EHHS boys’ soccer eyes berth in state tournament
By Corey AmEnde - Staff Writer
East Hartford - posted Fri., Sep. 6, 2013
If there was a theme for the East Hartford High School varsity boys’ soccer team during their pre-season workouts, it would be “constant movement.”
“We’ve just been running, running, running,” said first-year head coach Michael Vendetti. Pre-season workouts started on Saturday, Aug. 24, and Vendetti said they put in a solid seven hours of work each day that weekend and a full day on Monday, Aug. 26. “We hit the ground running and we’re just going to keep running right through the season,” said Vendetti.
And the team has plenty of opportunity to run during the pre-season, as they had five scrimmages on the schedule. “Normally you want to have three, maybe four at the most,” explained Vendetti. “But I decided to have five because I wanted these guys getting some play experience and I wanted to try out some new players and try a couple of different tactics and formations with them.”
The pre-season slate included home games against RHAM, Hartford Public and Old Lyme and road matches against Rocky Hill and Newington.
Five key starters return from last year’s team that went 3-9-4 overall and 3-7-4 in CCC North play. They are sophomore midfielder Donovan Harris, junior back and midfielder Mauricio Salazar, senior midfielder Kaeleb Desvignes, junior back and midfielder Eddy Perez and sophomore back Frantz Innocent.
Vendetti said he will carry 19 boys on his roster this year, as they make a run at qualifying for the state tournament. “We’re young and this is the most fit I’ve seen them,” said Vendetti. “They are energized and they seem excited to play and they seem excited to win. It’s a new season, it’s a new feel, so I think that they’re buying into the program and they’re excited to play.”
Vendetti said the goal for the team this season is to make the state tournament and secure a winning record in the CCC North, which is loaded with traditional soccer powerhouses like Glastonbury and Wethersfield. “We beat Wethersfield last year, and if we can step it up in those big games, we’re going to have a good season,” said Vendetti.
The roadmap to making the state tournament includes a possess and attack style of play. “Make the other team chase us, that’s what we want to do,” said Vendetti. Playing such an aggressive style will require an optimal fitness and conditioning level from the team – something that Vendetti said has hindered the team in the past in the second half.
“Playing 80 minutes is key for us, and playing right to the end is really going to be huge, and playing the second half hard and finishing strong is going to be the key,” said Vendetti.
The boys open the regular season on Tuesday, Sept. 10, at home against Rockville. They will then hit the road for games against East Catholic on Friday, Sept. 13, Manchester on Monday, Sept. 16, and Glastonbury on Wednesday, Sept. 18. All three road matches start at 3:45 p.m.
Following the game against the Glastonbury Tomahawks, the team hosts Windsor on Friday, Sept. 20, at 3:45 p.m., Wethersfield on Tuesday, Sept. 24, under the lights at 6:30 p.m., Weaver on Friday, Sept. 27, at 4:15 p.m. and South Windsor on Tuesday, Oct. 1, at 3:45 p.m.