Golden Griffins off to a golden start

QP boys’ soccer start new season with four wins in five matches


Photo by Jim Hague/ The Queen of Peace boys’ soccer team has enjoyed a solid start, winning four of their first five matches in 2011, after winning just seven all of last season. Front row, from left, are Dan Viaud, Adam Len and Joe Hessian. Back row, from left, are head coach Bob Wright, Patrick Lorfiak, Nick Nardone, Derrick Maurer and assistant coach Steve Montanino.

By Jim Hague

Ever since Bob Wright took over as head coach of the boys’ soccer program at Queen of Peace, he’s been waiting for the day when the Golden Griffins could actually be competitive.
“We won just two games in each of my first two years,” Wright said. “But we were actually improving over the course of time.”
Two wins one year led to four the next, then finally seven last year, as the Golden Griffins posted a 7-11 record. Not exactly world beaters, but much better all the same.
“The kids had heart and dedication,” Wright said. “They were the ones who stuck through it all.”
Senior forward Nick Rogers knew that the Golden Griffins would be vastly improved this season.
“We didn’t have that great of a team in years past, but I knew we were due for a big turnaround,” Rogers said. “We were losing way too long.”
Led by Rogers, who has scored eight goals thus far, the Golden Griffins are much improved. They have won four of their first five matches already.
“It means a lot to all of us,” Rogers said. “Starting off strong was huge for us. It’s a lot more fun.”
Rogers knows that his Golden Griffin teammates are looking for him more.
“They know that I can go out and get the ball in good situations and I can finish,” Rogers said. “I know my teammates are looking for me to score more.”
Rogers had 17 goals last season. He’s almost half the way there already.
“He’s been a four-year varsity player and a solid scorer,” Wright said of Rogers. “He’s matured very well. This is his time. He’s talented and technically strong.”
Wright knows that his senior-dominated team has paid its dues.
“Experience is a key,” Wright said. “So is cohesiveness. These kids have been playing together for a while and it shows.”
Wright also thinks that the failures of the past have led to early season successes this year.
“If we fell behind last year, there weren’t many chances of coming back,” Wright said. “Now, we have the confidence to come back. We also lost a lot of one-goal games last year. Now, we’re winning them. It’s a big turnaround.”
Another key to the Golden Griffins’ success has been senior forward Matthew Tarantino, who has scored five goals thus far.
“Matt is very speedy and gets to a lot of balls,” Wright said. “Last year, we needed him on defense, so he played there. But we converted him to forward this year and he’s been a big threat. We now have a double threat with him and Nick.”
Senior Tyler Zielinski has been a mainstay in the midfield. Zielinski is another veteran of the QP varsity, currently playing in his third season with the Golden Griffins’ varsity.
“He’s our playmaker,” Wright said. “He’s the one who makes us go.”
Senior Cristobal Mosquera is the team’s defensive-minded midfielder.
“He’s been consistently playing very well,” Wright said. “He’s also tall and strong and that helps us with our defense. He also has a very good awareness of the game.”
Senior Marshall Delgado is another midfielder, but he can also move to defense when needed.
“He’s versatile and very technical,” Wright said of Delgado.
Junior Zachary Santi is another midfielder who solidifies that position for the Golden Griffins.
The Griffins used the four-across defensive set, with senior Derrick Maurer, part of the long-standing QP family, manning the center back slot.
“He controls the back and he has a lot of speed,” Wright said of Maurer. “Everything we do runs through him.”
Junior Kyle Lennon, who can also be moved to either midfield or forward, is another stalwart at defender, along with junior Joe Hessian, who has a lot of offensive skill from the defensive position, and senior Adam Len.
Another veteran is goalkeeper Nick Nardone, who is in his third year of varsity soccer.
“He’s become a vocal leader and is really coming into his own,” Wright said of Nardone. “He’s received a lot of goalkeeping training in the offseason. He’s really dedicated himself to the sport of soccer.”
The Golden Griffins know that they cannot rest on their laurels, that there is a lot of season left. But four wins in five games for a program that hasn’t enjoyed a lot of winning over the years is definitely a solid start.
“We were due for something good,” Rogers said.
“It’s great for the kids,” Wright said. “I feel good for them. They have come together nicely and we’re competitive now. The kids know that we’re going to be in the game from the beginning. That’s the key right now. This is their year to make some noise.”
You can already hear that happy noise coming from North Arlington.

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