Practice on a non-football field with a team of fewer than 25 players Ashley boys soccer team Feel optimistic in the year 2023.
It’s been eight years since Ashley won the Mid-East Conference, and last season’s 12-9-2 result left a lot to be desired.
Ashley’s team includes only eight senior players, and does not have a group of superstars. In addition, the team will play all of its home matches at one of the venues at Veterans Park as Ashley Stadium is undergoing maintenance.
Despite these challenges, the Screaming eagles The team started 3-0 this fall, and third-year coach Nick Gigliotti says this is one of his best teams yet.
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“I think this is one of the best teams we have because of the closeness of the players.” Gigliotti He said. “We may not have the best players on paper, but we do have guys who understand the game and have a high IQ on the field.”
Part of the optimism surrounding the team is due to the success of the girls’ soccer program this spring, which advanced to the NCHSAA state championship in May, a record-breaking feat.
“Everyone has raised their bar,” senior defensive back Josh Jernigan said of the girls’ soccer teams success this spring. “Of course, there are not many prizes. It sure motivated us all.”
“I think a lot of the players said, ‘It’s unfair that the girls have come this far,’ said forward Nick Senatimbou.
Sinatiembo returns as the Screaming Eagles’ most important threat, scoring eight goals as a sophomore last fall.
“We all want to get past the first round (of the qualifiers) since we were knocked out the last two years,” he said.
Midfielder Aidan Lawrence is one of the first four players in the squad, and he says the chemistry of this year’s squad is second to none.
“For the seniors, this is our last season, so we give it everything we have,” Lawrence said. “As soon as the conference comes, I know we will be ready.”
The Mid-Eastern Conference itself has churned out some of its most productive players this season (Stone Merrill, Alex Walker) and offers Ashley one of its best shots at a conference title in recent years.
While Ashley’s lack of raw talent and depth definitely makes the team an underdog in 2023, you wouldn’t know that from talking to the players or coaches. Instead, the Screaming Eagles have the confidence to make a big run this fall, and are determined to surprise the region in the process.
“Our mentality is that we have to be the strongest and hardest working team on the football field,” Gigliotti said. “We will be difficult to break through and difficult to beat. We may not have all the talent in the world, but we have players who are very talented and very dedicated.”
This article originally appeared on the Wilmington Star News website: Can Ashley Boys Football finally get over the hump in 2023?