<b>Coach:</b> Matt Leiva, second season (3-6-4)
<b>2007 Record:</b> 3-6-4
<b>Key Losses:</b> F Joe Barnd, M Ben Fuentes
<b>Key Players:</b> GK Joel Helmick, SR; M Coleman Bacon, SR; M Sagie Madnick, SO; F Daniel Lidster, SR
<b>Quotable:</b> “Woodson has been one of the elite programs in the state and we need to get back to that, but we need to do it the right way by installing a strong work ethic instead of relying on superstars.” – head coach Matt Leiva
<b>Outlook:</b> While last year was Matt Leiva’s first year as the head coach of the Woodson boys soccer team, he doesn’t believe that it was truly his squad.
“They were a group of kids that had been together for a while, we had just won the region. It was not necessarily a falling apart year, but it went that way,” said Leiva.
For that reason, Leiva has no problem deeming this year a rebuilding year for the Cavaliers.
“This year, I am fine saying that it is a rebuilding year. Woodson soccer kind of disappeared last year,” he said. “Half of the team is sophomores or freshman. It will definitely be a big rebuilding year.”
That doesn’t mean that the Cavaliers are short on talent. Leiva brings back Longwood-bound senior goalkeeper Joel Helmick, senior midfielder Coleman Bacon, sophomore midfielder Sagie Madnick and senior forward Daniel Lidster.
Even the Cavaliers’ secondary goalkeeper Brian Murphy looks to secure a spot at the college level next fall.
“I really feel that when it comes to goalkeeper, there is not a team in the state that has a better crew than we do,” said Leiva. “The sad thing for them is that they have had to compete against each other every year of high school.”
Bacono, Madnick and Lidster will look to replace an offensive hole left by Joe Barnd, who plays for Michigan State. While Barnd scored only eight goals last year, the forward was often subjected to triple-teams every time he touched the ball, forcing the Cavaliers to learn to score without him a year early.
“We had to find goals from other places last year. [Barnd] was under so much pressure last year, being the player that he was, he really didn’t get the opportunity to shine,” said Leiva.
The Cavaliers will be searching for goals again this year, opening up the season with a 0-0 tie with Robinson and a 3-0 loss to Westfield.
“In practice, we score ton,” said Leiva.