The Nicolet boys soccer squad will hope to build on a late 2006 upset of North Shore champ Whitefish Bay and will take 15 returning lettermen into the fight as the Knights look to improve upon their 4-13-4 record of a year ago.
Nicolet opened the campaign with a soggy 3-0 victory over area rival Brown Deer on Aug. 21.
"It was hard to know until I watched (his team) play, but we're faster and a lot more solidly skilled than we were a year ago," Knight coach Mark Schill said. "Top-to-bottom, this is the most skilled squad that I've had in five years."
The Knights, who had the South Milwaukee Round Robin tournament canceled by the rain last weekend, will be at Verona at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 1 and then will venture to nearby Waunakee for a 1 p.m. tilt. The following Tuesday, Sept. 4, they will visit a most formidable Homestead squad.
Nicolet will look to be more formidable itself as it looks to compete in the testy North Shore Conference. Senior returnees include goalie Mickey Hyland, defender Mike Rosenberg, midfielder/forwards Joey D'Amato and Carlos Aguilar, forward Ben Knight, midfielder Kevin Weir and forward Dabney Olgvin.
Junior veterans include midfielders Gabe Colton, Cyrus Karshenas, Victor Torres and second-team all-league selection Trevor Adams; midfielder/forward Ben Yarmulnik and defenders Jason Rogers and Gavin Robertson.
A sophomore returnee is defender Steve Nicolet. Newcomers to the mix include goalies Chad Lane (senior) and Gard Pecor (sophomore), as well as sophomore midfielders Aiden Hamaker and David Yarmulnik, senior defender Noah Rotter, junior midfielder/forward Adam Miller, junior defender/midfielder Sebastian Paczuski and a senior AFS student from Germany, Nils Burmann.
Schill said that Burmann has been an amazing find. "Technically, he's very adept, with a very nice touch on the ball," Schill said. "We're looking to possess the ball more this season and build from there rather than counter all the time. Last year, it was difficult to figure out who will start. Now it's a different problem. How do I get all these players who deserve to play into the game? It's a nice problem to have."
Schill said that two-time league champion Bay will be most formidable again, as will Homestead.
He was pleased with the triumph over Brown Deer as Aguilar (assist Burmann), Burmann (Robertson), and Olgvin all scored goals for the Knights.
"I thought we played good-looking soccer in the second half," Schill said.
Nicolet outshot Brown Deer 24-5 as Hyland made three saves and the Falcons' David Schimenz stopped 18 shots.
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