Boys soccer: Wellington relies on depth to overcome injuries
Sunday, January 25, 2009
by Cristina Ledra
Impressive team depth has enabled the Wellington boys soccer team to overcome several injuries and remain undefeated on the season.
Any other season, the Wolverines would have been in trouble entering this week's district tournament with at least three and up to five starters sidelined by injuries.
With reserves filling in the gaps, the Wolverines enter the post-season with a 19-0-2 record.
"The season's been great," said senior defender Kojo Thompson, who has committed to Appalachian State. "Even when things weren't going so well, we still had people step up."
The Wolverines' injuries have all come within the final weeks of the regular season.
Senior Ricky Zamora suffered a broken foot. Franco Marchetti, also a senior, broke his hand and junior Max Zoete was hospitalized with stomach problems.
All are likely out for the season and other players are struggling with minor injuries, including goalkeeper Aaron Dupere. In their places, seniors Jon Isayas, Diego Cardenas and Corey Bandremer have filled in, enabling Wellington to not miss a step.
"The one thing we haven't really had in the past here is depth," Wellington coach Mike Aronson said. "We've been fortunate to keep playing at a high level, but with any other injuries, we may be in trouble."
Wellington - which lost in the Class 6A regional finals last season - started this season with plenty of upperclassmen, but some lacked varsity experience, resulting in inconsistent early play.
"At the beginning of the season, none of us had really played together yet," said senior forward/midfielder Andrew DiLallo, who'll attend Davidson. "We kind of struggled in the first game and ever since then, we've been rolling through a bunch of teams."
Aronson said he gets as many players into matches as he can so that if they're needed, they'll be ready. That preparation has helped along with recent practices that have been intense.
"If we were a 20-loss team they'd be revolting right now, but they know the potential is there for them to compete for the state title, so they're going to do what it takes," Aronson said.
With the top ranking in the area and the No. 5 ranking in the country, the Wolverines have their sights set on a state title.
"We need to work on getting our team healed," DiLallo said. "We're playing really well, so as long as we have enough players, we should be good."