Boys Soccer: 2019 Davenport Division Preview

2019 Davenport Boys Soccer Preview
Milford’s Jordan Borges plays a ball forward against Canton in 2018. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)

By HockomockSports.com Staff

2019 Davenport Boys Soccer Preview

Canton

2018 Record: 10-5-4
2018 Finish: Reached D2 South First Round
Coach: Danny Erickson

There will be a lot of new faces on the pitch this season for the Canton Bulldogs. And because of that, the Bulldogs are going to rely heavily on the few returners they do have.

Longtime head coach Danny Erickson will lean on his three senior captains this year: Alejandro Correal, Cooper Ashcroft, and Colby Ciffolillo. Correal took over as the starting goalie last season and had a strong year for the Bulldogs, who came in second in the Davenport division. Beyond a strong season in net, Erickson also deployed Correal as a midfielder for portions of the game. Ashcroft and Ciffolillo provide a good amount of varsity experience and will be relied upon to be leaders both on and off the field.

“We will be a brand new looking team this fall after graduating so many impactful players,” Erickson said. “We are looking to be anchored by a veteran group of backs who will be tough to break down.”

Foxboro

2018 Record: 9-7-5
2018 Finish: Reached D2 South Semifinal
Coach: Joe Franchino

Foxboro has been one of the most lethal offenses over the past couple of seasons, and while the offense looks to be an early strength for the Warriors, head coach Joe Franchino is hoping a well-balanced squad will be able to compete for a league title.

The Warriors have one of the most talented strikers in the league back in senior Dylan Barreira, who tied for the league lead in goals scored a year ago. He can score in a plethora of ways and will be a handful for opponents to deal with. Sophomore Matt Angelini, who picked up some valuable minutes a year ago, and junior Max Beigel will both see a lot of time alongside of Barreira in the attack. Senior Joe Cusack will pull the strings from the center of the pitch, Ronnie MacClellan returns to the six role, and PJ Frost is likely to factor into the midfield this season. Will Morrison and Tim Behn will be key pieces of the Warriors’ defense this season while there is a healthy competition for minutes in goal that involves senior Dylan Tierney, junior Nick Penders, and sophomore Derek Axon.

“The ultimate goal is to win a league title and compete for a state title, that’s how it is every year,” Franchino said. “We have a pretty solid team so it’s just a matter of who shows up on game day.”

Milford

2018 Record: 13-2-5 (Davenport Division Champions)
2018 Finish: Reached D2 South Quarterfinal
Coach: Brian Edwards

Milford lost a good amount of talent from the squad that won the Davenport division crown a year ago, but the Scarlet Hawks still have plenty of skilled players ready to defend their title.

While replacing league MVP and HockomockSports Player of the Year Walisson de Oliveira will be a tall task, the Hawks have a lot of options to replicate that production. Senior Jordan Borges is one of the more experienced players in the league and will do a lot of the dirty work in the center of the pitch. Leo Coelho, a junior, gives head coach Brian Edwards a lot of flexibility and can impact the game in a variety of ways. Joao Vitor Neiva is a strong target forward that is looking to build on a successful junior campaign. Senior captains Dan Santos and Nuno Mestre are tasked with anchoring the Milford defense. Mestre is a four-year varsity player and will likely join in on the attack while Santos’ distribution out of the back will be an important part of Milford’s possession game.

“As always the goal is to improve every day and be competitive within a very challenging league,” Edwards said.




North Attleboro

2018 Record: 7-4-8
2018 Finish: Reached D2 South First Round
Coach: Geoff Burgess

North Attleboro found a lot of success with a defense-first mentality in 2018. The Rocketeers are looking to replicate that same stingy defense while also improving their build-up play.

It didn’t take long for North Attleboro to establish its identity a year ago, defending first and then hitting on the counter-attack. Head coach Geoff Burgess will rely on some newcomers to fill holes on the defense and on experienced players when attacking. Senior goalie Kyle Briere had a breakout junior campaign and will be tasked with organizing the new faces on the defense. Senior captain James Sales controls the midfield for the Rocketeers and will look to distribute to the likes of Joey Coscarella, who will move up the field to a forward position, and senior Matt Mordini. Alex Pfeffer provides a lot of versatility and can be a dangerous weapon on the wings. Senior James Bush, one the most experienced players on defense for North Attleboro, will match up with some of the top strikers in the Hockomock League.

“Our hope is to continue to be dangerous on the counter-attack and improve our build-up play from the back to bolster our offense,” Burgess said. “This team has an opportunity to contend for a league title and possibly make a run in the tournament. We have a large senior class that has experience and great team morale. It’s going to be a lot of fun to watch them play.”

Sharon

2018 Record: 2-9-7
2018 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Bryan Kelly

Expectations are high at Sharon High this fall, and for good reason. The Eagles have talent returning all over the pitch and will certainly be in the mix for the Davenport division crown.

Sharon is looking to its offense to lead the way this season. After a season filled with bad breaks and unlucky bounces, the Eagles are ready to not only make a push for the state tournament but challenge for a league title. Head coach Bryan Kelly has a lot of choices when it comes to his attacking group including senior Brian Higgins, senior Ben Nathan, junior Mason Benton, senior Bohazo Li, and Victor Schneider. Opponents are most familiar with Higgins and his ability to score but Nathan, Benton, Li, and Schneider have all impressed this preseason and give the Eagles a plethora of options. Michael Baur returns as one of the top center midfielders in the league and can take on defenders himself, but is also an excellent distributor. Bryce Nathan will also be a key piece in the Eagles’ midfield alongside tennis sensation Alberto Olivei, who is joining the program for the first time. Defensively, Isaiah Stessman is one of the most dynamic players in the Hock and will be supported by Brendan Arnold, Daniel Zagoran, Brandon Mauricio, and Reese Davis. Freshman Matt Baur takes over in net for the Eagles.

“We’re going to be a different team this year, a lot more offensive-minded,” Kelly said. “We are going to look to attack a lot this season and we have some good pieces to do so.”

Stoughton

2018 Record: 0-16-2
2018 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Jon Grant

Stoughton is looking to have a bounce-back year and new head coach Jon Grant is bringing a defense-first mentality to the Black Knights.

The Black Knights had the most goals allowed last season so the emphasize early on will be improving the defense. Senior captain Ted Lucas is a returning player and will be tasked with anchoring the back line for Stoughton. Lucas will get a lot of help from junior goalie Nolan Gerome. Gerome picked up some valuable minutes in net throughout the season. Grant will also rely on senior captains Jon Santos and Mason Eschleman to be important pieces on the defense. While both Santos and Eschleman will play in the midfield, the Black Knights are dedicated to getting numbers behind the ball to improve the defense. Santos and Eschleman will also help Stoughton transition into offense and start the attack.

“This team’s positive attitude and willingness to learn will be the keys to their success,” Grant said. “We have been focusing on the defensive side of the game for much of the preseason so far. Our goal is obvious…if we keep the ball out of the back of our net then we give ourselves a chance to win. Our ultimate goal is to get back to the tournament.”

Rocketeers Counter Late To Claim Leach & Garner Cup

North Attleboro boys soccer
Attleboro’s Nathan LaPlume and North Attleboro’s Joe Hilf battle for possession in the 34th annual Leach and Garner Cup. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
ATTLEBORO, Mass. – For nearly 80 minutes, Attleboro continue to knock on the door, but couldn’t break through.

And in a flash, just when it looked like the Bombardiers had a chance to find a way in, North Attleboro delivered a knockout punch on the counter attack, scoring the lone goal of the game in the 79th minute to secure its fourth straight Leach and Garner Cup.

In the 34th addition of the rivalry game between Big Blue and Big Red, it was the hosts that had a lion’s share of possession, though not a tremendous amount of scoring chances.

It looked like they might have something going with an attacking free kick late in the game. The service came in from the right flank but North Attleboro junior goalie Kyle Briere came flying out to punch the ball free.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

The Rocketeers quickly cleared the ball up field, where senior Joe Hilf did his job by holding the ball up right at midfield. That allowed North sophomore Matt Conley to come flying down the wing. Hilf played a ball in behind and Conley tracked it down. The sophomore delivered a hard cross to the far post where junior Alex Pfeffer connected on a one-timer. The shot bounced right off the ground and bounced over the outreach of Attleboro keeper Andre Mendard for the game-winning strike.

“When we started thinking about that situation was against Mansfield,” said North Attleboro head coach Geoff Burgess of the quick counter against opponents’ set pieces. “We knew when they go forward for set pieces, they push everyone but one defender up. And I think our chances with a 1-v-1 and if we get Matt Conley or one of the other guys on the outside running hard, not many teams are going to get enough numbers back in time. We hit Mansfield a couple of times with that exact situation so we started talking about using it more. Kyle knows when he comes out and catches a ball, find Joe and then everyone runs and we hit the counter.

“The first 10-15 minutes we played really well and moved the ball well but the first time we played them, we dropped hard and sat deep, and they ran out of ideas. They kept bombing it forward, we’d win the second ball and counter. And that’s how that game continued to go. It worked really well in the first game. This is what we’ve decided to play like because we’re pretty fast up front, Matt Conley on the outside is lightning, Joe Hilf is lightning. [Goalie] Kyle Briere is a stud back there, we trust him and we play out of his hands a lot. So we’ve bought into a defense first mentality so it’s just kind of what we expect now.”

While playing the counter is a dangerous weapon for the Rocketeers, it allows their opponents to mostly control the game. And that’s exactly what the Bombardiers did.

The challenge was the Attleboro couldn’t solve the Rocketeer back line of Remy Folan, Gavin O’Malley, Evan Rosenberg, and James Bush.

In the 18th minute, junior defender Josh Smith ventured into the offensive third and latched onto a cross from Colin Levis, but the difficult shot was wide. Six minutes later, the Bombardiers had their first bid on goal when Brady Holander placed a free kick from 30 yards out on frame but it was right at Briere.

While Attleboro controlled the play, North Attleboro nearly stole the lead right before half. On a corner from Joey Coscarella, a low service was dummied before Hilf ran onto it and delivered a hard shot on frame. Menard, who was going the other way, made a diving save back to his left and made a one-handed save to keep it out.

Hilf had another chance on the next corner but Menard pushed the header over the bar.
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While Hilf had a pair of chances to find the back of the net, it was ultimately his hold up play late in the game that led to the game-winning, something that the senior has worked on to add to his game this year.

“He’s been working really hard on that,” Burgess said. “He’s a player that prefers the flicks and touches to himself but we’ve been working hard on having him bring it down, let the other guys come forward and playing it. He does a nice job with his flicks to keep the offense honest but having him bring it down and let the offense run up, we can create some chances that way.”

In the 63rd minute, Attleboro’s Aidan Lancaster saw his low shot from atop the area roll wide. North nearly countered an Attleboro corner in the 70th minute when Hilf played Matt Mordini in behind the defense by Menard came charging off his line for the clearance.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Attleboro senior Will Halben had a bid saved by Briere in the 72nd minutes, and two minutes later Levis’ low shot off a corner kick went just wide of the post.

“That’s been our entire season,” said Attleboro coach Peter Pereira. “We’ve outplayed a lot of teams but we don’t have a true finisher. We had some shots but nothing too dangerous. This is like the sixth game where we’ve made one mistake, in this case not coming back to cover, and we lose. It’s tough because the kids were looking forward to this one. Second half I thought we were better, played some good soccer but they have a good defense, a good goalie…they hold on, hold on, and then they get the break at the end but that’s why you play 80 minutes.”

North Attleboro boys soccer (6-3-8 overall, 5-3-7 Hockomock) finishes the regular season at home against Sharon on Tuesday afternoon as it tries to improve its seeding for the D2 South bracket. Attleboro (5-9-3, 5-8-3) closes its season on Monday afternoon against New Bedford.

“We think we’ll be a tough out in the tournament,” Burgess said. “We don’t give up many goes and if we can counter and hit you once, it could be enough. It’s real important to know we can strike late. I was selling this style at the beginning of the year and now they’ve bought into. So now they have the confidence they can sit, play defense and then all they need is one chance and it can be a game-winner.”

Strong Start Lifts North Past Foxboro in Divisional Battle

North Attleboro Boys Soccer
Joe Hilf (11) celebrates what turned out to be the game-winning goal for North Attleboro in a big 2-1 victory over Foxboro at Beaupre Field. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. – When the calendar turns to October, teams start keeping an eye on their rivals in the league standings and two points become even more important. North Attleboro started the night just three points back of Davenport-leading Canton, which was playing second place Milford, so the Rocketeers understood the importance of two points on Thursday night at Beaupre Field.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

North dominated the first half, scoring twice, and then held off a Foxboro charge after the break, keeping the Warriors off the board until the final two minutes of the game, to walk away with a 2-1 victory that moves within one of the Bulldogs and Hawks in the league standings.

“Especially going forward, we’ve got an idea where we want to go with it now,” said North coach Geoff Burgess. “We have a plan and in the first half we executed it really well. We were able to counter them quickly, with speed.”

The hosts took that to heart on Thursday and gave an early warning to the Foxboro defense when Joe Hilf played Matt Conley in behind the Foxboro left back just two minutes into the game. There was contact, but not enough for the official to give the penalty. Hilf almost opened the scoring a minute later but dragged his shot from the edge of the box just wide.

Both teams settled into their styles after that, with North loading the midfield and looking for the quick outlet in transition and the Warriors trying to play out of the back. It was the Rocketeers that controlled the action in the opening half, limiting Foxboro to only a couple of weak shots on goal and constantly putting pressure on the visitors’ back line.

Hilf sparked North into the lead after 19 minutes. He made a long run down the far sideline, rode a sliding challenge from Brian Gardner, and got free on the right side of the box. His cut back into Conley was blocked by a couple of Warriors but the ball popped out to Alex Pfeffer in the middle and he side-footed his shot into the empty net.

Just four minutes later and the Rocketeers doubled the lead. This time it was Matt Mordini that got free down the right channel. The junior cut it back into middle for Hilf, who was left free on the edge of the box, and he hit it first time into the far corner.

Foxboro’s best look of the opening half fell to Shane Vandenboom, who hit the outside side-netting with a curling effort from 18 yards. It was about all the North defense gave up in the opening half, as center backs Evan Rosenberg and Gavin O’Malley kept the Warriors out of dangerous areas.

“They’re a great partnership,” said Burgess. “Evan especially, he was JV last year, didn’t play a minute, and I think he’s now one of the best center backs in the league. The way he plays positionally, he’s always covering in the right places, he’s quarterbacking the team.”

Foxboro coach Joe Franchino admitted, “Everybody was just on their own page…We weren’t shooting in the first half, just lumping balls in and playing right into their hands.”

In the 29th minute, North could have put the game away when James Sales’ free kick from 28 yards came back off the crossbar. Hilf almost sealed the win in the 35th minute when he nodded a long clearance by right back James Bush past his marker and got a free run on goal, but his shot went over the bar.

“He had a really good matchup in the first half,” Burgess said of Hilf. “Normally, I’d yell at him for trying to flick it snd take it himself but I think he realized that it was probably the right play. Everything kind of revolves around a target and he’s embraced that.”

Foxboro needed to make some changes at halftime and came out with more intensity, but Hilf nearly hit the Warriors on the counter when his clever dummy beat his marker, but Foxboro keeper Nick Penders was out quick to smother it.

The visitors started to get a foothold going forward, particularly through midfielder Joe Cusack, who kept popping up in between the lines and finding pockets of space where he could dictate play. He had Foxboro’s first good look that went just wide.

Chances started to flow for the Warriors. A throw-in from the left found Vandenboom, who laid it off for Daniel Basler, but his shot from 20 yards went high. A minute later, a long free kick from Daniel Lowey found Dylan Barreira’s head in the box and he nodded it down to Nic Beigel but the shot was saved.

Barreira also forced North keeper Kyle Briere into a save with a 28-yard free kick. Briere made his best stop just a few minutes later to deny Cusack at full stretch at the midway point of the half. It kept Foxboro off the board when the Warriors were clearly on top in the game.

Burgess said of his keeper, “Kyle is this great safety blanket we have because he does come up with the good when we need him to. Today he was mostly calm but he had that one good one.”

Cusack had a free kick from just outside of the box that was saved comfortably and Foxboro nearly fashioned an opener with five minutes left when Matt Garcia played the ball through to Barreira, whose header found Vandenboom but he couldn’t keep his shot down.

“Even at Franklin, we go down a goal, two goals, and we’re trying to fight back into the game,” Franchino said. “The game’s only 80 minutes long, so you’ve got to start quicker and it’s just not happening right now.”

North had one more chance with a late free kick that was played straight across the box by Joey Coscarella, but Pfeffer couldn’t put his shot on frame when he met it at the far post.

Foxboro did get one to make for an interesting final two minutes. Beigel’s free kick from the left corner of the box went through a sea of bodies in front, and possibly got a touch off a North defender, before sneaking in the far side. But, it turned out to be only a consolation for the Warriors.

“The loss Friday to Canton woke us up a little bit,” said Burgess. “We lost 3-1 but in the second half we had four almost breakaways and didn’t convert on any of them. It was very much a winnable game but I think they realized if they don’t go out and actually put the ball in the back of the net, 0-0 isn’t going to get it done.”

North Attleboro (4-1-6, 4-1-5) will next face Kelley-Rex leader Mansfield on Wednesday, while Foxboro (3-5-1, 3-5-1) will be back in action on Saturday at Bishop Feehan.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.