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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, August 28, 2008

“We’re all sick of losing,” say BKW boys as they rebuild soccer team

By Jordan J. Michael

BERNE –– After winning only five games last season, the Berne-Knox-Westerlo boys’ soccer team is using the word “rebuild.”

“Soccer isn’t really a main sport at this school,” said senior goalie Greg Hannay. “We don’t get as much attention as…say, track and field. This year’s team needs to knuckle down and play.”

To help with the building process, the BKW soccer program brought back a junior varsity team for the first time in five years. “We were glad to see the junior varsity team come back,” said Head Coach Jim Gillis. “That way, better talent can be manufactured for the future.”

“We need to do better than last year,” said returning junior Jacob Tambasco. “I want to see us win more games because this program needs it. There seems to be a better vibe around this pre-season. We’re all sick of losing.”

“This group of guys needs to stay relaxed in the game and not make bad decisions,” said senior Justin Coon. “We definitely look more composed and understanding. Coach is running us a little harder, too.”

Gillis believes that the higher level of conditioning will pay off in the end. “The more I run my kids, the more discipline they will have,” he said. “If they want to win a lot more games, they have got to get real serious about soccer.”

Gillis has been at BKW since 1992, and was in Guilderland before. He has a vast knowledge of soccer. “We don’t play too dirty, but we heavily mark our opponents,” he said. “I grew up in Guilderland where that kind of play was the way.”

The BKW team has had trouble scoring goals in the past. Gillis said that his players aren’t very active in the off-season. “I want to see more activity during the off months,” he said. “You loose a lot of skills if you stop practicing. However, I’m looking at a good group and they’re working hard.”

Greg Hannay returns as an all-league goalie and Brandon Galgay comes back as an all-league sweeper. Galgay is still only a sophomore.

“Greg is an outstanding goalie,” said Coon. “He keeps a lot of goals out of the net. We need to return the favor and put more balls in the goal.”

Tambasco and junior Ryan LaBelle will be the main force in midfield. “I need my midfielders to handle the ball well,” said Gillis. “LaBelle and Tambasco are big, tough kids. I need them to take control of the field.”

LaBelle and Tambasco also play basketball for BKW. Both can jump higher than most opponents and Gillis will use this. “They jump real high,” Gillis said. “I expect them to get a bunch of headers for goals during corner kicks.”

The Bulldogs will have to focus on anticipation and athleticism to win games. “Skill doesn’t always win games. I mean, it helps, but outrunning another team is key,” said Gillis.

The team plays in a very competitive league the Western Athletic Conference, that usually sends a handful of teams to sectionals every year. “We face some really good teams. Nothing is easy,” said Hannay.

Gillis points out Galway, Middleburg, and Schoharie as the real tough contests throughout the season. “We didn’t play Galway last year, so that will be interesting,” he said. “Galway is usually a lock for sectionals every year.”

BKW will open the season at Duanesburg on Sept. 3 and then travel to Fort Plain for a weekend tournament on Sept. 5.

“We still have a lot of work to do,” said Gillis. “Winning a decent amount of games would be a leap forward. We’ll play 80 minutes and see what happens.”

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