them back to focus when their attention strayed and offering pointers after plays.

“There’s a lot of commitment this year, guys willing to put in a lot of work,” said Goyette. While most of the team is new to varsity level, “I think these guys can handle it. They’re smart on the field and proactive where they need to be.”

Laraia has an additional senior, Anthony Boyington, who played on the freshman football team, but is starting soccer as a senior. “This is a new team for us,” said Laraia. “In the past few years, we’ve had a group of kids who played together. Now we have a handful of juniors and the rest are sophomores and freshmen.”

With a record of five ECC titles in the past eight years, nine-year-veteran coach Laraia has high hopes to rejuvenate the team this fall, with help from assistant coach Justin Saltojanes. “We’ve got a good building block this year for rebuilding Griswold soccer,” he said. “We’ve got at least three good years to work with this group. We’re gonna do some good things here.”

As the team geared up for this week’s home opener against Class L Bacon, Laraia was looking ahead to tough contests against Woodstock, also Class L, and Montville, a Class M school. “Our scrimmage against Waterford will give us an idea of whether we’ll be competitive in the league,” he said.

Laraia said he was bowled over by the support he’s seen so far this season from team parents, who raised a substantial sum of money to fund new uniforms and equipment. “By far, this group of parents I’ve got is unbelievable,” he said. “They deserve some recognition.”

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