Weekly Feature

2014-09-10 / Sports

Bulldogs organizing for a successful season

Soccer preview
Sports Reporter

Kenmore East senior Kyle Gentile, right, fights for the ball against Grand Island on Saturday. It was a tough game for the Bulldogs as they lost 6-0. 
Photo by Jake FrenchPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com Kenmore East senior Kyle Gentile, right, fights for the ball against Grand Island on Saturday. It was a tough game for the Bulldogs as they lost 6-0. Photo by Jake FrenchPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com Organization doesn’t jump out to be one of the major skills a soccer team should have on the field. But Kenmore East head coach Rolfe Freidenberg has been working diligently with the Bulldogs to develop some of the best organizational skills in the Niagara Frontier League.

“When goals are scored in the big professional leagues, you notice that within the first few seconds after losing possession of the ball the opponent comes on within five to 10 seconds after,” Freidenberg said. “So the second you lose possession, you need to be able to communicate. Someone needs to take charge out there marking players. You need to put the ball in front of you rather than chasing from behind.”

Therefore, communicating on the field has been a point of emphasis for Kenmore East during practices and their first few games. Staying organized on the field can also help the Bulldogs’ transition game.

“When we gain possession we want to transition forward and get up to support our attackers,” Freidenberg said. “I’ve been preaching anticipation rather than reaction.”

Leading the Bulldogs on the field as organizers are four returning starting seniors which include Damon Lepine, Jonathan Gardner, Kyle Gentile and Ben Koford. Lepine and Gentile are each entering their third year on the varsity team and were named captains along with fellow senior Conor Hoar.

“We want to get guys like Kyle out there to take charge when the ball is lost to have the confidence and leadership to bark orders out,” Freidenberg said. “It might take a few more games to get 100 percent everyone on the same page.”

According to Freidenberg, Kenmore East’s strongest skill set is their defense, led by Gardner, Gentile and Koford.

Added to that group are a couple of young additions in freshman Dylan Cunningham and eighth-grader Kyle Hofschneider. That mix of talent is both solid in the Bulldogs’ own end, as well as pushing forward offensively.

“Dylan is very technical with the ball and can be elusive when someone is closing in on him,” Freidenberg said. “Kyle is a special player. He’s extremely technical and has grown a little bit since last year so he fits right in. Other coaches recognize that he is one of the most technically sound players on the team.”

Kenmore East will be showcasing a new goalie this year in sophomore transfer Dylan Guarino. He is originally from the Ken-Ton district but attended a Buffalo charter school for the past couple of years.

As a player for Empire United, Guarino has the skills to immediately become the starting goalie.

“He’s a solid goalkeeper and has played goalie his whole life,” Freidenberg said. “He is very technically sound and knows what position he is suppose to be in.”

On the offense, the Bulldogs’ top goal scorer may likely turn out to be junior Fenesse Henry. According to Freidenberg, Henry has improved in the off-season by becoming faster and handling the ball better.

Kenmore East started the season by participating in the Coaches vs. Cancer ECIC/NFL Challenge on Aug. 29-30 at Sweet Home High School. The first day, Kenmore East lost 2-0 against Starpoint without having Guarino and Gardner eligible yet. Neither player had enough practices in at the time.

The following day, the Bulldogs lost 4-1 to Williamsville South. Kenmore East gave up three goals in a span of 12 minutes in the first half, which was too big a hole to climb out of.

However, in the second half Lepine scored a beautiful header goal off a corner kick taken by Hofschneider.

On Thursday, Kenmore East notched its first win of the season against Niagara Falls 1-0. Halfway through the game, sophomore John Jakes scored the game-winning goal.

“It was nice to hear Conor and Kyle, a couple of captains, say that it was a good win and a good start to our league schedule,” Freidenberg said. “Anytime you win it gives you a boost. So it was nice to get that first win and build some confidence moving forward.”

email: brandonk@beenews.com

Return to top