If the Fenwick administration was looking for someone to return the spark to the Friars’ boys soccer program, Robert Watson did that and more in his first season as head coach in 2006.

With Watson at the helm, Fenwick won 12 games, ended rival Oak Park’s season in the Class AA playoffs and advanced to the regional finals.

“Our two major goals this year are to win the Catholic League title and advance deep into the state tournament,” Watson said. “We are dealing with several injuries and new starters in key positions.

“We hope for a good showing in the Pepsi Showdown and to carry that momentum into the Catholic League. We’ve had a lot of positive surprises during preseason training, so we’ll see.”

Senior defender and team captain Will Darley leads the way for Fenwick, which also features goalie Gerald Taglia and midfielders Connor Kramer, Marty Reggi and Kilian Frailey.

“The strength of our team this year is going to be our defense,” Watson said. “Taglia is back and our three defenders-Will Darley, John Ziegler and Matt Halm-will be very strong.”

Fenwick also is expecting big things from newcomers-Mike Stephany, Will Rigali and Mark Finan.

“We need Connor Kramer and Marty Reggi to play well in the midfield,” Watson said. “The central midfield is the absolute key to our success.

“Both Connor and Marty were moved from the wing to central mid this year and will be vital to our progress. If they play well, we will have a good showing in the Pepsi Showdown, contend for the Catholic League and advance far in the state playoffs.”

Fenwick is the No. 16 seed in the Pepsi Showdown and will host Kelly on Sept. 4. Ironically, the only time the Friars advanced out of the first round of the Pepsi Showdown was back in 2004 when they knocked off the Chicago Public League power.

If Fenwick can manage the same feat this year, it will most likely face top-seeded Wheaton-Warrenville South. The Tigers have won two of the past three Pepsi Showdown titles and have lost just once since the tournament began four years ago.