As Mepham soccer has acclimated to a new style of play, the goals have followed and no one has more of them than Andrew Weiner. The forward leads Nassau in goals with 19 and also has nine assists, helping the Pirates to the top of the Conference A-I standings.
“Instead of ‘kick and run,’ we’ve been playing the ball out from the back,” Weiner, a senior who will play for Hofstra next year, said. “We’re moving the ball well and it helps get me involved in more 1-on-1 situations.”
“He’s super motivated to win and now he has the support system,” third-year Mepham coach Zachary Gosse said. “In past years, he had to try to beat three or four guys to get a shot on goal. Now he has a system, where his teammates can string passes together and create better chances.
“He’s an excellent finisher and a great athlete,” Gosse added. “He also takes the game very seriously. He wants to get better and he wants the team to be better.”
This will be the third consecutive season that Weiner has led the Pirates in goals, but the first time this level of team success has followed.
Mepham is 11-1-1 and 8-1-1 in Nassau A-I and has not lost since its season opener against Calhoun. The Pirates made the playoffs last season as the No. 20 seed after going 5-4-3, but lost 5-0 to Lawrence in the first round.
Despite the disappointing ending, Weiner said he and his teammates had a positive outlook. The Pirates were set to return almost of all their starters, who were primed for another season in Gosse’s possession-based system.
The optimism seems warranted, as the Pirates have scored 49 goals and conceded just eight, a margin that was boosted by a 5-1 win in the rematch against Calhoun.
“At the end of the Lawrence game last year, we said ‘next year is going to be a big year,’ ” Weiner said. “We knew we would have a similar team and only lost one starter. Once we beat Calhoun, we realized that we could shock this county.”
Weiner has had support from midfielders Kieran Gilroy (seven goals, five assists) and Harry Davila (four goals, six assists), and winger Connor Buehler (seven goals, three assists). The defense is led by centerbacks Chris Cossu and Jon Gaufman, who are also both capable with the ball at their feet, which helps Mepham play out from the back.
“Coach has been phenomenal helping us, Kieran makes everyone better, including myself and Connor is such a threat on the wing,” Weiner said. “Everyone around is contributing and that’s what’s been the key this year.