Team preview: North Rockland

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Chris Dwyer’s first year as head coach for North Rockland was a smashing success, but the follow up act should be much tougher. Dwyer guided a senior-heavy group to the Class AA section final, but duplicating that feat will be a tall task with so many new varsity players. I checked out a Red Raiders’ practice recently and found a whole lot of optimism, and we’ll see if that positive attitude translates to another strong season. They’ll certainly have big holes to fill — particularly in goal, where reigning TJN Rockland player of the year Steven Hegner has graduated.

Here are the responses that I received from Dwyer:

caherneWhat was your final record last season and where did you finish in the playoffs? 18-2. Lost to Arlington in the Class AA section final, 3-2.

Who are your key returning players? We only return five players. We expect them to take a leadership role this year and help the younger players transition to the varsity level: Chris Aherne, senior, defense (pictured to the right); John Salto, senior, forward; Bryan Martinez, senior, defense; Christian Ohanian, junior, midfielder; Pat Dentico, junior, forward.

Who are the key players that you lost to graduation? Steven Hegner (Dominican College); Will Lopez (SUNY IT); Ronnie Crover; Rafael Aguilar; Karl Gutenberger; Ricky Desir; Jonah St. Vil; Joe Tisbe.

Are you anticipating losing any players to the U.S. Soccer Federation season? Not anticipating losing any players to federation teams.

What do you consider to be your team’s strengths? Tough to tell with so many new players. Strength of our team last year came from the kids character as people and teammates. We have another group of kids that have that same work ethic and team first mentality. Hopefully that leads to positive results.

What are some areas of concern? Blending last year’s returners with a large group of newcomers. Experience at the varsity level will be a concern.

Which formation do you anticipate using? Traditionally a 4-4-2, but may be altered based on personnel and opponent.

What is your goal for your team in 2013? We set goals together as a team in terms of season results. My hope is that our guys commit themselves to making each other the best they can possibly be and look back on the season with no regrets.

Who is your biggest rival(s)? Every team in our league is a rival. Any team can win in any given year.

Up next: Valhalla

Photo by Peter Carr/The Journal News

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About Author

VINCENT Z. MERCOGLIANO has been with The Journal News and LoHud.com since March 2010. He graduated from New Rochelle High School in 2005 and from Hofstra University in 2009 with a degree in broadcast journalism. He currently covers boys soccer, wrestling and baseball, while assisting with LoHud's Yankees coverage.

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