The Bombardiers suffered a 3-0 loss to the Hornets early in the season and settled for a 1-1 draw in mid October.
But on Saturday night, Big Blue picked up the win in the game that mattered most, walking away from Alumni Field with a 1-0 win in double overtime in the MIAA D1 South First Round.
Eighty minutes of regulation and 10 minutes of the first overtime period wasn’t enough to separate the two but it took less than a minute of the second overtime period for Attleboro to find the winner.
Sophomore Colin Levis blocked a clearance on the right wing, raced to the ball and delivered a cross into the area. Mansfield goalie Nick Ferraz dove out, getting a hand to the service. The ball fell to sophomore Will Halben, who calmly cut the ball back and used his toe poke with his left foot to find the back of the net for the winner.
“When it got to me, I cut it outside and toe poked it with my left foot and megged the goalie and it got in,” Halben said. “I was really off balance but I was able to get enough power to get it through. I kind of forgot it was golden goal but everyone jumped on me and I was crushed at that bottom but it was a great feeling.”
It’s the third time in the last four games that Halben has scored the game-winning goal in a 1-0 win for Attleboro.
“He’s got the speed around the net, he’s been pretty good,” Attleboro head coach Peter Pereira said. “He missed his first one and just pushed it in with his toe. It was a good game, Mansfield kind of carries the play a little bit. Those throw ins are deadly. We’ve been practicing defending them but they are so hard to defend because of Mansfield’s height. Even though they had most of the possession, we needed a break and that’s what we got. The boys played well.
“Playing a team from the same league for a third time, it’s really difficult. The good thing was my kids were relaxed because they knew who the enemy was. But we also knew they had beaten us earlier in the season but we had tied them the second time so that really helped our conference. We’re 1-1-1 this year [against Mansfield] but we’ll take this one.”
The Hornets had over a dozen attacking throw ins and nearly 10 free kick opportunities that put the ball into the area but the results included either hitting the post, a save from Bombardier goalie Nick Hasenfus, a shot wide or a clearance from Attleboro’s defense.
The effort off the post came early in the game when Cullin Anastasia rose up to meet a throw from Max Gurnon. His header bounced once before hitting the post and staying out. Rebound chances from Brendan Sullivan and Anastasia were blocked by defenders.
Ten minutes later, a service into the area eventually bounced out to the top of the 18, but Sullivan had his shot on target saved by Hasenfus.
Mansfield had the two first chances of the second half as well when Max Gurnon ripped a shot from the left wing that went to the far post but Sean Lanzillo’s touch went just over the bar. Five minutes later, James Chotkowski’s header off a corner from Kevin Bouck bounced wide at the far post.
“We’re strong on those throw ins and those free kicks but just couldn’t find the back of the net today,” Mansfield head coach Steve Sheridan said. “[Attleboro] played great, I knew they’d pack it in and play tight defense. And their goalie played phenomenal. My hats off to them. We had more than enough chances in regulation, never mind overtime, and we just didn’t do it.”
Attleboro finally had a chance in the 61st minute with Halben blocking a clearance, racing around a defender and going in at goal at a tight angle but Ferraz did well to come out and cut the angle down, holding onto the ball after sliding out. Two minutes later, AHS freshman Mike Russo lofted a cross into the area but Halben’s header went wide of the far post.
Anastasia got his head to a throw from Gurnon in the 72nd minute but Attleboro defender Tyler Treichler was positioned well and headed the ball clear before it could get through to Hasenfus.
“They got four goals against us during the regular season and three of the four were from throw ins,” Pereira said. “They’ve got the height to flick it. We tried to work on stepping in front of them and get to it first. They are very good with those throws, the free kicks. Their defense is very good, Max [Gurnon] is a horse back there and they won most of the balls. But we’ll take it and we’ll go on and see what happens next.”
Hasenfus made the biggest stop of the game in the 78th minute. Gurnon dropped a free kick into the area that fell between Sullivan and Anastasia. Anastasia was the one to pounce, unleashing a shot from inside the 6 yard box but Hasenfus was positioned perfectly and knocked the bid aside.
“He’s been very solid, he’s grown all year long, the team has confidence in him,” Pereira said of Hasenfus. “We weren’t sure what to expect but he’s been solid, he’s a Hockomock All Star…he hasn’t made mistakes. We have not lost games because of him. Today – that one late was a big save – and the others he was sweeping them up and there were no drops. My defense played well, Harry [Lancaster] and Treichler played very well and the outside backs were strong too.”
ATTLEBORO, Mass. – The Attleboro attack has been far from potent this fall, scoring only 13 goals through the opening 16 games of the season and more than one goal in a game just twice, but on Wednesday night at Tozier-Cassidy Field a young Bombardiers team still had the opportunity to book its place in the state tournament.
Not surprisingly, Attleboro would only get one goal, but it turned out to be all it needed against Taunton. Sophomore Will Halben scored the winner for the second straight game, as the Bombardiers held off the Tigers 1-0 to qualify for the postseason.
“We got to the tournament that was really positive,” said Attleboro coach Peter Pereira, who also celebrated his 250th career victory on Wednesday. “I really wanted it for the younger kids because we got two big years coming up and I really wanted them to get a taste of it and see what it’s like.”
For two teams that had combined for only 22 goals coming into the game, Taunton and Attleboro started wide open with chances coming thick and fast in the opening half hour.
Ahijah Joseph got the attack going just two minutes in when he ran onto a through ball from Nick Lawrence, but his shot sliced wide of the post and into the side-netting. Two minutes later, Taunton had its first chance with Sean Crowley getting space in the right channel but sending a shot over the bar.
Joseph had a header on a corner cleared off the line by Taunton defender Jake DeAndrade and on the other end Crowley got hold of a volley but hit is straight at Attleboro keeper Nicholas Hasenfus. Taunton keeper Tim Gambaradella was then called into action for his first save when Zach White’s pass bounced into the path of Michael Russo but the goalie smothered the shot.
The game’s lone goal came in the 23rd minute. Devin Andre slid a pass behind the Taunton defense for Halben to run onto and the sophomore showed poise to calmly slide the ball inside the far post and past Gambaradella (four saves).
“It’s the young guys, the freshmen, the sophomores, they’ve got speed and they’re going to be really good in the future but right now it’s a learning curve,” said Pereira, who is in his 37th year in charge of the program. He added, “We don’t get too many goals, so we have to take them where we can.”
Taunton almost answered back immediately, but another shot found the side-netting. The Bombardiers could have doubled the advantage in the 28th minute when Russo found Nathan Laplume for a scoring chance only to be denied by Gambaradella at full stretch. The rebound fell kindly to Halben but he smashed his shot off the crossbar of the goalposts just above the net.
The next chance for either team would not come until nine minutes after the break when Lawrence had a shot saved and then his follow up was blocked out for a corner by Dan DeAndrade. That would be the last clear-cut chance for either team until the final three minutes of the game.
As end-to-end as the first half of the game was, the second turned into a midfield stalemate with both teams clogging up the middle of the pitch and limiting the opposition’s ability to get the ball into the final third. First-year Taunton coach Taylor Whitters credited the Tigers defense for closing the gaps and taking away space in the second half.
She added, “It’s just a matter of trying to stick with and learn our shape and try to be quicker with transitioning. That’s something we’ve been working on and I think they did a really good job of it in the second half especially.”
With a chance to secure a tournament spot on the line, Attleboro started to look a little nervous in the second half and passes started to go astray. Pereira said, “It was an ugly game but we’ll take it. We didn’t want to make mistakes and we were making mistakes.”
At the back, senior Harry Lancaster was there to clean up most of the mistakes, alongside fellow center back Tyler Treichler, and keep Taunton from taking advantage. “Harry’s been solid every game,” Pereira said. “He has absolutely saved our butts. He’s our top player. He’s a great captain and his soccer has been great at the back.”
Joseph nearly set up Lawrence in the closing minutes but the cross just missed the forward at the back post. With the clock stopped in the final two minutes, Russo had a chance blocked on the slide by Liam Crowley and then Lawrence flicked a pass to Russo who pushed it on to Austin Champagne, but Gambaradella came through with a stellar dive down to his left to deny the second goal.
“We missed a couple opportunities to out the game away,” said Pereira, “but what are you going to do? We’ll take it, we’ll organize and get ready for our last game, which is big for them because it’s for the cup.”
Assessing her first year in charge, after three years with the freshman program, Whitters said, “We have a very, very young team, so I’m very proud of all the accomplishments they’ve had this year. We’ve made lots of little victories along the way and I’m really excited for next year.”
Attleboro (7-5-5, 7-4-5) will close out the regular season on Saturday afternoon in the annual Leach and Garner Cup against North Attleboro.
The Tigers can check that off the list for 2016.
Oliver Ames scored a pair of second half goals and senior Ben Kemp made a couple of big saves as the Tigers landed a 2-0 win over Attleboro. The win gives Oliver Ames 17 points on the season, qualifying them for the D2 MIAA South Tournament. The win was also Barata’s 100th career win.
“We’re happy, we finally got in,” Barata said. “It took a little longer than I think I might have expected after I saw us play early in the season. But we struggled to score goals. On a positive note, it’s good to start getting these goals as we’re going into the tournament, it’s better than peaking too soon. We’re pretty happy with the way it worked out and very happy to be in the tournament now.”
In a relatively even first half, both OA and the visiting Bombardiers had decent scoring chances. A corner kick in the 11th minute fell to the feet of OA senior Joe LaBrosse but his low chance was blocked by a defender at the post.
In the 18th minute, Attleboro senior Tyler Treichler denied OA of two solid scoring chances. First, it looked as though OA sophomore Nathaniel Cardoza would have an open look from the left side of the area but a slide tackle from Treichler denied the bid. Less than a minute later, LaBrosse had a chance from inside the area but once again Treichler got his leg in the way.
Attleboro registered it’s first real chance in the 29th minute as Nick Lawrence was given some space for a shot from just outside the area but Kemp got a piece of it and smothered the rebound. A minute later, McCormick had a go from just outside the area but OA but Hasenfus was quick to get down and handle it.
Oliver Ames was content to sit back for the majority of the half, and did so to start the second half. The team’s patience paid off less than 10 minutes into the second half, as Oliver Ames saw an opportune time to press.
Cardoza chested down a clearance and took a touch towards the final third. He was able to push the ball past a defender towards the touchline, forcing Hasenfus to come out. Cardoza slipped the ball back to the middle where McCormick was able to tap it in to make it 1-0.
“I think the challenge is they don’t expect it from OA, because we’ve always pressed high and kind of run and gun and get forward, possess a little bit and then get forward again. By us sitting back, opponents have to make adjustments,” Barata said. “We like it because control the tempo, we can go slow, we can go fast, we can go in between. The best part about is, teams just give it to us sometimes because they try to go over the top or through the middle and then our guys are good when we have the ball. It can be frustrating to try and beat. So far, we’ve been successful doing it.
“We talk about trigger points on when to press, when to get forward. It’s not me shouting out when to press, it’s the kids recognizing triggers. It wasn’t perfect but it’s added an element to our game.”
“We have everything but the final third,” Attleboro head coach Peter Pereira said. “We can’t get the ball up and find the guys there. I have some of young guys trying to do some running but the final third, nothing got going. First half was kind of an even game. Second half they came out a little bit hungry, they had a couple of chances and they took it to us. We’re not a team that can come back, we don’t have the fire power. We can win the close ones but once they got the second goal, it was difficult to come back.”
The Bombardiers had their best chance in the 57th minute. Zach White’s free kick spilled to the right side of the area where senior Harry Lancaster was able to track it down. He launched a service back in front of goal where freshman Michael Russo put a header right on frame but Kemp came flying back into position to stop it.
“Ben made a huge save for us there,” Barata said. “He came out several times to deny some chances too, he has been great all season. All of our seniors have been great. They have really worked hard and helped accomplish our first goal, which is to qualify for the tournament.”
Oliver Ames doubled the lead just four minutes later in the 61st minute. Lawrence launched a throw in in the attacking third that found Cardoza in the area. The junior flicked the ball on, right to the head of classmate Cam Vella for an easy header into the net.
“We’re happy to put that [set piece] away,” Barata said. “The kids were joking how it was such a great sub because Vella had just gone in, it was his first touch. It’s something we’ve tried to work on, so many teams in this league can do it, and we have some kids who can too. So might as well work on a flick and it worked out for us tonight.”
Attleboro drops to 5-5-5 overall, with 15 points. The Bombardiers need to get 18 points to qualify for the postseason and have three games left to get those three points.
“We need three points in three games,” Pereira said. “We should be able to get it but everyone wants points now. The kids are working are, I’m sure we’ll do it. We’ve played all the big boys now we need to get some points from the final games.”
Oliver Ames boys soccer (7-4-3) is headed back to the postseason after going to the D2 State Final the last two years – winning it all a year ago. The Tigers’ seventh win of the season was also Barata’s – and assistant coach Fred Kurtz’s – 100th career win.
“I’m thrilled because it’s about parent support, school support – the administrators have been very supportive – and then my boys,” Barata said. “The kids are awesome, it’s their wins, they’ve won 100. I’m here to guide them along the way. Coach Kurtz and I have been here for almost eight seasons. It’s a wonderful honor for the school, for the kids and for the Easton soccer program. It’s a wonderful milestone but now it’s over with but it’s been a lot of fun.”
FOXBORO, Mass. – As teams enter the final weeks of the regular season and points are at a premium, Foxboro and Attleboro settled for one apiece as they fought to a 0-0 draw at Sam Berns Community Field.
Despite dominating the majority of the first half, and recording more scoring chances in the second half, Foxboro was unable to find the back of the net, hitting the crossbar once and being stopped by Attleboro goalie Nick Hasenfus on other attempts. Meanwhile, the Bombardiers continued to be frustrated by the Warriors’ high pressure and their lone serious chance of the second half was blocked away before Bobby Harrison was forced into a save.
“We have to pick up points,” Foxboro head coach Joe Franchino said. “The guys fought hard, I thought we were the better team today. We were knocking it around, we had the possession and we had the chances. You just have to keep grinding, it’s been the nature of the season so far. The boys aren’t quitting though, it was just unfortunate we didn’t get a goal.”
After Attleboro registered the first scoring game in the 13th minute – a sequence between Aidan Lancaster and Ahijah Joseph resulting in a shot over the bar from Nick Lawrence – it was essentially all Foxboro for the final half hour of the opening stanza.
In the 25th minute, Beigel sent in a low service to the near post where freshman Joe Cusack got a touch to it but Hasenfus cut the angle down and got just enough to keep it out.
Three minutes later, after a corner was partially cleared, a service from Will Regan eventually was deflected to Barreira, who volleyed a rocket right off the crossbar and out.
The Warriors had two chances in the final minute with Spinney finding Cusack at the near post but his shot was wide and then Cusack returned the favor by playing Spinney in but Hasenfus denied his shot to send the teams into the halftime break scoreless.
“The first ten minutes is a feeling out period, looking at the formation they are playing, matching up players, have to be defensive minded in that first ten minutes,” Franchino said. “But once we got in a groove, we pushed players on and I thought we had the better play and the better opportunities.”
“We’ll take any tie because our goal is to get points,” Attleboro head coach Peter Pereira said. “We need points, we have four left so any point is great. Obviously [Foxboro] played better than we did, we got lucky because they hit the bar and they had a few opportunities. But we’re going home with a point so that’s excellent. It was one of our weakest games. We just had our best game last game and it was 0-0 then too. We dominated that game but here today, no. Foxboro was hungry, they were winning the 50/50 balls and had opportunities. The first half was all them. I don’t usually call timeouts but Foxboro was just putting pressure on us.
“The second half was more even but they still won more of the 50/50 balls. Anthony [Barreira] is deadly around the area. He’s a big boy, he’s got a good touch so he’s difficult. Harry [Lancaster] does a good job with anybody and he did with him.”
The Bombardiers registered the first chance of the second half when Austin Champagne pounced on a loose ball off a corner kick but his bid was blocked.
Foxboro’s AJ Bubencik had a shot from just outside the area saved by Hasenfus in the 57th minute and Barreira had a similar shot smothered by Hasenfus in the 61st minute.
“He’s been solid,” Pereira said of Hasenfus, who notched his sixth shutout of the season. “He talks, he gets the kids going, the kids have confidence in him now. He’s been a total surprise, I had no idea. He’s been playing JV. He’s been playing ODP for the last couple of years so he’s been getting the training and he’s been absolutely awesome for us. And with Harry [Lancaster] and Tyler [Treichler], they play solid, Harry’s been our MVP for the season.”
The Warriors continued its pressure and it resulted in another good bid. Barreira played Spinney wide but his shot just rolled wide at the far post in the 67th minute.
“I think that’s the difference from where we were at the beginning of the year to now is the pressure in the center of the park,” Franchino said. “We’re not letting teams play. It’s just getting the right mixture of the right players. Even our outside backs stepped up and our backline was pushing players on. We’re not just winning balls in the defensive third, we’re winning them in the attacking third and middle third which makes a huge difference. We just have to keep grinding.”
Attleboro had its best chance in the 70th minute when Joseph sprang Will Halbem in behind the defense but before he could uncork a shot in the area, Foxboro’s Shawn McNamara slid in and pushed the ball out for a corner kick.
Foxboro boys soccer (2-7-3, 1-7-3), which has earned at least a point in four of its last five games, will look to continue that trend when they travel to Sharon on Monday. Attleboro (5-3-4, 5-2-4) travels to Wrentham to take on Kelley-Rex leading King Philip the same day.
But with just under six minutes to play, Attleboro senior Tyler Treichler got on the end of a set piece service and used his head to tuck the ball on the inside of the post and give the Bombardiers a 1-0 win in both team’s first game of the season.
As the game ticked into the 75th minute, the Bombardiers earned a free kick near the corner flag. Junior Zach White played it short, only to get it back immediately. He drove a cross to the back post and Treichler was able to jump up in a sea of players and get his head to the ball, putting it just inside the post, making it nearly impossible to stop.
“We’ve been sending the two guys from the back up for corners and set pieces because they can head the ball, so that paid off,” Attleboro head coach Peter Pereira said. “We have a good team and the kids are working hard, that’s what we we are. We’re young but we work hard.
“The freshmen are giving everything they have and that sets the tone for the other kids. We have a while to go though, this is most of the kids’ first ever game playing together because of the ages are so different. I was happy with the performance and of course the points are even more important.”
Each team had just once serious chance in the first half. Lancaster’s low free kick to the near post was deflected to freshman Michael Russo in the 8th minute, but his shot on frame went right at Canton goalie Abe Garber.
Canton nearly took the lead just seconds later off when Paul Corcoran took off down the right flank, centering a pass for Ben Waterhouse but Attleboro goalie Nick Hasenfus came off his line and just got in front.
The Bulldogs started off on the front foot in the second half, finding a chance in the 47th minute, Corcoran sent in a low cross to the near post, where Cole Duserick got a touch on but the ball spun just out of the reach for Waterhouse to get a clean shot and it slipped wide.
Canton’s Jake Verille made a nice run in the 65th minute into the final third but his shot was saved by Hasenfus. Two minutes later, White played Connor Dunn wide and his cross was met at the far post by Nick Lawrence, bit his bid back across goal went wide. Lawrence’s shot three minutes later was stopped by Garber as well.
That led to Andre going for a 50/50 ball on the right sideline, earning a free kick just by the corner. That led to White’s service and Treichler’s winner.
“Attleboro played great, I thought they they had the territory in the first half. We actually had the possession in the first half but we kept the ball in our end so it didn’t do anything for us,” Canton head coach Danny Erickson said, also praising Attleboro’s defensive effort. “They were really dangerous, keeping the ball that first half. I thought we turned it around and had the ball down their end the whole second half, they had a couple glimpses and then they took advantage of a set piece and scored a really nice goal. I don’t think he was completely open, I thought we were on him but he scored a great goal. I thought we gave them a great fight in the second half though but it’s onto the next one.”
Attleboro’s defense was bolstered by Lancaster, who has made the switch from an attacking option to a center back for his senior year. It seemed anytime that Canton had something going in the final third, Lancaster was there to cause a problem.
“Harry is doing well for us. He was playing midfield but I felt like I needed someone back there,” Pereira said. “He’s got the speed, he’s got the experience. He’s covering for everyone back there. With Treichler next to him, he’s learning with Harry too. Then we rotate four sophomores in the wings and we’re hoping they’ll do the job.”
By HockomockSports.com Staff
2016 Kelley-Rex Boys Soccer Preview
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.”
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.