LYONS FALLS — Off the athletic fields, Matt Skorupa is mild-mannered, humble and soft-spoken.
On the soccer pitch, it’s a different story for the talented striker.
Through his aggressive and skillful play, Skorupa produced the most historic goal in South Lewis boys soccer history.
With a Section 3 championship in the balance, Skorupa didn’t disappoint last autumn as he scored on a header with 15 seconds remaining in overtime to lift the Falcons to their first sectional title in boys soccer.
“It was great,” Skorupa said during team practice last week at Riverside Park. “It’s the best feeling you can get, really, playing on a team sport. You’re all doing it together and working together, you all have the same mindset, attitude, and we just play together well.”
With the game seemingly headed to penalty kicks, Skorupa headed in a cross-field feed from Matt Arrigo, as the Falcons edged Cooperstown, 1-0, to claim the Class C crown.
“I tried to kick it as close to the back post as I could, so I put it right on the back post and Matt headed it right in and it was pretty great,” Arrigo recalled. “Seeing him jump in there and head it right in was a thrill for everyone. And how the team fought the whole game, it was a tough game.”
The outcome came just three years after varsity boys soccer returned to South Lewis after a two-year hiatus by the program.
“I’m glad that we’re back,” Skorupa said. “It sucks that there was no soccer, but I’m glad that we’re rebuilding it. Because we’re building it strong and I hope kids will follow it up the same way that we did. I think we set a good example of what can happen.”
“We started out as freshmen and worked together, and that whole group just worked all the way up,” Arrigo said.
South Lewis’ season would later come to an end in the state regional round in a 2-0 loss to Section 4’s Lansing, which would go on to repeat as state champion.
“It was kind of unbelievable that we were the first team to do it, thinking about it as a junior,” Skorupa said. “That we just won sectionals and did what no one has done yet.”
Besides his skill, Skorupa’s biggest strength is his pure speed on the field. He also competes for the school’s indoor track and track and field teams, running in the 400- and 800-meter events.
“Matt’s unbelievable because you if you ask anybody that’s around, it’s not because of his unbelievable skill, because nobody in the world is that fast,” South Lewis coach Ed Collins said. “It’s just his quickness and top-end speed are just crazy. And playing in upstate New York soccer, if you have that, that’s just an unbelievable weapon.”
Skorupa also generated a landmark season on a personal level as he scored 24 goals and assisted on five others and his 52 career goals in three seasons represent a school record.
Skorupa and Arrigo are two of seven seniors who return this season for the Falcons.
“The biggest thing is with this group of kids, the seven seniors that we have is the core of the final bit of the guys, and I’m retiring this year,” said Collins, who has coached soccer at South Lewis for 30 years at different levels. “That’s the last group that we started with for five years, so it’s going to be kind of bittersweet, to tell you the truth.
“Some of these kids are almost like my kids, so I’ll miss that more than anything else.”
Outlook: Watertown went a perfect 9-0 to win the “A” Division’s regular-season title, before being knocked off by IHC, 1-0, in the playoff championship. Goalkeeper Andrew Ranger, who made 10 saves to record the shutout, is back this season for IHC. “We have seven returners, four of whom are returning starters, and four players who transferred to other schools,” IHC coach Mary Guyette said. “We are fortunate enough to keep the IHC boys soccer program going this season. We are looking to improve each and every day.” ... Watertown went 15-2 last season and sports a host of returners, as junior midfielder Riley Connell led the team in goals last year, and its roster includes five seniors and 14 juniors. One newcomer is senior forward Ethan Uliano, who tallied 15 goals and 11 assists for IHC last season. “We are looking to compete in a very competitive Frontier League “A” Division,” Watertown coach Todd Heckman said. ... Indian River is looking to bounce back after its second straight sub-.500 campaign in 2018. The Warriors, who won five games overall, finished third in the division and didn’t qualify for sectional play, a rare occurrence in recent program history. Indian River, which returns seven players, will be led by senior tri-captains Quentin Adams, Sam Angelo and Torin McCranie. “We return a handful of starters but will be counting on fresh faces to step in and fill key roles,” Indian River coach Fred LaVancha said.
Coach: Joe Mono (4th year)
2018 record: 4-11-1, 1-8 league.
Players to watch: N/A.
Roster: Ricky Allmon (Sr., D), Joey Baker (Sr., D), Braeden Dorchester (Sr., G/F), Greg Downey (Sr., D), Brecken Feldmann (Sr., M), Cole Gittins (Sr., F), Jalen Johnson (Sr., M), Joey Johnston (Sr., F), Walker LaVancha (Sr., M), Jacob Barker (Jr., D), Cayden Fernandez (Jr., F), Demetrius Kemp (Jr., D), Ty Paddock (Jr., D), Itai Parnes (Jr., M), Logan Ras (Jr., D), Aidan Parker (So., F).
Immaculate Heart Cavaliers
Coach: Mary Guyette (10th year)
2018 record: 14-3-1, 6-2-1.
Players to watch: Jaden Guga, Nick McNulty, Andrew Ranger.
Roster: Jake Grant (Sr., F), Jaden Guga (Sr., D), Ben Hutchins (Sr., D), Jacob Keeton (Sr., D), Nick McNulty (Sr., M), Andrew Ranger (Sr., G), Tieler Friedline (Jr., M), Tristan Gilbert (Jr., M), Keagan Mercer (Jr., F), Martin Hutchins (So., D), Cooper Lawler (So., D), Logan Gilbert (Fr., F), Bobby O’Connor (Fr., M), Julian St. Croix (Fr., F).
Indian River Warriors
Coach: Fred LaVancha (13th year)
2018 record: 5-12, 2-7.
Players to watch: Quentin Adams, Sam Angelo, Torin McCranie.
Roster: Quentin Adams (Sr., D), Sam Angelo (Sr., M), Levi Armes (Sr., M), Torin McCranie (Sr., M), Jon Carl Vera (Sr., D), Tyrone Allen (Jr., D), Jacob Banfield (Jr., D), Zack Johnston (Jr., D), Ethan Jones (Jr., M), Tajean LaCroix (Jr., F), Joe Petrus (Jr., M), Jaheim Plunkett (Jr., F), Cooper Sweeney (Jr., D), Mason VanTassel (Jr., D), Kodjovi Avoulete (So., F), Zach Combs (So., M), Caleb Adams (Fr., M), Joe Raap (8th gr., G).
Coach: Todd Heckman (13th year)
2018 record: 15-2, 9-0.
Players to watch: Cody Benham, Ben Rathbun, Simon Stratton, Ethan Uliano.
Roster: Cody Benham (Sr., M), Shaughn Braddock (Sr., F), Ben Rathbun (Sr., D),
Simon Stratton (Sr., D), Ethan Uliano (Sr., M), Hayden Augliano (Jr., D), Ashton Beebe (Jr., M), Carter Benham (Jr., F), Rashaun Brown (Jr., M), Evan Burnett (Jr., M), Riley Connell (Jr., M), Gabe Horner (Jr., F), Vince Lavarnway (Jr., D), Juan Martello (Jr., D), Evan Richardson (Jr., G), Nolan Smithers (Jr., D), Aidan Reff (Jr., F), Carson Truesdale (Jr., F), Colton Walker (Jr., M), Matt Cole (So., M). .
Outlook: South Jefferson, which rode a strong regular season last year to claim its third consecutive “B” Division championship in the league, returns 14 players, including junior forward John Bliss, senior midfielder Dalton Perry and freshman goalie Evan Widrick. “We are aiming to build off a successful season last year with a young team,” South Jefferson coach Trevor Perry said. ... Lowville won eight games last year, and return 14 players from last year, with 10 of them starters. “With 10 retuning starters and 13 seniors, we have high hopes for the fall season,” Lowville coach Nick Matuszczak said. ... General Brown returns 13 players, including eight starters and 10 seniors. The Lions will be led offensively by senior Nick Lennox (24-5-53 career points), in the midfield by junior David Jenner and on defense by senior Luke Romano.
General Brown Lions
Coach: Phil Jenner (15th year)
2018 record: 6-10-1, 4-7-1.
Players to watch: David Jenner, Nick Lennox, Luke Romano.
Roster: Tyler Fiske (Sr., M), Robbie Hunter (Sr., D), Nick Lennox (Sr., M), Zach Longamore (Sr., D), David Martin (Sr., F), Jarod Matusiak (Sr., F/G), Zach Miller (Sr., D), Luke Romano (Sr., D), Vinnie Sheen (Sr., M), Dawson Williams (Sr., M), Josh Bonham-Kovalik (Jr., D), Izeigha Collins (Jr., M), Brennen Derouchie (Jr., M), David Jenner (Jr., M), Lucas Hernandez-Murillo (So., M), Eric Randall (So., M), John Chamberlain (Fr., M), Tucker Rosbrook (Fr., G/D)..
Lowville Red Raiders
Coach: Nick Matuszczak (8th year)
2018 record: 8-7-2, 5-5-2.
Players to watch: Cooper Myers, Connor Nicol, Tate Smith, Justin Zapalla.
Roster: Colby Bartlett (Sr.), Gavin Cherry (Sr.), Sam Clark (Sr.), Cody Hoffman (Sr.), Garrett Jones (Sr.), Caleb Judd (Sr.), Damon Krop (Sr.), Jonathon Lehmann (Sr.), Colin McManus (Sr.), Cooper Myers (Sr.), Connor Nicol (Sr.), Jared Ortlieb (Sr.), Devin Runner (Sr.), Justin Zapalla (Sr.), Erik Gronowski (Jr.), Jonathan McGrath (Jr.), Tate Smith (Jr.), Kurt VerSchneider (Jr.), Jeremie Lehmann (So.).
South Jefferson Spartans
Coach: Trevor Perry (2nd year)
2018 record: 11-6, 8-4.
Players to watch: Josh Bliss, Dalton Perry, Evan Widrick.
Roster: Andrew Amell (Sr., D), Garrett Frezzo (Sr., D), Dalton Perry (Sr., M), Justyn St.Croix (Sr., D), Tyler Stevenson (Sr., F), Josh Bliss (Jr., F), Mark Fairchild (Jr., M), Caeden Goodnough (Jr., M), Maxwell Gray (Jr., D), Colby Randall (Jr., D), Graden Ratigliano (Jr., D), Jaymeson St.Croix (Jr., F), Gavin Stone (Jr., M), Najuan Williams (Jr., D), Thomas King (So., M), Cyren Washington (So., M), Bryce Goodnough (Fr., M), Evan Widrick (Fr., G).
Outlook: Beaver River, which reached the Section 3 Class C semifinals, lost the bulk of its offense to graduation, but senior Zachary Mast returns after leading the team in goals (16) and points (37) as a junior. Mast has scored 35 goals in two varsity seasons. Junior goalie Lincoln Becker and Mast are among five returning starters. ... Thousand Islands finished in third place in the division and finished with a 10-win season. Senior Gabe Clement (9-6-24), who led the team in scoring last year, returns. ... Sandy Creek hopes to be competitive after enduring three winless seasons over the past three years.
Beaver River Beavers
Co-coaches: Tina Becker (2nd year), Brian Zehr (1st year).
2018 record: 14-4-1, 12-3.
Players to watch: Connor Dickinson, Tanner Kovach, Zach Mast, Ethan Zehr.
Roster: Sasha Birk (Sr.), Giovanni Dellamotta (Sr.), Lane Hoppel (Sr.), Tanner Kovach (Sr.), Zach Mast (Sr.), Alex Pelo (Sr.), Tim Woolschlager (Sr.), Ethan Zehr (Sr.), Lincoln Becker (Jr.), Trey Brown (Jr.), Connor Dickinson (Jr.), Micaiah Landis (Jr.), Andrew Walseman (Jr.), David Duell (So.), Gabe Gallo (Fr.), Montana Grunert (Fr.), Ayden Moser (Fr.), Sawyer Schwendy (Fr.), Karson Smith (Fr.), Jed Zehr (Fr.).
Sandy Creek Comets
Coach: Steve Olson (7th year)
2018 record: 0-16, 0-15.
Players to watch: N/A.
Roster: Gavin Babcock (Sr., F), Dylan Brown (Sr., M), Gavin Brown (Sr., M), Justin Charsky (Sr., F/M), Christopher Olson (Sr., F/M/D), Alex Pond (Sr., M/D), Sam Wood (Sr., F/M), Rafael Aquilar (Jr., M), Micah Charsky (Jr., F/M), Aldyn Landas (Jr., D/M), Joey Magee (Jr., F/M), T.J. Reff (Jr., G/M), Gabe Balcom (So., D/M), Matthew Olson (So., G/M/D), Seth Pearsall (Fr., M/D), Noah Reff (Fr., M/F), Connor Shaw (Fr., M).
South Lewis Falcons
Coach: Ed Collins (4th year)
2018 record: 18-3, 13-2.
Players to watch: Sam Arrigo, Cody Greene, Elijah Lohr, Cory Millard, Marco Romero, Matt Skorupa, Nate Wright.
Roster: Sam Arrigo (Sr.), Cody Greene (Sr.), Elijah Lohr (Sr.), Cory Millard (Sr.), Marco Romero (Sr.), Matt Skorupa (Sr.), Nate Wright (Sr.), Trevor Griffith (Jr.), Devan Maurer (Jr.), Ethan Bush (So.), Cameron Evans (So.), Nolan Kraeger (So.), Matt Liddiard (So.), Jacob Worden (So.), Brecken Yager (So.), Drew Maurer (Fr.).
Thousand Islands Vikings
Coach: Jason Clement (4th year)
2018 record: 10-8, 8-7.
Players to watch: N/A.
Roster: Jon Clark (Sr.), Gabe Clement (Sr.), Cully Gaffney (Sr.), Chase Grant (Sr.), Rees Gray (Sr.), Clayton Hall (Sr.), Til Kabasser (Sr.), David McDonough (Sr.), Chase Brooks (Jr.), Alex Davis (Jr.), Hayden Maloney (Jr.), Harrison Wood (Jr.), Jack Bashaw (So.), Cyler Churchill (So.), Michael Grega (So.), Gage LaClair (So.), Myles Vachon (So.), Traigh Kittle (Fr.).
Outlook: Belleville Henderson won its first division playoff championship since 1996 a year ago. The Panthers lost leading scorer Brady Maloney (21-6-48) to graduation, but 15 players return this year, including senior Ryan Green (9-2-20) and junior Kyle Moyer (4-3-11). “We can do well this year if we continue to work as a team and remain committed to our goals,” Belleville Henderson coach Shawn Maloney said. ... Lyme has won at least a share of the past three “D” Division titles and will look to senior Trevor Weston (6-1-13) and sophomores Matt Kimball (6-1-13) and Derrike Goutremout for offense. “We should have a great year as long as we can stay healthy and play smart,” Lyme coach Rob Goutremout said. ... LaFargeville finished third in the division and is in a “full rebuild” after losing nine seniors to graduation. Senior goalie Colin Miskimon (104 saves, .800 save percentage) returns and other players to keep an eye on are seniors Trenton Barnes, Bailee Dwyer and junior Drew Eichorn. ... Copenhagen will look to build on a rare sub-.500 season when it won seven games (7-8-1). The Golden Knights, who return nine players with limited experience, will look to seniors Keegan Morrow and Jacob O’Brien. “This will be another season of growing pains for Copenhagen,” Copenhagen coach Scott Randall said. ... Alexandria has finished in fifth place in the division the past two seasons. Only three seniors return, “but are all solid players,” Alexandria coach Bob Bastian said. ... Sackets Harbor will look to bounce back after winning only twice last year.
Alexandria Purple Ghosts
Coach: Bob Bastian (16th year)
2018 record: 3-11, 3-11.
Players to watch: Max Barnholt, Cody Escadero, Jacob Lynch, Chris Tidd.
Roster: Cody Escadero (Sr.), Sam Felicia (Sr.), Chris Tidd (Sr.), Max Barnholt (Jr.), Joe Burrows (Jr.), Bill Delosh (Jr.), Scott Diange (Jr.), Uriel Peguerra (Jr.), Brock Hunter (So.), Jacob Johnson (So.), Jacob Lynch (So.), Terrin Thomson (So.), Dom Tidd (So.), Drew Ferency (Fr.), Dan Peguerra (Fr.).
Belleville Henderson Panthers
Coach: Shawn Maloney (4th year)
2018 record: 13-6, 9-5.
Players to watch: Brandon Bast, Brayden Billman, Luke Corron, Garret Gehrke, Ryan Green, Logan Simpson.
Roster: Brandon Bast (Sr., M/F), Garrett Gehrke (Sr., D), Ryan Green (Sr., F), Alex Grimshaw (Sr., D/G), Logan Simpson (Sr., D), Brayden Billman (Jr., M/D), Luke Corron (Jr., M/D), Nathan Hanson (Jr., M/F), Maxim Hess (Jr., F), Hunter Spencer (Jr., D), Colton Storey Jr., (M/F), Nicholas Flagg (So., D), Lucas Hess (So., D/M), Joshua Lane (So., D/M), Jeremy McGrath (So., G), Benjamin Maurer (So., D), Kyle Moyer (So., M/F), Sheldon Spencer (So., D), Brayden Richmond (Fr., M/F)..
Copenhagen Golden Knights
Coach: Scott Randall (11th year)
2018 record: 7-7, 7-8-1.
Players to watch: Keegan Morrow, Jacob O’Brien.
Roster: Tucker Carroll (Sr.), Johnathan Fitzpatrick (Sr.), Jacob O’Brien (Sr.), Keegan Morrow (Sr.), Josh Freeman (Jr.), Cody Powis (Jr.), Lukas Slate (Jr.), Shareef Stokely (Jr.), Chase Aubin (So.), Andrew Carroll (So.), Bryant Carter (So.), Dylan Petrie (Fr.), Chase Nevills (8th gr.), Landon Sullivan (8th gr.).
LaFargeville Red Knights
Coach: Shane Countryman (2nd year)
2018 record: 8-8, 8-6.
Players to watch: Trenton Barnes, Bailee Dwyer, Drew Eichorn, Colin Miskimon.
Roster: Trenton Barnes (Sr.), Cameron Boice (Sr.), Ed Duda (Sr.), Bailee Dwyer (Sr.), Zach Eckert (Sr.), Joe Getman (Sr.), Khalil James (Sr.), Colin Miskimon (Sr.), Hart Schermerhorn (Sr.), Drew Eichhorn (Jr.), Joe Duda (So.), Wyatt Parliament (So.), Addison Waterman (So.), Ryan Pavlot (Fr.), Mitchell Timerman (Fr.), Jefferson Smith (8th gr.), Bradley Smith (7th gr.).
Coach: Rob Goutremont (2nd year)
2018 record: 10-7-1, 9-5.
Players to watch: Derrike Goutremout, Matt Kimball, Riley O’Brien, Nolan Seery, Trevor Weston, Isaiah Wilson, Tyler Wilson.
Roster: Jake Bombard (Sr.), Justin Cheeseman (Sr.), Frederick O’Brien (Sr.), Nolan Seery (Sr.), Trevor Weston (Sr.), Isaiah Wilson (Sr.), Tanner Young (Sr.), Tyler Cordova (Jr.), Kyle Gaumes (Jr.), Jordan Metheney (Jr.), Logan Pettey (Jr.), Graham Rowland (Jr.), Kayden Wilson (Jr.), Tyler Wilson (Jr.), Michael Flyzik (So.), Derrike Goutremout (So.), Jayson Harris (So.), Matthew Kimball (So.), Dominick Sanford (So.), Aidan Linkroum (Fr.), Derrick Radley (8th gr.).
Sackets Harbor Patriots
Coach: Dan Truax (3rd year)
2018 record: 2-12, 2-12.
Players to watch: Tyler Green, Mason Mendelson.
Roster: Mike Gould (Sr., D/M), Cameron Huffman (Sr., M/F), Braedon Kitto (Sr., F), Thomas Lind (Sr., D), Mason Mendelson (Sr., G), Korbyn Mollelo (Sr., D/M), Ryan Young (Jr., F/M), Tyler Green (So., F), Hayden Hazelton (So., D), Caleb Keegan (So., M), Daniel Rogers (So., D), Evan Sova (So., M/F), Stacy Sparks (So., M), Jeremy Villanueva Holmes (So., F/M), Gannon Brunet (Fr., M/F), Dominic Maye (Fr., D), Austin Griner (8th gr., M/F), Ferhan Krebs (8th gr., M/F).