NOT ON MY WATCH — Springville’s AJ Fisher keeps the ball away from a Pioneer player, during the Sept. 16 game. Photo by Dave DeLuca.
SPRINGVILLE — The Springville-Griffith Institute boys had a young team, a year ago. The Griffs had only one senior on their roster and just two players overall with varsity experience. One year later, with one more year of experience, the team is already besting their previous, 1-16 season.
Leading the way is senior captain Brandon Sullivan. Sullivan is a three-year starter and has been a key contributor for Springville, according to coach Tom Szcerzerbacki.
On Sept. 16, that team improved its overall record to 4-3, with a win over Pioneer. Sullivan had a goal and an assist, to lead the Griffs to a 3-2 win against their rival.
“Brandon displays great knowledge of the game,” said Szczerbacki. “He anticipates the play and has great vision on the field. Most importantly, he has demonstrated great leadership on the field. He consistently communicates to teammates and motivates them to play at a higher level.”
In Springville’s first league win of the year on Sept. 13, Springville defeated Cheektowaga 3-1. AJ Fisher had two assists to lead the team in points, in the victory.
“AJ has stepped his game up and [is] playing with more desperation,” Szczerbacki said, about his senior.
In a nonleague game against Holland, Springville’s Trey Aebly scored the game-winning goal, to clinch the Griffs’ 3-2 victory. Aebly is new to soccer and has been a pleasant surprise, according to Szczerbacki.
“Trey [has been] a pretty cool surprise,” he said. “Trey is new to the game and comes to practice with a great work ethic and is a student of the game. One day at practice, he told me he didn’t know what to do when he gets the ball in certain positions on the field. I told him to put the ball in the back of the net. And that’s what he has done.”
Aebly shares the team lead in goals this season with Sullivan. Both players have 3 goals each on the year.
Owen Gow is a two-year varsity member. He was pulled up to the varsity team last year, as a sophomore.
“Owen has really come out strong this season,” Szczerbacki said. “In his second year on varsity, he is really becoming a vocal leader on this team. He has great vision and anticipation and has a great touch. He is responsible for controlling the middle of the field and does a great job.”
Leading the defense is a very experienced group of seniors, the coach noted. The backline includes seniors Jon Weronski, Jason Fisher, Tyler Hanrahan and goalie Andrew Loop.
“They are playing more as a unit and with a little bit of an attitude and that’s what we need,” added the coach, about his backline. “[That has been] one thing that has really helped this team, is that we are starting to play as a team. It starts with defense and we go from there. That has been our focus.
“We need to get our goals against down and that continues to be the focus of this team,” he added. “We need to play with desperation and expect to shut the opponent down.”
Other players that Szczerbacki acknowledged are first-year varsity players Damian Fisher, Dustin Emerson and Garrett Frank.
“Those guys work hard and leave it all on the field,” he said. “They take pride in playing both sides of the ball.”
Springville took on East Aurora on Sept. 18 and will battle Maryvale on Sept. 23, for the Griffin’s annual homecoming game on Pop Warner Field.