Saranac Lake enters the land of the unknown

Saranac Lake boys soccer (Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)

SARANAC LAKE — After losing 11 seniors to graduation, Saranac Lake coach Josh Marlow said he’s heading into the unknown with his boys soccer squad this season.

With a 22-player roster, Marlow knows his numbers are solid again. He also knows there is talent among the group of eight players who are returning veterans. A big question, however, is how a large contingent of new faces will develop and fare competing for the first time as varsity players.

“I’ve never gone into the season with so many question marks,” Marlow said. “It’s going to be interesting. I don’t know what we have in the cupboard. We are young and inexperienced at the varsity level. We have a lot of potential and growing into the game. It’s going to be a process.”

Saranac Lake will have to make up for the scoring it lost from a season with the graduation of forward Ethan Wood, who was one vote shy of being named the Northern Soccer League’s Division I most valuable player.

This fall, the Red Storm will be look for senior Sawyer Chase to step into the role as the team’s top threat on the front line.

“Sawyer Chase deferred to Ethan last year, and now he wants to be the guy,” Marlow said. “He’s got a ton of speed, he’s a physical player and he should score of pile of goals this year. He played at a prep school over the summer and has really worked hard at improving his game.”

Chase was Saranac Lake’s second-leading scorer in 2016 and is one of three team captains along with Jackson Carlisto and Brian Sullivan. In addtition to Chase, Abraham Newton is a returning senior who can put the ball in the net.

Sullivan and Quinn Peer will anchor Saranac Lake’s defense and be joined on the back line by juniors Devan Kidd and Griffin Pelish.

Midfield starters are expected to be Carlisto, fellow senior Dzihad Cecunjanin and Colter Cheney-Seymour, who is the lone freshman on the team.

A newcomer to the team is senior Brett Dawson, who played football and ran on the Red Storm’s cross country team last year. He’s an aggressive athlete who will start in net for Saranac Lake.

“He’s the best raw goalie we’ve had in a while,” Marlow said. “Boy, did that kid put in the work, and he’s loving playing the position. He does things that you just can’t teach and it will be exiciting to watch him.”

For the first time, Saranac Lake will compete as a Class C team in the playoffs, even though the team will still take on its traditional schedule against Section VII’s larger Class B schools.

Although Marlow said the Red Storm will be a work in progress, he is happy with how his players are interacting.

“This team just has a tremendous work ethic,” he said. “The guys are very unselfish — willing to do anything for the team. They’re pretty green, but they work hard. I’m looking forward to see how we compete.”