Oakton Soccer Preview
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The defending Concorde District champion Oakton Boys Soccer is gearing up for the start of their season. The team is looking to have another successful season with many of their star players returning. Although the team is losing four defensive rocks but are hopeful that the younger players can step up. Michael Ku-Dipietro, Trey Lodge, Tyler Morgan, and Nick Carrigan all graduated with the class of 2016. Luckily, the team has had many upperclassmen that have been on the varsity team since their freshman year. These types of players are expected to play a big role in the team’s success.
One of the most exciting parts about the Oakton team is how young and talented they are. Last year, with the team going deep into the playoffs, a large percentage of their starters were sophomores. Now, these players are a year older and have the experience of making a deep playoff run. Star juniors Jonny Silver, Bryan Silver, Nick Berten, Carson Khadka, and Grayson Timoner are all starters that will be returning. Alongside other juniors Will Mize, Joonas Castren, and Sam Roytman who are all looking to break into the first team. These players will continue to improve and their potential to succeed this year.
Another big story for the team is senior Jason Ferrufino returning to the team for his senior year. Ferrufino played his freshman year on the varsity team, but took the last two years off from high school soccer in order to play for the D.C. United Academy. He is expected to add a huge boost to the team and further their attacking ability.
The holes in the defense are hopefully going to be patched by seniors Justin Smith, Chris Helms, and junior Joonas Castren. The biggest question is who will fill in next to senior center back Will Violet. This is a vital position for the team to fill, and the hole is massive with all-state senior Ku-Dipietro graduating. The spot is up for grabs, and only time will tell as to who attempts to fill the role. The best part of the defense is star goalkeeper Jonny Silver, who is expected to continue his incredible career with another year between the posts.
Due to the team’s success last year, the team was invited to a national pre-season tournament. The tournament will take place in Tennessee and it will be a good showcase for the team against a pool of other very talented teams. It will be interesting to see how the team plays, especially that early in the season. The tournament takes place over spring break, and it will be a good way to tell where the team will end up this season. “I’m super excited to play in such a big tournament, i’m looking forward to seeing how we can do,” said Berten.
After last season’s heartbreaking loss to eventual state champion Washington and Lee, the team is even more motivated to succeed. Oakton is expected to be challenged by the same teams as last year, with their biggest competitions coming from local teams such as Herndon, Robinson, and Mount Vernon. The pressure will be undeniably greater on the team this year compared to last year. Hopefully, the team will be able to handle the pressure and finish better than the last year. Mize stated, “Our goal is to improve on last year; we are ready and hungry to win.” These boys have now been playing together for three years; their chemistry should be at an all time high. If the team can fire on all cylinders, they are truly a force to be reckoned with.
In the upcoming weeks, coach Todd Spitalny will begin tryouts in order to fill in the holes that have been left by last year’s graduating seniors. There are expected to be around 120 boys trying out for for the JV and Varsity teams. The tryouts will take place next week and kick off with the two mile run.. Coach Spitalny is hoping to fill out his 30 men with talented and hard working players that have the potential to make a run for the state championship this year.