by Tom Utescher
Well-stocked with seniors and expected to field a more balanced offense than last year, the soccer team at the former Chestnut Hill Academy is confident that it can improve on its results in 2010, when the Blue Devils finished sixth in the Inter-Ac League with a record of 2-5-3. Penn Charter was able to clinch the league championship with a 6-2-2 mark, so CHA was not as far behind its peers as its record might suggest.
“I think this is going to be our deepest team since I’ve been here,” remarked third-year head coach Joe DiSalvo. “I think we’ve got 15 or 16 players who can contribute.”
There are 11 seniors in total on the 2011 roster, eight of them varsity veterans.
“This year’s seniors haven’t been able to have a winning varsity season so far,” DiSalvo said. “I think they’re hungry for success, and they’re going to be the guys leading the charge for us.”
There were three seniors on last year’s team; high scorer Sam Lane, goalie Judd Hayne, and defender Jack Maine, and Maine played only a few weeks before an injury ended his season.
“In the past few years, we’ve had one dominant player up top,” noted DiSalvo. “Two years ago Peter Adubato scored 65 to 70 percent of our goals and last year Sam Lane had something like 65 percent of our goals. It’s going to be more spread out this year. We’ve got strong forwards with [senior] Danny Hull and [freshman] Jose Contreras, and I think we’ll get a lot of contributions from the wing and the midfield with guys like Dan Trulear [a senior], and Anthony Liddy and John Phillip Kelly [both sophomores]. Other guys, like [senior] Alex DeBerardinis and [junior] Tom Higgins can push forward, too.”
Hull, Trulear, and DeBerardinis are the Blue Devils’ tri-captains for 2011.
There are some experienced defenders, such as seniors Mike Duffey and Kyle Espenshade, but senior goalie Sam Feirson will have to adjust to a starting role. He was sidelined with an injury during his junior year, but did see a bit of varsity playing time as a tenth-grader.
As usual, the Devils will be playing a strong non-league schedule, with Archbishop Ryan, Strath Haven, and Hill School on the agenda, along with New Jersey private schools such as Hun, Lawrenceville and Pennington. There will also be a showcase game against Roman Catholic High School at the United German Hungarian Soccer Club on September 6, part of a doubleheader that includes Penn Charter matching up with Father Judge.
Like DiSalvo himself, the team’s new assistant coach, Bobby Buoncristiano, is a CHA graduate. Buoncristiano went on to play at La Salle University, where he graduated in 2004, and he has been coaching alongside DiSalvo within the PSC Coppa club organization.