Capsule outlook of the area’s high school boys’ soccer teams
High school boys’ soccer outlook
Coach: Christian Gompert (2nd year)
Last year: 9-9, lost in quarterfinals
Returning starters: Tom Esdale, sr., D; Garrett Kunz, jr., D; Isaac Nowland, jr., MF; Spencer Nowland, jr., F
Outlook: The Bears had a solid season last year, which ended with a tournament loss at the hands of eventual champion Windham, but the going could be tougher this year. Coe-Brown was a senior-laden team last year, and with the hits caused by graduation and a rule that prohibits U.S. Soccer Development Academy players from playing for high school teams, the Bears will have to try to stay competitive with 12 new players on the roster. Still, Coe-Brown has bright spots and reason to expect success in 2013.
Esdale and Kunz will form a solid defensive duo coming back, and both Isaac and Spencer Nowland give the Bears talent up front. Coach Gompert also said he expects contributions from the newcomers, which include freshmen Ethan Barbeau and Corbin LeBlanc, and that the team will adjust as the year goes on. “There is a mix of incoming seniors, juniors and sophomores … that will all augment our overall success with their ability and experience,” he said. “We are excited what the entire new batch brings to the field.”
Teams to beat: Windham, Hollis-Brookline
Coach: Jeff Vogt (4th year)
Last year: 9-10, lost in semifinals
Returning starters: Mike Prindiville, sr., G; Josh Morin, sr., F; Cam Williams, sr., MF; Serge Boucher, sr., F; Brandon Dugay, sr., D; Jackson Easter, so., D
Top newcomers: Gregg Sawyer, jr., F; Tyler Caswell, jr., MF; Hunter Lemay, jr., MF; Isiah Lovering, fr., F; Ryan Nelson, fr., D; Tim Currier, fr., D
Outlook: Last year was a dream season for the Generals, but Vogt doesn’t see why John Stark’s rise has to stop there. The Generals went 7-9 before pulling off a pair of upsets and advancing to the Division II semifinals, and their coach says the team won’t start over, but pick up where it left off. “Our goal is to build on our end-of-season success from last year,” he said. “This group has set some high goals. … I think they can accomplish them.” It helps to have the continuity Stark has on offense. All forwards are back, as well as most of the midfield, and the team also has All-State honorable mention Prindiville back in net. The challenge will be on defense, which lost All-State second teamer Tyler LeGrand and two other starters to graduation, but freshmen Nelson and Currier will aim to help ease the burden in their first seasons at the varsity level.
Teams to beat: “Division II will be very competitive top to bottom again this year,” Vogt said.
Coach: Mark Boucher (14th year)
Last year: 2-13-1, did not make tournament
Returning starters: Andrew Peick, sr.; Cole Remillard, jr.; Nate Mulleavey, jr.; Scott Schoffield, jr.; Noah Seltzer, jr.; Jarrett Davis, so.; Tim Bortnick, so.
Top newcomers: Matt Doyle, jr.; Christian Welch, jr.; Adrian Bolte, so.; Ben Davis, fr.
Outlook: Offense was an issue last season for the Pride, which was blanked in eight of its losses. Another year’s experience should help MV, however, which will look to Davis, Peick and Bortnick to lead a still improving attack, while Mulleavey and Schoffield will lead a solid defense. Goalkeeper remains to be decided between Johnathin Bailey, Hudson Aldrich and Chase Mercier, and if the offense continues its progression and develops playmakers, the Pride could start the move up in Division II.
Teams to beat: Windham, Lebanon, Oyster River
Coach: Peter Bisson (6th year)
Last year: 10-7, lost in first round
Returning starters: Alex Trujillo, sr.; Austin Sartwell, sr.; Brendon Pettigrew, sr.; Parker Heath, sr.; Josh Payeur, sr.; Spencer Nowe, sr.; Andrew Goulet, sr.
Top newcomers: Jeremy Caruso, jr.; Chandler Boyce, jr.; Justus Turk, jr.
Outlook: After seeing their season end with a loss in their first playoff game last year, the Spartans have reason to believe in bigger, better things in 2013. A strong core returns from last year’s team, led by Division II All-State honorable mention Pettigrew, and nine seniors will give Pembroke an advantage in experience over most teams it plays. According to Coach Bisson, the challenge for the Spartans will be consistency, and making sure they take advantage of their strengths game in and game out to ensure they’ll be near the top of the standings when the season begins to wind down.
Teams to beat: Windham, Lebanon, Con-Val
Coach: Michael Foley (14th year)
Last year: 19-1, D-III runner-up
Returning starters: Joe Boles, sr.; Austin Haddock, sr.
Top newcomers: Chris Duggan, Kyle Gelinas, Colby Leroux, T.J. Hennessey, Tyler Fleming, Chris Marden, Cory Derosiers
Outlook: The Red Raiders had a senior-laden team last year and cashed in, rolling through the tournament and getting to the brink of a title before falling short against Bow. Now comes the consequence, as 14 seniors, including five All-State picks, have left and Belmont is facing what Coach Foley termed a “building year.” That being said, the Red Raiders still have some quality pieces coming back. First on that list is Boles, a senior midfielder who was voted second team All-State last year. Foley praised his leadership, as well as that of returning players Haddock and Matt Leclair, and expressed confidence that, after some early hurdles, the Red Raiders should be a factor in the playoffs again. “We will take baby steps as we go through the season,” he said. “There will be a lot of team building early on, and as we progress, we have our sights set on another playoff run.”
Teams to beat: Bow, Hopkinton, Gilford
Coach: Ryan Joy (3rd year)
Last year: 4-11-1, did not make tournament
Returning starters: Brett Michaud, Pat Bittman, Thomas Pelchat, Dylan Thomson, Coleman Riefke, Jake Davis, Tucker Tripp, JP Nemcovich
Outlook: With eight players returning to starting positions, Bishop Brady has reason to believe it’ll field a more competitive team this season and crack the Division III playoffs after missing out in 2012. “It is a talented bunch of players,” Joy said. “I would not be surprised (if) some of the teams who usually anticipate any easy game against the Giants struggle.”
Teams to beat: Bow, Hopkinton
Coach: George Pinkham (17th year)
Last year: 18-2, D-III champion
Returning starters: Sam Cheney, sr., MF; Nate Riera, sr., D
Top newcomers: Owen Molind, so., MF; Thomas Poulin, so., D
Outlook: Despite having 16 seniors on the roster, the Falcons don’t return a ton of experience from last year’s state championship team, but that probably won’t matter too much. Bow doesn’t rebuild, it reloads.
“We are an untested veteran team,” Coach Pinkham said. “How the untested members of the team adapt to their roles and make an imprint on the identity of the team will determine where we are in November.”
Teams to beat: “If you are going to win a championship in D-III this year, you will have to go through Hopkinton,” Pinkham said. “They return the most talent.”
Coach: John Limoge (3rd year)
Last year: 1-15, did not make tournament
Returning starters: Jake Gagne, Sadie Kaplan, Kyle Sims, Dillon Sylvester, Kayle Shepard, Matt Streeter
Top newcomers: Giovanni Lemon
Outlook: The Golden Tornadoes are still putting the pieces together after a one-win season. Limoge said it’ll be a rebuilding year in Franklin, with underclassmen filling in to handle key roles on the field.
Teams to beat: Bow, Gilford, Hopkinton
Coach: Will Titus (2nd year)
Last year: 9-9, lost in second round
Returning starters: Max Parenteau, sr., MF; Brett Bennett, sr., G; Tristan Brooks, sr., D; Thomas Hines, sr., D; Sidney Livingston, sr., D; Josh Gould, sr., MF; Dominic Downs, so., D
Top newcomers: Shane Kelly, so., F; Thomas Irving, so., MF; Troy Girard, jr., MF; Ryan Edsall, so., D
Outlook: With a goalie, four defenders and two midfielders returning to the starting lineup, the Hillcats certainly should be sound defensively. If the players stepping into the offensive roles can continue to improve and make an impact, H-D could find itself among the contenders. “A strong returning core with some important newcomers, coupled with a very strong goaltender has our expectations raised for this season,” Coach Titus said. “A large freshman class is also adding depth and competition for positions. We are setting our sights on a deep playoff run this season.”
Teams to beat: Bow, Hopkinton, Raymond
Coach: Scott Zipke (8th year)
Last year: 17-2, lost in semifinals
Returning starters: Doug Fleury, sr., F; Matt French, sr., MF; Brian Hauschild, sr., D; Liam McNicholas, sr., D; Robbie Ferguson, jr., G; Riley McNicholas, jr., MF; Zach Rouleau, jr., MF
Top newcomers: Wes Rose, sr., MF; Evan Ruderman, jr., F; Tim Jones, so., D; Nick Fleury, so., D
Outlook: The Hawks will feel the effects of the seven seniors lost to graduation, but there’s still talent all over the field, including a very capable and experienced goal scorer (Fleury) and a very capable and experienced goal stopper (Ferguson). “This year we have some skilled players, but we’re much younger and will need to find some leadership to help guide the team,” Coach Zipke said. “It may take the team some time to jell, but I expect us to be in the hunt in most games by the end of the season.”
Teams to beat: Bow, Laconia, Raymond, Fall Mountain
Coach: Rob Ragazzo (25th year)
Last year: 9-8-1, lost in quarterfinals
Returning starters: Nick Bailey, sr., F; Andrew Vanhooydonk, sr., F; Karver Bosela, sr., D; Reed Bell, sr., D; Roudy Rehor, sr., MF; Bobby Lauster, sr., MF; Tad Sternberg, jr., D; Jacob Donovan, so., MF
Outlook: Almost all of last year’s starters are back for Kearsarge, but they’ll be pushed by a promising group of newcomers. It should be a good mix for the Cougars as they look to make a return trip to the D-III quarterfinals and beyond. “Our goal is to blend our nine returning players with nine talented but young sophomores,” Coach Ragazzo said. “Our seniors are great leaders and should bring the team together.”
Teams to beat: Bow, Hopkinton
Coach: Ray Juneau (1st year)
Last year: 4-11-1, did not make tournament
Returning starters: Mike Buxton, so., G; Sean Buxton, sr., MF; Jason Robinson, sr., D; Nick Welch, sr., F/MF; Christian Stock, sr., MF; Ben Wentworth, sr., F; Corey Leroux, sr., MF; Spencer Pedine, sr., D
Top newcomers: Chad Couture, so., F; Marshall Bordeau, jr., MF; Henry Stock, so., D; Nicolas Weisman, so., F/MF
Outlook: After a season in which the Bears struggled to score en route to missing the Division III tournament, new Coach Ray Juneau (who coached from 1994-96 at Bishop Brady and last coached in high school at Merrimack in 2006) has tried to implement a more structured offense and defense, and is looking to get an offensive spark from midfielders Welch (a second-team All-State choice last year), Buxton, Stock and Leroux. But the coach thinks the Bears have an edge in their athleticism, and with keeper Buxton playing with a year of experience under his belt, he thinks Winnisquam can target a spot in the middle of the playoff field. “I’m definitely optimistic about it. I like what I see out there,” Juneau said. “We definitely have some talent, it’s just a matter of them putting it all together.”
Teams to beat: Bow, Belmont, Gilford
Coach: Phil Pincince (6th year)
Last year: 1-15, did not make tournament
Returning starters: Colin Lockwood, sr., D; Adam Sylvester, jr., MF; Connor Nee, so., MF
Top newcomers: Duncan Nee, fr., MF/D; Chase Draus, fr., D; Roy Pietrek, fr., D; Sam Lamorey, fr., D
Outlook: Last season marked a significant regression for a Kingsmen squad that had made the playoffs the year before, and Concord Christian has the pieces in place to try to move back up in the standings. There’s a group of starters back and a handful of new, talented players to help Concord Christian in its recovery from a year that saw it score only four goals all season.
Teams to beat: Derryfield, Wilton, Sunapee, Moultonborough
Coach: Derek Hamilton (6th year)
Last year: 7-7-3, lost in first round
Returning starters: Chris Farr, sr., D; Max Tuttle, sr., MF; Colby Clark, jr., G; Willard St. George, jr., D; Ryan Marquis, jr., D/MF; Jesse Slater, so., D/MF; Casey Ward, so., F
Top newcomers: Xenthios Cyr, fr., F; Gabe Anthony, fr., MF; Eli Johnson, fr., MF; Noah MacGlashling, fr., D/MF
Outlook: With seven starters returning from a playoff squad, Pittsfield could be looking at its deepest team in years. The Panthers will be led by Tuttle, a senior who was voted All-State honorable mention last year. Even with the returners, Pittsfield has some thinner areas on the field to work out as the season progresses, notably at forward where Ward is the lone returning starter. A talented cast of freshmen and sophomores will help, however, and the Panthers will look to be a threat in Division IV.
Teams to beat: Derryfield, Sunapee, Moultonborough