If a certain pre-season game is any indication the Weston High boys varsity soccer team may expect some good things this fall.
The Trojans proved they were up to the challenge when they took on players from seasons past in the annual alumni game on Sunday, Aug. 26. Despite holding tryouts just a day earlier they already demonstrated their ability to score, beating the alumni 3-2.
The result could be considered an upset of sorts as the win marked the first in regulation time for the varsity team since the contest started in 2004.
“I’m really happy with the style of play,” said head varsity coach Kevin Fitzsimmons, now in his fourth season with the team. “They worked through the midfield to get the ball to the strikers.”
Such was no small feat as the Trojans were taking on the largest turnout of alumni players to date. The latter had 26 show up for the game.
“It’s great to see this many people come back,” said Weston Athletic Director Mark Berkowitz, who coached the alumni team and was varsity coach from 1999 to 2006. “It’s one of my favorite nights of the year.”
In the future he hopes to organize an all-alumni game earlier in the summer in which players who graduated in even years will take on those from odd years.
Although many are still in the area a few of the alumni came from as far away as Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Besides getting to see former teammates again, they had the chance to put their soccer skills to use again.
“It’s good to see we can all step up and compete,” said 2001 graduate Rob Barberi, the oldest alumnus at the game. “I don’t think anyone has a lost a beat.”
The alumni showed they were still a force to be reckoned with as they scored the first goal of the night. With 18:15 left in the first half Alex Zaharoff slid a shot past varsity keeper Ryan Major with Peter Scher getting the assist.
“The alumni always look good,” said Fitzsimmons. “They were big. They were powerful.”
However, the Trojans would respond before halftime. Just over three minutes remained when sophomore Josh Valentine sent a shot right in front of the goal from about 10 yards out that found the back of the net to tie things at 1-1. Rein Diaz got the assist.
Most of the scoring took place in the second half. Less than four minutes after play resumed the alumni were back on the offensive, going up 2-1 on a goal by Scher at 36:53.
There was still a lot of time left and the Trojans used it wisely. Diaz, who missed all of last season due to knee surgery, tied it up with a goal at 32:11.
Less than two minutes later the senior got the assist when Oliver Parker headed in a corner kick to put the varsity ahead for good. From that point on the defense kicked in, denying the alumni a number of chances to score.
“It’s great to see the evolution of the program,” said Barberi. “It’s grown light years in my opinion.”