North Shore’s boys’ soccer team has improved after its 2-8 conference record a year ago and is looking for redemption and a shot at the playoffs come year’s end.
Mixed nicely with a core group of seniors, as well as skilled juniors and a myriad of young promising talent, the Vikings walk in to the 2018 season holding their collective heads high.
“We’ve got a good mix here,” coach Mike Bishop said. “The older guys have the right approach when it comes to dealing with the younger guys. It is positive, and everyone is looking to help each other.”
Of those “older guys”, seniors Jaedon Seneca, Florian Skulimowski, Rocco Agostino and Stephen Grabher all will play key roles in the success of North Shore’s season.
Seneca’s younger brother, Devin, is a freshman starting forward alongside Jaedon and is a very promising talent. Bishop had mentioned that his younger group is talented and athletic, but still may need time to grow physically. Devin Seneca, on the other hand, has already it his growth spurt. “He may be the tallest one on the team already,” said Bishop.
Offensively, the Vikings will look to the Seneca brothers in the attacking half to produce shots on goal and pressure opposing defenders. However, Bishop also believes that offensive success will find its root in the play of his midfielders.
Skulimowski, a very technically sound and skillful center midfielder, will be able to push the ball into the attacking half, to the wings, and to his forwards.
“I think the production will stem from our midfield,” said Bishop. “In just our last game, we had Christian Milo come on and score from the midfield.”
The game Bishop alluded to was a 2-1 win over Port Washington on Sept. 17. The Vikings have played four games thus far, however only one of them has been a league game. That game was dropped to a very good, and currently undefeated, Lawrence team.
“Lawrence is one of the better teams in the division and we came out flat,” Bishop said. “We did some nice things but couldn’t string it together. It wasn’t our best performance.”
North Shore looks ahead to a conference matchup with Valley Stream North on Thursday. Bishop and his crew are game-planning. “They usually have some pretty fast forwards, but we’re making sure our defense is up for it,” Bishop said.
The leader of that defense is Grabher, an uber-athletic center back with a commitment to West Point Academy for lacrosse. Agostino anchors the bunch as the experienced senior goalkeeper.
Although the familiar core is nice, Bishop alluded to some of the younger kids in the program being ready to step up soon. He credits the new wave of talent as being more ‘soccer-oriented.’
“Sometimes you get a group of guys that are very good athletes, but aren’t soccer players,” said Bishop. “These young guys are soccer players…We have a very good club in the area that has brought kids up through it and eventually they make their way to this program.”
As for season expectations, Bishop was candid: “By season’s end, we should be contending for a playoff position.”