New Faces But Familiar Result In OA’s Season Opener

Oliver Ames boys soccer
Oliver Ames’ Colin Milliken and Stoughton’s Rami Houraibi battle for possession in the first half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
NORTH EASTON, Mass. – It was all new faces on the field for Oliver Ames, but the result was very familiar.

The Tigers, fresh off their third state final appearance in the past four years, have an entire new lineup after graduating two dozen seniors, including all starters and most reserves that played regularly.

In the first game with its new line up, Oliver Ames came away with a 3-0 win over visiting Stoughton.

“The kids have worked hard and that showed today,” said Oliver Ames head coach John Barata. “We can knock the ball around and play some soccer but we just have to mature a bit and grow up and gel as a group. I think as the season progresses we’ll get a little bit better each day.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

The Tigers took the lead in the 15th minute and then broke the game open with back-to-back goals inside the final five minutes of the first half.

“It definitely felt like a first game,” said first-year Stoughton head coach Joshua Aubin. “We haven’t played a competitive game in almost two weeks. I think everyone was a little nervous to start and it showed. They got that first goal off an amazing shot, one of the best you’ll see all year. But the second and third goals, they were on us. Turnover at midfield and quick counter and then a silly foul in the box. But those two goals, those are easy enough to fix so that’s encouraging.”

Oliver Ames established control of the play early and were rewarded by a terrific goal. Sophomore Anthony DaCosta found himself in space when a long ball came in from sophomore Matthew Nikiciuk. DeCosta was given the space to take a touch and turn, and without hesitation the sophomore rifled a nice shot from 25-yards out that beat the keeper and went right under the bar for a 1-0 lead.

After a bit of back and forth play for the next 20 minutes, the Tigers changed the complexion of the game in the final five minutes of the first half.

Junior Jonathan Freeman came away with a win just over midfield and quickly found the feet of junior Colin Milliken. Milliken turned and played a through ball between two defenders, allowing senior Sean Flaherty to run onto it and slot his shot him at the far post to make it 2-0.

Stoughton had its best chance of the half shortly after going down 2-0. Senior Fabi Ponce de Leon played a curling free kick into the area that was spilled but the rebound effort from Gabe Ribeiro was to the left of the frame.

OA quickly countered and attacked up the left side. Sophomore Brady deVos found some space in the area and tried to get by his defender but was hauled down.

The sophomore stepped up to the spot and calmly blasted his bid into the back of the net just a minute later, giving OA a 3-0 lead just minutes before the halftime whistle.

“I thought overall we were in control of the play but it felt like we were getting a little panicky,” Barata said. “We had some chances to score the next goal and we just hand’t so I think getting the second and third goals relieved some pressure on them.”

“The third goal really hurt, that 1-2 punch,” Aubin said. “But it’s stuff that we can watch film and try to correct. I thought they picked themselves up coming into the second half and were competitive.”

Trailing 3-0 in the second half, the Black Knights tinkered with their lineup in an attempt to get back into the game. While it meant trying to build more offense, it sacrificed some defense.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

The Tigers were able to take advantage of that at times but couldn’t add onto their lead because of some stellar saves from junior keeper CCarter Gerome (11 saves).

Just six minutes into the second half, Milliken once again found Flaherty in behind the defense and the senior used a nice cut back move to free himself but his chance was turned aside by a terrific sliding save attempt from Gerome.

“We made some adjustments at halftime and I think it showed. I thought we were much more competitive in that second half. ,” Aubin said. “So we were a bit more offensive minded so we knew we’d give up some chances but Carter definitely stood on his head at times and kept us in the game.”

Stoughton’s best chance of the second half came in the 61st minute when Ponce de Leon put a free kick on frame but OA senior keeper Jacob Lerman made a move to his right to punch the ball out.

A minute later, OA nearly had another goal with Flaherty in alone but once again Gerome came up big to keep the Tigers off the scoresheet in the second half.

Oliver Ames (1-0 Hockomock, 1-0 overall) is back in action on Tuesday when it welcomes Taunton (0-1-1) to Muscato Stadium. Stoughton (0-1, 0-1) hits the road to take on North Attleboro on the same day.

Boys Soccer: 2018 Davenport Division Preview

2018 Davenport Boys Soccer Preview
North Attleboro’s Joe Hilf (right) and the rest of the Rocketeers are ready to defend the division title. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)

By HockomockSports.com Staff

2018 Davenport Boys Soccer Preview

Canton

2017 Record: 10-5-4
2017 Finish: Reached D2 South First Round
Coach: Danny Erickson

The Bulldogs have been one of the top offensive teams over the past two seasons, and that trend will likely continue with the personnel returning this season. The goal this season is to equal that success on the defensive end of the field.

“We have had lots of success the past two seasons in scoring goals but we have not been stingy enough with allowing goals,” said Canton head coach Danny Erickson.

Hockomock League leading scorer Paul Corcoran is back for his senior season and has been one of the top producers in the final third over the past two seasons. His nine goals in 2016 helped earn him HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year honors and last year he led the Hock with 15 goals and 23 total points. He is joined by HockomockSports.com Best XI selection Griffin Roach in the midfield. Roach is one of the best two-way players in the league and will undoubtedly be relied upon to help both the offense (10 goals, five assists last year) and the defense. Simon Cruz is another player with a good amount of varsity experience that will likely factor in.

While the offense looks to be in good shape, shoring up the defense won’t be easy after losing starting goalie Abe Garber and center back John Agnitti. However, Erickson can rely on Paolo Ruggeri to lead the way in the back. Ruggeri has a ton of varsity experience and will be the quarterback of the defense, organizing and keeping the back four in shape. Junior Alejandro Correal will step in as the starting keeper.

Foxboro

2017 Record: 11-5-4
2017 Finish: Reached D2 South Quarterfinal
Coach: Joe Franchino

Foxboro head coach Joe Franchino isn’t afraid to talk about how confident he is in this year’s team.

“The Hockomock title is coming to Foxboro,” Franchino said.

Although Foxboro graduated a dozen seniors, the players that the Warriors do return are the reason why Franchino is so confident in this group. Starting up top, Foxboro has both of its strikers back, including leading scorer Shane VandenBoom. Last year, VandenBoom was second in the league in the regular season with 21 points, scoring 12 goals and adding nine assists. He will be joined up top by Dylan Barreira, who had a strong sophomore season.

In the midfield, everything will run through junior Joe Cusack. There aren’t many midfielders that have the poise on the ball that Cusack does and he will likely be the engine for the team. He isn’t the biggest player on the pitch but his vision is among the best and his ability to play balls over the top and through the defense make Foxboro’s offense very dangerous. Nic Beigel will complement Cusack in the middle to give the Warriors a solid 1-2 combo.

Defensively, the Warriors are hoping to see more of the same after only allowing 15 goals through 18 regular season games. The good news is that Foxboro has plenty of experience returning in the back with Matt Garcia, Brian Gardner, and Will Regan back in the fold. Franchino stressed that the team must put defense first and buy into the system, and then the team can go forward — an area the Warriors are very confident in.

Milford

2017 Record: 7-8-3
2017 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Brian Edwards

After missing out on the postseason by just one game, the 2018 Scarlet Hawks are laser-focused on making it into the state tournament and having a run at the division title.

Third-year head coach Brian Edwards saw his team go from four wins to seven over the first two years and is hoping that upward trend will continue in 2018.

“We are looking to build upon the lessons learned last year,” Edwards said. “We want to work on maintaining focus and closing games out this season. With many players coming back for their third varsity season we are hopeful that our experience helps us work towards our goals this season.”

One big reason for optimism is junior Walisson De Oliveira, who exploded as one of the best offensive threats in the league in the second half of the season. After playing in the midfield for half the year, Edwards moved De Oliveira up top and the move paid off big time. The striker scored 14 goals (second most in the Hock) and had three assists.

In the midfield, the Hawks boast a trio of talented and experienced players. Tiago Carvalho, Joao Boaventura, and Jordan Borges have all shown improvement over the offseason and will be counted on to handle the middle of the pitch. Seniors Joey Madden and Zach Brown return to anchor the defensive unit in front of senior goalie Cam Doherty.

North Attleboro

2017 Record: 11-2-6 (Davenport Division Champions)
2017 Finish: Reached D2 South First Round
Coach: Geoff Burgess

Despite graduating over a dozen seniors from last year’s Davenport division-winning squad, North Attleboro head coach Geoff Burgess believes his team will be ready to defend its league title.

The Rocketeers will have to find a replacement for HockomockSports.com Best XI selections Gabe Pinhancos (center mid) and Brendan Matracia (goalie), as well as the entire back line, but Burgess does have options to fill the voids.

“I’m excited to see what this group can accomplish,” Burgess said. “We have a good nucleus of talented players and high expectations.”

Senior striker Joe Hilf was second on the team in points last year after scoring six goals and adding two assists and Big Red also has junior midfielders Dylan Corrigan (four goals, three assists) and James Sale back in the fold. All three have plenty of varsity experience and should be major factors for North this season. Junior Joey Coscarella will see more playing time as well this season.

Senior captain Evan Rosenberg will step in at center back to anchor the new back four. Burgess is also optimistic about his options in net with junior Kyle Briere taking over as the starter.

Sharon

2017 Record: 5-9-4
2017 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Bryan Kelly

Only one year removed from winning the Davenport title, Sharon is hoping its versatility will help get them back to the top of what is shaping up to be a very competitive division.

“We have some dynamic players this year which gives us the ability to use different formations making it difficult for teams to plan for us,” said Sharon coach Bryan Kelly. “We have a rotation of players who can play two or more positions and play them well. If we stick to our game plan, we will be a tough team to reckon with.”

The Eagles have a strong core of returning players that Kelly can build off of. Ethan Kantor is back for his third year in goal and will be the leader of the defense. Alex Dias returns from a torn ACL to take up one of the outside back positions. Kelly expects Brendan Arnold and Daniel Gunduz to step up on defense this season.

In the midfield, junior Michael Baur (HockomockSports.com Second XI selection) will be a key piece and help the Eagles transition from defense to offense. Baur is also one of the more dangerous free kick takers in the league. Baur will work with the speedy Isaiah Stessman and Norway-transfer Viktor Schneider on the wings in the midfield.

Kelly is looking for junior Brian Higgins and Daniel Lillenfeld to form a dynamic partnership up top while Antonio Elkoury and Eli Berkowitz can step in and provide depth in both the midfield and up front.

Stoughton

2017 Record: 1-16-1
2017 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Joshua Aubin

After three straight years in the playoffs, the Black Knights had a down season a year ago but new head coach Joshua Aubin is anxious to get Stoughton back into playoff contention.

“This is definitely a team that is not afraid to get down and dirty,” Aubin said. “We’ve got some scrappy players who will not be backing down from the challenges ahead.”

Stoughton will be relying on its 10 seniors to set the pace this season, starting with captain Fabi Ponce de Leon. In his fourth year on varsity, Ponce de Leon will be the engine in the middle of the field and help facilitate things for the Black Knights. Aubin is looking for some new faces to step up around Ponce de Leon to take some pressure off the senior and give him some space. Fellow captain John Ortiz will be a leader for a defensive group that is looking to improve on last season.

All-Hockomock selection Carter Gerome returns as the starting goalie for the Black Knights.

“We do have a lot of athletes where we hope to be able to maximize on their individual abilities,” Aubin said. “We have a little bit of everything – some height, some speed, some strength, some physicalness, and some finesse.”