Monday October 1, 2012

DALTON -- Warrior blue is back in style.

After a couple of tough seasons, the Wahconah Regional boys soccer team appears poised to contend once again in Berkshire County's North Division. The Warriors (3-3-3) already have as many wins in the North as they did all of last year, including an emphatic 5-0 victory over defending Western Massachusetts Division III champion Lenox.

"It goes in cycles," said Wahconah coach John Kovacs. "There's three or four years when you're dominant and do well. There's a couple years when you're rebuilding. All those cycles happen."

Kovacs has been coaching long enough -- 24 years -- to understand those ups and downs. His 2012 Warriors look like a team on the rise after a couple years of Lenox, Mount Greylock and Monument Mountain dominating the North Division.

Wahconah has a good mix of senior experience with some young talent. The center of the field is stacked, starting with senior goalkeeper Nick Tutela. In front of him on defense is another senior, Mak Avallon. In the midfield is the man who makes the Warriors' offense tick, three-year starter Nick Montferret.

"We've improved in almost every way," Montferret said after a tie with Monument on Sept. 21. "We've got a lot of great young kids. We've got a lot of talent coming up. We're getting there mentally. We're there physically already.


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Headlining those young guns is sophomore Kevin Boino, who had a breakout season up front as a freshman in 2011. He's one of five talented sophomore starters, who Kovacs says complement the strong leadership and experience of the team's seniors. Look no further than the connection Boino and Montferret have built over the last year for evidence of that. They each had three points in that win over Lenox.

"I've learned that between like middle school and high school it's an entirely different game," Boino said. "It's a lot more physical and so much faster. I've just kind of evolved around it."

Wahconah will need to continue that evolution team-wide in the second half of the season. The Warriors stumbled a bit last week, with losses to Greylock and Southwick and a tie against Hoosac Valley. Wahconah still has return engagements with each team in the North, though, and Kovacs said you always want to make October a good month. It's when teams make their push for the Western Massachusetts tournament.

The Warriors want to put together a deep run this year. Wahconah last won the sectional in 2006 when Kovacs' son, Joe, now an assistant, was on the team. The Warriors last got past the Western Mass. quarterfinal round in 2007.

Wahconah has spent enough time preparing for that kind of success. Now, the Warriors just need that breakthrough.

"We've been calling this a work in progress," John Kovacs said. "Yeah, it's a work in progress, but there comes a time, you can't be a work in progress all season. You got to make some strides and start getting some consistent success."