Morgan Boys’ Soccer Hungry for Another Outstanding Year
Junior captain Tyler Mucha and the Morgan boys’ soccer team have the potential to earn their fourth consecutive Shoreline Conference title in 2020. Mucha will most likely return to the midfield for the Huskies. (File photo by Kelley Fryer/Harbor News | Buy This Photo)
Senior captain Max Skidmore’s offensive versatility should pay dividends for the Huskies this year, whether he plays on the attack or in the midfield. (File photo by Kelley Fryer/Harbor News | Buy This Photo)
Junior Alex Gallardo may be moving into a steadier position for Morgan this year as opposed to the utility role he served in 2019. (File photo by Kelley Fryer/Harbor News | Buy This Photo)
The Morgan boys’ soccer squad continued its stellar run atop the Shoreline Conference in 2019. The Huskies earned a share of the Shoreline Conference title with Old Saybrook after playing to a 2-2 tie in the conference final, which marked Morgan’s third-consecutive conference crown. The Huskies also reached the quarterfinals of the Class M State Tournament and finished with an overall record of 15-3-3 on the year.
In 2020, Morgan will be looking to replicate those results with different looking team. One of the biggest changes for the Huskies this year is that they will need to replace the production of senior captain Zach Tuccitto, who was the Shoreline’s top scorer with 38 goals and 15 assists. Additionally, Morgan will feature a mostly new defensive corps. Luckily, Head Coach Ross Demay’s squad has a number of players ready to take the reins at multiple positions.
“We’ll have most of our offense back except for Zach. He had 38 goals and 15 assists. He broke the Shoreline record for scoring. That’s a big loss,” said Demay. “The midfield is similar with returning players, but we lost our entire defense. We have some aggressive players who had some time there that will be moved back. We have to see who steps up this year.”
Helping lead the Huskies, and perhaps stepping up themselves will be senior captains Max Skidmore, Sean Cafferty, Sebastian Selgar, and junior captain Tyler Mucha. A number of them earned Shoreline Conference awards last season: Cafferty took home All-Shoreline Conference First Team honors, while Skidmore earned All-Shoreline Second Team accolades. Mucha received Shoreline Honorable Mention.
“Sean Cafferty will be back, and he was an effective player for us. I’m not sure where he’ll be playing this year yet. We’ll see where he fits best. Max Skidmore will probably be in the midfield or up front on the attack,” said Demay. “We have Tyle Mucha, who has pretty much been a center midfielder for us. He got some time there last year, and he’ll go back there. Selgar was big in the postseason last year, and he should be a difference maker.”
Some other seniors that could step into larger roles this year include Manny Romero and Evan Baptista. Coach Demay knows that many of his players are talented, but sometimes it takes those athletes to believe that themselves for them to take the next level.
“Manny Romero got some time for us and he should be able to play a bit more,” Demay said. “Evan Baptista’s been working hard with the wrestling team. For him, a lot of it is confidence and strength. With the success he’s had and the strength he’s built, I’m hoping he gets into the varsity running.”
The Huskies will also be looking at some changes in front of the net this year with the departure of starting goalie Matt Rubino. Stepping into his place is junior Bailey Goss, who played some meaningful minutes last season. This year, he will be goalkeeper the majority of the time. Coach Demay knows it will be an adjustment for his squad in that Goss plays a different style in net, but the junior keeper has the tools to be successful.
“We have a keeper that will be good in Bailey Goss. Bailey is more of a shot preventer than Nick was,” Demay said. “Bailey comes out of the net to collect, and he has really good hands.”
Junior Alex Gallardo will also be pushing to play more varsity minutes for the Huskies. He showed that he could be effective in stints last season, and Demay hopes he can do the same as and maybe more as a junior.
“Alex Gallardo was a good utility player for us last year,” Demay said. “He fought hard for a starting position last year. We will probably have him be a back or a mid this year.”
Coach Demay is excited to see some of his younger players take on bigger roles too. A good example is sophomore Sebastian Kadloff, who has become more physically imposing since he last was on the Huskies.
“We have Sebby Kadloff who’s going to be a sophomore this year. He grew probably six inches. So as long as he’s still coordinated, he’s going to be exceptional,” said Demay. “He started some games as a freshman, and got a lot of time. He was nervous a bit against Saybrook, but I feel like he’s playing well. He was playing a higher level of Premier soccer before Covid happened. So he’ll probably come in looking pretty good.”
Coach Demay knows that much of his team’s offensive prowess had to do with the presence of Tuccitto, and he’s not banking another lone player putting up a ridiculous 38 goals. That means new strategies, which may emphasize attacking on all fronts or a more defensive approach. Unfortunately, with the CIAC’s recent guidelines of an abbreviated season, that means more games against conference opponents.
“We’ll see if someone steps up to score or if the scoring will spread out. I have a few ideas, but we’ll have to see what works in the preseason. I’ve heard it’s an abbreviated season, and that means we don’t play out-of-conference games that help you prepare for seeing different things,” said Demay. “Last year against Norwich Free Academy, we were more focused on learning a different formation than winning that game. In the end, that formation brought us back against Portland in Shorelines. Losing a game for learning purposes, for bettering our chances in Shorelines and states, is worth it.”
Regardless of the form the season takes this year, Coach Demay knows that any campaign would be valuable for his athletes, provided they can compete safely—both for themselves and those around them.
“There’s a camaraderie in spots that you don’t see in anything else. We accentuate the entire group as a whole. Our team chant is, “One, two, three Morgan. Four, Five Six, family.’ On the field, they’re a brotherhood,” said Demay. “We win and we lose together. They have to rely on one another, push one another, and be accountable to one another. That’s important in life. It’s a way to clear your mind and lose yourself for an hour or two and not worry about different stresses.”