Text and photos by Steev Riccardo
Webster – The Bartlett Indians boys soccer team may be coming off a 10-6-3 playoff season and the loss of several key players, including Central Mass all-star Nick Kobel (11 goals, 25 total points) and ace goalkeeper Tyler Mandeville (1.21 GAA), but no one around the green team seems to be calling this a rebuilding season.
“I knew that this transition was ahead of me so I planned as best I could last year,” said Indians head coach Ryan Renault. “We had four freshmen last year who are sophomores now, that had enough talent and played the right positions for me to move them up and play on varsity.”
What Renault did with these four freshmen may have seemed like a risky maneuver at the time, but a year later it may be the number one reason why the coach isn’t calling this a rebuilding year. Feeling that they were as ready as they could be to play, he chose to start these four players for the first six or seven games, which he felt would “help the team in the transition of losing a goalie and key scorer.”
The gamble paid off and these freshmen (Jacob Simonis, Jacob Murphy, Dylan Murphy, Kody Morio) are now ready to move into key roles for the Indians.
“Simonis played sweeper for me the first half of the year and the only reason I took him out of that wasn’t because he was doing anything wrong. It was because I wanted a senior back there with more experience as we moved to the later stages of the season and into district play. This year he is playing forward but I know if I need him, I can move him back to help out.”
Jacob Murphy, who was being looked at closely to play goalkeeper up until junior defender Evan Anderson broke his collarbone, will now get key minutes at fullback.
“I think he (Jacob Murphy) struggled a little bit more with less playing time as the year went on. I talked to him a lot over the summer about why I did what I did and he said he understood that.”
Even though the four are only sophomores, Renault said they have more experience than many of the juniors on the team and since the team has only two seniors in Nick Terranova and Jacob Gatto, they will be on the field and counted on.
In fact, Gatto will be not be starting, but used in a reserve role because Renault “needs a guy with experience to play that role and he knows he needs to step it up, as does Terranova” and will.
Senior co-captain Nick Terranova
“We are a young team but have these kids that started last year and they can play,” said Terranova. “We still have a decent amount of experience even though we only have two seniors. It will be hard without Evan, but we can trust Murph back there in his place.”
Gatto, who has a great attitude, also sang the praises of Jacob Murphy and said he prefers to have him in the field rather than in goal. “We don’t completely depend on one player. Jacob Liseno and Brendan Walker are both playing amazing. We just have to play smart and talk to each other.”
Junior Brendan "Cup" Walker
Renault also mentioned Walker, who he refers to as “cup” and said he has a good touch and he hopes to see him also step up as more of a team leader.
Anderson, also a junior, who will be out for at least 3-4 weeks, likes the team. “We are looking good, we are young but if everyone is communicating and we are the same page we should be fine.” He also agrees with Gatto that Walker and Liseno will be key to the team’s success.
The real key, however, to the team’s ultimate success could be replacing Mandeville, who was extremely dependable in goal last season.
With Jacob Murphy playing Anderson’s position, it looks like sophomore Brian Tondel will get the nod in goal at least for the start of the season. Gatto likes Tondel’s ability. “He is really good, he’s small, but he can really move.”
Renault feels the pair are “interchangeable” and they “both bring positive things. (Jacob) Murphy has a knack for being in the right place at the right time and he has good hands and Tondel has really improved, he cuts down angles really well.”
Sophomore goalie Brian Tondel
Anderson agreed and said that “Tondel has come a long way, I have confidence it him.” He also said he has confidence in Jacob Murphy.
The Indians play at Grafton on Thursday,September 6, at home on against Millbury on September 10, and face key SWCL rival Oxford at Oxford on Wednesday, September 12.
- Sunday, 09 September 2012
- Posted in Categories: : Sports