Pack looks to get back on track

Published 7:56 pm Monday, August 22, 2011

Washington’ sixth-year soccer coach Jimmy Kozcuh and his Pam Pack are on a mission to get back to the playoffs as Washington begins its season tonight at New Bern. (WDN Photo)

It’s been two years since the Washington boys soccer team has made the postseason and it will take a team effort for the Pam Pack to get back there in 2011.
Washington’s sixth-year coach Jimmy Kozuch heads up a team that lost eight senior starters from last year’s squad and is charged with having to find the right places for all the new faces as the team prepares for its season opener tonight at New Bern.
The number of kids that came out for the team dipped a little bit this season but Kozuch said that while the group is small, it is a talented one.
“We actually had a very low turnout this year, we had about 30 guys tryout for JV and varsity,” Kozuch said. “But, there are a lot more kids that are into soccer and the group as a whole is a group of good kids. There is definitely some potential.”
The cupboard is not completely bare as Kozuch returns three starters from last year squad.
“Our returning starters are our goalie Seth Correll, he played about half the season last year, defender Mike McKeel and defender Lee Pinkham,” Kozuch said.
The Washington skipper also said he might try to spread out that trio to give the team a more balanced veteran presence.
“Our offense has been a little shaky so we might move one of those guys up (to offense) this year,” Kozuch said. “We’re going to try to have one returner in the back playing defense and another one up to try to get a little bit more of an offensive threat.”
Fielding such a young team, it will be critical for Washington to get strong leadership from Correll, McKeel and Pinkham.
“They have to come out and be leaders on and off the field,” Kozuch said. “There are a lot of young guys so they have to set the tone in practice and carry our team through the thick and thin.”
Molding all the young talent is not the only challenge Kozuch faces.
“Right now, the hardest thing is getting the team chemistry together,” Kozuch said. “There is a lot of individual skill but right now they’re not putting it all together. We have some good talent, but once they all realize that we play a lot better as a team instead of playing as individuals we will be in a lot better shape.”
In order for the Pam Pack to get back to the playoffs, it must get contributions from its underclassmen, and Kozuch said there are a few young players that could make a name for themselves this year.
“This year David Giordano could have a nice season, he played JV for us last year. Turner Fottler had 15 goals for the JV team last year so we’re hoping he can bring it up a little bit,” Kozuch said. “Plus, we have a senior that didn’t really play last year but has potential and is name is Sylvester Bollievare. He’s really good, he just hasn’t played for us.”
Though Washington is putting out a team that may lack experience, it will not lack aggression as Kozuch said he wants to play an attacking style.
“We want to be an aggressive team, we want to be a team that’s on the attack,” Kozuch said. “We don’t want to sit back and play defense, we want to pressure everybody and get after their defense. We want to go out and cause turnovers and capitalize on them. … Last year we fell short of the playoffs, so this year our No. 1 goals is to make the postseason.”