The beauty and cruelty of high school sports lays in its cyclical nature.
Last season’s Division III Championship was four years in the making for the Exeter-West Greenwich boys soccer team as the Knights finally sealed the deal after two straight losses in the finals.
Now, a new chapter has undoubtedly begun as EWG moves on without the 14 seniors that helped lead the team to D-III title.
“You close the door and open a new one and just rebuild,” EWG coach Matt Savoie says. “We did this four years ago and we built a new. You close a door, you don’t look back. It’s one the great things about high school and college sports.”
The massive amount of turnover has led to battles for playing time at just about every position on the field and rather than get discouraged about the team’s lack of experience, Savoie couldn’t be more thrilled to coach this season.
“I haven’t been more excited for a season in five years because I don’t know what the outcome is,” he says. “It changes your philosophy and you have to start from the ground up.
“Every single one of them has been pulling their weight or more. I could give every name on the roster. They want to win and they’re doing everything in their power to do so.”
Two names that undoubtedly jump out so far are the team’s two seniors, captains Jack Livsey and Joey Micelli.
“Jack’s a great leader and he’s got a lot of weight on his shoulder but he’s ready,” Savoie says. “He knew the challenge he was coming into and he’s done a tremendous job. He’s set the tone that losing is not acceptable.
“…[Micelli] and Jack have done a tremendous job of getting the sophomores and the freshmen used to what high school ball is like.”
As far as what style or formation the Knights are going to play it is still left to be decided as Savoie doesn’t want to be the type of coach who tries to force a square peg into a round hole.
Rather, he – along with his two captains – are going to figure out what formations would best play into the team’s strengths before deciding.
“I’m not a coach that has a formation and players adapt to it,” Savoie says. “I take a team and make a formation that adapts to it and the captains will have a say in it. We’ve done for that four years and it’s worked well.”
According to Savoie, Kyle Pezzullo, Brennan Rattenni and Matt Sipolski have each played well so far but the coach also added that he has been impressed with how every member of the team has competed so far.
In goal freshman Trent Johnson and sophomore Austin Larson have been battling to replace Ben Andrews in goal and so far the race has been too close to call.
Exeter-West Greenwich is scheduled to open up the regular season Tuesday, Sept 10 at 3:30 p.m. when it travels to Cranston Stadium to take on Cranston East.