Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Bridgton Academy Soccer Season Recap

Rishad DeSilva '15
The Bridgton Academy Soccer Team had one of its strongest seasons of the past decade, qualifying for the NEPSAC Class A Tournament for the first time since 2005.  With an 11-8 regular season mark amda 9-4 record in Class A conference play, first-year head coach Eric Zimmer can be satisfied with his first year in charge, yet continues to strive to push the program even further next year.

The Wolverines started out strong, going 4-1 in their first 5 games.  Strong wins against NEPSAC Class A powerhouse Hotchkiss School in front of a filled stadium, as well as a hard fought victory in the rain against Kent School were only offset by a tough loss to the #1 ranked team in the nation, St. Benedict’s Prep out of New Jersey.

After a win against Belmont School in Belmont, Massachusetts, the Wolverines suffered tough losses to Nobles & Greenough as well as Dean College, where injuries decimated the team, as they finished the game against Dean College with only 8 men on the field.  However, they were able to recover some key players in time for their showcase game against Westminster School and came away with a 4-0 win playing in front of over 100 collegiate coaches from Division 1, Division 2, and Division 3 programs.

Tough losses to Phillips Exeter and Phillips Andover were split by a homecoming win against Bowdoin College’s Junior Varsity team.  Despite still struggling with missing personnel, the Wolverines were able to run away with their next two NEPSAC conference games, winning 5-0 away at Kent’s Hill School and 4-0 at Trinity-Pawling School in New York.  However, tough 3-2 losses to both Williams College and the Wolverines 2nd match versus Bowdoin College left the Wolverines determined and focused going into their match with the #1 ranked prep school in New England, Berkshire Academy.  Despite an excellent early goal from forward Bruno Mallman-Colon (Sao Paulo, Brazil) and a courageous team effort across the field, the Wolverines were not able to hold on for the victory, falling 2-1 in the final minute of play.

The heartbreaking loss to Berkshire Academy motivated Bridgton to close out the season strong, going on an impressive three game winning streak to end the season.  A win at home against Hebron Academy was followed by an impressive 3-1 victory against NEPSAC Class B Runner-Up South Kent School in a neutral site match at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell.  A hat trick by forward Joao Oliviera (Sao Paulo, Brazil) led the Wolverines in a game that they controlled from the first whistle to the last, while a standout performance by goalkeeper Malachi MacDonald (Rockville, MD) kept the Cardinals off of the score sheet until the 85th minute.
Malachi MacDonald '15

The regular season concluded with a victory over Brewster Academy to clinch a berth into the NEPSAC Class A Tournament for the first time in 8 years, where the Wolverines were set to face off against undefeated powerhouse Milton Academy.

In the Class A Quarterfinals, the Wolverines displayed tremendous heart and determination early on, but failed to capitalize on several opportunities. Malachi MacDonald was superb for the Wolverines and kept them in the game, coming up with one physics defying save after another. Milton Academy netted their first goal in the 44th minute with only seconds left in the first half to take a 1-0 lead. The Wolverines left it all on the field in the second half, where Malachi McDonald did everything he possibly could to give his team a chance to tie, but the relentless attack from Milton proved too much for the Wolverine defense, and their season came to an end with a 2-0 loss.
The offense was led all year by the Brazilian duo of JoaoOliviera and Bruno Mallman-Colon.  Oliviera finished the season with 10 goals and 6 assists, while Mallman-Colon contributed 13 goals and 7 assists.

The midfield for the Wolverines was controlled by All-American watchlist members Javon Brown (Ajax, Ontario) and Thomas Rizzoli (Washington, D.C.), who combined for 3 goals and 7 assists.

On the defensive side, the Wolverines were anchored by centerback duo Liam Daley (Branford, CT) and Benjamin Caples (Wayland, MA). They were joined by the Wolverine's only goalkeeper Malachi MacDonald, who proved himself to be the savior of the season.

At the end of the season, midfielder Javon Brown as well as centerback Liam Daley were selected to the NEPSAC Senior All-Star team, and Head Coach Eric Zimmer was selected to coach the East Senior All-Stars.

All members of the 2014-2015 Bridgton Academy soccer team can keep their heads held high knowing that their efforts resulted in one of the best seasons for Bridgton Academy in the past decade, and helped build the foundation for a bright future for Bridgton Academy Soccer.  

Bruno Mallman-Colon '15

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

BA vs. Phillips Exeter

The Bridgton Academy Wolverines took to the road for the last time in 2013 to face Class A rival Phillips Exeter Academy. The game started off as Coach Perron predicted, with Exeter booming balls long over the top and the BA boys trying to settle the game down and possess. For the first 20 minutes, BA would hold the majority of the possession even without two of their top players and Division 1 prospects Casey Hamill and Nicholas Kaiafas (Card infraction/Concussion respectively). The first two goals of the game would fall  to Exeter however, as their long ball tactic forced the BA backline into two mistakes. It was 2-0 Exeter within a span of 2 minutes and this is the way the half would end. BA would make a formation change for the Second and it worked well of the start only to see Exeter put away their third off a counter attack. 3-0 Exeter. It would have been easy for the boys to wilt away under these circumstances under the lights, in front of 500 raucous and unruly fans though the boys came back and fought harder. Brian Wheeler would put one goal away on a looping shot to draw the boys a bit closer, 3-1, his second of the campaign. Minutes later, former Hanover teammate Eric Miller Headed home the second goal off a longer service into the box. 3-2 was the scoreline with 10 minutes to go. BA put together at least 3 more quality chances as it seemed everything began to come together during that second half though the boys would come up just short. The score finished 3-2 in what would be another disappointing loss for the BA side.

Friday, November 1, 2013

BA vs. Hebron Academy

Wolverine soccer took to their shortest road trip of the season traveling just 40 minutes over to Class C power Hebron Academy. The game started out a bit frantic as both teams were trying to gain a foothold and figure each other out. After the first 5 minutes, Bridgton would eventually settle the play down and begin to control possession and move the ball around. Qais Sidiqi would open the scoring just 17 minutes in off a corner kick in which he bent a beautiful ball into the upper corner of the goal. 1-0 to the BA Wolverines. Despite the Wolverines holding much of the play, the scoreline would stay this way at halftime. The second half saw Hebron hold a lot more of the play as Bridgton came out sloppy in the first 10 minutes. They finally got it together and a nice combination play down the right flank between Sam Anderson, Dimitri Roumeliotis and Qais Sidiqi eventually led to a beautiful cross from Anderson to a waiting Brian Wheeler on the back post who volleyed the shot home for a 2-0 lead. Hebron would pull one back 10 minutes later but BA calmly responded after a nice ball from Andrew Gass found Connor Reagan open in space and he finished nicely to the lower corner. The score would finish 3-1 to BA.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

BA vs. South Kent

A weary BA side traveled to Merrimack College this past Sunday to take on one of the perennial powers of New England in South Kent.  The boys fought hard for 90 minutes but without 2 of their better players sidelined with concussions they had a tough time getting a consistent attack going. They would fall 2-0 at the hands of a strong South Kent Side.

By: Coach Perron

BA vs. Hyde School

The BA boys soccer team took to the road again for a matchup against Hyde school on their parents weekend. After a run of a couple tough results, the boys hoped to climb back into the win column in this matchup. The boys came out sharp, dominating about 80% of possession throughout the game which led to their opening goal. Off a free kick into the box, a loose ball found Tyler Greene at the six yard box who drove it home for his second goal of the season. 1-0 to the good guys. This score would remain until the second half when a hyde player cracked a 30 yard bouncing ball into the back of the net to tie the score at 1. Connor Reagan took exception to this effort from Hyde in the next five minutes collecting a miss clearance around half field, dribbling swiftly to the corner and across the box and slotting a beautiful pass to Sam Anderson who laced his second goal of the season home for a 2-1 lead.  Hyde would tie the score minutes later on a long driven set piece into the box which was miss handled by the BA keeper/defense allowing the loose ball to be fired home to tie the score. The score would end 2-2.

By: Coach Perron 

Friday, October 25, 2013

BA vs. Berkshire School

The Bridgton Academy boys soccer team hit the road to take on New England Power and #1 ranked Berkshire Academy. The game was played in a minor league professional soccer stadium in Ludlow, MA, one in which Coach Perron used to call home in his professional playing days. Unfortunately, the boys play in the first half reflected a 4 hour bus ride and they were down quickly 2-0 within the first 10 minutes. It was a very lethargic first half for Bridgton while the talented Berkshire team came out firing on all cylinders. The boys came out at halftime finally ready to play and their play showed it, dominating the first 20 minutes but unfortunately came up with 0 goals to show for it. The final score would read 5-0 in favor of the Berkshire school and yet another disheartening loss for the BA Wolverines.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

BA vs. Pennington School

For the first time in program history, Bridgton Academy Soccer took to the road to face one of the top prep soccer programs in New Jersey in the Pennington School. Pennington has a rich soccer tradition and a history of success, a great out of league opponent for the boys but also a time for some bonding for the team on the 7 hour bus trip. In the first 20 minutes, you could already begin to see the improvement and chemistry growing among the BA players. They began to trust each other and move the ball quickly creating the first 2 chances of the game. Unfortunately, these chances wouldn’t amount to goals and with 28 minutes left in the half, Pennington would climb on the board after a nicely slotted through ball found a strikers feet and he calmly slotted home for a 1-0 lead. Not 2 minutes later a service from the top of the 18 found an unmarked Pennington player at the 6 yard box who headed home for a 2-0 lead. After a hard fought second half, the score would finish 2-0 to the home side Pennington School. It was another tough defeat for the boys but a big time learning experience to say the least.

By: Coach Perron