The Vikings will be looking for strong performances from returning sophomores, as well as talented freshmen. On the offensive side of the ball, the Vikings will be led by sophomore forward Nana Osei (Ewing, NJ/Ewing) and freshman forward Darrian Chambers (Hollis, NY/Magnet HS). In the net, the Vikings will rely on freshman goalkeeper Jo-Wayne Butler (Springfield Gardens, NY/Magnet HS), a high school teammate of Chambers who had 12 saves in the Vikings’ season opener vs. Massasoit. On the defensive side, the Vikings will be led by sophomore Lorenzo Laurenti (Chesterfield, NJ/Northern Burlington) and freshman Valdo Jean-Baptiste (Trenton, NJ/Trenton Daylight/Twilight HS).
With freshmen making up well over half of the team, Dalce notes the challenges ahead. But his expectations remain high. "They may be young, but they are still capable of big things," he maintains. Dalce, who played on the Vikings' 1996 national championship team, is clearly focusing his players on those "big things," which include repeating as Region 19 champs, advancing to the District Championship and making it back to Nationals, which the Vikings have not done since 2008.
According to Dalce, Mercer's soccer tradition remains as strong as ever. “Many of last year’s sophomores are now playing at four year schools all over the country. We have some in New Jersey, one in California, one in Hawaii and one in Massachusetts. If players can focus on getting good grades and working hard, they can make it to the next level.”
Coach Dalce is assisted by Scott Loesser and John Pietrowski.
The Vikings play their third home game this Saturday, Sept. 7, followed by six away games. Currently they are 1-0-1 on the season. View their full schedule here.