Experienced Cardinal front hopes to take charge on the pitch
By Jacob Heid
STEVENS POINT – The Pacelli soccer team had a change of scenery last season as new Head Coach Dayton Zander stepped into the program.
Now, with a year under his belt with the Cardinals, an experienced front line can help Pacelli play well in 2023.
In Zander’s first season, the Cardinals battled with Amherst and Columbus Catholic for the top spot in the Central Wisconsin Conference.
With just one senior on the roster, a handful of juniors also make up the Cardinals’ attack.
That leads to certain expectations for the offense as the season gets underway and excitement for the potential.
“I’m super excited. I think this year a lot of people are going to look down on us as we are younger,” Zander explained. I think we can come out and shock a lot of people with all of our offensive power.”
Max Grabiec, a speedy forward, is that senior who can lead by example up front and impact teammates around him for the better.
He showed last season that he can create space for himself or unselfishly set up his teammates for a scoring opportunity.
The Cardinals will also have a new face in the net this season.
When it comes to having a new coach, implementing the basics of how a coach wants his team to play and creating a culture are the first things to do.
Now with it being Zander’s second season, he can start challenging his players by adding new formations and tactics to the mix, but not much.
“Not a lot,” Zander said when asked if he’d change any formations or tactics for the new season. “We are a little bit since, I think, five of the six seniors we lost were all starters, so we have to get some freshmen in there to get experience.”
Pacelli’s first game is scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 24, vs. Lourdes Academy, at Valley Christan High School in Oshkosh.