Aztecs soccer shooting for league title
Marlborough - Led by a mix of game-tested veteran seniors and promising underclassmen, the Assabet Valley boys varsity soccer team is having a year to remember.
The Aztecs entered play this week with a 10-2-1 overall record and a 9-1-1 mark in the Colonial Athletic League (CAL). A showdown this week with Blackstone Valley Tech could decide the league championship.
"We're playing well right now – we have all season," Assabet Valley coach Paul Airoldi said. "The success we're having is really something that's been building the last four or five years. We've consistently qualified for the district and vocational school tournaments and the last three years have been in the mix for the CAL title at the end of the season, too. I guess you could say we've picked up the pace quite a bit over that time period."
Leading the Aztecs is a senior class and a lineup that features the play of talented striker Hoiry Arroyo, midfielder Mike MacDonald and goalkeeper Christian Guzman, as well as Gerson DeLeon, Bob McGeehan, Sean Hughes and Carlos Rodriguez.
Arroyo and MacDonald serve the team as co-captains.
Arroyo is Assabet's leading scorer with 21 goals and six assists. During the week of Oct. 15 through 19, he scored four goals in a 9-0 shutout of Nashoba Tech and followed that up with a three-goal eff ort in a 7-1 win over Bay Path. Both victories were CAL games.
"Hoiry is very fast," Airoldi said, "and his soccer skills are exceptional. He's nimble and he handles the ball extremely well at speed."
Sophomore striker Gui Chaves is the Aztecs' No. 2 goal-scorer, with 11, to go along with six assists. Junior forward Oliver Carbajal is the team's second-leading overall scorer, with 10 goals and 14 assists so far this season.
"Hoiry, Gui and Oliver lead the way, but our scoring has been very balanced," Airoldi said. "I have a number of players on the roster that have scored three or four goals and have notched anywhere between one and four assists so far this season."
Key juniors on the team include two sets of twins – Devin and Dana Deveaux and Luis and Enrique Melgareja – and Yany Escobar. Devin Deveaux, Luis Melgareja and Escobar are all midfielders while Dana Deveaux and Enrique Melgareja are defenders.
Sophomores Airoldi relies on include defender Yeyson Arroyo, Lorenz Ayala and Luis Navas. Freshmen that see time are backup goaltender Mike Gonsalves and Jose Ayala.
"The seven seniors are key, but we have a ton of younger players that are doing very well also," Airoldi said. "Losing the seniors will be very tough, but having the underclassmen ready to step in and fill their roles is important as we go forward into the future."
With all the younger players coming up through the system, one issue Airoldi struggles with on a day-today, game-by-game basis is who among the 38 players in the program gets one of the Aztecs' coveted blue-andgold game jerseys.
"Without a junior varsity program, that's really a struggle I go through every night before a game," Airoldi said. "And I agonize over those decisions, trying to find the right mix between veterans I need and younger players I feel I must get playing time."
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