"The best part about is is we are very senior-oriented in the back," Pearl River Head Coach Damon O'Keefe said. "We are very strong in the back. (Pat) Guerin is a great goalie. We've got five guys back there. We can get really dangerous because we can shift Chris Coughlan up to the midfield.
"Everything starts from the back to the front. We're hoping we can find five guys who can score seven or eight goals. We're not stressing any one guy up there."
Though Coughlan established himself as a top defender, often marking top scorers that the Pirates faced and helping the team during its runs tot he playoffs the last two seasons, he will also join in more on the offensive end this season.
"Chris will be all over the field," O'Keefe said. "He'll be in the midfield. He'll be in the back. We can also use Chris to mark other teams' best players."
One reason Coughlan can play more midfield is the Pirates depth in the back. Junior Vincenzo Galvano is a second-year starter. He is joined on the defense by seniors Matt Neroda and Aiden Noonan and junior Brendan Valentine, a transfer from Albertus Magnus.
"The nice part is we'll always have four solid guys back there who can communicate well," O'Keefe said. "They've played with each other a while now."
Galvano is also taking on more of a leadership role with his older brother gone.
"Vincenzo is taking the reigns of this team even though he is a junior," O'Keefe said. "He acts more like a senior every day. The young guys are starting to find out what Vincenzo is all about, the energy he brings and the vocal leadership. He and Matt Neroda have really stepped up."
"Absolutely. I command everything from the back right now, getting on everyone's case and really stressing that everyone gives 100 percent during games," Galvano said. "Keep pushing to the limit. Win those 50-50- balls."
Senior Pat Guerin takes over in goal for Austin Maggiolo, who graduated. . O'Keefe expressed confidence in his ability and said a strong performance in a scrimmage last week was important because he showed his teammates they can rely on him.
The offense is more of a work in progress, with a very young group including sophomores Sean Coughlan and Brendan Gunn and freshman Kevin Doorley stepping into key roles. The veteran is senior Brian Chiarello, a skilled player who has been slowed by injuries in the past.
"Brian's ready for a big year," O'Keefe said. "We need him healthy. When he gets health, he's another guy we can move into the midfield or we can move him up top."
Pearl River will start putting its veteran defense and youthful attack to the test in the Pirates' season opener 11 a.m. Saturday at home against Nanuet.
2013 Pearl River Boys Soccer Roster
- Brian Chiarello
- Chris Coughlan
- Mykola Duda
- Pat Guerin
- Brian Maher
- Matt Neroda
- Aiden Noonan
- Tony Ortega
- Taylor Rudloff
- Liam Burke
- Ethan Dowie
- Vincenzo Galvano
- Matt Leote
- Chris McKenna
- Kevin Murphy
- Teja Rao
- Dylan Rooney
- John Scrima
- Chris Seiss
- Brendan Valentine
- Manuel Arango
- Sean Coughlan
- Brendan Gunn
- Aiden Miller
- Kevin Doorley