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.

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Ryan Lanigan

Ryan Lanigan is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of HockomockSports.com. You can contact him at RyanLanigan@hockomocksports.com and follow him on Twitter at @R_Lanigan.
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