– RIVERVIEW REGISTER
After a pair of sub par seasons in 2017 and 2018, coach Ben Zolynski’s Riverview soccer team is back to its old, competitive ways.
The Bucs won nine of their first 17 games this season, won the preseason Carlson Tournament and finished second at the Dearborn Tournament. But looking closer at the squad you see the Bucs are way better than their record would indicate. Among their losses this season are some bitter pills against some of the area’s finest teams.
Against Grosse Ile, a team that went to the Division 3 state finals last year, the Bucs were tied late and lost in the final two minutes; against Woodhaven, the unbeaten Downriver League leader, Riverview was winning with two minutes to play and lost; and against a strong Dearborn team, the Bucs tied 2-2 and lost in overtime.
“You’ve got to do the little things late in games to win and that’s something we haven’t done,” said Zolynsky. “But, rather than count these as losses, we count’em as ‘learns’.”
Zolynsky said his team’s top performers this season have been Salvatore De La Torre, Gustavo Soto and Andrew Kay.
All three, “have great ball skills and are excellent at finding the back of the net and distributing the ball to teammates,” according to Zolynsky.
During a recent stretch of games, Riverview scored back-to-back wins over Carleton Airport and Milan. The Milan win was a 1-0 thriller as the Bucs showed the ability to hang onto a late lead and close out the game.
This year’s team is junior dominated and the program appears headed to new heights as 18 freshmen, many of them club players, entered the program this year.
With that influx of youth, the junior varsity team has exploded. After losing their first game of the year to Dearborn, the junior Pirates are unbeaten. They have been tied once and Zolynsky said their goal is to win out and finish 18-1-1.
“It’s a super exciting young group of fun, fast, athletic kids with a lot of soccer skills,” the coach said.
The varsity team is gearing for the Michigan High School Athletic Association district tournament, which will begin Oct. 9. The Bucs are in a district with Carlson, Trenton, Detroit Cesar Chavez, Southgate, Allen Park and Melvindale.
Riverview has beaten Carlson and outshot Chavez by a wide margin in a tie game. Trenton and Southgate are not strong this season, which leaves Allen Park and Melvindale as the top teams in the draw. Zolynsky said his team, when playing well, can compete with and beat the Jags or the Cardinals.
The rest of the 2019 Bucs are, Caleb Rodden, David Smith, Tommy Shook, Caleb Litten, Mattew Wong, Sean McGovern, Caden Demers, Ethan Bayko, Marios Demitri, Daniel Perez, Chase Prieur, Dominic Dudoris, Tommy Roberts, Jacob Rose, Luis Fausto, Owen Gallagher, Scotty Grundwald, Esteban Sevilla, Jacob Bias and Cadan Phillips.