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Blue Devils Rebuilding

Seventeen. Count ’em. The Blue Devils graduated 17 seniors from last year’s team. While that number might not be unusual for football, it’s very devastating to the ranks of a varsity soccer team.

So, as coach Todd Marquardt and his Kenmore West boys’ soccer team grinds its’ way through the 2016 season, returning just two starters, they know it will be a journey of trying to get better each day.

Of their 21 total players on the roster, the Blue Devils return nine while the other 12 are not only new to the varsity team, some are new to organized soccer period.

The two returning starters are senior defenseman Anthony Seamen, who was an All-Niagara Frontier League first teamer, and junior Noah Fisk. Senior Jack Lussier, who saw more playing time in the second half of last season will also need to log big minutes and produce. Senior midfielder Dalton Matre and Lussier have been the heart of the Blue Devils offensive attack.

“I think we keep getting better. A lot of guys keep getting experience,” Seaman said of the growing process.

“We have a strong back four. A solid team.”

Though they are vastly inexperienced compared to last year’s squad, the Blue Devils have shown a sense of battle in every game this year. But Marquardt says it has to be about more than just battling.

Last season the Blue Devils lost nine games by one goal, seven of which were 1-0 final scores.

Coupling those 17 games from last season with the first five of this season and the numbers reveal the Blue Devils have lost 11 of 22 games by one goal. Marquardt is trying to impress upon his team the importance of building that winning mentality throughout the season and not bank on catching fire in the playoffs and pulling upsets.

“So yeah, I’m saying we’re learning. We’re progressing. We’re playing even with teams, but we’re mirroring last season where we got a low seed because of our record,” Marquardt said. “We’re saying well we could surprise somebody (in sectionals). But in essence that’s not really true. We have to get some nice wins, too, so that we can have that respect from the other teams that we’re playing. So we don’t want to start to think we can sneak up on somebody because if you’re losing that many games, you’re not really sneaking up on anybody.”

Anthony Stanz has come up from JV to play net and earned the ‘W’ in the Blue Devils 4-1 win over Niagara Falls.

Seaman said the best way to trust in the process is the old saying of one day at a time. “We’re just focusing one game at a time,” he said.

Marquardt,a former Blue Devil player himself, said that as a group they have a strong work ethic and he knows that every kid is giving his all. And ultimately that’s all any coach can ask for.

“It’s quiet a team,” Marquardt said. “Great kids.”

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