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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Alvirne, Hollis Brookline focusing on another title shot

2014 High School Boys Soccer Preview

Three of the state’s best players are back for another shot at a championship.

Alvirne, attempting to return to the Division I final, where it lost 2-0 to Hanover in 2013, will follow the lead of forward Brett Richardson and midfielder Raul Stedile. The two Broncos seniors were at the top of their respective games a year ago – with Richardson scoring 19 goals and Stedile (five goals, eight assists) controlling the midfield – as Alvirne went 17-3 on its way to the title game. ...

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Three of the state’s best players are back for another shot at a championship.

Alvirne, attempting to return to the Division I final, where it lost 2-0 to Hanover in 2013, will follow the lead of forward Brett Richardson and midfielder Raul Stedile. The two Broncos seniors were at the top of their respective games a year ago – with Richardson scoring 19 goals and Stedile (five goals, eight assists) controlling the midfield – as Alvirne went 17-3 on its way to the title game.

Even with the two stars returning for their senior campaigns, Broncos fourth-year coach Jeff Blackwell knows it will take other players stepping up to secure a return trip to both the tournament and its final.

“With an almost entire turnover of starters,” Blackwell said, “we’ll need discipline and patience to perform well individually, while working on building our team chemistry.”

The Marauders are the favorite to repeat as they sit one program title behind Honolulu Punahou High School in Hawaii in the record books.

The win over Alvirne secured Hanover’s first Division I title and 18th in program history – 1968 and 1975 statewide; 1977, 1979 and 1980 in Class AA; 1987, 1990, 1992, 1993, 1999, 2000, 2005-2009 in Class I; 2010 in Division II; and 2013 in Division I.

Likewise in Division II, another rematch could be in the works.

For two straight seasons Hollis Brookline has fallen to Windham in the final, and the Cavaliers may just get one more crack at the Jaguars this fall.

Leading the way for HB is Telegraph Player of the Year and one of the state’s premier players on the pitch, Cole Owens. The senior striker scored 24 goals and assisted on nine more on his way to being the leading vote-getter for the Division II All State Team in 2013.

Friday’s season opener between last year’s finalists in Hollis could be a tone-setter for the season. That will be the Cavaliers first opportunity to show fourth-year coach Rick Carvalho they are
following his game plan.

“Good finishing, good possession through the midfield,” is what Carvalho is stressing, along with perhaps the biggest key to victory, “Keeping balls out of our own net.”

Others challenging for the top spot include Lebanon, Goffstown, Oyster River and Souhegan, who is led by the talents of senior midfielder Matt Hopfenspirger.

Wilton-Lyndeborough and Campbell are in transition years in Division IV and Division III,
respectively.

The Cougars are trying to learn a new system under former Campbell girls coach Bob Gannon.

“As a team they are now in the process of learning a new style of play, one that involves every player on the field and not just one or two,” Gannon said. “They are used to a kick-n-run style and I am asking them to play a faster and more controlled style that emphasizes defense everywhere on the field.”

Eight-year coach Steve Martus has his Warriors working on the fundamentals of the transition game.

“We’re working on transitioning the ball up the field,” Martus said, “and playing together as a team.”

DIVISION I

Alvirne

COACH: Jeff Blackwell (fourth year)

2013: 14-2; lost in Division I final.

RETURNING STARTERS: Brett Richardson, sr., forward; Raul Stedile, sr., midfielder.

OTHER RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Matt Lubinski, sr., forward; Jake Schofield, sr., keeper; Nick Sweeney, sr., defense; Andrew Teague, sr., midfielder; Nate Gosselin, so., midfielder.

KEYS TO A SUCCESSFUL SEASON: With an almost an entire turnover of starters, the Broncos must stay focused on the pitch. Fourth-year coach Jeff Blackwell says Alvrine will be relying on “Team discipline and patience to perform well individually, while working on building our team chemistry.”

Bishop Guertin

COACH: Paul Ostberg (third year)

2013: 1-15; did not qualify for tournament.

RETURNING PLAYERS: Ryan McGaughey, sr., midfield; Wes Vanderburgh, sr., forward; Kurt Rockstrom, sr., defense; Bailey Custeau, sr., midfield; Jacob Christie, jr., defense; Cameron Holdsworth, jr., defense/forward; Angelo Kotsironis, jr., midfield; Matt Nigro, jr., midfield; Ryan Schweirzer, jr., keeper; Travis Walsh, jr., defense; Gabe Holt, so., defense; Simon Holt, so., defense; Joe Early, so., defense; Nolan Hilger, so., midfield; Cole Neily, so., forward; Michael Rinko, so., keeper; Udit Sharma, so., defense.

PROMISING NEWCOMERS: Justin Thompson, sr., forward; Matt Hauntsman, fr., keeper/forward; Simon Morrier, fr., midfield; Drew Stone fr., midfield.

KEYS TO A SUCCESSFUL SEASON: Cooperation and team defending are third-year coach Paul Ostberg’s main objectives. How do the Cardinals succeed in these areas?

According to Ostberg: “Desire, determination and dedication.”

Merrimack

COACH: Ryan Farnsworth (third year)

2013: 7-9-1; lost in first round of the tournament.

RETURNING STARTERS: Matt Coburn, sr., midfield; Zachary Curran, sr., forward; Nicholas Kachmar, sr., back; Conner Pearson, sr., back; Steven Sexton, sr., midfield; Riley Clark, jr., back.

OTHER RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Chase Bantham, sr., midfield; Paul Davidson, sr., back; Dylan Richardson, sr., midfield; Austin Thomson, sr., keeper; Owen Tracey, jr., forward.

PROMISING NEWCOMERS: Sean Courtemanche, jr., midfield; Ethan Harrington, jr., midfield; Cameron Liddell, jr., forward; Jordan Meaney, jr., midfield.

KEYS TO A SUCCESSFUL SEASON: For third-year Tomahawks coach Ryan Farnsworth, success can be built on a sense of urgency. For Merrimack that means “playing every game with the focus and determination as if it were a playoff game.”

Nashua North

COACH: Igor Monteiro (first year)

RETURNING STARTERS: Andrei Jungkman, sr.; Sebastian Murray, jr.; Shayne Seidl, sr.; Zach Pyke, sr.; Kenny Robinson, sr.; Jack Healy, jr.

OTHER RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Brett LeBlanc, so.; Jack Stone, so.; Mohamed Abukhalaf, so.

PROMISING NEWCOMERS: Jimmy Gutierrez, fr.; Andreas Strobl, so.

KEYS TO A SUCCESSFUL SEASON: According to first-year coach Igor Monteiro, the Titans will be playing a attractive and smart soccer.

“We will focus on players playing their position’s role correctly and play as a team,” he said. “We will focus on passing the ball as a team, attacking as a team and defending as a team.”

Nashua South

COACH: Jared Barbosa (first year).

2013: 4-13, lost in first round of tournament.

RETURNING PLAYERS: Christopher Jimenez, jr., keeper; Srishail Thapa, sr., midfield; Ryan Guidaboni, sr., midfield; Evan Lowe, sr., back; Mauricio Acevedo, jr., forward; Kevin Batista-Dos-Santos, sr., midfield; Brian Barrows, sr., back; Daniel Dukeshire, so., forward; Alex Hoffman, sr., forward; Dody Eid, jr., midfield; Jesus Armenta Flores, jr., midfield; John Bianchi, jr., defense.

KEYS TO A SUCCESSFUL SEASON: “Believing in ourselves and that we’re a good team,” Panthers first-year coach Jared Barbosa said. “Players know they are all good individuals, but the important thing is to believe in one another as a team.”

DIVISION II

Hollis Brookline

COACH: Rick Carvalho (fourth year)

2013: 16-3; lost in Division II final.

RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Cole Owens, sr.; Nathan Rogers, sr.; Evan Porter, sr.; Michael Pattelena, sr.; Alex Reynolds, sr.; Sam Langley, sr.; Joe Demaio, sr.; Cam Tulley, jr.; Jack Barbour, jr.; Sam Hall, so.

PROMISING NEWCOMERS: Guillem Pujadas, sr.; Hugh Devlin, sr.; Zac Crooks, jr.; Andrew Bisbee, jr.; Kyle Pittman, jr.; Scott Stone, so.; Nick Wood, so.; Jonathan Brackett, fr.; Joe Brown, fr.

KEYS TO SUCCESSFUL SEASON: As far as Cavaliers coach Rick Carvalho is concerned, there are three things his team must do to return to the Division II title game:

“Good finishing, good possession through the midfield, and keeping balls out of our own net.”

Milford

COACH: Jim Tallarico (ninth year).

2013: 0-15-1; did not qualify for tournament.

RETURNING STARTERS: Major Wheelock, sr., back; Drew Jepson, sr., midfield; Qyn Young, sr., midfield; Gabe Chevalier, sr., back; Liam Shea, sr., midfield; Chris Pervere, jr., keeper; Tom Simo, jr., forward.

OTHER RETURNING LETTERWINNER: David Spalding, jr., back.

PROMISING NEWCOMERS: Devon Audibert, sr., midfield; Jason Care, sr., forward; Max Ayotte, jr., midfield/back; Jeremy Wisbey, jr., back; Mason Mallows, so., back; Austin Martel, so., back; Jacob Wilder, so., midfield; Russell Lippitt, so., forward; Gordon Shenk, so., forward; Mike Federico, so., midfield.

KEYS TO A SUCCESSFUL SEASON: Milford traditionally has a fairly small program and this year is no different. Last season the Spartans lost four starters to season long injuries and transfers along with many games due to lesser injuries which made it impossible to compete at the level expected. This season Milford is hoping to avoid all major injuries and, according to coach Jim Tallarico, “If we can do that, we should be able to play competitive, attractive soccer and make a run at the postseason.”

Souhegan

COACH: David Saxe (19th year)

2013: Lost to eventual champion Windham in quarterfinals.

RETURNING PLAYERS: Matt Hopfenspirger, sr., midfield; Reed Larson, sr., back; Jasper Jones, sr., midfield; Teigue Young, sr., keeper; Pat Noble, sr., back; Devan Casey, sr., forward; Ely Marciano, jr., midfield; Josh Anson, jr., midfield.

PROMISING NEWCOMERS: Nick Scavetta, so., back/midfield; Chandler Fleuette, so., back/midfield; Ali Eweiss, so., forward; Luke Berry, jr., forward/midfield; Josh Massa, jr., midfield/back; Nate Chamberlain, so., back; Tim Driscoll, so., back; Erik Richardson, so., midfield; Mason Young, so., midfield; Mitch Greany, so., back.

KEYS TO A SUCCESSFUL SEASON: The Sabers are focused on taking care of the ball in order to become a possession-oriented team.

“We’ll be very organized in our defense,” 19-year coach David Saxe said. “Our team leadership is a stellar group of seniors leading every step of the way, providing great modeling, great teaching and real inspiration.”

DIVISION III

Campbell

COACH: Bob Gannon (first year)

2013: N/A.

ROSTER: Chris Beauregard, sr., back; Connor Cote, sr., back; Nicholas Covert, sr., forward; Jake Guarino, sr., midfield; Kevin Robinson, sr., forward; Daniel Wallace, sr., keeper; Thomas Wallace, sr., back; Christian Wallenmaier, sr., midfield; Riley Grant, jr., midfield; Zach Perault, jr., forward; Gabriel Rosa, jr., back; Kyle Shaw, jr., back; Hayden Stagnone, jr., back; Ben Cote, so., back; T.J. Furlong, so., midfield; Matt Gagne, so., keeper; Ben LaBatt, so., midfield; Keegan Smith, so., midfield; Evan Mun, jr., midfield; Sean French, so., keeper; Brandon Mason, so., back; Nathan Dillow, fr., forward; Sean Gannon, fr., forward; Tyler Grant, fr., midfield; Jake Scafidi, fr., midfield.

KEYS TO A SUCCESSFUL SEASON: After five years with the girls program, Bob Gannon jumps over to coach the boys. Changes are underway. “They are used to a kick-n-run style and I am asking them to play a faster and more controlled style that emphasizes defense everywhere on the field,” Gannon said. “Several younger players are going to get some significant playing time based on how they have approached the season with their conditioning and field presence, including sophomores Keegan Smith, keeper Matt Gagne, and midfielder T.J. Furlong.”

DIVISION IV

Wilton-Lyndeborough

COACH: Steve Martus (eighth year)

2013: NA.

ROSTER: Chris Ballou, sr. midfield/defense; Connor Melrose, sr., keeper; Matt Ducharme, jr., defense; Skye Williams, sr., midfield; James Bogdon, so., forward; Trevor Paquin, sr., midfield; Michael Manning, jr., midfield; Jake Levert, fr., forward; Jacob Yurcak, fr., defense; Jacob Clare, so., defense.

KEYS TO A SUCCESSFUL SEASON: The Warriors are working on their transition game and playing together as a team.