NORTH STONINGTON — Wheeler High put together one of its best boys soccer seasons in more than a decade and it showed in the All-ECC Division IV selections.
The Lions placed four players on the first team after finishing 12-8 overall and winning the league title at 8-0. It was the most wins since the 2001 team finished 16-2-4 and shared the Class S title with Granby.
Wheeler qualified for the Class S state tournament. losing to eventual state champion Old Saybrook, 2-0, in its second game.
Senior defender Seth Jones and juniors Ian Spracklin (midfield), Scott Pion (midfield) and Bowen Baker (goalie) received first-team league recognition.
Jones played center back for the Lions.
“Our back line was very young and he did a great job for us. He was a key leader,” Wheeler coach Joe Mendonca said. “He knows how to slow down the attack and delay the game.”
Mendonca said Jones could also bring the ball forward when he picked off an errant pass from an opponent.
“He started playing center back as a junior and has excelled back there,” Mendonca said.
Spracklin was second on the team with 17 goals and led the squad with 19 assists.
“He’s a post forward, very strong. You could give him the ball and he could turn and beat his man or he would distribute the ball,” Mendonca said. “We fed him the ball and he dished it out.”
Pion led the team in scoring with 20 goals, the most by a Wheeler player since the 2001 season when Mike Guigli had 26.
“We started him at forward, but brought him to attacking midfield,” Mendonca said. “He is quick with the ball and has good size. He give us strength up the middle.
“We needed someone in the middle for attacking midfield and he filled that role.”
Baker and the Lions finished the season with eight shutouts. The team allowed 35 goals in 20 games, but 12 of those came in a pair of losses against Windham.
Several times during the season Mendonca would bring Baker out of goal to take direct kicks. Baker finished the season with a goal and three assists.
“In my opinion, he was the best keeper in the ECC,” Mendonca said. “He’s very athletic and he plays like a sweeper keeper, he comes off the line. He’s very strong and he reads the game well. He gives us a chance play a high line.”
Wheeler sophomore Lukas Jones was an honorable mention selection. Jones played outside back for the Lions. Mendonca said Jones was more mature and much stronger this season.
Samson Hauptmann received the ECC sportsmanship award for the Lions and Conor Melinosky was the scholar-athlete recipient.