Pittston Area and Wyoming Area each have a large collection of veteran players back, giving hope for each team to make a climb in the Wyoming Valley Conference boys soccer standings.
The Patriots bring back 15 lettermen, including nine who started when the team finished fourth out of five teams in Division 2 of the Wyoming Valley Conference.
“Last year, we rotated so much,” said Pittston Area coach Pat O’Boyle, who returns most of the players from that rotation.
The Warriors also have nine starters back after finishing third of six teams in WVC Division 3.
Seniors Jordan Consagra, Matt Pavaglione, Ron Kotrowski and Taylor Roberts return to the starting lineup for Pittston Area. Consagra is a forward, Pavaglione the center midfielder, Kotrowski a midfielder and Roberts the goalie.
Juniors Julian Kester, a defender, and Eann McCloe, a midfielder, also return to the starting lineup.
Even with the experience, youth will play a significant role on the Patriots.
Midfielder Nick Allardyce and forward Colin Tracy both started last season as freshmen. Nick Trepak and Vince Shea are ready to move into the starting defense as sophomores.
O’Boyle said that freshman midfielder Jimmy Pliska appears to be “working his way into the starting lineup.”
Junior forward/midfielder Brandon Shamnoski should again have a prominent role.
A veteran goalkeeper and a strong midfield are the key to Wyoming Area’s hopes.
Team captain Aaron Carter is back for his fourth season in goal.
“His experience is crucial to our season,” Wyoming Area coach Nick Hufford said.
Seniors Brian Buckman, Gared Zaboski and Brian Wisowaty return at midfield where Hufford said they “will be relied on heavily to control the flow of the game and score goals.” Zaboski could also play forward at times.
Juniors Josh Donvito and Nick Gushka return on defense where they will take on added responsibility. They will serve as double sweepers to help make up for the graduation loss of sweeper Brian Mapes.
Junior midfielder Mark O’Malley, sophomore midfielder David Klaproth and sophomore defender Sam Giordano are the other returning starters.
The regular season opens Aug. 30. Pittston Area plays at Lake-Lehman that day.
Wyoming Area plays its first three games on the road, including the opener at Hanover Area.
Pittston Area is at Wyoming Area Sept. 20.
Division 2 teams, like Pittston Area, play every WVC opponent once each. Division 3 teams, like Wyoming Area, play opponents in their own division twice and play one game each against Division 2 teams.