After missing the playoffs last season a year removed from reaching the Nassau County Conference A championship match, the Wantagh boys soccer team is working hard on and off the field in an effort to achieve postseason success in 2012.
In an effort to boost team chemistry heading into the season, Wantagh boys soccer head coach Tom Liguori arranged for the squad to take a long bus trip upstate to face East Syracuse-Minoa in a preseason game on Sept. 8. Wantagh then proceeded to win six of its first seven matches to open the season and is currently in second place in Conference A-1 following a 2-1 home loss to Roslyn Wednesday afternoon.
“We took an early preseason trip to really try and put the boys together so they could bond,” said Liguori, who played for the Warriors during the program’s last state title run in 1992. “The [Wantagh] teams that I think back on that have done well are ones that regardless of athletic ability, that cared about each other and fought for each other and fought together.”
Wantagh (6-2-1) boasts 12 seniors in 2012 led by tri-captains Eric Tomeo, Danny Lennon and Kevin Laibach.
“The captains were chosen by the team and I think that is important,” Liguori said. “They are the pulse of the team.”
A major strength on the pitch for Wantagh this season has been defense with the Warriors achieving five shutouts so far anchored by Laibach in net.
“We always pride ourselves on defense,” Liguori said.
At the midway point of the 2012 campaign, Wantagh finds itself in second place in Conference A-1 at 3-2-1 with Garden City, Roslyn and South Side all huddled close in the standings just below the Warriors. Only four of the seven teams in the division will reach the Nassau County playoffs.
“In this conference every game is tough,” Liguori said. “Four out of seven are going to get in and that means some perennial playoff teams are not going to get in.”
Wantagh is next in action on Friday at home against Garden City starting at 4:30 p.m.