With just four returning starters from last year’s squad that finished 5-10-3, South’s boys’ soccer team will rely on its senior class to provide the leadership to the younger Rebels as the team comes together this fall.
Despite their lack of varsity experience, the Rebels should once again be in the mix for a Western Reserve Conference title.
“We are very inexperienced with varsity level soccer, so we’re hoping the seniors provide the leadership for us to have a successful season,” said ninth-year head coach Rick DiBacco. “We should be able to challenge for the WRC championship this season.”
For that to happen, the Rebels will have to come together as a team early in the season and maintain communication throughout each game. Ball possession also will play a role in the team’s success.
“I’m looking forward to see what this team can accomplish by working hard and together every game,” DiBacco said.
Leading the way for the Rebels this senior are seniors Victor Lufi, Kyle Bencina, Nico Vitantonio, Tom Schrenk, Blaise Lombardo and Dan Silvaroli.
Lufi returns at forward where he scored two goals and assisted on another last season. Bencina, Vitantonio and Schrenk will line up at midfield. Bencina recorded three assists last fall while Vitantonio is a two-year starter.
Lombardo and Silvaroli both play on defense. Lombardo, a two-year letter winner, earned honorable mention All-Greater Cleveland Soccer Coaches’ Association honors last season. Silvaroli, who scored two goals, was a South High School Scholar-Athlete award winner with a 5.0 grade point average.
The Rebels also have five juniors ready to contribute highlighted by forward Amir Serikbaev, who scored five goals and added three assists last year in earning second team All-WRC and second team All-GCSCA honors.
Aaron Gardner returns at forward after scoring two goals with two assists a year ago. Dakota Booher will play defense while Mark Zusman and Bryce Lanese will protect the net.
Lanese recorded four saves last year and was named the Most Improved JV player.
Sophomores Cole Davis, a midfielder, and Quinn Kelley, a defender, also are expected to see plenty of action for the Rebels.