Rhinebeck boys soccer strives for balance as top scorers graduate

Last year was the end of an era of amazing offense for the Rhinebeck boys soccer team.

The Hawks, who finished the season ranked as the 6th-best Class B team in the state by the New York Sportswriters Association, saw lead scorers McClenahan and Nick Hoynes combine for a total of 51 goals, according to head coach Justin Wiesenthal; both Hoynes and McClenahan were members of the graduating class of 2014.

But while the defense was formidable in 2013, this year’s team has some distinct advantages.

For one thing, because of decreased enrollment numbers in 2014, Rhinebeck is back in Class C after a year in Class B, meaning smaller schools and some familiar faces.

Wiesenthal said that he thinks that the current seniors will have chance to plug the hole left by the loss of McClenahan and Hoynes.

He pointed specifically to Andy Roszensweig, Ian Katomski, Brendan Grazzianno, and Aidan McKibben-Vaughan, all of whom put together a solid 2013. And he noted that Rhinebeck will get back to a more balanced style of soccer, which is his goal for 2014.

“Of course, we’ll certainly miss Seth McClenahan and Nick Hoynes – I think we lost five or six seniors from last year… all great kids and great players. But the one thing that they were really good at was that they were great teachers, and they passed down the things that they learned to these [returning] players,” said Wiesenthal.

He added, “We’ve never had a scorer like Seth before. It was great while it lasted, and we loved it. But we’re going to concentrate on our defense, and hopefully keep other teams off the board, while hopefully we can get a few [goals]. We have some great offensive players that we think will be able to take care of the job.”.

“Our focus is always on defense,” he said. “We gave up under 10 goals on the entire season, but that also happened to go along with Seth’s 35 goals, Nick’s 16, and other players contributing. So we did have a little offensive growth — but defense is always the concern for us.”

The team, as Wiesenthal pointed out, has made the regional finals twice in two years: in 2012 as a Class C team and in 2013 as a Class B team, and while they are likely going to have to adjust to a new, balanced identity, the team is returning plenty of high-level players from 2013 and expects to be competitive.

“These guys are hard workers,” Wiesenthal said. “They’ve taken the lead from other players who have departed, and I don’t think there’s any roof on this team. I think they’ll be able to go as far as they want to.”

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