The season hadn’t even started yet, but the Waupaca Comet boys’ soccer team already faced some quality competition.
The Comets held their 10th annual scrimmage Saturday against a team of former Waupaca High School players and came out on the short end of an 8-1 score.
“It shows our guys what possession soccer is all about,” coach Mark Polebitski said. “The team that possesses the ball is the team that’s going to win. The alumni team keeps possession and finishes with a shot.
“We need to be a little more physical when we’re playing defense,” he added. “We were marking tight, but we weren’t making any contact. When you don’t make contact, you let the other team do what they want with the ball. When you watch the alumni play, you see they’re very good with the ball. They can do a lot of things and to stop that, you have to bump, you have to push, you have to put a little body on body.”
The Comets have several players to replace from last year’s team, including all-conference selections Landon Smith, Nick Groth, Alex Rolfs and Sawyer Gibbs.
On the other hand, senior Jake Overman, a second-team pick as a junior, is back.
“We only have three guys who are returning starters from last year and our 12th, 13th and 14th guys off the bench were seniors as well,” Polebitski said. “It’s really a different team, but Jake Overman is definitely going to be a force to reckon with. Every team’s going to have their sights on him. He’s a good team player, he can shoot and he’s pretty tenacious up front.”
Also back from last year are Adam Kaminske, Ryan Fuss and Stewart Miller.
Waupaca opened its season Tuesday at home against Stevens Point and will head to Oshkosh for Saturday’s Oshkosh Invitational. The Comets will also host Wausau Newman Tuesday, Aug. 24, before opening Eastern Valley Conference play Thursday, Aug. 26, at defending Division 2 state champion Fox Valley Lutheran.
“I think it’s going to take this group awhile to learn about each other,” Polebitski said. “They don’t quite trust each other on the field right now, but once they learn to trust each other, I think good things are going to happen. Every group has its own timeline, but seeing the progress we made this first week, I would say that we should probably be on the same page in two weeks. When the school year starts, that’s going to be the point where these guys are starting to come together.”
Tuesday, Aug. 17: vs. Stevens Point, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 21: at Oshkosh Invitational, 9:30 a.m.
Tuesday, Aug. 24: vs. Wausau Newman, 7 p.m.
Thursday, Aug. 26: at Fox Valley Lutheran, 5 p.m.
Tuesday, Aug. 31: at Menasha St. Mary Central, 5 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 2: vs. Pulaski, 7 p.m.
Tuesday, Sept. 7: vs. Appleton Xavier, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 11: at Wausau West Invitational, 10 a.m.
Tuesday, Sept. 14: at Freedom, 5 p.m.
Tuesday, Sept. 21: vs. Winneconne, 7 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 23: at Little Chute, 5 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 25: Waupaca Quadrangular, 9 a.m.
Tuesday, Sept. 28: vs. Ripon, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 2: at Waupun Double Duel, 10 a.m.
Tuesday, Oct. 5: at Clintonville, 4:30 p.m.
Thursday, Oct. 7: vs. Berlin, 7 p.m.