By John Orrell, Contributing Writer
Westborough – No less than 11 seniors from the Westborough High School (WHS) boys’ varsity soccer team graduated this spring leaving what might be considered to some a gaping hole in the Rangers lineup for the advancing season. 2016 was a banner year for the team that earned a berth in the Division 1 state championship game so could an encore be possible with so many shoes to fill?
“We lost a lot of players and a lot of those seniors were starting but I think a lot of the younger kids in the program have great potential so that should help a lot,” said senior co-captain Tyler Stott, who will be one player counted on heavily by head coach John Hillier this season. “Our team this year will be younger kids but they’ll be able to step up because there’s a lot of talent there. We have a strong core of seniors still left because a lot of juniors last year started so we have plenty of guys who’ll be there to help us win. I think we’ll be just fine.”
Stott, a 6’2” center/back who has played on varsity since his sophomore year, has already earned a distinction that any serious high school soccer player would be over-the-top envious of. He has already been recruited by Division 1 Boston College and will take his place as a BC Eagle player in 2018, pretty heady stuff for an athlete who has yet to step on the field for his senior year.
“It’s been a lot of hard work leading up to this and now that I know where I’m going is just great because I don’t have to focus on that my senior year,” he said. “I know what I’m doing for college and I’m really excited about that but first things first because we have a new season coming and we’re all playing hard for that.”
Hillier has named Stott as one of five co-captains that will take the field when the bell rings for the new campaign. His performance and contributions to the team both on and off the field speak for themselves.
“Tyler is a competitor. He wants to win every time he steps on the field,” said Hillier. “Tyler always plays to win and doesn’t have to be the leading scorer on the team. He understands that team comes first. If the team needs a goal, you can bet that Tyler will either try to set it up or score himself. He always seems to know the right time to join the attack.
“He’s very laid back and has a wonderful relationship with his teammates. He always seems to have a smile on his face and does his best to provide a positive atmosphere on and off the field.”
Stott was first introduced to soccer at age 3 and with four siblings who have all played the game it was more than probable that he would take to the game. He has competed on a number of club soccer teams, attended camps and has put his heart and soul into improving his game.
“I’ve always tried to focus on leadership even when I wasn’t a captain whether it was helping someone who needed it or talking to them on the field,” said Stott. “Also, for my club team, I’ve been a captain in the past so I’m kind of used to it. I think it’s important to lead by example and that’s what I intend to do this year.”
The storied 2016 season is in the rear view mirror but will never be erased by coaches, players and team supporters.
“It was unfortunate that we didn’t win (the state championship), but just getting there was unbelievable,” said Stott, who performs community service as a Meals-on-Wheels driver for the Westborough Senior Center. “Our team fought the hardest and a lot of our games went into overtime so that shows how bad we wanted it and how hard we fought to get there.
“It’ll be important this year to have a good start because you don’t want to lose games because those games can come back to bite you. One loss early can prevent you from winning the league. Getting the team to know each other at the beginning of the season so we can see who we mesh with and figuring out formations and what works is what we need to do most.”