It’s Week 2 of football Friday around the Wyoming Valley Conference, but it’s also a season-opening fútbol Friday for a few boys soccer teams in the league, too.
WVC boys soccer has finally returned, and the action gets started with a two-game league slate today. A complete team-by-team preview of the season is in today’s edition of The Citizens’ Voice; you can grab one today or check out the season preview online here.
Below, you can find what’s in store on the first day of the season as well as a few dates to keep in mind throughout the season.
Today’s WVC schedule
3: GAR at Lake-Lehman
4:15: Hanover Area at Holy Redeemer
Lake-Lehman finished third in the division last year (10-3-2), while GAR took sixth (6-10). Both teams lost some key pieces and are fielding young rosters, so this is a good first test to see what each side has to offer in 2017.
Hanover Area (4-12, 8th in Division 2 last year) is also young but is dealt a tough first match. Redeemer went 13-1-2 last year and won the Division 2 title in a playoff.
Mark your calendars
Looking for a reason to get out to a match? Based on the 2016 season, here’s one key date for each WVC team this regular season:
Berwick: Oct. 17, vs. Lake-Lehman. The seventh-place Bulldogs stayed with third-place Lehman in a 5-4 loss to end the 2016 regular season, with Ken Marshman scoring four goals. This year’s season finale could give Berwick even more to play for.
Coughlin: Sept. 23, at Dallas. The Crusaders split their series with eventual District 2 champion Dallas last year. Both teams won on the road, and Coughlin can make a statement here.
Crestwood: Sept. 13, at Dallas. The Comets fell to the Mountaineers in the district final following an 0-1-1 mark during the season. Crestwood, 2015’s D2 champs, can turn the tables in their first meeting of the season.
Dallas: Oct. 14, vs. Lake-Lehman. No longer in the same division, this exhibition is still worth attending; it’s the latest edition of the annual Cleary Cup game. Dallas won last year’s game.
GAR: Sept. 16, vs. Meyers. The Grenadiers fell to Meyers in overtime during the regular season and lost to the Mohawks again by one goal in the opening round of districts. This is GAR’s first chance to get back at them.
Hanover Area: Sept. 20, vs. Berwick. The Hawkeyes scored three goals on Berwick in both their games in 2016, splitting the season series. Both teams finished the year with four wins; this first meeting could give Division 2 some clarity.
Hazleton Area: Sept. 26, vs. Wyoming Area. The Cougars won both their shootouts with Wyoming Area last year, in 5-4 and 7-4 finals. Those 12 goals were the best production Hazleton Area had against any WVC team in 2016; this could be another fun matchup.
Holy Redeemer: Sept. 29, vs. Lake-Lehman. The Royals won WVC Division 2 in a tiebreaker but lost and tied their meetings with the Black Knights in 2016. This game, the second of their season series, could go a long way in deciding this year’s division title.
Lake-Lehman: Sept. 18, at Wyoming Seminary. The Black Knights weren’t far off a division championship in 2016, but a double-overtime loss and a tie to Wyoming Seminary set them back. This early matchup is the first shot Lehman has at dealing Sem a defeat.
Meyers: Sept. 14, at Holy Redeemer. The Mohawks’ turnaround season included a couple close calls against the Royals, a 1-0 and 3-1 loss. Five games into the season, Meyers can get out to another strong start when it clashes with Redeemer.
MMI Prep: Oct. 12, vs. GAR. This home game for the Preppers was their lone game with multiple goals in 2016 (they lost, 5-2). After several weeks of development, MMI will face the Grenadiers for the second time this season here.
Nanticoke Area: Sept. 12, vs. Holy Redeemer. The Trojans’ two losses to Redeemer last year came by a combined 4-1 margin. Following a strong finish in last year’s district tournament, an early test with the Royals could be a good measuring stick for this year’s squad.
Pittston Area: Sept. 13, vs. Wyoming Area. The Patriots never came closer to a win last year than when they played the Warriors. They lost both meetings by a goal, once in overtime; here’s an early shot at the win column.
Tunkhannock: Oct. 4, vs. Coughlin. During the Tigers’ Division 1 title run last year, they took down the Crusaders once in overtime and tied them a second time. If Tunkhannock is in a position to repeat, this second meeting against the always-tough Crusaders will be key.
Valley West: Sept. 6, vs. Dallas. The Spartans split a pair of shutouts with the Mountaineers and then fell in penalty kicks to the district champions in the postseason. Their season-opener is a rematch with Dallas, an instant chance to send a statement to Division 1.
Wyoming Area: Sept. 6, vs. Hazleton Area. The Warriors’ first game is against a team they scored four goals against in each of their games last year, althought they were both losses. They finished two games behind the Cougars in 2016; here’s an immediate shot at a move up the division.
Wyoming Seminary: Sept. 20, vs. Holy Redeemer. The Blue Knights fell in a tiebreaker for the division against the Royals and didn’t get a rematch in the district playoffs. Sem and Redeemer’s competitive series resumes in this matchup.