Law boys soccer will take risks looking for big reward

Ryan Dimuro, Jackson Warters, Jaden Wywoda, Aidan King and Lex Edwards are Law team captains.

Ryan Dimuro, Jackson Warters, Jaden Wywoda, Aidan King and Lex Edwards are Law team captains.

Law Athletics / Contributed photo

Jonathan Law boys’ soccer coach Mike Gruber wanted to upgrade his team’s goal output in 2020. His Lawmen responded to his request. They scored multiple goals in seven games and posted a 7-5 record.

“That was our focus,” said Gruber, entering his seventh season. “Once, we got ahead, we knew most teams wouldn’t be able to break us down. That pretty much held true once we got up on the score.”

Law advanced to the SCC B Division semifinals, where it lost to eventual SCC overall champion West Haven 3-2 in the final seconds.

That risk vs reward campaign will be repeated this season.

“We made a conscious effort to move forward and not back,” Gruber said. “We don’t want to play safe anymore. The kids strategically learned when it was good, or not good to take risks. Those risks paid off. We have 13 seniors back. We are going to be a dangerous team up front and in the back.”

Lex Edwards, Jaden Wywoda, Jackson Warters, Aidan King and Ryan Dimuro are team captains. Their combined talents will run the length of the field.

Gruber said: “Lex was All State-All SCC-All Area. He scored six goals and had seven assists. Jaden is a supreme athlete. I believe he is a top line keeper in the SCC. In our first two scrimmages, he was the best player on the field. Jackson was our workhorse last year providing both defense and offense support. Aidan King is a top center back and finished with three goals as a junior. Ryan is a very technical and smart soccer player. He moves off the ball well.”

Gruber feels that team balance, plus confidence, plus competition for spots in the lineup make for a perfect storm.

“We can move players around and switch formation because of the versatility that we have on defense, at midfield or with strikers,” he said. “In the past we had more athletes than pure soccer players. Now we have more kids that are technically sound. Their understanding of the game is further along.”

All-Stater Fillipe Mourao, who produced a point a game with five goals and seven assists, was among the six players who graduated.

“Marcus Dostal and Lex Edwards each scored eight goals last season. Losing Fillipe is big. Elliot Melgar, Nick Tapia and Alex Rodriguez and will fill out the role up front,” Gruber said. “Marcus has started for us since he was a sophomore. We will be mixing and matching people up front. Elliot has scored 3-4 goals this preseason and had a couple on varsity as a freshman. He is very savvy and can use both feet. Nick will give us a lift when we put him up top. Alex is big, fast, and strong.”

Competition at center back has been fierce.

“We are deep with 4-5 kids competing for the position,” Gruber said. “Aiden King, who was a center back last year. We graduated Jacob so there in an opening. Jackson Warters will be an outside back but can move to the middle. Cooper Fitzgerald was a freshman last year who played defensive mid, he can move back. We have Ryan DiMauro, Thomas Bretthauser and Michael Montes a freshman who can play there. We have a sophomore, Brian Goglia, who stepped up. He is fighting for a starting job. He is athletic and has been one of our best players this preseason.”

There is a strong contingent of players vying in the midfield.

“Ryan Dimuro can play here. Cooper Fitzgerald has played center back and center mid in our scrimmages,” Gruber said. “Dylan Soule will be a center mid. A junior he is very technical, a good decision maker. Connor Calderone can play there. Eliot Melger can fill that position as well. We have a deep bench. Oren Sedelmaier is a junior and our backup goalkeeper. Luke Henricksen and Dom Baldino are seniors who will play a role in some games.”

A strong class of freshmen are in the mix.

Gruber said: “We had 13 freshman that signed up. Six will be training with the varsity all year. There will be three swing players (getting time in sub-varsity games). In most years, these six would probably start for me. With the talent we have coming back, some will see time, and all have different skills that they bring to the table.

“Alex Rodriguez is a true attacking player. Zach Croce is very technical and can use both feet. Michael Montes is a defender,” he added. “Christian Mead is a striker with size. Ryan Nastasia is a wing player that can take player one on one. Ivan Galicinao sees the field well from the midfield and can strike the ball from anywhere.”

SCHEDULE

“Our SCC schedule is based on records the last two years,” Gruber reported. “We have Shelton, always a top team in the bracket, West Haven, who we always battle, and Branford. We split with Shelton last year and with West Haven, we were the only one to defeat them, and they beat us twice. We’ll play Wilbur Cross, Lyman Hall, Career-Hillhouse and Wolcott Tech (two outside games). We will always play Foran as an intra-division game.”

william.bloxsom@hearstmediact.com Twitter: @blox354