Boys Soccer: 2017 Kelley-Rex Division Preview

2017 Kelley-Rex Boys Soccer Preview
Oliver Ames’ Cam Vella (left) and King Philip’s Mike Rowe are back for their senior seasons. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)

By HockomockSports.com Staff

2017 Kelley-Rex Boys Soccer Preview

Attleboro

2016 Record: 8-6-6
2016 Finish: Reached D1 South Quarterfinal
Coach: Peter Pereira

Even though Attleboro graduated some key pieces, the Bombardiers have a lot of experienced and talented players back for the 2017 season. The biggest challenge will be replacing center backs Harry Lancaster (Best XI selection) and Tyler Treichler (Second XI selection) in the heart of the defense.

Juniors Colin Levis and Aidan Lancaster are both back on the defensive line after gaining plenty of experience a season ago. They’ll look to work with Brandon Lewis and Connor Dunn to solidify the back four in front senior goalie Nick Hasenfus (2016 Best XI selection). In the midfield, Zach White is back and will be relied upon as one of the team’s top playmakers once healthy. He’ll have the help of Brady Holander, Nathan LaPlume, Devin Andre, Eli Araujo and Keith Thompson.

After breaking out as one of the league’s bright young stars a season ago, Will Halben is back to lead the attack alongside sophomores Mike Russo and David Medeiros.

“We are hoping to do a bit better than last year with a bit more depth,” said Attleboro head coach Peter Pereira.

Franklin

2016 Record: 6-9-3
2016 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Fran Bositis

It looks like there is a chance of growing pains in the forecast for the 2017 Panthers. After graduating over a dozen seniors from last year’s team, there will be some inexperience in the lineup for Fran Bositis.

Senior Freddie Beckmann returns as the team’s starting goalie to give the defensive end some familiarity, but it will be a brand new back four in front of him. Sophomore Sam Stowell saw some minutes a year ago and will anchor the defense alongside senior Andrew DiLeo. Senior Connor O’Rourke, who also played some last year, will man the outside along with junior Sam Malloy.

In the midfield, Nitin Chaudhury will take over as the holding mid in the center of the pitch but could also move around depending on need. He’ll have the help of sophomores Jacob Cummings and Donny Tappin. Up front, there are mainutes up for grabs with junior Tim Duval in the running to likely grab one of the spots.

“We’re going to be young and inexperienced,” Bositis said. “We have a handful of seniors back but a youth movement is happening. But overall, the kids are really working hard and have great attitudes. We’re looking for improvement each day.”

King Philip

2016 Record: 17-2-2 (Kelley-Rex Division Champion)
2016 Finish: Reached D1 South Semifinal
Coach: Nick Gale

It will be hard to top the historic season the Warriors had a year ago, winning the division title and allowing just eight goals all season. But Nick Gale and his squad are focused on 2017, not last Fall.

Even though 2016 Best XI selections Cam Mullin and Colby Koch, and Second XI selections Ryan Coulter and Eli O’Neill all graduated, the Warriors still return some of the top talent in the league this year. Tyler Mann, the 2016 HockomockSports.com Player of the Year, is just one of many talented players back for Gale. Senior Connor Mullins will be a key piece in the midfield, senior Larsen Keys started all of last year on the back line and senior Mike Rowe is a dangerous player inside the 18. Thomas Lugten, Anthony Bozza and Zac White are all back as well after playing plenty of minutes last year.

Junior Nick Beltramini and sophomore Tristan Stephani are battling for minutes in goal.

“Our focus continues to be on developing players and improving our team,” Gale said. “We understand that opposing teams will be after us, but we won’t take our attention away from training, competing, and focusing on the smaller details that will help us continue to move forward. The league will be good, and we know we will need to be as well.

Mansfield

2016 Record: 11-5-3
2016 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round
Coach: Steve Sheridan

Mansfield will be relying on a mix of experience and new faces in an effort to get back to the postseason for another year. The Hornets have the challenge of trying to fill the shoes of two-time Best XI selection Max Gurnon, and as well as the void left by the injury to Ethan Brill-Cass, a two year varsity starter.

However, with Sean Lanzillo, Nick Hyland, Sam Hyland and Harry Braidt back, the Hornets have a solid core to work on. Lanzillo’s speed makes him one of the toughest marks in the league while Sam Hyland emerged as a top midfielder last season. Nick Hyland and Braidt will be back to anchor the back line. Head coach Steve Sheridan expects junior Sam Nugent to step in and make an impact early on defensively, as well as junior midfield Luke Savoie on the offensive end.

Senior Nick Ferraz is battling with sophomore Anthony Salisbury for the starting position in net.

“I’m hoping some of the younger guys can step up on offense, and with the departure of Max along with the injury to Ethan and graduation of Jed in goal, our defense is going to have some new faces,” said Mansfield head coach Steve Sheridan.

Oliver Ames

2016 Record: 10-5-3
2016 Finish: Reached D2 South Quarterfinal
Coach: John Barata

Oliver Ames returns plenty of talent and will be looking to challenge King Philip for supremacy in the Kelley-Rex division. Two-time HockomockSports.com Best XI selection Nathaniel Cardoza is back to anchor the Tigers from the middle of the field. His ability to play defense, as well as get forward, gives OA a boost.

Other returning starters back this year include Matt Campbell, Matt Alvarado, Cam Vella, Mason Galbato and Jack Sheldon. Mike Braga and Chris Lawrence bring experience to the back line in front keeper Jack Carroll, who is in his third year in net.

With the graduation of three-year starter Thomas McCormick, the Tigers have a void to fill at the striker position. Senior James Gillespie saw time last year off the bench and proved a capable option up top while Alvarado also showed his ability to finish. Senior Brandin Osborne transferred in from Coyle and will also be an attacking option for OA. Nick Bloumbas, Sean Flaherty and Niko Byron will all likely see time off this season as well.

“We are looking to build a solid team that will play well in a very competitive environment,” OA head coach John Barata said. “We know that to succeed we will need to play our best soccer everyday. The boys are working hard – we need to turn our effort into results. I feel confident that we will find our way and make an effort to qualify for the MIAA State tourney.”

Taunton

2016 Record: 1-16-2
2016 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Taylor Whitters

Taunton brings back eight starters from last year’s team and head coach Taylor Whitters is hoping that experience will translate into an improved season in 2017. On top of of those eight starters, the Tigers will have Marc deSousa back in net after a missing his junior season battling cancer.

Senior Liam Crowley is back again with more experience to anchor the back line along with junior Kyle Aubin. DaeShawn Duffie and Hasan Farahat both return to give the Tigers a solid duo in the middle of the pitch while junior Liam Crowley also adds experience to the midfield. Jake DeAndrade, Brett Beaulieu and Alec Nunes are also back in the mix this year as well.

The Tigers got a boost from their rival as Ian Soderbom traded his Warrior blue and gold in from Coyle for Tiger black and orange. Soderbom will be a key piece on defense while Francois Hennaux, an exchange student from Belgium, will add depth to Taunton’s offense.

“Our team is already looking stronger and better,” said Whitters. “They say the tougher the set back the stronger the comeback. We are going to be one of those teams.”

The 2016 Hockomock League Boys Soccer All Stars

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

Honorable Mentions

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

Wednesday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 10/19/16

Today’s games are listed below.

Boys Soccer
Mansfield, 1 @ Attleboro, 1 – FinalMansfield’s Sam Hyland scored the tying goal with 10 minutes left in the game. Hyland scored on an assist from James Chotkowski, who got a touch off of Max Gurnon’s throw in.

Canton, 1 @ Milford, 1 – FinalFreshman Jordan Borges scored his second career goal to put Milford ahead early in the second half but Canton leveled the match with a penalty kick with six minutes to go. Milford head coach Brian Edwards said Zachary Browne and Marcello Panna both put in great performances.

Stoughton, 0 @ Foxboro, 2 – FinalFoxboro’s Hussein Kafel scored the game winning goal midway through the first half for the Warriors while Anthony Barreira iced the game with a goal in the final minutes.

North Attleboro, 0 @ Sharon, 0 – FinalShawn Watters notched his second straight shutout and fourth overall in net for the Rocketeers.

King Philip, 0 @ Oliver Ames, 3 – FinalOliver Ames scored three goals in the second half to hand King Philip its first loss of the season. Nathaniel Cardoza set up Thomas McCormick for a shot from just outside the area to put OA up 1-0. Matt Campbell finished off a cross from Matt Alvarado to make it 2-0 and then Alvarado scored one of his own, putting home a flick from James Gillespie off a throw from Chris Lawrence. Jack Carroll recorded his seventh shutout of the season with the help of Lawrence, Mason Galbato, Nick Bloumbas, Cam Johnson and Michael Braga. “We had an early opportunity in the second half but wasn’t able to finish,” KP head coach Nick Gale said. “After that, OA played very well and scored first which set the tone – they didn’t look back. I take responsibility for my team being unprepared.”

Taunton, 1 @ Franklin, 1 – FinalFarley Asmath opened the scoring in the 39th minute off a feed from freshman Sam Stowell to put Franklin up 1-0 but Taunton’s Daeshawn Duffie answered a minute later to level the match just before half.

Girls Soccer
Attleboro, 0 @ Mansfield, 4 – FinalStephanie Kemp and Amanda Mangano each recorded two points as Mansfield stayed unbeaten on the season. Kemp scored once and had an assist while Mangano had two helpers. Bryn Anderson, Emma Goulet and Emily Vigeant each scored once for Mansfield.

Canton, 3 @ Milford, 6 – Final

Foxboro, 7 @ Stoughton, 0 – Final

Sharon, 0 @ North Attleboro, 6 – FinalNorth Attleboro’s Haley Guertin tied a school record with five goals in the Rocketeers’ big win. Emma Gaulin scored the other goal for Big Red. Rachel LaBonte had two assists while Emily Chiasson, Sam Hawkins, Ashlyn Gaulin and Britta MacDonald each had one assist. Head coach Bill Wallace said Grace McGoldrick and Julianna DiRenzo played exception in midfield.

Oliver Ames, 1 @ King Philip, 0 – FinalOliver Ames junior Abby Reardon netted the game winner in the first half to lift the Tigers. OA head coach Britt Sellmayer said Regan Benton had a strong game in goal to earn the shutout and said both Lauren Wright and Dana Lowney played well for the Tigers.

Franklin, 2 @ Taunton, 0 – Final

Volleyball
Mansfield, 3 @ Attleboro, 0 – FinalMansfield picked up a 25-9, 25-15, 25-18 sweep on the road. Jess Haradon had 10 service points and 15 digs, Jacey Anderson had 10 digs and Anna Kemp added 14 service points for the Hornets.

Stoughton, 3 @ Foxboro, 2 – FinalJuniors Jordan Motley and Val Whalen combined for over 30 kills for Stoughton while senior Riley Bagley and sophomore Mia Bennett kept the defense strong with over 80 digs.

North Attleboro @ Sharon, 5:00

King Philip, 3 @ Oliver Ames, 1 – FinalKing Philip picked up the 25-17, 23-25, 25-15, 25-18 win on the road. Angela Vellante had 19 service points, three aces and four digs for King Philip while Sydney Phillips added 17 kills and 19 service points and Liv Balduf chipped in with 11 service points and three kills. KP head coach Kristen Geuss said Molly Croke had an excellent defensive game. Oliver Ames’ Bridget McCarthy had 20 assists and three aces.

Taunton, 0 @ Franklin, 3 – FinalErin Skidmore led the Panthers with 10 kills, eight digs and two aces while Maddie Kuzio added 19 digs, two aces and a kill and Meaghan Maguire finished with four kills and three blocks.

Field Hockey
Mansfield, 6 @ Attleboro, 1 – Final

Milford, 0 @ Canton, 3 – Final

Stoughton, 1 @ Foxboro, 4 – Final

North Attleboro @ Sharon, 3:45

King Philip, 2 @ Oliver Ames, 1 – Final

Taunton, 0 @ Franklin, 5 – FinalFranklin senior Nicole Denommee scored her first varsity goal on the while Annie Walsh, Alex Sullivan, Cassi Ronan and Caroline Lounsbury each scored once. Senior Samantha Hertzberg got the shutout in goal making three saves.

Golf
Foxboro, 173 @ Attleboro, 169 – FinalEthan Johnson led Attleboro, earning co-medalist honors with a round of 40. Brian Houle shot a 42, Corey McKenna shot a 43 and Taron Mills carded a 45 to pace the Bombardiers. Foxboro’s Colby Nickerson shared medalist honors, shooting a 40 as well.

Oliver Ames, 147 @ Canton, 151 – FinalOliver Ames completed the regular season undefeated at 16-0 with a win at Canton. Ryan McGarry and Nolan Donze both shot 35 earn match medalist honors for the Tigers. Brady Allbritton shot a 38 and Tate Hadges carded a 39 for the Tigers. Matt Minichiello and Danny Powers each each shot 37 to pace Canton while Tommy Dimock carded a round of 38

Taunton, 166 @ Franklin, 164 – FinalMatt D’Errico led Franklin with a 38 while Bryan Woelfel carded a 39 for the Panthers. Taunton’s Mike Volkmann and Justin Proto shared match medalist honors, shooting 36 on the day.

OA Slips Past Franklin With Late McCormick Header

OA boys soccer
Nathaniel Cardoza and the OA midfield took control in the second half, but the Tigers could not find a breakthrough until the final two minutes. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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FRANKLIN, Mass. – The clock was winding down and Oliver Ames continued to press forward in search for a winning goal. After a number of missed opportunities, including free headers sent wide, shots from the edge of the box that were just outside the post, and chances kicked aside by the Franklin defense, the breakthrough finally came with just two minutes left to play.

The Panthers were unable to decisively clear the first ball in from a long throw on the near side of the field. The ball was won back by the OA midfield, which had taken over in the second half, and cycled out to the right to Jack Sheldon. He fired in a pinpoint cross to the back post where Thomas McCormick was all alone to nod the ball past Freddie Beckmann.

The late goal stood up as the winner on Tuesday evening. OA handed Franklin a 1-0 loss at Pisini Field to end Franklin’s unbeaten start while extending its own unbeaten run to 25 games stretching back to 2015.

“We did a lot of pressure in the second half and we kept winning the ball back,” said OA coach John Barata. “We have good players and we can play a bit. We’re learning and we’ll figure it out, but that’s why it’s important to get a good win like this.”

It was a result that could have been far more comfortable after a dominant performance by the Tigers in the second half. Nathaniel Cardoza, Mason Galbato, Cam Vella, and McCormick consistently won the ball back for OA and pushed the Tigers into the attack.

Franklin was pinned back for long stretches of the second half and but for consistent play by center backs Connor SanClemente and Alex Chitarra and holding midfielder Nitin Chaudhury and missed chances by the visitors kept the game tied.

“I think we gave them a little too much respect,” said Franklin coach Fran Bositis. “We were just a nightmare in terms of putting passes together and just controlling the ball…We defended well. Defending we couldn’t do much better, except at the end there.”

McCormick had a good chance one minute into the second half but his shot on the turn was saved by Beckmann at the near post. Three minutes later Vella had space but his shot went wide of the far post and he missed a second chance on a near post header off a throw. With 11 minutes to play, Matt Campbell had a back heel chance saved and McCormick flashed a header wide when left free inside the six-yard-box.

“Very nervous,” admitted Barata about the feeling in the second half, “because we just came off a game where we outshot a team like 25-5 and tied. And then you see them come down and they had two class act chances. All of a sudden we go from a good performance on one end and we could be losing.”

The misses could have led to a defeat for OA but for a miss by Franklin and junior goalie Jack Carroll.

Midway through the second half, Franklin could have taken the lead when James LeVie met a cross from Cam LeBlanc only to blaze it over the bar. With five minutes left, Franklin finally got out of its defensive third and won a free kick that Hatim Brahimi took quickly and forced Carroll into a save. The keeper could only parry it and the ball rolled to Kevin Hall, but Carroll recovered to block with his legs.

“That one save at the end…that’s the game,” said Barata. “We would be talking about how it was a good performance and unfortunately we lost 1-0.”

Bositis added, “We had some chances. We certainly didn’t control play like they did, but we had some chances that we probably…I mean we should have had a goal at the far post and that changes everything.”

Franklin looked much more dangerous in the first half with striker Farley Asmath causing problems as an outlet for the midfielders. Showing strength and speed, Asmath created openings for Brahimi to spring Hall but Carroll was able to save comfortably.

With 27 minutes gone, Asmath opened up the OA defense with a great turn in the box and he tried to pick the far corner only to have Carroll deny him with a kick save. At halftime, OA chose to push higher up the pitch and despite a switch from a 4-3-3 to a 4-4-2 Franklin could not recover and get the ball up top.

“Second half we just had to play higher up the pitch and possess in the attacking third and try to bury them here because their one outlet, a very strong outlet, is No. 9 (Asmath),” said Barata. “Today it worked.”

Despite the loss, Bositis was still positive about the way the Panthers have started. He explained, “I’m very pleased with the start of the season. They’ve done very well. We’ll see if they have a short memory and we bounce back to be ready for Taunton on Thursday.”

Franklin (4-1) will travel to Taunton on Thursday, while Oliver Ames (3-0-1) will travel to King Philip on Friday afternoon.

OA Opens With Convincing Win Over Stoughton

Oliver Ames boys soccer
Oliver Ames junior Matt Alvarado scored his first career hat trick on Thursday night. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com

ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
 
NORTH EASTON, Mass. – If there is any pressure on Oliver Ames this season after winning the program’s first state title a year ago, they didn’t let it get to them in their season opener against Stoughton.

The Tigers exploded for six goals in the second half and junior Matt Alvarado notched his first career hat trick as Oliver Ames rolled to a decisive 7-1 win over the Black Knights.

Both teams took turns with spells of possession in the opening 20 minutes but neither could find space for a serious scoring chance. OA goalie Jack Carroll was forced into the first save of the game in the 18th minute, pushing aside a lofted shot from Noah Schulze aimed for the far post. Carroll came up big again, denying a touch at the near post from sophomore Fabio Ponce De Leon after a pass from Jordan Asnes.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

OA nearly opened the scoring off of Carroll’s punt as Thomas McCormick flicked it on, finding a streaking Matt Campbell but his bid went off the far post and stayed out.

Ten minutes later, the Tigers would finally break through. Campbell carried down the left side line, and over ran his touch, but was able to get back and keep possession. He centered to Alvarado, who let the ball take one bounce before hitting it on the half volley from 20 yards out, with the ball bouncing in at the near post.

“I thought we started off well, I think we maintained a lot of possession and were on the front foot, just couldn’t finish,” OA head coach John Barata said. “Eventually the pressure we were applying kind of took its toll on them. Then we just kind of opened up and put the ball away. [Finishing] was something we struggled with in preseason but it’s okay to struggle in preseason and put it together in the season.”

It didn’t take very long for Oliver Ames’ offense to finish in the second half, finding the back of the net twice inside the first five minutes. First, McCormick played Alvarado in along the right edge of the 18 and he launched a shot to the far post and in to make it 2-0. A minute later, Alvarado centered a pass for McCormick, who was taken down in the area for a penalty. Stoughton goalie Matt Gallagher saved the penalty bid but Alvarado came charging in from outside the area and buried the rebound for the hat trick to make it 3-0.

“It’s great for us because Alvy was injured for half the preseason,” Barata said. “He only played in one preseason game because he was injured. It was nice to get him back, it’s been nice to have him back.”

The Black Knights finally found their rhythm minutes after the Tigers took a 3-0 lead. Schulze’s free kick dropped in behind the defense and Jordan Asnes ran onto it but his touch went off the post and stayed out. Two minutes later, Tyler Melo fed Asnes, who found Ponce De Leon at the near post, but his bid was just wide.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

The Tigers really put the game away in a span of less than 30 seconds. Junior Cam Vella took possession just over midfield and took a touch wide with a runner streaking down the sideline. The defense collapsed, opening a lane up the middle the Vella found Campbell. Campbell went in alone on goal and tucked it in. 19 seconds later, junior Jack Sheldon sent a ball in over the top for junior Mason Galbato, who got under it to loft a shot into the back of the net to make it 5-0.

Stoughton pulled one back in the 70th minute. Sophomore Johnny Neves uses a header on the left sideline to find junior Nick Comeau in the middle. Comeau took a touch and ripped a low shot that found its way in at the near post to make it 5-1.

OA junior Tyler Jones added another for the Tigers on a shot from 30 yards out that found the upper corner and junior James Gillespie headed in the final tally in the waning minutes off assists from Jones and Joe Cerqueira.

“If you [OA] them a chance, they’re going to punish you and it was very much that today,” Stoughton head coach Aaron Salter said. “I said the the boys at the end, just winning that first ball – six of the goals came from not winning that first ball. At this level, against anyone, that ball is going to come over the top and if you win that first one, the danger is gone, you reset and start again. I sort of felt like we didn’t play our game today and get going enough.

“The boys can play, we should be alright this year but we have to make sure we’re going from the first whistle. It took a little bit too long to get going and by the time we did get going, we were a goal down which I thought was a bit unfair. Matt Gallagher did himself really proud today in goal, regardless of the scoreline. The kid made a great save on the penalty, I was so proud of him and then again, we have five or six players on the edge of box that weren’t reacting. I didn’t think we found our second gear today which is not acceptable, we know we’re going to get punished if we do that. Today’s a lesson so I hope the boys take it on and use this. Lucky for us this is the first game, it’s a long season.”

Oliver Ames boys soccer (1-0-0) will be back in action on Monday with a trip to former division rival Sharon (0-0-1). Stoughton (0-1-0) will look to bounce back when they open their home schedule with a visit from Attleboro.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Boys Soccer: 2016 Kelley-Rex Division Preview

2016 Kelley-Rex Boys Soccer Preview
Oliver Ames’ Thomas McCormick and King Philip’s Cam Mullins battle for possession last season. OA and KP will battle for the same division title this season. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)

By HockomockSports.com Staff

2016 Kelley-Rex Boys Soccer Preview

Attleboro

2015 Record: 4-10-3
2015 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Peter Pereira

Attleboro is only returning three starters from last year’s squad but the Bombardiers are hopeful that its incoming players will keep them competitive in the Kelley-Rex this season.

Senior captain Harry Lancaster will anchor the back line, showing his versatility by playing yet another position in his fourth year on varsity. Senior captain Ahijah Joseph will see time at both forward as well as some time in the midfield, alongside junior Zach White, another returnee. Junior Nick Hasenfus will take over as the starting goalie while seniors Tyler Treichler and Nick Lawrence will also emerge as key contributors this season. Head coach Peter Pereira also expects to get contributions from underclassmen including sophomore Will Halben and freshmen Mike Russo and Nathan LaPlume.

“We will be a hard working team that should get better every game,” Pereira said. “I think we will surprise some teams.”

Franklin

2015 Record: 12-7-1
2015 Finish: Reached D1 South Quarterfinal
Coach: Fran Bositis

Franklin has some big holes to fill around the field but returning nearly a dozen varsity players is a good start. Around 10 returning players saw valuable varsity minutes last season and that is something the Panthers will rely on.

The Panthers have to find replacements for midfielders Austin Kent and Nick Parent, along with defender Dan Geraci and goalie Henri Guilmette. However, Franklin doesn’t need to find any replacements for its strikers with both Farley Asmath and Kevin Hall back this year. Hall was second on the team with seven goals a season ago and Asmath is speedy, strong player that could add a lot to the attack. Hatim Brahimi (five goals, three assists in 2015) is one of the top returning players in the league and will lead the midfield for the Panthers this season. Franklin’s defense will consist of a rotation of five or six players, including Wesley Kozil and Noah Scafati. Senior Joe Kroon and junior Fred Beckmann will battle for the starting goalie spot.

“We’ve got a bunch of great athletes that are pretty good soccer players that work really hard,” head coach Fran Bositis said.

King Philip

2015 Record: 8-8-3
2015 Finish: Reached D1 South Second Round
Coach: Nick Gale

The Kelley-Rex division title race expects to be a very contested one and King Philip looks like they’ll be right in the mix this season because of a strong balance of returning players.

Senior captains Cam Mullins and Ryan Coulter are returning to anchor the back line, which had a strong showing in 2015 with the fourth least goals surrendered in the Hockomock. Both have proved in the past to be reliable defenders, especially in the air against set pieces. Although the Warriors will have to replace the versatile Joe Kellett, KP has a handful of young players that saw valuable minutes on varsity and can make an impact this year. Tyler Mann will lead the attack, a year after scoring a team-high eight goals as a sophomore. Senior Colby Koch has shown his versatility in the past and will also be a factor for KP again this this. Juniors Connor Mullins, Larsen Keys and Mike Rowe also will be key players for the Warriors this season after each of them played meaningful minutes as sophomores.

“Our goal is to build off last year’s successes, continue to improve everyday, and compete hard,” head coach Nick Gale said.
“We know what we want, but we also know we have to earn it.”

Mansfield

2015 Record: 13-4-3 (Kelley-Rex Division Champions)
2015 Finish: Reached D1 South Quarterfinal
Coach: Steve Sheridan

The defending Kelley-Rex champions will look to try to win back-to-back league titles for the first time in program history and they have a large amount of returning players that could help accomplish that goal.

Captain Max Gurnon, a 2015 HockomockSports.com Best XI selection, returns for his senior campaign to anchor an experienced back line that allowed just 15 goals last season. While Mansfield must overcome the graduation of Chris Elsner, juniors Nick Hyland and Harry Braidt both started on the back line last year while sophomore Ethan Brill-Cass looks to be the final piece to the defense. Mansfield will have to find a replacement for goalie Mike Kirejczyk but head coach Steve Sheridan said senior Jed Tolbert and junior Nick Ferraz will battle for the starting spot.

“As far as our strengths go, our defense should be strong,” Sheridan said. “Losing [Chris] Elsner is a big loss, but Ethan [Brill-Cass] saw a lot of time as a freshman last season and learned a lot from Chris. I’m hoping our offense is much improved over last season.”

The Hornets finished fifth in the league in scoring last year and graduated its top four scorers. However, there is a group of attacking players back that saw plenty of minutes. Senior captain Brendan Sullivan will be a speedy option up top while classmates Kevin Bouck and Ryan Amaral will figure into the offense. Senior captain James Chotkowski will lead a midfield unit along with Jackson Murphy, Cullin Anastasia and Sean Lanzillo.

Oliver Ames

2015 Record: 18-0-3 (Davenport Division Champions)
2015 Finish: Division 2 State Champions
Coach: John Barata

Oliver Ames has had a target on its back for the last couple of years as they claimed four of the last five Davenport titles but after winning the program’s first ever Division 2 State Title last Fall, it’s bigger than ever.

The Tigers will have to replace two All-State players in Chris Romero and Keegan Nutt, as well as three seniors from their league-best defense last season. However, OA does return a good chunk of starters as well as experienced bench players from the state championship team.

Senior Thomas McCormick has been causing havoc for defenses for two years and will be relied upon to do so again this year. Nathaniel Cardoza, the 2015 HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year, will be back to control the middle of the pitch alongside Cam Vella, who showed his ability to get forward last season. Juniors Matt Campbell, Matt Alvarado, Jack Sheldon and Mason Galbato all saw time in the midfield last season and look to be contributors this year. Junior Jack Carroll is back in net again this year.

“We will try to be competitive this season and make another run at qualifying for the postseason,” head coach John Barata said. “Our path to the state tourney is extremely difficult this season as we join the Kelley-Rex. We look forward to a great season and hope to be in a position to qualify for the state tournament in late October.”

Barata noted that losing the back line, one that surrendered just 12 goals all season, will be a major challenge for the Tigers this season.

Taunton

2015 Record: 2-13-2
2015 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Taylor Whitters

With a new coach at the helm in Taylor Whitters, the Taunton Tigers are looking to build a new foundation for years to come. Whitters, who was previously the boys freshmen coach, is hoping the Tigers can rise up to the challenge of the very talented Kelley-Rex division.

Two key returning players include sophomore Hasan Farahat and junior Daeshawn Duffie. Both players possess strong soccer skills and will be vital parts for Taunton both ways as they patrol the midfield. Senior Sean Crowley will be tasked with pacing the scoring for the Tigers while freshman Colton Madeira, senior Dan DeAndreade and junior Jake DeAndrade will all be factors as Taunton pushes forward. Junior Liam Crowley will factor into Taunton’s defense and sophomore Liam Crowley will play a role in Taunton’s midfield.

“We are going to rise up in our league with respect, integrity,encouragement, unity and pride,” Whitters said.

Oliver Ames Captures First Ever State Championship

Oliver Ames captains Max Bamford, Chris Romero, Keegan Nutt and head coach John Barata with the D2 State Championship. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)
Oliver Ames captains Max Bamford, Chris Romero, Keegan Nutt and head coach John Barata with the D2 State Championship. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

Click here to purchase photos from OA’s celebration.
By Josh Perry, Managing Editor

LYNN, Mass. – When last year’s Div. 2 state title game ended, Oliver Ames players grabbed the runner-up trophy and raised it high in celebration of reaching the program’s first ever championship game.
When OA took the pitch on Saturday morning at Manning Field for this year’s state title game against Masconomet, the Tigers were not going to be happy settling for second place again.
The experience of last season paid dividends. OA bounced back from an early Masco goal to defeat the Chieftains 3-1 on three well-executed set pieces and clinched the program’s first state championship.
“Since we came here once, we knew how to play this game,” said OA coach John Barata. “It’s different; it’s a one-game season against a top team from the North.
“It’s a great feeling to win because it would’ve been horrible to come back-to-back years and lose again. The guys worked hard and they deserved it. We earned that win.”
Masco jumped into the lead in the 12th minute. A long throw from Alex Spaulding reached Josh Polakiewicz on the corner of the six-yard box and he flicked a header up over OA keeper Jack Carroll.
OA had lost the momentum after a decent start, but the Tigers utilized the experience of two straight runs to the South title and stayed in the game.
Senior Chris Romero equalized in the 19th minute when the Tigers were awarded a free kick just outside the box. It may have been a harsh call, but Romero did not mind as he curled his 20-yard shot past the despairing dive of Steven Heitzelman.
“They had all the momentum,” said Romero, “and we really needed the quick goal to get the momentum back, so I think it helped us pushing forward.”
Just five minutes later OA took the lead. Romero played an in-swinging corner kick that Heitzelman failed to hold. The ball dropped to the foot of sophomore Nathaniel Cardoza, who was in the right place at the right time to tap it in.
Cardoza also had the winning goal in overtime to win the South title for the Tigers. Barata said of the midfielder, “He is a very good player, diligent player. He’s a DI school’s dream and he’s only a sophomore. I’m very lucky to have him.”
Masco coach Jared Scarpaci noted, “The first [set piece], you don’t get a better free kick than that and you just tip your hat. The second one, I think we could have done a little bit better on that and that’s really when the momentum shifted.”
The Chieftains, who won the title in 2013 and have reached the state title game in three of the past four seasons (the last two in Div. 2), had their chances to equalize before the break. Shane Collins could not take advantage off of a poor clearance by Carroll to score into an empty net and then he set up Bryan Gilbert, who scuffed a shot while all alone in the box.
“They missed a couple of sitters that could have changed the game,” said Barata. “That’s the way soccer goes; I’ll take it.”
Carroll also came through with a big save to deny Blaise Romanowski in the final five minutes of the half, tipping over the Masco striker’s close-range effort off a free kick.
Seven minutes after the break, Romero showed his defensive prowess by heading out a Andrew Musiak corner underneath his own crossbar.
Barata explained, “You can see why he’s an all-state player. He starts on the left wing, scores a beautiful goal, he plays forward, and then we move him to the back and he was excellent at the back.”
In the 57th minute, OA sealed the title with another set piece that was straight off the training ground. Instead of playing an angled free kick into the box, Romero played the ball straight into the path of Matt Alvarado and the sophomore sent an inch-perfect cross into the box to a wide open Thomas McCormick, who nodded home the Tigers’ third.
“You couldn’t ask for anything better,” said Romero. “Alvarado down the line and crosses it for Thomas to head it in…perfect play.”
Barata credited the week of between games for allowing his team to work on set pieces and, as he explained, it “paid off” of Saturday.
“It worked like a charm today,” he said about the routine for the third goal. “We’ve done that a number of times and it’s gone over the bar, off the bar, off a defender, but today it was destined.”
Romero and the rest of his teammates charged towards the traveling OA fans at the final whistle, celebrating the first state title with friends and family. The Tigers reached their first sectional title in 2013, won the South for the first time last year, and now have won the state championship.
It has been a long and successful career for the OA captain and, when asked how it felt to get to this level, Romero responded succinctly, “It’s pretty awesome. It’s awesome to be a state champ.”
Click here to purchase photos from OA’s celebration. 
Josh Perry can be contacted at JoshPerry@hockomocksports.com and followed on Twitter at @Josh_Perry10.

Cardoza's Goal Gives OA Second Straight D2 South Title

Oliver Ames sophomore Nathaniel Cardoza celebrates after scoring the game winner in the second overtime. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
Oliver Ames sophomore Nathaniel Cardoza celebrates after scoring the game winner in the second overtime. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)

By Ryan Lanigan, Editor-in-Chief

BROCKTON, Mass. – For the second straight year, Oliver Ames is the D2 South Sectional champions for boys soccer.

Sophomore Nathaniel Cardoza scored the golden goal in the second overtime in the 95th minute minute to give Oliver Ames a 2-1 win over Medfield, the 16th seed who had made a Cinderella-like run to the finals.

The Tigers dominated portions of the first half, the majority of the second half and then most of both overtimes but couldn’t break the deadlock until Cardoza placed a shot with his right foot at the far post to give Oliver Ames the win.

“I was going to shoot with my left at first but the defender closed that off so I had to cut it and I saw a short window,” Cardoza said. “I knew I just had to get an opportunity to get the shot off and I’m just happy it went in.”

Cardoza gained possession at the top of the area and originally put the ball onto his left foot — his dominant foot — but with no shot available, he was able to keep control, touching to his right foot and unleashing a perfectly placed shot for the winner.

“I’m not so sure why we waited, we had some chances,” OA head coach John Barata said, noting the numerous scoring chances his side had before the game winner. “We dominated most of the game. Even a Medfield coach said the better team won and I’m happy to hear that. I thought the guys worked really hard but again, we’re missing chances, the game should have been over. They had two chances all game, one we were very fortunate that went wide [in overtime] and then the goal off a deflection again.”

It was a bit of deja vu for the Tigers when Medfield’s John Cahill found the back of the net to give the upset-minded Warriors the lead in wth 27th minute. Cahill decided to take a chance with a defender in close range and his shot took a deflection and looped into the net at the far post giving no chance for OA sophomore keeper Jack Carroll.

It was a frustrating goal for OA to concede, especially since there were two good chances to take the lead inside the first 15 minutes. In the 9th minute, senior Keegan Nutt played a ball over the top of the defense and classmate Chris Romero ran through but got under his shot and hit the crossbar from close range.

In the 16th minute, Romero served in a tempting corner that sophomore Cam Vella got a head to but it bounced just wide. In the 25th minute, just prior to Medfield taking the lead, Romero had a great shot from 25 yards out that bounced off the chest of Medfield goalie Matt Johnson but he was able to collect the rebound before any players could pounce on it.

The second half belonged to OA from the get go and sophomore Jack Sheldon nearly pulled things level in the 43rd minute. A long throw from senior Max Bamford deflected to Sheldon and he took a chance on goal but it went just wide at the near post.

In the 53rd minute, Barata elected to change things up a bit, going with a look similar to that when the Tigers scored the game winner against Hingham two games prior. Romero moved to the left flank and pushed sophomore Mason Galbato into a holding position in front of the defense. That moved Vella to a more attacking position up front.

The change paid dividends pretty quickly as OA found the equalizer just six minutes later. Sheldon served in a cross from the right flank that was hit back across the face of goal. Medfield made its first mistake of the night in the back as the ball got past a defender and fell right to Vella. The sophomore took a heavy touch forward and then finished with his right foot at a tight angle to make it 1-1.

“Things changed,” Barata said of the move. “We started dominating the game. We need some speed and some technique in front of the back three so I tried to keep Vella there but we just weren’t getting enough forward in terms of chances. I put Vella, who is disgustingly good, up front and him and [Thomas] McCormick just created havoc and Galbato did a super job of keeping our infrastructure in the midfield so that change really won us the game.”

“I think it helps us pressure up a lot because Cam’s a really good offensive player,” Cardoza said of the change. “I love to play with [Vella] and I love Mason because he keeps the stability in the midfield when he drops back there.

OA kept up its pressure but had to deal with a late free kick chance from the Warriors, who relied heavily on the counter attack in the second half and overtime. A free kick from 25 yards out was cleared wide to Romero, who quickly played a long ball up field. Nutt ran onto it, headed it forward and tried to go over Johnson from 18 yards out but didn’t get enough on it and Johnson’s leaping stop prevented a winner in the 79th minute.

Medfield had a chance less than five minutes into overtime after the Warriors were able to handle a rush from the Tigers. Kevin McCordic let the ball run across his body and ripped a left footed shot but it rolled wide at the far post.

With just two minutes gone in the second overtime, Medfield was awarded a free kick right at the top of the box. The shot hit the wall in front and went over the net and the Tigers were able to deal with the ensuing corner kick.

Three minutes later, Cardoza converted the game winner to send the Tigers to the D2 EMass/State Finals for the second straight year.

“We were pushing, we had to get a goal,” Barata said. “We didn’t want to go to PKs because they had done it already and didn’t want it to be a David and Goliath situation and have them knock us out.”

Oliver Ames now improves to 17-0-3 and will play in the D2 State Final on Saturday, November 21st. The Tigers will either get a rematch with Concord-Carlisle or will play Masconomet in the finals with a time and location still to be announced.

“It’s very difficult because there’s a big target on your back but it was fun too because it was something that kept motivating the guys and now we’ll look forward to playing either Concord-Carlisle or Masconomet and both of those teams are ridiculously good so we’re going to have a lot to prepare for over the next seven days.”

Cardoza’s Goal Gives OA Second Straight D2 South Title

Oliver Ames sophomore Nathaniel Cardoza celebrates after scoring the game winner in the second overtime. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
Oliver Ames sophomore Nathaniel Cardoza celebrates after scoring the game winner in the second overtime. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)

By Ryan Lanigan, Editor-in-Chief

BROCKTON, Mass. – For the second straight year, Oliver Ames is the D2 South Sectional champions for boys soccer.

Sophomore Nathaniel Cardoza scored the golden goal in the second overtime in the 95th minute minute to give Oliver Ames a 2-1 win over Medfield, the 16th seed who had made a Cinderella-like run to the finals.

The Tigers dominated portions of the first half, the majority of the second half and then most of both overtimes but couldn’t break the deadlock until Cardoza placed a shot with his right foot at the far post to give Oliver Ames the win.

“I was going to shoot with my left at first but the defender closed that off so I had to cut it and I saw a short window,” Cardoza said. “I knew I just had to get an opportunity to get the shot off and I’m just happy it went in.”

Cardoza gained possession at the top of the area and originally put the ball onto his left foot — his dominant foot — but with no shot available, he was able to keep control, touching to his right foot and unleashing a perfectly placed shot for the winner.

“I’m not so sure why we waited, we had some chances,” OA head coach John Barata said, noting the numerous scoring chances his side had before the game winner. “We dominated most of the game. Even a Medfield coach said the better team won and I’m happy to hear that. I thought the guys worked really hard but again, we’re missing chances, the game should have been over. They had two chances all game, one we were very fortunate that went wide [in overtime] and then the goal off a deflection again.”

It was a bit of deja vu for the Tigers when Medfield’s John Cahill found the back of the net to give the upset-minded Warriors the lead in wth 27th minute. Cahill decided to take a chance with a defender in close range and his shot took a deflection and looped into the net at the far post giving no chance for OA sophomore keeper Jack Carroll.

It was a frustrating goal for OA to concede, especially since there were two good chances to take the lead inside the first 15 minutes. In the 9th minute, senior Keegan Nutt played a ball over the top of the defense and classmate Chris Romero ran through but got under his shot and hit the crossbar from close range.

In the 16th minute, Romero served in a tempting corner that sophomore Cam Vella got a head to but it bounced just wide. In the 25th minute, just prior to Medfield taking the lead, Romero had a great shot from 25 yards out that bounced off the chest of Medfield goalie Matt Johnson but he was able to collect the rebound before any players could pounce on it.

The second half belonged to OA from the get go and sophomore Jack Sheldon nearly pulled things level in the 43rd minute. A long throw from senior Max Bamford deflected to Sheldon and he took a chance on goal but it went just wide at the near post.

In the 53rd minute, Barata elected to change things up a bit, going with a look similar to that when the Tigers scored the game winner against Hingham two games prior. Romero moved to the left flank and pushed sophomore Mason Galbato into a holding position in front of the defense. That moved Vella to a more attacking position up front.

The change paid dividends pretty quickly as OA found the equalizer just six minutes later. Sheldon served in a cross from the right flank that was hit back across the face of goal. Medfield made its first mistake of the night in the back as the ball got past a defender and fell right to Vella. The sophomore took a heavy touch forward and then finished with his right foot at a tight angle to make it 1-1.

“Things changed,” Barata said of the move. “We started dominating the game. We need some speed and some technique in front of the back three so I tried to keep Vella there but we just weren’t getting enough forward in terms of chances. I put Vella, who is disgustingly good, up front and him and [Thomas] McCormick just created havoc and Galbato did a super job of keeping our infrastructure in the midfield so that change really won us the game.”

“I think it helps us pressure up a lot because Cam’s a really good offensive player,” Cardoza said of the change. “I love to play with [Vella] and I love Mason because he keeps the stability in the midfield when he drops back there.

OA kept up its pressure but had to deal with a late free kick chance from the Warriors, who relied heavily on the counter attack in the second half and overtime. A free kick from 25 yards out was cleared wide to Romero, who quickly played a long ball up field. Nutt ran onto it, headed it forward and tried to go over Johnson from 18 yards out but didn’t get enough on it and Johnson’s leaping stop prevented a winner in the 79th minute.

Medfield had a chance less than five minutes into overtime after the Warriors were able to handle a rush from the Tigers. Kevin McCordic let the ball run across his body and ripped a left footed shot but it rolled wide at the far post.

With just two minutes gone in the second overtime, Medfield was awarded a free kick right at the top of the box. The shot hit the wall in front and went over the net and the Tigers were able to deal with the ensuing corner kick.

Three minutes later, Cardoza converted the game winner to send the Tigers to the D2 EMass/State Finals for the second straight year.

“We were pushing, we had to get a goal,” Barata said. “We didn’t want to go to PKs because they had done it already and didn’t want it to be a David and Goliath situation and have them knock us out.”

Oliver Ames now improves to 17-0-3 and will play in the D2 State Final on Saturday, November 21st. The Tigers will either get a rematch with Concord-Carlisle or will play Masconomet in the finals with a time and location still to be announced.

“It’s very difficult because there’s a big target on your back but it was fun too because it was something that kept motivating the guys and now we’ll look forward to playing either Concord-Carlisle or Masconomet and both of those teams are ridiculously good so we’re going to have a lot to prepare for over the next seven days.”

Taking Stock of the Hock: Boys Soccer 2015

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Who is the current soccer Player of the Year?
Lanigan:
Foxboro senior Devante Teixeira is off to a great start this season and has been arguably the toughest player to stop. Playing out wide, Teixeira has shown he can straight beat defenders and get to the line for a service or he can cut into the area and create an opportunity that way. He has been the beneficiary of some great work from teammates Anthony Barreira and Joe Morrison, among others, but he has made the most of his opportunities. His mix of speed, skill and vision make him very hard to stop.
Perry: The Foxboro trio of Devante Teixeira, Joe Morrison, and Anthony Barreira deserve recognition as do Brad Eames and Max Gurnon for the solidity of Kelley-Rex leaders Mansfield, but if I had to pick a Player of the Year right now it would be Oliver Ames senior Chris Romero. He isn’t a flashy player with tons of goals, but he is fourth in the league in points with 12 (six goals and six assists), while playing multiple roles for the Tigers from dropping into midfield, playing out on the wing, protecting the back four as a defensive mid and even playing sweeper to protect leads late. Nathanial Cardoza and Keegan Nutt have both had Player of the Year caliber seasons too, but Romero is a coach on the field and the leader of the best team in the Hock.
Who is the soccer Underclassman of the Year?
Lanigan: Sometimes it can be hard to justify a player’s worth if there aren’t stats to back it up, but there’s no question about how good Oliver Ames sophomore Nathaniel Cardoza has been this year. Playing in a center mid role, Cardoza have been a catalyst in the Tigers’ defense as well as the offense. Head coach John Barata has the ability to drop Cardoza a little deeper when OA gets a lead, which pads an already tough defense. Between Cardoza and sophomore midfielders Cam Vella, Matt Campbell and Mason Galbato, the future of OA’s midfield looks very good.
Perry: At the end of last year, I made the case that Joe Morrison deserved mention for the Player of the Year as a freshman and since he came back from an injury a couple games into this season Morrison has just continued his upward trajectory. Morrison is the fulcrum for a Foxboro attack and was sorely missed in Foxboro’s one loss this season. With Morrison in the midfield, the Warriors always have an outlet and someone who can be patient with the ball even under duress, which allows Devante Teixeira and Anthony Barreira to play higher up the pitch and push opposing defenses back with their pace. His ability to break a defense down, makes Foxboro the most dangerous offensive team in the Hock.
What has been the biggest surprise this season?
Lanigan: We had a feeling Foxboro, OA and Mansfield would all have good seasons and so far that is holding up. Meanwhile, the defending four time Kelley-Rex champs Franklin are sitting in a good spot with an 8-3 record. The three losses came in the first five games of the season and two of them to the current division leaders (Mansfield & OA). Unsurprisingly Austin Kent has one of the top players in the league while players like David Stowell, Brian Czuba, Farley Asmath and Kevin Hall have all stepped up to make plays at the right time. Despite graduating 16 seniors last year, the Panthers could be in play for a fifth straight division title.
Perry: Attleboro goalie Tyler Stowe is not a soccer player by trade. He’s much better known for being the ace of the Bombardiers pitching staff during baseball season. But after a real struggle in his opening game of the year against Foxboro, Stowe has emerged as a solid replacement for graduated keeper Jason Ross. Stowe may not be a Best XI choice this year, but it has been one position for Attleboro that started as a question mark and has turned into a strength. Stowe has three clean sheets and has only allowed four goals in 6-1/2 games behind an inexperienced Attleboro back line.
HockomockSports.com Midseason Best XI
Lanigan:

GK – Michael Kirejczyk, Mansfield
D – Josh Mitchell, Stoughton
D – Chris Elsner, Mansfield
D – Cam Mullins, King Philip
M – Nathaniel Cardoza, Oliver Ames
M – Joey Morrison, Foxboro
M – Keegan Nutt, Oliver Ames
M – Austin Kent, Franklin
M – Joe Kellett, King Philip
F – Chris Romero, Oliver Ames
F – Devante Teixeira, Foxboro
Perry:
G – Michael Kirejczyk, Mansfield
D – Max Gurnon, Mansfield
D – Cam Mullins, King Philip
D – Dan Geraci, Franklin
M – Nathaniel Cardoza, Oliver Ames
M – Keegan Nutt, Oliver Ames
M – Joe Morrison, Foxboro
M – Chris Romero, Oliver Ames
M – Austin Kent, Franklin
F – Anthony Barreira, Foxboro
F – Devante Teixeira, Foxboro
At this point, which team will be going the furthest in the tournament?
Lanigan:
I think there are a couple of teams that have a good chance at making runs in the tournament this year. With Franklin, Mansfield and KP in D1, Oliver Ames and Stoughton in D2 and Foxboro in D3, we could see a run from all three divisions. When it comes to the question though, I think Oliver Ames has a good chance of getting back to where they were last year. Don’t be surprised if Foxboro gets further than they did last year and one of the D1 teams makes a run in a talented D1 South field.
Perry: I want to go out on a limb, but in the end the team I think will go the furthest in the tournament is the same team that went the furthest last year – Oliver Ames. The Tigers will have to run a gauntlet in Div. 2 with the usual suspects, including a very good Nauset team, but they are playing like a team that can make another run to the state final. With only one goal allowed this season, OA has the strength in defense and particularly in the midfield to battle just about any team in the state. The Tigers have arguably the most complete starting XI in the league. Maybe we could see a rematch of last year’s final with Concord-Carlisle?
What is your bold prediction for the rest of the season?
Lanigan:
I’m going to say that it either be Foxboro scoring 60 goals this season or Oliver Ames allowing six or less goals in the regular season. They might seem like random numbers but the Warriors have 32 goals just over halfway through and I think they can keep that face up in the remaining games. OA has only allowed one goal so far through nine games, and the sun played a big role. I picked six because that’s how many Franklin’s defense allowed last season, which was super impressive. They don’t exactly work together because the two teams have to play each other twice still so we’ll see.
Perry: My bold prediction for the rest of the season is that we end up seeing the same division champions as last year. Franklin is currently only a point behind Mansfield and the Panthers are picking up steam as the season wears on and the new players (which are numerous) get more experience. Franklin has given up only one goal since it lost to Mansfield and the rematch looms large on Oct. 19. OA has been dominant all season, but is only two points better than Foxboro at this stage with two meetings remaining. Don’t be surprised if that final game of the season at Ahern turns into a title decider just as it did last year and the Warriors sneak back into first.