The secret to Ian Kearns’ success on the soccer field isn’t a glamorous one — it’s simply hard work.
The talented senior striker for Alexandria, while playing other sports in other seasons for the school, still manages to play soccer virtually year round.
Kearns, who in 2011 led the Purple Ghosts to their best campaign in the program’s history, transitions from the outdoor season to play indoor soccer in the winter months.
He then competes in a spring/summer league that leads up to the scholastic season and, thus, completes a full year of soccer.
“I play soccer year round,” Kearns said. “I play 12 months out of the year with no rest — this sport is important to me.”
In between games, Kearns takes on a conditioning regimen, which in the summer includes 2- to 3-mile runs in preparation for the season.
“I just go out and play hard and keep at it,” said the lanky Kearns, who plays with the Thousand Islands Soccer Club in the offseason. “I just keep playing and I never get sick of it.”
This hard work and dedication has paid off for Kearns, who, over his first three varsity seasons, emerged as one of the most highly skilled players in the area.
“Ian’s strength is his endurance and his speed,” Alexandria coach Robert Bastian said, “and he’s got an excellent shot. He’s a hard worker out there.”
Last year in leading Alexandria to its first “D” Division championship in the Frontier League with a perfect 14-0-0 campaign (16-1-0 overall), Kearns registered 56 points, including 20 goals and 16 assists.
“With his arrival, our program has certainly seen a revolution in the last few years,” Bastian said of Kearns, who was selected as a Times All-North first-team All-Star in 2011. “We’re not the doormat anymore — we went from the team that everybody would beat and now we walk into games with respect from the other teams.”
These numbers aren’t important to Kearns, who points to the team’s glorious run — with the program’s previous best a fourth-place finish — as last season’s highlights.
“It was easily our best season,” Kearns recalled. “It felt great after all the years before where we didn’t do very well. It was great for our program.”
Kearns is a throwback kind of player with his work ethic and “he’s tough,” Bastian said. “I can’t remember he came out of a game where I didn’t take him out of the game. He’s very tough and he sees a lot of potential — he has to pick himself up off the ground on a regular basis and that’s the kind of guy you want — someone who is going to get his uniform dirty.”
Kearns calls soccer “a real mental game. I know I have the physical ability, but the mental aspect is important to me. My mind is going like a million miles a second, so I just try to come out and stay calm and composed. You’ve got to be poised out there.”
Kearns will continue to play at center-striker this season, but he’ll be counted on for more leadership this year.
“I’m playing the same position, I’ve just got to lead a little more,” Kearns said. “I’ve got a lot of guys looking up to me, so I’ve got to come through.”
Showing a flair for the dramatic, Alexandria defeated rival Lyme twice during the regular season by identical 3-2 scores and then blanked the Indians 2-0 in the “D” Division tournament final “under the lights” at General Brown.
“Last year was my third year on varsity and it was the most fun we’ve ever had,” Kearns said. “We finally got the recognition that this program deserves.”
This year will be challenging for the Purple Ghosts, returning only three seniors, including Kearns. and the team is primarily young. Senior Caleb Wills will anchor an inexperienced defensive corps, while the team will field a new goalie and looks to develop a mostly inexperienced midfield.
“We’ve got a lot of young guys coming up, a lot of new kids — so we’ve just got to keep working hard,” Kearns said.
But this season the Purple Ghosts know another title won’t come easy as they face a tough “D” Division, which again includes talented Lyme.
“Sure it’s going to be a challenge, but I’m looking forward to it,” Kearns said. “I’ve just got to step up my play and lead by example.”
Outlook: Watertown once again figures to be the team to beat as the Cyclones will be shooting for a year another “A” Division title in the Frontier League. Watertown lost “an awful lot” to graduation, including leading scorer Times All-North MVP Malcolm Lynch to graduation, from a one-loss league, division-winning team. Coach Todd Heckman says the team’s strength will be in the midfield, led by returning seniors Alex Nolan, Shayne Watson and junior Brad McKinney. Indian River will look to build on its second-place finish in “A” last year and hopes to “continue to progress” as a team, according to coach Fred LaVancha. The Warriors return nine of 11 starters. Senior Erick Torres and sophomore Edward Malinoski return to play forward, with junior Ben Godin back in the midfield and senior Jake LaClair in goal. Carthage, under the guidance of new head coach Rich Lajoie, is aiming to better its third-place finish showing in “A”. The Comets, who went on to compete in Class A sectionals, return starters Tyler Biolsi, Noah LoConte and Ben Reynolds. Immaculate Heart Central is hoping for improvement this season after finishing last in “A” the past two years. Matt Guyette, Sam Purcell and Dominic Uliano look to the lead the Cavaliers, who reached the Class D sectional semifinal last fall before bowing out to eventual state champion Hamilton, 1-0. With 11 returnees, including seven starters, coach Mary Guyette says the team has “high expectations” and is “looking to go far” this season.
Coach: Rich Lajoie (1st year).
2011 record: 9-7-2, 3-4-2.
Players to watch: Tyler Biolsi, Sebastian Fountain, Noah LoConte, Ben Reynolds.
Roster: Gabe Acosta (Sr.), Andrew Benson (Sr.), Tyler Biolsi (Sr.), Sebastian Fountain (Sr.), Aaron Gallagher (Sr.), Andrew Johnson (Sr.), Noah LoConte (Sr.), Ben Reynolds (Sr.), Paul Bracy (Jr.), Tyler Clemons (Jr.), Sam Kim (Jr.), Quentin Lamb (Jr.), Nicholas Loos (Jr.), Andrew Neddo (Jr.), Jacob Zehr (Jr.), Brodie Woodward (Jr.), Travis Workman (Jr.), Chris DeRonda (So.), Nate Keplar (Fr.), Devon Lajoie (Fr.).
Immaculate Heart Central Cavaliers
Coach: Mary Guyette (3rd year).
2011 record: 9-9-0, 4-5-0.
Players to watch: Pat Gefell, Matt Guyette, JP McClusky, Sam Purcell, Chris Rowland, Jake Whalen.
Roster: Davon Carrington (Sr.), Sam Purcell (Sr.), Justin Frechette (Jr.), Jude Fusilli (Jr.), Pat Gefell (Jr.), Matt Guyette (Jr.), Philip Moots (Jr.), Jared Pignone (Jr.), Jason Reape (Jr.), Austin Renzi (Jr.), Chris Rowland (Jr.), Jude Whalen (Jr.), JP McClusky (So.), Jarrod Smith (So.), Zach Frechette (Fr.), Jake Fusilli (Fr.), Jack Whalen (Fr.).
Indian River Warriors
Coach: Fred LaVancha (6th year).
2011 record: 9-5-2, 5-2-2.
Players to watch: Jake LaClair, Ben Godin, Edward Malinoski, Erick Torres.
Roster: Brady Bombard (Sr.), John East (Sr.), Tyler John (Sr.), Jesse James (Sr.), Aaron Johnson (Sr.), Jacob LaClair (Sr.), Justin Mattingly (Sr.), Mikey Mullins (Sr.), Danny Angelo (Jr.), Ben Godin (Jr.), Cody Miterko (Jr.), Taylor Turner (Jr.), Kyle Barker (So.), Tyler Cook (So.), Junior Malinoski (So.), Logan Prudhomme (So.), Kyle Smith (So.), Erick Torres (So.), Ty Godin (8th).
Coach: Todd Heckman (6th year).
2011 record: 14-4-0, 8-1-0.
Players to watch: Alex Nolan, Brad McKinney, Shayne Watson.
Roster: Alex Horeth (Sr.), Bayley Madden (Sr.), Alex Nolan (Sr.), Jeremy Reff (Sr.), Shayne Watson (Sr.), Jacob Calender (Jr.), Christian Jorden (Jr.), Collin Jorden (Jr.), Brad McKinney (Jr.), Matt Olney (Jr.), Timothy Peters (Jr.), Jonathan White (Jr.), Eric Gibbs (So.), Dan Olney (So.), Kenny Schimpt (So.), Noah Taylor (So.), Tyrell Thomas (So.).
Outlook: The division has a new look this season because of new state enrollment figures as Lowville moved to the “C” Division and Sandy Creek has merged with neighboring Pulaski and moved up from the “C” Division. With the new alignment, teams in the “B” Division will face each “A” Division twice in which South Jefferson coach Warren Denny says will be “very challenging.” The Spartans will look to again repeat as division champion after winning 13 games last season, including advancing past Cazenovia on penalty kicks in Class B sectional play before losing to Marcellus in the semifinal round. But South Jefferson lost 12 seniors to graduation. The Spartans will try and build on last season with the return of five experienced seniors — goalie William Beese, forwards Kraig Steele (5-7-17), Cameron Heasley and Pearce Parsons and midfielder Zach Lanzar. General Brown, which looks to improve on a last-place finish in the division last year, is an upperclassmen-laden team that includes 13 seniors, led by Adam Siembida (6-6-18), the Lions’ second-leading scorer from 2011. Sandy Creek, which has won only once in each of the past two seasons in the “C” Division, has 17 players returning and will get help from Pulaski players.
General Brown Lions
Coach: Phil Jenner (10th year).
2011 record: 7-10-0, 4-8-0.
Players to watch: Adam Siembida, Aaron Parker, Ryan Keech, Adam Vodicka, Cole Johnson.
Roster: Garrett Durdon (Sr.), Ricky Granger (Sr.), Zach Hickok (Sr.), Ryan Keech (Sr.), Eyan Meraz (Sr.), Aaron Parker (Sr.), Nolan Pitkin (Sr.), Adam Siembida (Sr.), Anthony VanTassel (Sr.), Adam Vodicka (Sr.), Zach Whitenack (Sr.), Adam Vodicka (Sr.), Erik Wollum (Sr.), Ryan Lamon (Jr.), Nicco Springer (Jr.), Ryan Ellis (So.), Cole Johnson (So.), Ryan Sheridan (So.), David Vodicka (So.), Shawn Wilcox (So.), Kevin Durdon (Fr.),
Coach: Gavin Bertram (2nd year).
2011 record: 1-14-0, 14-1-0.
Players to watch: Leo Phillips, Corey Reff, Tyler Reff.
Roster: Ivan Grossman (Sr.), Dan Luberto (Sr.), Tyler Reff (Sr.), Earl Sandoy (Sr.), Will Delgado (Jr.), Leo Marino (Jr.), Jacob Nicholson (Jr.), Mike Pappa (Jr.), Corey Reff (Jr.), C.J. Smith (Jr.), Craig Gibbons (So.), Reis Harding (So.), Jay Ivison (So.), Nick Peters (So.), Collin Reff (Soph.), Mason LaRue (Fr.), Leo Phillips (Fr.).
South Jefferson Spartans
Coach: Warren Denny (5th year).
2011 record: 13-4-0, 9-3-0.
Players to watch: William Beese, Cameron Heasley, Zach Lanzar, Pearce Parsons, Kraig Steele.
Roster: Jordan Aronowitz (Sr.), William Beese (Sr.), Cameron Heasley (Sr.), Zach Lanzar (Sr.), Tyler Palmer (Sr.), Pearce Parsons (Sr.), Jordan Schloop (Sr.), Kraig Steele (Sr.), Jared Carroll (Jr.), Brendan Cataldo (Jr.), Phillip Isberner (Jr.), Jayson Kellogg (Jr.), Bradley LaLone (Jr.), Bobby Lees (Jr.), Luigi Manni (Jr.), Avery Shelmidine (Jr.), Dylan Estal (So.), Benner Geurtsen (So.), Peter Lumley (So.), Addison Roberts (So.), Garrett Strough (So.), Tristan Tyo (So.).
Outlook: Reigning division champion Thousand Islands forged a 12-win season in 2011 and returns eight seniors and two juniors. Scott Mckain, Jess Smith and Luke Smith look to guide the Vikings to another successful campaign. Because of enrollment numbers, Lowville has moved to the division after a second-place finish in the three-team “B” Division in 2011, and looks to bounce back from two consecutive sub-.500 seasons. The Red Raiders will look for leadership from Noak Ahlberg, Wyatt Carpenter, Collin Farquhar, Jamie Merrell and Dylan Roes. South Lewis, which fielded a team last season after going without a boys squad in 2010, will look to improve on a five-win season. The Falcons have only one true senior and will be led by captains Nate Arrigo, Nate Pleskach and Ryan Teal. Beaver River, which won only three games last season, returns to the division and sports mostly upperclassmen, including six seniors.
Beaver River Beavers
Coach: Tom Dunckel (1st year).
2011 record: 3-12-1, 3-12-1.
Players to watch: N/A.
Roster: Zane Brouty (Sr.), Tarren Farney (Sr.), James Kenealy (Sr.), Hunter Nortz (Sr.), Zachary Steiner (Sr.), Cody Updike (Sr.), Cordel Brouty (Jr.), Jared Fulin (Jr.), Shaun Malbeuf (Jr.), Nicholas Mattimore (Jr.), David Merry (Jr.), William Shambo (Jr.), Jacob Yousey (Jr.), Kobi Flint (So.), Hunter Glenn (So.), Jose Interiano (So.), Deion Jones (So.), Joel Kloster (So.), Riley Joslin (So.), Dylan Terry (Fr.), Kyle Zehr (Fr.).
Lowville Red Raiders
Coach: Nick Matuszczak (2nd year).
2011 record: 5-10-0, 5-7-0.
Players to watch: Noak Ahlberg, Wyatt Carpenter, Collin Farquhar, Jamie Merrell, Dylan Roes.
Roster: Wyatt Carpenter (Sr.), Greg Panowicz (Sr.), Stephen Reed (Sr.), Kody Rosales (Sr.), Jordan Zehr (Sr.), Noak Ahlberg (Jr.), Collin Farquhar (Jr.), Zachary Hardy (Jr.), Jamie Merrell (Jr.), Dylan Roes (Jr.), Dylan Smith (Jr.), Collin Stewart (Jr.), Melvin Zehr (Jr.), Dalton Jones (Fr.), Ryan Wood (Fr.).
South Lewis Falcons
Coach: Tyler Grey (1st year).
2011 record: 5-12-1, 5-11-1.
Players to watch: Nate Arrigo, Nate Pleskach, Ryan Teal.
Roster: Ray Pominville (Sr.), Reilly Baker (Jr.), Ryan Card (Jr.), Kyle Dailey (Jr.), Peter Faduski (Jr.), Shawn Loomis (Jr.), Dominic Sabatini (Jr.), Ryan Teal (Jr.), Nick Arrigo (So.), Kevin Beltowski (So.), Brad Conway (So.), Robert Farney (So.), Wyatt Gokey (So.), Nate Pleskach (So.), Dillon Szewil (So.), Jake Vanbeber (So.).
Thousand Islands Vikings
Coach: Shannon Amo (13th year).
2011 record: 12-6-0, 11-5-0.
Players to watch: Scott McKain, Luke Smith, Jess Smith.
Roster: Reed Donnelly (Sr.), Nathan Hall (Sr.), Taylor Knapp (Sr.), Scott McKain (Sr.), Tyler Pacific (Sr.), David Powers (Sr.), Cameron Robbins (Sr.), Jess Smith (Sr.), Sam Ada (Jr.), Luke Smith (Jr.), Eli Baldwin (So.), Tiger Chapman (So.), Tanner Doctuer (So.), Bennitt Donnelly (So.), Theron Grenier (So.), Austin Matthews (So.), Nick Nevela (So.), Dan Swartz (So.), Austin Marshall (Fr.), Aaron Zehr (Fr.).
Outlook: Last season, Alexandria won its first “D” Division title in the program’s history, but lost eight starters to graduation from this group. The “very young” Purple Ghosts and will once again be led by Times All-North All-Star Ian Kearns (20-16-56). Alexandria coach Robert Bastian feels that Lyme will be the team to beat in the division. Lyme, Alexandria’s arch-rival, will look to reclaim the division title after finishing as runner-up in both the regular season and playoffs. The Indians return seven starters, including players in all areas of the field, led by juniors Mark Parker (13-8-34), Timmy Morrow, Troy Wilson and Christian Sanford (goalie) as well as freshman Tanner Wiley. Belleville Henderson, which finished third in “D” last year, lost 12 seniors to graduation, including its top two scorers, and returns only four upperclassmen, including two seniors. LaFargeville co-coach Dan Staie calls his young squad the “most athletic” team the Red Knights have fielded in a while. Also hit hard by graduation, Sackets Harbor, which lost seven seniors and will look to improve on its fourth-place finish under the guidance of new coach Chelsea Noble. Copenhagen, which finished second in the division two seasons ago, returns eight seniors and looks to rebound from a fifth-place finish in 2011. Coach Scott Randle says the Golden Knights “have a lot of players back from last season, so we are looking to be more competitive.”
Alexandria Purple Ghosts
Coach: Robert Bastian (9th year).
2011 record: 16-1-0, 14-0-0.
Players to watch: Chris Carrasquillo, Ian Kearns, Nick Shangraw, Caleb Wills.
Roster: Ian Kearns (Sr.), Chris Strough (Sr.), Caleb Wills (Sr.), Miles Bartlett (Jr.), Chris Carrasquillo (Jr.), Oakley Cullen (Jr.), Ray Dickhaut (Jr.), Andrew Henry (Jr.), Jacob O’Day (Jr.), Nick Shangraw (Jr.), Jordan VanBrocklin (Jr.), Brock Ward (Jr.), Jesse Bearup (So.), A.J. Bennett (So.), Ryan Charlebois (So.), Brodix Gill (So.), Cameron Morgan (So.), Tristen Thomson (So.), Dustin Rogers (Fr.).
Belleville Henderson Panthers
Coach: Ron Whitney (2nd year).
2011 record: 7-8-1, 7-6-1.
Players to watch: Tyler Bast, Matthew Corron, Matthew Glowfeskie, Nathan Leviker.Roster: Matthew Glowfeskie (Sr.), Nathan Leviker (Sr.), Thurman Babcock (Jr.), Tyler Bast (Jr.), Trevor Contryman (So.), Matthew Corron (So.), Tom Desormeau (So.), Chris Hernandez (So.), James Illingworth (So.), Keito Meguro (So.), Brendan Moore (So.), Nick Neddo (So.), Hayden Peterson (So.), Caden Durham (Fr.), Eli Merced (Fr.).
Copenhagen Golden Knights
Coach: Scott Randall (4th year).
2011 record: 6-8-1, 6-7-1.
Players to watch: Antonio Figueroa, Brenden Jacobs, Justin Roberts.
Roster: Luke Evans (Sr.), Scott Hamblin (Sr.), Christian Johnson (Sr.), Cody Petrus (Sr.), Logan Marolf (Sr.), Justin Roberts (Sr.), Chris Romero (Sr.), Tyler St. Louis (Sr.), Travis Clarke (Jr.), Greg Kunert (Jr.), Antonio Figueroa (So.), Brenden Jacobs (So.), Breven Jacobs (So.), Connor Eddy (Fr.).
LaFargeville Red Knights
Co-coaches: Dan Staie (10th year) and Robert Switzer (7th year).
2011 record: 2-11-0, 2-11-0.
Players to watch: Joshua Baughn, Elijah Huntley, Matt Martin.
Roster: Elijah Huntley (Sr.), Bret Staie (Sr.), Skyler Weston (Sr.), Matthew Barton (Jr.), Joshua Baughn (Jr.), Gavin Davidson (Jr.), William Foisy (Jr.), Merrick McMurphy (Jr.), Edward Casler (So.), Colton Denny (So.), Conner Morrow (So.), Hunter Sammons (So.), Hunter Soluri (So.), Daniel Woodburn (So.), Hunter Ainsworth (Fr.), Ethan Johnson (Fr.), Thomas O’Driscoll (Fr.).
Coach: Scott Radley (16th year).
2011 record: 11-4-2, 10-2-2.
Players to watch: Timmy Morrow, Mark Parker, Christian Sanford, Tanner Wiley, Troy Wilson.
Roster: Zachary Backus (Sr.), Nick Birchenough (Jr.), Jared Donaldson (Jr.), Samuel Liakhovitch (Jr.), Donovan Marchiony (Jr.), Timmy Morrow (Jr.), Mark Parker (Jr.), Christian Sanford (Jr.), Forrest Stafford (Jr.), Troy Wilson (Jr.), Tyler Davis (So.), Joey Paladino (So.), Austin Lennox (So.), Ian Liakhovitch (So.). Riley Schwind (So.), Caden Sanford (Fr.), Tristen Walker (Fr.), Tanner Wiley (Fr.).
Sackets Harbor Patriots
Coach: Chelsea Nohle (1st year).
2011 record: 7-9-0, 7-7-0.
Players to watch: Ryan Allen, Ethan Dillabough, Josh Kerkuski.
Roster: Jacob Flagg (Sr.), Ganon Fletcher (Sr.), Billy Newcombe (Sr.), Vinny Augliano (Jr.), Shaun Cuddeback (Jr.), Ethan Dillabough (Jr.), Brian Elliott (Jr.), Gabe Fedorko (Jr.), Josh Keruski (Jr.), Seth Phillips (Jr.), Kyle Roy (Jr.), Narek Sukiasyan (Jr.), Ryan Allen (So.), Dakota Browne (So.), Eric Chrostowski (So.), Brad John (So.), Kyle Gonseth (Fr.).