By John Orrell, Contributing Writer
Hudson — The Hudson High School boys’ varsity soccer program has achieved winning records in each of its past three seasons. From 11-7-2 in 2013 to 9-8-2 in 2014 and 11-7-1 in 2015, the Hawks have done all the right things to make each of those campaigns successful.
But as rewarding as those accomplishments are, they have ended with early post-season knockouts, which is a trend that first-year head coach Phil Barros and players anxiously seek to reverse heading into the new season. Could this be the year that the tide turns with a deep playoff run? Players and coaches think so.
“This is a very young team,” said Barros, who is assisted by Joshua Periera. “We have good senior leadership and good returning players from the past two or three years that are repeat contributors to this team. I think what will bring us over the top will be a mix between the younger players meshing with the senior leadership and that should lead us deeper into the playoffs.”
“One thing that I’ve expressed to the team, especially defensively, is to be on the same page. They took that to heart and now they’re all hanging out as a team and that’s something as a coach makes me glad to see come together. I think chemistry is important especially when it comes down to the tougher games later in the season when push comes to shove and that can carry us over the top.”
The team hosted Lunenburg High School Sept. 7 and came out on the wrong end of the ledger dropping a 3-1 decision that was highlight by a goal scored by Stefano Maiuri. One game does not define a team’s season, players and coaches know, but areas of improvement can always be addressed.
“We needed to get our heads in the game a lot quicker today,” admitted senior co-captain Mateus Andrade. “Until we got down by two goals we then started playing as a team. We just have to do that more. We’re a very young team but we’re willing to come out here and do our best.”
“We need to go to the ball a lot more often,” explained fellow senior co-captain Ryan Kahn. “A ball will be in the middle of two people and we seem to go as hard as we can to win the ball but we need to find someone who’s open.”
Seeing things from a different perspective is Mike Davis, also a senior captain. “I like how we’re able to keep the pace up and get up as a team and be able to attack the net as a unit and then retreat when they’re counter-attacking. Today, they (Lunenburg) just kept on getting the ball to the corner and crossing it. We need to work on defending the cross better and that’s what killed us today.”
A number of talented and experienced players have departed due to graduation but one player whose absence will be felt most profoundly is 34-point scorer Mike Conley. Conley, a T & G all-star and Midland B MVP, netted 25 goals in 2015 and ranked second in League scoring and third overall in Central Mass. Such production will be hard to replace, but not impossible, according to Barros.
“We can’t replace that with one player so we have a group of attackers that are very intricate to the team and will play a very important role,” Barros said.
The 2016 Hudson High boys varsity soccer team consists of seniors Brandon Rego (M), Antonio Ramirez (F), Ryan Kahn (D), Mike Davis (D), Jared Colbert (G), Mateus Andrade (F); juniors Sam Thompson (D), Josh Hatch (F), Andrew Barndt (D), Kyle Anderson (G); sophomores Nate Murphy (M), Stefano Maiuri (M), JT Fallon (F), Mohamad Chaouieche (F), John Bobe (D), Rene Benitez (F) along with freshmen Jose Davalos (M) and Andrew Souse (M).