KINGSTON — Longtime coach Rev. Charles Carrick is gone.
So are his 11 district appearances, two district titles and three PIAA appearances. But what is not gone is his success.
In Aaron Littzi’s first year at the helm of the Wyoming Seminary boys soccer program, not much has changed. The Blue Knights are 7-0-1 and defeated the defending Wyoming Valley Conference Division 2 champion, Meyers, on Tuesday.
Beating Meyers was something the Blue Knights weren’t able to accomplish in two tries a season ago.
“We’re both undefeated. So it was a big game early on in the season,” said Littzi, who was an assistant under Carrick’s staff last season. “But it’s a long season and we look forward to just keep playing hard and putting our best foot forward for the rest of the year.”
“We love coach Littzi,” Wyoming Seminary senior goalkeeper Ryan Anderson added. “He’s very tactical. We love his style. He’s great with us and he’s really determined to have a great season.”
Thanks to players like Anderson, Edge Miller, Will Zeigler, Reggie Grayek and Luke Johns back, it’s been an easy transition for both the players and the new head coach.
It also helps that Littzi brings a pair of district titles to his new head coaching gig, winning them during his three-year stint as the head coach at Wyoming Valley West. But he also brings a different style of play.
One that focuses on possession.
“It’s kind of the same (as the past), just a little bit different on-field play, with possession,” Miller said. “More, like, mind settling and game play with your mind and stuff like that. It’s honestly a big difference, but we’re still where we left off last year.”
Littzi also stresses teamwork and defense. And what he’s preaching has worked so far.
The Blue Knights have posted five shutouts this season and have only allowed two goals.
The first goal came in the second half of a 10-1 win over GAR that Wyoming Seminary sported a 10-0 halftime lead. The second came on Thursday in a 1-1 tie against Holy Redeemer.
“It’s just a team. It’s a team effort from start to finish,” Littzi said. “Every guy plays defense. They all want to get back. They all want to work hard. I even move some of the midfielders back to the defense at the end of the game (against Meyers) to secure the win. It’s a team.”
“We take pride in our defense. We don’t want to give up any goals and the team works hard for that.”
Whether it’s Anderson, Zeigler, Santi de los Rios, Colin Sung, Nikko Simons or any of the other Blue Knights that contribute on the defensive end on a daily basis, there’s one theme that shows each and every game.
They put in the work and it turns into results.
Johns’ game-winning goal Tuesday against Meyers came off of a through pass from Miller that was the result of a Mohawks turnover.
“Our defense is very solid with Ryan in net, Zeig in back and Santi in centerback, as well,” Miller said. “Don’t let a lot of guys through. It’s all about hardwork back there, honestly, and the amount of heart they want to put into it. The counter-attacks just seem to be working because we have speed up top, quick play in the middle, so it’s all good.”
Now that the Blue Knights have a target on their back, sitting alone atop the Division 2 standings, Littzi will look to keep his team moving forward.
Despite wins against the division’s two big threats, Meyers and Lake-Lehman, already, the Blue Knights still have rematches against both teams on tap. The Blue Knights will need to win both games, too, if they want a shot at the top seed in the District 2 Class 2A playoffs.
“It’s just a great feeling. It’s a great program,” Littzi said.” Super smart kids. They listen, they do everything we ask of them and they work hard. They’re getting results for their hard work.”
Reach DJ Eberle at 570-991-6398 or on Twitter @ByDJEberle