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  • Writer's picturetgardner1167

Mustangs Could Be Dark Horse That Wins Race

The thrill of the race is knowing that there is the chance for a dark horse to pull the upset that gets everyone talking.

When examining the race for first place in Niagara-Orleans League boys’ soccer Newfane and Wilson are two very talented clubs that are the clear-cut front runners to grab the top spot.

But the Mustangs are banking on being the horse that comes on strong and is eventually standing in the winners circle.

“We have a lot of guys returning who were role players last year. So if they step up and become the main guys, we should do really well,” coach Steve Luksch said. ”

“I think we should compete for the (Class B2) sectional title with Wilson. The league? You never know. You can’t count us out. I think we have what it takes to give Newfane and Wilson a push.”

Losing 15 seniors to graduation, Medina/Lyndonville is now built on the shoulders of its three returning starters (Vassilios Bitsas, Kristian Snyder and Quentin Adkins) who are all seniors.

Bitsas is a forward who has been named all league honorable mention the past two seasons. Coach Steve Luksch feels that Bitsas is primed for a breakout season who will compliment the leadership of captains Kristian Snyder and Quentin Adkins.

The N-O Defensive Player of the Year, Snyder is the rock of the Mustangs defense, but is capable and more than willing to play anywhere that he is asked to. Snyder is also a two time N-O First Team selection and has been a starter since ninth grade.

Adkins is the other half of the Mustangs dynamic 1-2 defensive duo with Snyder, who steps up even more in his own end when Snyder is shifted to another position. While losing 15 players would be a huge hit to any team’s roster, it does create excitement within the ranks of the team as players know they now have a chance to play a bigger role.

“Yeah I think a lot of guys are really chomping at the bit,” Snyder said. “They’re excited to come in and help give us a push to perform well.”

Junior Ethan Leonard returns to control the midfield. Junior forward Matt Hess and sophomore defender Elian Gonzalez are varsity newcomers that Coach Luksch believes can step in and make an impact.

Winning sectionals titles in 2011 and ’13, the Mustangs are only two seasons removed from their last league title. So the winning mentality and high expectations is something players understand. It’s just a matter of the veterans and younger players learning how to come together and finding their own identity as a team.

Snyder noted how some of their most successful seasons in recent years began with poor showings in scrimmages. It’s about believe in the process that with time and hard work they will get better. As individuals and as a team.

“The process is always very important,” Snyder said.

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