By HockomockSports.com Staff
2014 Record: 12-6-3
2014 Finish: Reached MIAA D1 South Semifinal
Coach: Peter Pereira
The Bombardiers had a great 2014 regular season and then had an even better run in the playoffs, pulling off an upset of second-seeded New Bedford.
This year, the Bombardiers will be looking to get back to the postseason but there will be a challenge after graduating a group of talented, experienced players in the Class of 2015. The good news is that coach Peter Pereira has a good group of players this season. Zach Rodrigues, a player that has a ton of varsity experience, is a good starting spot for a team that will likely be right in the thick of the wide-open Kelley-Rex title race.
Junior Harry Lancaster is also back for his third year on varsity while Junior Coca will be another talented player in the middle of the field for Attleboro. Ahijah Joseph emerged as a credible player during his sophomore year and is back for what could be a breakout junior season.
2014 Record: 13-2-5
2014 Finish: Reached MIAA D1 South Quarterfinal
Coach: Fran Bositis
For the past four seasons, the Panthers have claimed the Kelley-Rex division title. This year, it could be more of an uphill battle in order to claim a fifth straight.
The Panthers graduated 16 seniors and a good solid chunk of their starting lineup so a couple of strong returning players will be relied on heavily for coach Fran Bositis. Austin Kent is the only starter back and 2015 will be his third year on varsity. Hatim Brahimi had a big sophomore season last year and his junior campaign could be a big one for him.
“The focus has been on just trying to find the right mix of players right now,” Bositis said. “I know that the kids have worked really hard, and are in real good shape physically but we’ve got a ways to go before we call ourselves a good soccer team.”
Senior Nick Parent will see his role increase this year while Danny Geraci and Pat Kapples are two players who have some experience in the back. Henri Guilmette will step in as the new goalie and could have a breakout 2015.
2014 Record: 9-6-4
2014 Finish: Reached MIAA D1 South First Round
Coach: Nick Gale
The Warriors were a tough team to beat last year and that should continue to be the case in 2015. Nick Gale steps in as the new head coach for the program as the Warriors will be a serious content to claim their first division title since 2010.
“In order to compete in a strong Hock league, we’re going to have to play intelligent, team and detail-oriented soccer and so far, this group has welcomed every challenge,” first-year head coach Nick Gale said. “These guys want to learn and compete in everything we do and I feel for these reasons, we will be successful this year.”
UMass Lowell-commit Joe Kellett has been one of the top players in the league for the past two years and with 2015 being his senior season, it would be the best one yet. The 2013 Underclassman of the Year has had to overcome some injuries but every year continues to have a serious impact on games. Kellett will be complemented by senior Clay Geuss in the midfield while sophomores Tyler Mann, Mike Rowe and Larsen Keys could play key roles. Defensively, the Warriors have some experience back with Ethan Edney, Cam Mullins, Ryan Coulter and Colby Koch. The Warriors are expecting to use a mix of youth and experience to take a run at the division title.
2014 Record: 3-8-7
2014 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Steve Sheridan
Head coach Steve Sheridan is hoping there is some truth to the saying ‘defense wins championships.’ The Hornets were in a tough spot last year when they only had one starter back but with six back this season, Mansfield will have a lot more experience heading into 2015.
“My three captains have been very, very good throughout the offseason getting kids together playing,” Sheridan said, crediting seniors Brad Eames, Jared Miller and Chris Elsner for their work throughout the winter, spring and summer. “They noticed the need to be bigger and stronger and I credit their work in the offseason.”
Eames will patrol the middle of the pitch with the Hornets alongside junior James Chotkowski. Jared Miller will get an opportunity up top to try and provide a scoring punch while Sheridan expects big things from Michael Kirejczyk in goal.
However, the Hornets biggest strength will be the defense. Elsner is back in the middle alongside junior Max Gurnon. Sophomore Nick Hyland is back on the outside with some experience under his belt while the other spot is still being highly contested.
2014 Record: 1-15-2
2014 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Geoff Burgess
Similar to Mansfield, the Rocketeers will be relying on their defense this season. With both center backs returning and with last year’s goalie back again, North Attleboro will be looking to make it tough for opponents to score. Matt Coscarella and Gareth King are back in the middle of the defense while Rob Heaney will be back in net.
“I think we are going to be tough to score on,” head coach Geoff Burges said. “[We have] lots of speed and experience there.”
The key going forward for the Rocketeers will be fitting new faces into the offense. Gabe Pinhancos will take on a big role in the center of the midfield while junior Leo Charlebois and senior Yezan Ismail will be relied on up top to find the back of the net.
2014 Record: 3-12-2
2014 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Dave Purpura
The Tigers will be looking to get back to the playoffs after missing out this past season. With a good combination of experienced players and new talent, head coach Dave Purpura is hopeful for a bounce back 2015 campaign.
The combination of youth and experienced players could be a good formula with the division race wide open. Seniors Derek Pereira, Austin Botelho and Torin Mizuno are all back with a lot of varsity experience while younger players like sophomores Riccardo Da Fonseca, Daeshawn Duffy, Liam Crowley and freshman Hasan Farahat all could play vital roles this season.
“We are more skilled at more positions this season than last,” head coach Dave Purpura said.”We will need guys to step up and score goals from several positions to make up for a couple of key losses to graduation.”
Along with Mizuno and Da Fonseca in the back, seniors Luke Figueira and Matt Holt will be prominent figures. Sophomore goalie Marc DeSousa is back after earned the starting role midway through his rookie campaign.
“We are definitely a younger, deeper team than last year and I think the attitude and focus of the team is different,” Purpura said. “If we continue to improve as a group we could surprise some teams as we are a program trending in the right direction.”