Connor McMahon is one of 14 players returning for the Bethlehem boys soccer team this season. The Eagles open their season Wednesday against Averill Park.
Photo by Rob Jonas.
BETHLEHEM The Bethlehem boys soccer team is starting the 2011 Suburban Council season minus one of its leading scorers.
Forward Zach Rockmore is out until the middle of October as he recovers from a hip injury. That leaves the Eagles searching for other goal scoring sources.
Bethlehem senior forward Ethan Gunty said he believes there are plenty of people ready to step up in Rockmore’s absence.
“I think Rockmore will be missed, but we can play without him for a while,” said Gunty.
Gunty and Connor McMahon return to lead an offense that will lean heavily on a talented sophomore class.
“I have Connor, I have Ethan and I have some younger guys who should take up the slack,” said Bethlehem coach Phil Ridgway.
Gunty said one of his roles up front this season will be breaking in the sophomores to the varsity game.
“It’s a physical game going from JV [junior varsity] to varsity,” said Gunty. “I’m just going to play my game, but I’ll be showing them how to play and react to what’s going on in the game.”
Rockmore isn’t the only Bethlehem player dealing with an injury as the season starts Wednesday. Six other Eagles had minor injuries as the team wrapped up its preseason last weekend.
“That’s why I keep 27 players on the roster,” said Ridgway. “There are some little knocks — a lot of ankles and some shins, but nothing out of the ordinary.”
“The depth is great,” said senior defender Brad Campion. “We took a lot of numbers because of the injuries, but the number of players we took was because they can all play.”
Campion and goaltender Alex Kessler are two of the anchors in Bethlehem’s backfield this season. Defenders Kevin Maddock and Seth Partridge also return for their senior seasons.
“They know the routine, and they know the system of play, which helps a lot,” said Ridgway.