Two key members of the Section II Class AA champion Guilderland boys soccer team were among the five seniors that made their college choices official at Thursday’s signing day ceremony.
Kledis Capollari signed his National Letter of Intent to play for Siena College this fall, while teammate Connor O’Brien announced his decision to play for NCAA Division II power Stonehill. Track stars Abby Marco (Lafayette College) and Jenna Robinson (Marist) also made their choices public, as did girls soccer standout Emily Center (Manhattan).
`Coach Cesar Markovic was nice to me and gave me the opportunity to come and play soccer for him. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity,` said Capollari.
Capollari led the Dutchmen with 14 points and tied Keagan Ciaschetti for the team lead in goals with eight, but he acknowledged getting on the field for the Siena Saints will be difficult as a freshman. Still, he said he looks forward to the challenge.
`I didn’t want to go somewhere where I could walk on and play,` said Capollari. `I wanted to challenge myself.`
`Positionally, he’ll be fine. He’s got the size and the ability to do well at that level,` said Guilderland boys soccer coach Mike Kinnally. `And, he’s got good coaches to help him.`
O’Brien was a force at both ends of the field for Guilderland. Not only did he help the Dutchmen’s defense limit opponents to 21 goals in 20 games, but he led the team in assists with nine — thanks in part to his ability to set teammates up on free kicks and corner kicks.
O’Brien said it was his offensive contributions that helped him gain attention from collegiate programs.
`They could see I like to get involved in the attack,` said O’Brien.
`He’s got a nice service, but he’s a good player overall,` said Kinnally.
Robinson and Marco each chose to take their track and field skills to Division I schools. Robinson said she intends to run cross country, indoor track and outdoor track at Marist — a combination she’s attempting this school year for the first time.
`I’m doing outdoor track for the first time this spring, which I’ve never done before, in the hopes that it will help me train for next year,` said Robinson, one of Guilderland’s top distance runners.
A standout in track and soccer, Marco chose to run track at Lafayette.
`I just found that I was better at track, and I liked to be an individual athlete while also being part of a team,` said Marco, who’s best events are the 400-meter dash and the 400-meter intermediate hurdles.
A defenseman, Center will be joining a Manhattan women’s soccer team that features some of the top New York state-born players including Bethlehem Central High School graduate Tara Teal.
`I’ve always loved playing high-level soccer,` said Center. `I’m going to have great competition and great teammates.`
`Emily is such a solid player. She should do well there,` said Guilderland girls soccer coach Curtis Snyder.