In Nassau, boys soccer switches from ability-based conferences to enrollment-based. Suffolk uses enrollment-based conferences, the standard practice across New York State. The move is supposed to help build rivalries but some traditionally strong soccer programs now have historically weaker programs on their schedule. Some conferences are stacked with strong programs, as is the case with Conference VIII, which includes Class B powerhouses Cold Spring Harbor and Carle Place as well as the defending Class C state champion, Friends Academy.
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Hicksville, the defending champion, is led by All-Long Island senior defender Timmy Parker, who has committed to St. John's. New Hicksville coach Scott Starkey emphasized Parker's importance. "His success will determine a lot of how our season will go,'' Starkey said. Senior defender Sal Geneva and junior defender/midfielder Ian Gallagher are other key returnees.
Farmingdale could start 10 seniors, including defender Michael Doller, midfielder Austin Wertheimer and forwards Chris Giordano and Victor Montano. Farmingdale will host nationally-ranked Chaminade and St. Anthony's as part of its non-league schedule.
Massapequa returns several seniors, including forward/midfielder Brian Bartichek, goalkeeper Sean Brailey, defender Nick Fetzer and defender/midfielder Chris Balzano.
Oceanside returns a fairly young but experienced team. Junior midfielder Casey Densing leads the way and senior forward Nick Iadevio returns after missing most of last season with a back injury.
Syosset is going to be a young team with five returning starters. Senior defenders Steven Davies and Ross Kennedy along with junior midfielder Eric Bold and sophomore defender/midfielder Thomas Burrei are the key players.
Bellmore JFK returns several experienced players. Senior defender Drew Satnick is a four-year starter and is joined by senior forward Justin Harrison and senior goalkeeper Tom Anagostou.
Baldwin returns many key players from the team that went undefeated last season. Senior goalkeeper Vincent Pelliegrino led the county in shutouts last season. Seniors Stephen Tang, Jarek Babb and Phillip Flores make up the defense and seniors Tana Weekes and Chris Walsh are in the midfield.
South Side, the defending champion, brings back seven starters. Senior Jeff Cohen is the anchor of the defense. Sophomore forward Mark Romanowski led the team in goals and assists last season.
Garden City returns four starters from its team that lost in the county final. Senior midfielder John Tarzian and senior forward Vincent Taversnese lead the way. Non-league games against defending Class B champion Cold Spring Harbor and Class AA runner-up Calhoun will be early tests.
Mineola returns eight starters, including junior defender Denis Lazo-Cruz, the only sophomore to be named All-County last season. Junior midfielder Christian Lird also returns.
Jericho has experience on the back end with senior goalkeeper Ben Rechler and senior defender Wesler Mehr. Junior midfielder Glenn Hyams is also a key returning player.
Roslyn returns nine starters, including junior forward Matt Sherr, and senior defenders Jason Bergman and Sam Sherr.
Cold Spring Harbor, the five-time defending champion, has a lot of holes to fill. Senior defenders Chris Pontisakos and Ben Lebowitz solidify the back end. Senior midfielder Justin Suter and senior forward Nick Moquin make up the rest of the core of the team.
Carle Place, county finalists for the last four years, returns seven starters. Senior goalkeeper Stephen Laurino and senior midfielder Stephen Brown lead the way. Look for junior midfielder Dom Pereira to make an impact as well.
Friends Academy, the defending state champion, is the lone Class C school in Nassau. Senior defender Christopher Campbell has committed to Colgate. Senior midfielder Colin Heffron is a key returnee as is senior forward Matt Slotnick, the county's leading scorer.