Below are the official 2016 Hockomock League Boys Soccer All Stars, selected by the coaches in the league.
Hockomock League MVP
Tyler Mann, King Philip
Hockomock League All Stars
Harry Lancaster, Attleboro
Nick Hasenfus, Attleboro
Paul Corcoran, Canton
Jake Verille, Canton
Anthony Barreira, Foxboro
Jeff Melo, Foxboro
Hatim Brahimi, Franklin
Farley Asmath, Franklin
Colby Koch, King Philip
Tyler Mann, King Philip
Cam Mullins, King Philip
Eli O’Neill, King Philip
Max Gurnon, Mansfield
Nick Hyland, Mansfield
James Chotkowski, Mansfield
Marcello Panno, Milford
Pedro Sampaio, Milford
John Brennan, North Attleboro
Nathaniel Cardoza, Oliver Ames
Thomas McCormick, Oliver Ames
Matt Campbell, Oliver Ames
Ben Stamm, Sharon
Shalin Patel, Sharon
Loubensky Lucus, Stoughton
Tyler Melo, Stoughton
Daniel DeAndrade, Taunton
Zach White, Attleboro
Griffin Roach, Canton
AJ Bubencik, Foxboro
Connor San Clemente, Franklin
Ryan Coulter, King Philip
Jed Tolbert, Mansfield
Danny Mendoza, Milford
Mason Galbato, Oliver Ames
Andrew Reyes-Jones, Sharon
Jordan Asnes, Stoughton
ATTLEBORO, Mass. – The Attleboro attack has been far from potent this fall, scoring only 13 goals through the opening 16 games of the season and more than one goal in a game just twice, but on Wednesday night at Tozier-Cassidy Field a young Bombardiers team still had the opportunity to book its place in the state tournament.
Not surprisingly, Attleboro would only get one goal, but it turned out to be all it needed against Taunton. Sophomore Will Halben scored the winner for the second straight game, as the Bombardiers held off the Tigers 1-0 to qualify for the postseason.
“We got to the tournament that was really positive,” said Attleboro coach Peter Pereira, who also celebrated his 250th career victory on Wednesday. “I really wanted it for the younger kids because we got two big years coming up and I really wanted them to get a taste of it and see what it’s like.”
For two teams that had combined for only 22 goals coming into the game, Taunton and Attleboro started wide open with chances coming thick and fast in the opening half hour.
Ahijah Joseph got the attack going just two minutes in when he ran onto a through ball from Nick Lawrence, but his shot sliced wide of the post and into the side-netting. Two minutes later, Taunton had its first chance with Sean Crowley getting space in the right channel but sending a shot over the bar.
Joseph had a header on a corner cleared off the line by Taunton defender Jake DeAndrade and on the other end Crowley got hold of a volley but hit is straight at Attleboro keeper Nicholas Hasenfus. Taunton keeper Tim Gambaradella was then called into action for his first save when Zach White’s pass bounced into the path of Michael Russo but the goalie smothered the shot.
The game’s lone goal came in the 23rd minute. Devin Andre slid a pass behind the Taunton defense for Halben to run onto and the sophomore showed poise to calmly slide the ball inside the far post and past Gambaradella (four saves).
“It’s the young guys, the freshmen, the sophomores, they’ve got speed and they’re going to be really good in the future but right now it’s a learning curve,” said Pereira, who is in his 37th year in charge of the program. He added, “We don’t get too many goals, so we have to take them where we can.”
Taunton almost answered back immediately, but another shot found the side-netting. The Bombardiers could have doubled the advantage in the 28th minute when Russo found Nathan Laplume for a scoring chance only to be denied by Gambaradella at full stretch. The rebound fell kindly to Halben but he smashed his shot off the crossbar of the goalposts just above the net.
The next chance for either team would not come until nine minutes after the break when Lawrence had a shot saved and then his follow up was blocked out for a corner by Dan DeAndrade. That would be the last clear-cut chance for either team until the final three minutes of the game.
As end-to-end as the first half of the game was, the second turned into a midfield stalemate with both teams clogging up the middle of the pitch and limiting the opposition’s ability to get the ball into the final third. First-year Taunton coach Taylor Whitters credited the Tigers defense for closing the gaps and taking away space in the second half.
She added, “It’s just a matter of trying to stick with and learn our shape and try to be quicker with transitioning. That’s something we’ve been working on and I think they did a really good job of it in the second half especially.”
With a chance to secure a tournament spot on the line, Attleboro started to look a little nervous in the second half and passes started to go astray. Pereira said, “It was an ugly game but we’ll take it. We didn’t want to make mistakes and we were making mistakes.”
At the back, senior Harry Lancaster was there to clean up most of the mistakes, alongside fellow center back Tyler Treichler, and keep Taunton from taking advantage. “Harry’s been solid every game,” Pereira said. “He has absolutely saved our butts. He’s our top player. He’s a great captain and his soccer has been great at the back.”
Joseph nearly set up Lawrence in the closing minutes but the cross just missed the forward at the back post. With the clock stopped in the final two minutes, Russo had a chance blocked on the slide by Liam Crowley and then Lawrence flicked a pass to Russo who pushed it on to Austin Champagne, but Gambaradella came through with a stellar dive down to his left to deny the second goal.
“We missed a couple opportunities to out the game away,” said Pereira, “but what are you going to do? We’ll take it, we’ll organize and get ready for our last game, which is big for them because it’s for the cup.”
Assessing her first year in charge, after three years with the freshman program, Whitters said, “We have a very, very young team, so I’m very proud of all the accomplishments they’ve had this year. We’ve made lots of little victories along the way and I’m really excited for next year.”
Attleboro (7-5-5, 7-4-5) will close out the regular season on Saturday afternoon in the annual Leach and Garner Cup against North Attleboro.
NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. – As they say, one goal can change a soccer game.
As the first half was coming to a close, North Attleboro was producing scoring chance after scoring chance, but the Rocketeers couldn’t break through before the halftime whistle.
And then three minutes into the second half, Taunton used a bright start to find the back of the net and just like that, the Tigers held a 1-0 lead.
That goal seemed to give the Rocketeers a bit more urgency, and they capitalized. North Attleboro scored three straight goals inside a 10 minute span to earn a 3-1 win over Taunton.
“Our preseason had been very similar to this,” North Attleboro head coach Geoff Burgess said. “We went down to both Feehan and Dighton-Rehoboth and came back both times to tie it. We kind have been confident enough, even if we go down, to know we can score goals and come back from a mistake like we made.”
The Rocketeers had a handful of chances in the first half, with a majority coming off set pieces and crosses. John Brennan had an early chance off a free kick from Gabe Pinhancos but his header went over the par. Pinhancos had a chance two minutes later when he cut back to his left foot but his bid was right at the keeper. Noah Barney had his chance in the 32nd minute cleared at the far post by a defender.
North’s two best chances came in the 33rd and 40th minutes. First, Brennan sent a long ball into the area with Conor Danahey rising up to meet it, putting a header on target but Taunton goalie Tim Gambaradella got a paw to the ball and pushed it just. In the final seconds, a failed clearance bounced to junior Andrew Fontaine but his half volley clanked off of the crossbar and stayed out.
The Tigers got things started in the second half with a long run from Dan DeAndrade out of the back, putting the pressure on North’s defense. Hasan Farahat ended up with possession at the top of the 18 and quickly played Raffaele Corbelli wide. The senior took a touch and fired a shot that snuck in at the near post to give Taunton a 1-0 lead.
“I thought we dominated the game in the first half, I thought we created a bunch of chances, like five or six open headers on set pieces,” Burgess said. “We had some chances through the run of play too. But the goal we scored to equalize was one of the best ones we’ve scored.”
Seven minutes after Taunton took the lead, Barney found himself in possession of the ball in the attacking third. He delivered a perfectly weighted ball into the area and Danahey ran onto it and tucked his header into the near post corner.
The Rocketeers continued the pressure as senior Leo Charlebois ran onto the ball along the right sideline, just inside the area. His touch was enough to get some space but he was taken down in the area for a penalty kick. Charlebois took the penalty himself, going low and to the goalie’s left to give North Attleboro a 2-1 lead in the 54th minute.
North capped the scoring just two minutes later. Pinhancos gained possession and carried into the final third before playing a perfect through ball, splitting a pair of defenders. Charlebois ran onto it and calmly finished against an oncoming Gambaradella to make it 3-1.
Although it was Pinhancos’ first assist, it could have been his fourth or fifth. He was responsible for setting up the majority of North’s chances in the first half as well.
“He was the guy for us last year too but he was only a sophomore,” Burgess said of Pinhancos. “Now he’s a year older, a little bit more confident and bigger and stronger. I think that has made a huge difference in his confidence level as well. In practice and in games.”
Burgess was also pleased to see other players step up around Pinhancos with Charlebois scoring twice, Danahey scoring once and Barney registered an assist.
“I think last year he felt he had to do it all by himself,” Burgess said. “Now he realizes there some pieces around him that can make good things happen, for him as well. We have a good mix of size and speed. I’m hoping this is going to be a good year for us, we’ve had a rough go it lately but I think this group has the ability to score.”
For Taunton, it’s a matter of putting together a complete game. Head coach Taylor Whitters said, “It’s just a matter of work ethic. We need to have the 100% work ethic, 100% of the time. So those little moments where we get a little lax, we suffered for it. But we’re working on it, we’re going to keep working hard at it.”
North Attleboro (1-1-0) will take a trip to North Easton on Friday to take on Oliver Ames. Taunton (0-2-1) will try to earn its first win of the season when it welcomes Milford to town on Saturday at noon.