Boys Soccer: 2016 Davenport Division Preview

2016 Davenport Boys Soccer Preview

By HockomockSports.com Staff

2016 Davenport Boys Soccer Preview

Canton

2015 Record: 3-10-4
2015 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Danny Erickson

For the first time in a decade, the Bulldogs missed out on the postseason last year but with a large group of experienced players returning, the 2016 team is looking to start a new playoff streak. Canton graduated just two starters from last year’s team and looks to be in the mix for the Davenport division title this season.

Canton will look to its four captains for guidance with the quartet spread out nicely on the field. Junior Jake Verille and senior Ben Waterhouse will bring skills and versatility to the midfield. Senior Danny Hartnett is experienced and will anchor the back line while classmate Sammy Papakonstantino will be relied upon to be a catalyst up top for the Bulldogs.

“We think we have the technical ability this fall to play some good soccer,” head coach Danny Erickson said. “We were competitive last Fall but couldn’t figure out how to get the ball in the back of the net and get a result. I’m confident that we are ready to take the next step and see the positive results come this Fall.”

Erickson added there is a battle for the starting goalie spot right now between senior Sean Mitchell and junior Abe Garber.

Foxboro

2015 Record: 15-2-3
2015 Finish: Reached D3 South Semifinal
Coach: Joe Franchino

It will be far from easy for Foxboro to replace the 2015 HockomockSports.com Player of the Year Devante Teixeira (20 goals, 16 assists), who graduated, and two-time league all star Joe Morrison (eight goals, 15 assists), now playing full-time with his academy team. But senior Anthony Barreira (18 goals, 12 assists) is back for his fourth year on varsity and the Warriors get former league all star Jeff Melo back to bolster the back line, which will make the transition easier.

Barreira is set to be a top striker in the league and Melo showed during his sophomore year that he can be one of the best defenders in the area. AJ Bubencik’s conversion from a defender to a midfielder will be key for the Warriors this season as well. Sophomore Nic Beigel had a great rookie campaign and will be a key piece for Foxboro this season along with juniors Shawn McNamara and Ryan Kelley. Aaron Wentling and Bobby Harrison will fight for the starting spot in net this season.

“We are not the same team as last year but the quality is still here and my expectations are to win games,” head coach Joe Franchino said.

Milford

2015 Record: 4-13-1
2015 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Brian Edwards

Milford had a strong debut when it joined the Hockomock League in 2013 but were able to capture just seven league wins over the past two years. Brian Edwards has taken over at the helm of the Scarlet Hawks and is looking for a bounce back season in his first year.

The Scarlet Hawks will be relying upon its three captains to make the turnaround. Senior Marcello Panno is one of the most versatile players in the league with Edwards referring to him as a ‘swiss army knife.’ Edwards expects Panno to play roles both offensively and defensively. Defensively, senior Danny Mendoza is going to be tasked with handling top strikers from around the league. Edwards credited Mendoza’s work rate and his ability to make those around him better. Junior Andre Oliveira will be a major part of Milford’s attack this season. Oliveira will be one to watch, especially on the counter attack.

“We expect to see a focus on technical skill and ball movement as opposed to direct play,” Edwards said. “This is an attack which will be geared towards moving the ball in tight spaces against high pressure.”

Edwards also noted the team will focus on a team defensive effort, with an effort to deny opponents space in the final third.

North Attleboro

2015 Record: 1-14-3
2015 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Geoff Burgess

After a rough couple of years, the North Attleboro Rocketeers are hoping a switch to the Davenport Division could be the perfect platform to launch a turnaround. With a good amount of players that saw either starting minutes or valuable time off of the bench back, the Rocketeers will look to ramp up their play, especially on the offensive side of the ball.

Juniors Noah Barney and Zach Matracia saw a lot of minutes as outside backs last year and will look to bring that experience back this year. Senior John Brennan will try to anchor the back line from the center of the pitch while the Rocketeers look to find the right fit in the middle to complete the defense. Junior Brendan Matracia will occupy the goalkeeper spot with a good amount of minutes played from his sophomore year under his belt.

“We have gone from being young and green to being a group of seasoned varsity players,” head coach Geoff Burgess said. “It should be a resurgence for the program.”

Offensively, senior captains Leo Charlebois and Conor Danahey will be two of the main options up top. Burgess noted that junior Josh Rodriguez had a strong summer and will be a playmaker this year. In the middle of the pitch, junior Gabe Pinhancos will be complemented by classmate Ryan Pasquel and sophomore Marcus Costa.

Sharon

2015 Record: 10-7-1
2015 Finish: Reached D2 South Second Round
Coach: Bryan Kelly

Even though Sharon lost a strong group to graduation, the Eagles are relying on a new crop of seniors to lead them in 2016. The Eagles also expect to get contributions from juniors, sophomores and freshmen in different areas of the field.

Senior captains Ian Camilli and Shali Patel will lead from the heart of the field at center midfield while fellow captain Benjamin Stamm will be a viable attacking option. Sophomore Ethan Kantor will take over the starting job for Andrew Filipkowski, a 2015 HockomockSports.com Best XI selection that graduated. Shubojit Roy-Chowdhury will be the anchor of the back line as a center defender. Head coach Bryan Kelly is looking for breakout seasons from Oliver Hu, Jacob Tevin, Jeremy Cabral, Marques Benton Jr., Spencer Hall, Andrew Reyes-Jones and Michael Baur.

“[On top of our seniors and juniors] there will be several sophomores and freshman called up throughout the season who will only add to the strength of the team,” Kelly said.

Stoughton

2015 Record: 9-8-3
2015 Finish: Reached D2 South Second Round
Coach: Aaron Salter

After another successful campaign, the Black Knights are hoping to push their postseason streak to three straight years. Stoughton will face the challenge of graduating seven seniors, including some key pieces from each part of the field, but there the group of returning players should give the Black Knights plenty of optimism.

Stoughton has scored over 30 goals in back to back seasons (38 in 2014, 31 in 2015) and will look to make their offense a strong suit again this year. The Black Knights are returning three of their top four scorers, including sophomore Fabio Ponce De Leon (eight goals, two assists), Jordan Asnes (five goals, five assists) and Loubensky Lucas (five goals, one assist). Lucas has been finding the back of the net for three years and head coach Aaron Salter notes he’s had a strong preseason thus far.

“I felt last year we didn’t kill off enough games and left teams with life still in them,” Salter said. “This year we will be hoping to close out games much easier.”

Defensively, the Black Knights are hoping experience will help anchor the back line. Tyler Melo will be a factor in the midfield while Goddy Fombe and Noah Schulze both emerged as strong options on defense last season. Salter admitted there were players in new spots last year but now with a year under their belts, they have developed the awareness and look strong in the preseason.

Romero’s Disputed Goal the Winner for OA at Sharon

Chris Romero
OA senior Chris Romero scored the lone goal at Sharon as the Tigers improved to 6-0 on the season. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

Click HERE for a photo gallery from the game.

By Josh Perry, Managing Editor

SHARON, Mass. – As Shalin Patel chased the ball over the top in the 38th minute, he had position on Oliver Ames forward Chris Romero and it seemed as though the chance was gone for the Tigers.

Then the Sharon right back went to ground, seemingly after having his heel clipped. But the whistle never blew and Romero never hesitated on his path to the ball before coolly finishing it under the bar.

The Eagles bench exploded, arguing that it  was a clear foul on the defender. The referees came together for a quick conversation at midfield but there was no changing the call and the goal stood.

It turned out to be enough for the Tigers for a 1-0 road victory. OA’s record improved to 6-0 and the Tigers have allowed only one goal all season, but in the team talk after the final whistle OA coach John Barata let his team know that there was plenty of room for improvement.

“It wasn’t our best game, by any means, but at least we were able to get a result,” he explained. “We’ve got a lot to build on but we’re just focused on the present.”

Sharon coach Bryan Kelly was pleased with his team’s performance, if not what turned out to be the decisive moment. He said, “They had the one chance and that’s all they needed. We played really well and I thought we controlled the tempo in both halves.”

Sharon started the game with most of the possession on its familiar grass field. The Tigers were backing off to protect the box and then countered quickly and created a number of good chances in the opening 40 minutes, while the Eagles did not put a shot on target in the first half.

The first chance fell to Romero, who was left unmarked in the box and was picked out with a cross by Thomas McCormick but headed wide. McCormick had the next chance off a pass by Keegan Nutt but his shot sailed over the bar.

Vella had another chance int he 21st minute. His shot from the edge of the box was spilled by Filipkowski but the Sharon keeper was quick to block the rebound chance by Tylor Jones. Three minutes later, he was off his line quickly again to make a sliding save on Cam Vella.

“Andrew is just solid,” said Kelly, while also praising his back four, including three-year starter Samuel Weldig. “My defense in front of him is really strong, but Andrew has been a rock back there.”

In the 38th minute, the game changed with the Tigers taking the lead. Barata said, “Yes, we had plenty of chances. We didn’t give up a lot of chances but in soccer it’s the one who finishes that wins and we got one…finally.”

The halftime team talk was crucial for the Eagles and seemed to work as Sharon came out of the break with renewed energy. Midfielders Dan Bender, who missed all of last season with a knee injury, and James Dunlea got the ball into the channels quicker to give Sonny Somdah the chance to run at the OA defense.

Three minutes into the second half, Somdah created Sharon’s first real scoring chance when he raced to the byline and cut it back to Lucas Allaria, but his shot from six yards went wide.

“He’s a player to watch as we come down the end of the season,” said Kelly. “He hurt his ankle early this season but he’s starting to create chances.”

OA managed a pair of chances to double its lead on the counter. Romero quickly played the ball forward to Nutt who found Matt Campbell, but his shot flew over the bar. Romero then took advantage of a misplayed back pass to create space for his left foot but again the shot was narrowly off frame.

In the 68th minute, Sharon had its best chance of the game. Somdah was again the player that the opportunity fell to when he ran onto a through ball but OA keeper Jack Carroll came off his line to smother the chance.

“That’s the fun thing about a goalkeeper,” said Barata. “You can have nothing for 60 minutes but when you’re called upon that one moment are you going to make the save? And he made the save.”

Kelly remarked, “When we pass it we can spin people around. I have no complaints about the way we played. But it’s all about putting the ball in the net and that was shown again today.”

Two minutes after Carroll’s save, Filipkowski came up with another huge stop when he was down low to his left to stop a shot from Nutt with 10 minutes remaining.

It was a sixth straight win for the Tigers to start the season, but Barata admitted that his team had to grind out Thursday’s result.

He said, “It’s always wonderful to see these teams go at it and I always tell people that this is good tournament prep. The Hock may not win all the championships but we are ready to go come tournament time because of games like this.

Josh Perry can be contacted at JoshPerry@hockomocksports.com and followed on Twitter at @Josh_Perry10.

Boys Soccer: 2015 Davenport Division Preview

By HockomockSports.com Staff

Canton

2014 Record: 9-7-2
2014 Finish: Reached MIAA D2 South First Round
Coach: Danny Erickson
The Bulldogs punched a ticket to the postseason for the 9th straight year and 2014 and with a good crop of returning and experienced players, a 10th straight trip is in the cards. Seniors Pat Hession and Joey Basile both have a good amount of experience and were key contributors to last year’s squad.
Although the Bulldogs will have the fill the void left with Hockomock League MVP Damian Kozak graduated, coach Danny Erickson seems to always have his team playing at a high level. Junior Sam Papakonstantino emerged as a strong threat last year and sophomore Jake Verille had a breakout rookie season and could become a top target for the Bulldogs.
Erickson said he hopes to keep possession better in 2015 and aim to pressure high to force mistakes from opponents. Sophomore Ben Waterhouse is someone who would be a big player this season while freshmen Griffin Roach and Paul Corcoran could make an impact in their first season.

Foxboro

2014 Record: 15-5-1
2014 Finish: Reached MIAA D3 South Semifinal
Coach: Joe Franchino
With only two starters from last year’s Davenport Division winning team gone, the Warriors are in good position to repeat and make a deep playoff push.
Foxboro has a new coach in Joe Franchino, who made 162 appearances for the New England Revolution, but don’t expect a lot to change with the Warriors. The 2014 HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year Joe Morrison is back to control the midfield and has the chance of being the best player in the league this year.
“I’ve inherited a great squad and they have worked really hard so far,” Franchino said. “They are making it difficult for me to pick a starting squad.”
The entire back four is back with Jeff Melo and Rob Lowey anchoring the middle while two-time Hockomock League All Star Devante Teixeira and his speed and skill will make it very hard for opponents to handle both him and Morrison. Franchino expects that they will get everyone’s best effort this year but with so much returning talent and a couple new faces, the Warriors are in good shape.

Milford

2014 Record: 5-11-2
2014 Finish: Missed Playoffs
Coach: Jim Asam
The Scarlet Hawks started off last season by going undefeated in the first four games but only earned two more wins the rest of the way. With a strong group of seniors set for this season, Milford will look to get back in the playoff picture.
Mike Da Silva returns for his fourth year patrolling Milford’s net and two-time captain Justin Borges, who is one of the more versatile players in the league, will be a player team’s will have to worry about coming forward from the midfield. On defense, senior Luis Goncalves is back to help and try limit the opportunities from opposing offenses.
Milford will also get Sttarley Flores back after missing the entire 2014 season with an injury while seniors Matt Fornaciari and John Martins and junior Marcelo Panno will all play vital roles for coach Jim Asam.

Oliver Ames

2014 Record: 13-6-2
2014 Finish: Reached MIAA D2 State Finals
Coach: John Barata
After reaching the D2 State Finals in 2014, the Tigers have plenty of returning talent back for this season. Chris Romero is one of the more tenured players in the league and is also one of the most versatile while fellow captain senior Keegan Nutt showed just how skilled he was last season in his first year.
“We are hoping to get into the MIAA tourney and we expect every game to be an all out battle,” head coach John Barata said. “We hope to compete well and get better everyday.”
Another experienced player back this season is junior Thomas McCormick, who has seen varsity time since his freshman year, as well as seniors Max Bamford, Jared Mallers and Max Ahearn. Sophomores Nathaniel Cardoza, Cam Vella, Matt Campbell and Jack Sheldon all saw a good amount of time as freshmen, with Cardoza emerging as one of OA’s best players. Although Foxboro is the favorite for the Davenport, the Tigers will likely be in the mix right until the end.

Sharon

2014 Record: 7-8-4
2014 Finish: Reached MIAA D2 South Preliminary Round
Coach: Bryan Kelly
After just two wins two years ago, the Eagles made it to the playoffs in coach Bryan Kelly’s first year in charge. With a good amount of returning talent, the Eagles will have a chance to compete for the Davenport title.
“This year we have a wealth of experience in all positions and returning players will be a major contributing factor,” head coach Bryan Kelly said. “We are a team that doesn’t have just one star but rather has 23 guys that will sub a lot and not lose skill in any position. This year will be an exciting year for Sharon soccer.”
The Eagles are hoping to improve their offense as they struggled to find consistency when it came to finding the back of the net. Senior captain Daniel Bender is back after missing all of last year and his presence in the center of the midfield could be a huge boost. Senior James Dunlea will also big a factor in the midfield and senior Sam Weidig will anchor the defense in the middle. HockomockSports.com Second Team goalie Andrew Filipkowski is back for his senior year while fellow varsity returnees Lucas Allaria and Mark Bloom will look to add some scoring punch. Kelly is hoping their speed will help give opponents fits while juniors Jake Teven, Ian Camilli and Shalin Patel are all new faces that could make a big impact.

Stoughton

2014 Record: 11-8-1
2014 Finish: Reached MIAA D2 South First Round
Coach: Aaron Salter
Over the past couple of seasons, the Black Knights have been headed in the right direction with the team making the playoffs last year for the first time in a decade. Aaron Salter takes over the program this year and will look to continue the push.
Salter will have a lot of experienced weapons back this season to continue the program’s upward trend. Goalie Kyle Silverman is back and Josh Mitchell, Will Peoples and Goddy Frombe will be key pieces in the middle of the field. All three have a lot of varsity minutes and their experience could be vital for Stoughton. Loubensky Lucas, who had an injury plagued sophomore year, will look to return back to the form he had during his freshman year (five goals). Another player to keep an eye on is Noah Schulze, who played a little bit of everything last year and could take on a much bigger role this year.
The Davenport is full of talent and might be one of the most competitive years since the split happened, but the Black Knights have enough talent that they won’t get lost in the mix.