Nashua area high school boys soccer teams embrace fresh start

Staff photo by TOM KING Nashua South goalie Roe Hendrick will be one of several key Panthers as the season opener draws near.

Could this be a step forward for local high school boys soccer teams?

Last year only one team, Campbell, made it to a division quarterfinal. Nashua South won 11 games, the only local Division I team above .500. Four local teams overall missed the postseason altogether, and one (Milford) went winless.

It’s got to get better, right?

First off, South has to find a way to recover from the transfer to Alvirne by last year’s freshman scoring sensation Alvaro Ramirez, the 2017 Telegraph Player of the year.

It’s tough to replace 20-plus goals.

“We’re trying to come up with them somewhere,” said Nashua coach Joe Morgan, whose team opens up at defending champion Concord this Tuesday. “As of now it doesn’t look like we’re having much trouble, but it doesn’t really mean anything in my eyes.

Manchester Central, which blanked South 4-0 in last year’s tournament first round, is considered a favorite, along with Bedford, plus possibly Londonderry and Hanover.

In Division II, big things are expected from Hollis Brookline because of a lot of junior-senior depth, despite losing 11 upperclassmen from last year’s team that likely expected to go further than the first round of the

tournament.

Even Cavs coach Steve Martus acknowledges he expects a lot.

“We should be a top contending team this year that turns some heads,” he said.

Some agree.

“Jumping out of the gate, I expect Hollis to be one of the top teams,” Souhegan coach Dave Saxe, who has to replace 16 seniors, said, adding that Stevens joins Division II for the first time.

Others to watch would be the usual suspects ConVal, Lebanon and defending champion Pembroke.

Campbell suffered its second straight quarterfinal loss last year but the Cougars have a new coaching triumverate in the Miller family, led by former college coaches Bill and Aaron, with Aaron taking the lead. Expect another contender. Wilton-Lyndeborough looks to rebuild in Division IV, but Kristin Schwab’s team, winners of 10 games a year ago, should still be a tough opponent.

Here’s a look:

DIVISION I

ALVIRNE

COACH: Marcos Vieira Filho (first year)

LAST SEASON: 2-14, did not qualify for tournament.

RETURNING STARTERS: Jake Natola, sr. def-mf; Alex Clarke, sr. fd; Garrett Lambert, sr. mf; Jackson Ramalhinho, sr. fd; Nicholas Cardenas, sr. fd-mf.

OTHER RETURNING LETTER WINNERS: Charlie Thomas, so.def.

PROMISING NEWCOMERS: Mason Brooks, fr.goalie; Jake Dufour, fr.mf.

COACH’S COMMENTS: “We’ve seen a lot of great things,” assistant coach Michael Ottman said, speaking for Vieira-Filho, who is out of the country this week. “We know it was a tough year last year but we should bounce back.”

BISHOP GUERTIN

COACH: Valdemire “Rocky” Roque (first year).

LAST SEASON: 2-13-1

KEY PLAYERS: Trent Porcelli, sr. fd; Sean Kelley, so.mf; Mark McGaughey, sr. def.

COACH’S COMMENTS: “We have six seniors, and I am confident we can do better this year,” Roque said. “The kids are fantastic when it comes to behavior and discipline. … We have a lot of work, but we will get there.”

MERRIMACK

COACH: Mark Papp (second year).

LAST SEASON: 3-15, did not qualify for tournament.

RETURNING STARTERS: Carter Tess, sr. mf; Lars Rattunde, sr. mf; Liam Nguyen, sr.mf; Steven Wilson, jr.def; Aidan Smith, jr. def; Jonathan Paulhamus,jr.mf; Rosendo Lopez, so.mf.

OTHER RETURNING LETTER WINNERS: Sam Cusson, sr.; Josh Knauer, sr.; Mark DiPirro, sr.; Carter Sherman, jr.; Jack Goodwin, jr.

PROMISING NEWCOMERS: Gabriel Victal, so.

COACH’S COMMENTS: “Last year was a tough one,” Papp said. “This year’s team is hungry to turn heads this season. And I believe they have it in them to do just that.”

NASHUA NORTH

COACH: Josh Downing (third year).

LAST SEASON: 5-10-1, lost to Hanover in first round.

RETURNING STARTERS: Tyler Downing, sr. mf; Thiago Ferreira, sr. mf; Colin Miller, jr. mf; Ryan Downing, jr. def; Tony Jones, sr. def; Martin Flaherty, sr. def.

OTHER RETURNING LETTER WINNERS: Joey Morse, jr. mf; Colin McMahon, jr. mf.

PROMISING NEWCOMERS: Gabe Buxton, jr. foalie; Stephen Norris, so.def; Sami Dieu-Merci, jr.fd; Ely Ostler, jr.fd; David Guzman, sr.mf; Matthew Urrea, so.mf; Quinn Hilger, so.mf; Caua De Freitas, fr.fd.

COACH’S COMMENTS: “We have a good mix of returning players and new players,” Downing said. “We are a fairly young team, but the talent is there. I look forward to seeing how the team comes together as the season progresses.”

NASHUA SOUTH

COACH: Joe Morgan (third year).

LAST SEASON: 11-5-1, lost to Manchester Central in first round.

RETURNING STARTERS: Roe Hendrick, sr. goalie; Patrick Hyde, jr. def; Kody Lopez, sr. def; Emanuel Orozco-Alvarez, so.mf; Ryan Santoro, sr. def.

OTHER RETURNING LETTER WINNERS: Jacob Dukeshire, jr. mf; Hugo Destintonio Munoz, jr. mf; Riley Olsen, jr. def; Chris Dawe, jr. mf; Adel Bouziane, jr.def; Matthew Keisling, so.fd; Matheus Senna, jr..fd; Lucca Soares, jr. fd.

PROMISING NEWCOMERS: Sidd Dutta, so. mf.

COACH’S COMMENTS: “We haven’t given up a goal in preseason and we’ve scored something like 15-16,” Morgan said. “That could mean nothing, or it could mean a lot of things.”

DIVISION II

HOLLIS BROOKLINE

COACH: Steve Martus (third year).

LAST SEASON: 12-4, lost to Goffstown in first round.

RETURNING STARTERS: Ryan Coutu, jr. goalie; Mark Labak, sr. def; Andy Basque, jr. def; Kyle Simpson, sr. def; Dale Jacobs, sr. mf; Joe Dias, sr. mf; Bryan Wright, so.mf; James Kennedy, jr. fd.

OTHER RETURNING LETTER WINNERS: Max Burns, jr. mf; Josh Ide, jr. def.

PROMISING NEWCOMERS: Felix Yang, sr.def; Ethan Smith, so.fd; Liam Troddyn, so.mf; Danny Kennedy, so.def; Aidan Chretien, jr.fd; Noah Swart, so.mf; Aidan Maguire, jr. fd; T.J. McKenna, jr. mf; Chase Adams, jr. def; Jake Sacks, jr.def.

COACH’S COMMENTS: “We lost nine seniors and two juniors from last season,” Martus said, “but we’ve gained a lot of fast, talented juniors and senior sthat mesh well together on the field. We have a smart athletic defense and fast breaking offense.”

MILFORD

COACH: Frank Chase (first year).

LAST SEASON: 0-16, did not qualify for tournament.

RETURNING STARTERS: Jakob Leo, sr. fd; Ryan Thompson, sr. fd; Max McDonald, sr. def.

OTHER RETURNING LETTER WINNERS: Paxton Ducharme, jr. mf; Logan Harwood,jr.def; Colby Clark, jr. mf; Jakob Harper, jr.def; Connor Winder.

PROMISING NEWCOMERS: Tyler Ducharme, Eric Mrozek, Will Nichols, Manulo Alagna, Zach Smith, Mason Michelowski, Nicholas Giordano, Noah Matthews, Conor Sullivan.

COACH’S COMMENTS: “Our strong senior leadership coupled with returning letter winners and the new rising talent, MHS will see success this season,” Chase said.

SOUHEGAN

COACH: Dave Saxe (23rd year).

LAST SEASON: 7-8-1, lost to Lebanon in first round.

RETURNING STARTERS/LETTER WINNERS: Khaled Nazeer, sr. mf-fd; Josh Lacaillade, sr. fd-mf; Ethan Lim, so. mf-def; Alex Lin, so. mf-def; Ethan Littlefield, so.def.

PROMISING NEWCOMERS: Pat Conway, sr.def; Seth Facey, sr.mf; Rylee Young, sr.fd; Tristan Colby, jr. mf; Michael Estabrook, jr. def-fd; Miles Drum, so.mf; Ethan Ramm, so.goalie; Sebastian Parker-Christou, so.mf; Simon Trombley, so.mf; Jack Forristall, so.mf-fd; Camden Fritz, sr.def; Hunter Guest, fr.mf; Ian Doherty, jr.def; Evan Loconto, sr. mf-fd; Ryan Lockitt, fr.goalie; Chris Weeden, fr.def-fd.

COACH’S COMMENTS: “After losing 16 seniors, we are looking youthful,” Saxe said. “We are looking to improve steadily during the course of the season.”

DIVISION III

COACH: Aaron Miller; co-coaches Bill and Zachary Miller (first years).

LAST SEASON: 13-4, lost to Raymond in quarterfinals.

RETURNING STARTERS: Matt Rollend, sr. mf; Tyler St. Onge, sr.def; Brenadn Douglas, sr. goalie; Zack Kirby, sr. def.

OTHER RETURNING LETTER WINNERS: Justin Furlong, sr. fd; Ethan Burns, sr. def; Zach Rousseau,mf; Jacob Oberto, jr. mf.

PROMISING NEWCOMERS: Nico Heller, sr. def; Joaquin Heller, jr. mf; Jack Noury, fr.goalie.

COACH’S COMMENTS: “Expectations are high,” Aaron Miller said. “If they can adjust to new philosophies on and off the field, the strong senior group and incoming freshman class could pull this small school squad together.”

DIVISION IV

WILTON-LYNDEBOROUGH

COACH: Kristin Schwab (third year).

LAST SEASON: 10-6, lost to Woodsville in first round.

RETURNING STARTERS: Cody Swett, sr. mf; Owen McGettigan, sr. def; Jack Schwab, jr.fd; Samuel Bailey, sr.goalie; Dylan Pfeil, mf; Sam Townsend, so.def; Sean Brennan, fr.mf/def; Troy Brennan, fr.mf/def.

OTHER RETURNING LETTER WINNERS: Jacob Boette, jr. mf/striker; Ian van Ham, sr. def; Paul vanBlarigan, so. mf.

PROMISING NEWCOMERS: Dominic Hutchinson, fr.def; Nathan Browne, fr.mf; Chris Yurcak, so.mf/def.

COACH’S COMMENTS: “We lost three strong seniors last season and have some rebuilding to do,” Schwab said. “We still have a very strong offense and if the defense stays strong, the season will be successful.”