Monday, September 28, 2009

Six Unanswered Goals Send BA to Victory

Bridgton Soccer matched its win total from a year ago in just its sixth contest of the year. The Wolverines picked up a 6-1 victory over Winchendon School for their fifth win this year. Standing at 5-0-1, the Wolverines are yet to lose a game this season, however found themselves in a situation they had not yet faced this year. Bridgton allowed the first goal of the game for the first time this season, however that was not until the second half of the game.

Entering the half the teams were tied 0-0, Ryne Tillman (Bedford, MA) kept the first half shutout intact by making a great save on a breakaway attempt in the tenth minute. The Wolverines were not without chances, they missed several opportunities as their inability to finish in the first half continued. During halftime Coach Mellon spoke to his team about the importance of coming to play right from the start. "Winchendon was another physical team, and made us realize that we are not invincible."

The second half started with Winchendon taking a 1-0 lead just five minutes into the half. From that point on it was all Black and Gray. BA went on to score six unanswered goals to win the game going away 6-1.

Rob Palumbo (Kingston, NH) got Bridgton on the board first as he was able to finish a pass from Omar Kharabil (Hampstead, NH). Four minutes later twin brother Steve Palumbo (Kingston, NH) scored off of an Ethan Martin (South Burlington, VT) pass. Martin was then on the receiving end of a pass from Rob Palumbo, which he volleyed into the top corner. Bridgton then scored three goals in nine minutes to finish the game off with a furry. Collecting goals were Steve Palumbo, Ronaldo Vieira (Framingham, MA), and Martin in the 80th, 81st and 89th minute respectively. Vieira assisted on Steve Palumbo's second goal of the game as the other two went unassisted.

Ethan Martin finished the day with five points on two goals and an assist, his second consecutive game scoring two goals. Steve Palumbo collected two goals, his second consecutive game with at least one goal. Rob Palumbo had one goal and one assist, and Vieira collected three points on one goal and one assist.

"Once we adjusted to their style of play, we were able to stop what they were trying to do on offense and attack them," said Captain Steve Palumbo. "They were more skilled than other teams we have played, so once they scored we needed to step up."

Coming off a game in which the Wolverines edged out a 4-3 victory over Milton Academy, Assistant Coach Tom Bishop said the difference was, "our intensity, being down made us play harder and as soon as we scored in the second half we were a different team."

Bridgton has two home games this week, on Wednesday at 4:00PM against Bowdoin JV and then on Saturday at 3:30PM during Parents Weekend they take on Holderness School.

#7 Nick Christensen jumps for header

#3 Rob Palumbo crosses the ball

Ryne Tillman prepares for a corner kick

#8 Omar Khartabil beats a Winchendon defender

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Martin's six-point day leads Bridgton past Milton

Ethan Martin, (South Burlington, VT) who played a hand in every Bridgton goal, capped a two goal, six point game with two second-half markers, as Bridgton got by Milton Academy 4-3.

Playing short handed for the entire first half, including having a forward in goal, the Wolverines were able to jump out to a 2-0 lead in the first ten minutes. In the third minute Dave Roberson (Fareham, England) buried a shot from 25 yards out off of a full volley clear from the Milton defense. Martin, collected the assist on the play. Just seven minutes later, Martin fed Steve Palumbo (Kingston, NH) who found the back of the net to give BA an early 2-0 lead. However, the Wolverines would allow Milton to climb back into the game, tying the score 2-2 at the half. Coach Mellon said of the first half, "once we got a lead, we sat back and allowed Milton to take advantage of our inexperienced goalie."

In the second half BA was at full strength, and Ethan Martin in the 60th minute found the back of the net on a pass from Ronaldo Vieira (Framingham, MA) who had returned to his usual forward position from playing keeper in the first half. Martin scored what would be the eventual game winner in the 80th minute on an assist from Omar Khartabil (Hampstead, NH).

Speaking of Martin's game Coach Mellon said, "It was a much needed game for Ethan, who has had some trouble finishing, it was a good game for his confidence, because he is a big part of our offense. It was great to see Steve (Palumbo) score today as well, because he has been having trouble finding his shots, and going forward will be a very important player for us."

With a few days before the Black and Grays' next game, it allows Mellon to focus on what he calls, "the tasks at hand, including individual aspects, and coming together on the pitch as a team."

The Bridgton Academy Wolverines have their home opener Sunday at 2:00 PM against Winchendon School, for the Traditions Cup, which Winchendon currently holds. Bridgton will look to recapture the Cup as Winchendon has outscored BA 14-1 in the last two meetings.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Wolverines Take Navy Prep 6-1

In a game that provided a bit of redemption for last years lopsided loss, the 2009 Bridgton Academy soccer team traveled to Newport Rhode Island to take on Navy Prep in a game that went heavily in Bridgton's favor 6-1.

Rob Palumbo (Kingston, NH) had his second hat trick of the season, book marking the game with the first goal and last goal of the day. His first score came in the 6th minute off freekick assist from Omar Khartabil (Hampstead, NH) who caught the Navy keeper off gaurd. A short bit later Omar scored an unassisted goal in the 18th minute. Navy Prep put a ball in the back of the net in the 27th minute and the game went into half time 2-1.

Coming out of the half Rob Palumbo put Bridgton up 3-1 with a shot off a Dillon Flynn (Chapel Hill, NC) assist in the 58th minute. Less than five minutes later Khartabil put another shot in net, unassisted, in the 63rd minute. Less than ten minutes later Ronaldo Vieira (Framingham, MA) put a ball on Ethan Martin's (South Burlington, VT) foot which he put into the back of the net to put the game comfortably out of reach. Palumbo, however, wasn't done and again was the recipient of a nicely place ball by Vieira to finish the game 6-1 and with his second hat trick of the season.

Speaking about the game Coach Mellon said, "It was everything I expected it to be, having played them last year. A very physical game, which the refs lost control of early on. I am glad to be on the winning side this year."

Bridgton travels next to Milton Academy on September 23rd.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Bridgton Academy Blanks Thayer Academy 4-0

Coming off of a disheartening tie with Providence Country Day School, the Wolverines put together a dominating performance against Thayer Academy en route to a 4-0 victory. In what was a physical, high pressure game Bridgton controlled the ball the entire game. The low scoring first halves continued for the Wolverines, picking up where the last game ended, Ethan Martin (South Burlington, VT) returned the favor to Omar Khartabil (Hampstead, NH) with a cross that Khartabil converted to lead the Wolverines into the half with a 1-0 lead.

At the half Coach Mellon told his players to be patient and the opportunities would come, and they did. In the 69th minute Dillon Flynn (Chapel Hill, NC), scored his second goal in two days, on an assist from Khartabil. Less than five minutes later in the 73rd minute Martin scored what Mellon called, "a much needed goal," on an assist off of a clear from the back field by Taylor Backhaus (Ashford, CT), making the score 3-0. Khartabil once again got in on the scoring action, converting a pass from Steve Palumbo (Kingston, NH).

Khartabil finished the day with five points on two goals and an assist. Martin had 3 points, including his second goal in two games. Ryne Tillman (Bedford, MA) collected his second shutout of the season with five saves.

Bridgton next travles to Newport, Rhode Island on September 19th to take on Naval Academy Prep School, a team which Coach Mellon says, "was the best conditioned, and most physical team a year ago, and I expect them to be no different this year."

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Wolverines Tie Providence Day School 2-2

Bridgton Academy traveled to Rhode Island to take on Providence Country Day school, and escaped with a 2-2 tie. Entering the game the Wolverines were the bigger more physical team, yet the Knights stepped up to the challenge and gave Bridgton all they could handle and more. Coach Mellon said it was, "an eye opener for the team." Trying not to look past any opponent, the Wolverines could not find the back of the net, allowing PCD to hang in the game.

The teams played to a 0-0 tie in the first half, before Dillon Flynn (Chapel Hill, NC) was able to connect on a cross from Steve Palumbo (Kingston, NH), in the 55th minute. Less than two minutes later a questionable foul was called against the Wolverines in the penalty area creating a penalty kick opportunity for PCD, which they converted on evening the score at 1-1. The Knights were able to take advantage of a miscue during a clear by goalkeeper Ryne Tillman (Bedford, MA), in which Will Arvanties buried a perfectly placed one timer from 25 yards out, giving the Knights a 2-1 advantage. With 4 minutes remaining in the contest Ethan Martin (South Burlington, VT) found the back of the net on a ball from Omar Khartabil (Hampstead, NH) to even the score at 2-2.

Coach Mellon tipped his cap to Providence Country Day School saying, "they played spectacularly, we did not match their intensity and were lucky to escape with the tie."

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Palumbo's Hat Trick Propels BA to Victory in Season Opener

The Bridgton Academy Soccer team kicked off their first regular season game with a 4-0 victory over Bowdoin College. In what Coach Mellon described as, “a very good win, against a deep team,” the Wolverines controlled play in the first, with the offense constantly pressuring the Bowdoin defense. BA was able to finally break through and get on the board, after several narrow misses, including hitting two posts, when Omar Khartabil (Hampstead, NH), caught the defense off guard and sent a direct kick into the bottom right corner in the 33rd minute for the eventual game winner.
The start of the second half saw Bowdoin controlling the ball on the Bridgton side of the field, but the defense was able to preserve the shut out, including shutting down a great scoring opportunity for Bowdoin, which had an indirect kick inside the 18 yard mark.
From that point on Rob Palumbo (Kingston, NH), took over. Palumbo scored three goals within 10 minutes. In the 66th minute Rob found the back of the net on a pass from twin brother Steve Palumbo (Kingston, NH). Four minutes later Rob scored again, with the assist going to Ethan Martin (South Burlington, VT). Palumbo was able to complete the hat trick by finishing a ball that Khartabil played down the line in the 75th minute.
The score could have been even more lopsided if it were not for the exceptional goal tending of the Bowdoin keeper, who turned away three consecutive shots from point blank. Ryne Tillman (Bedford, MA) collected the shut out victory in goal by stopping seven shots. Rob Palumbo finished the day with six points, Khartabil had three. Ethan Martin, and Steve Palumbo each had one assist. The Wolverines are on the road for their next game against Providence Country Day School on the 12th.
Thank you to Kevin Lombard (Josh Lombard's Dad) for providing the photography.
#10 Ronaldo Vieira and #11 Ethan Martin talk while on the run.

#12 Josh Lombard works the ball against a single defender.

#5 Dillon Flynn works the ball up the field.
#14 Taylor Backhaus and #12 Josh Lombard talk during a lull in the action.
#8 Omar Khartabil sets to strike the ball.
#11 Ethan Martin splits two Bowdoin defenders.
Nick Christensen move the ball out of the backfield.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Season Preview

Coming off of a disappointing season, which saw the Wolverines go 4-10-2, second year head coach Kevin Mellon has much higher expectation for his first recruiting class. “This is the first team which I have had a hand in bringing every player on the team to campus, due to that fact, I will be pushing them harder and expecting a higher level of play from them,” said Mellon. Athletic Director Brad Smith echoes Coach Mellon’s thoughts saying, “I'm excited for Kevin. This is his first recruited team at BA. He's brought in some talented kids, and if they can stay healthy, they should do very well.”

The Black and Gray will not be looking past any team, as they cannot afford to with the difficult schedule they face. Coach Mellon put the schedule together in order to test his players and looks to have a successful season because of it. By having 10 of the 14 regular season games on the road, Coach Mellon hopes to prepare his players for the college game and make them face adversity. The Wolverines will take some lumps along the way, but they look to avenge some of last season’s losses. Mellon is pushing tradition to his players, who are now part of the Long Black Line of soccer players at Bridgton Academy. The NEPSAC schedule kicks off against Providence Country Day school on September 19th. The home opener is September 27th, against Winchendon, where the Wolverines look to make up for last seasons set back in which they were easily handled.

Joining head coach Kevin Mellon is first year assistant Tom Bishop, who Mellon says, “Brings a good demeanor and a competitive edge to the team, yet has big shoes to fill.” Bishop, who takes over the assistant roll, with the departure of former assistant coach Matt Berk, has a football background, as he is the former kicker and punter for the UNH football team. Bishop says that he hopes to, “lead by example and set a tone for the team to follow, in terms of work ethic.”

Bridgton’s roster may not be as deep as it has been in previous year, but coach Mellon believes that his team’s ability to pull together and form an identity is what will ultimately lead to wins. “If everyone does their job, with the best players stepping up and setting the tone the rest of the team will follow and step up their game, we can have a very successful season,” added Mellon.
Anchoring the team in goal is Ryne Tillman, a relative newcomer to goal keeping who, as coach Mellon says, “Has all the tools to be unstoppable.” The defensive backfield is patrolled by a group of tall defenders that will be difficult to get around. The backs are a group that communicate well, and help to keep the rest of the field in position. Among the backs that are in position to see starting roles are Taylor Backhaus, Josh Lombard, Nick Christensen and Jamie White. The midfield is comprised of a core of players that have experience playing together with twins Steve and Rob Palumbo, both very skilled technical players that will control the pace of the game. Joining in the midfield is a former teammate of the Palumbos’, Omar Khartabil, as well as Dillon Flynn, who is coming in from Ohio Wesleyan University. The forwards will be Ethan Martin, and Ronaldo Viera. The forwards will play off of each other very well as their styles compliment each other. Viera is a strong technical player that can score from anywhere, while Martin will be a challenge for teams to cover with his speed and scoring ability.

The 2009 Bridgton Academy Wolverines are, as Coach Mellon described, “not intimidated by anyone, and willing to run through walls to succeed.” The team has filled holes from last year and look to be a much improved team from a year ago.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Wolverines take on NCCC

The Bridgton Academy Wolverines continued with their early season schedule by taking on the North Country Community College Saints at the Tree Farm Recreational Park in Essex Junction, VT. The Wolverines, playing short handed for most the game, were able to keep the game close early on against the much deeper Saints squad. NCCC jumped out to an early 1-0 lead. Bridgton was able to cut the deficit to 2-1 late in the half. The Saints responded with a late two goal surge pushing the lead to 4-1 at the half. Despite being undermanned in the second half due to injuries the Wolverines were able to control play for most of the half, scoring the first goal of the half. However, the Saints were able to take advantage of their depth in route to a 6-2 win over the Wolverines.

The Wolverines look forward to the rest to allow players to get healthy before their season opener against Bowdoin JV on September 9th and then the Wolverines will open up NEPSAC play against Providence Country Day School on the 12th.

NCCC runs into the BA defense.
Coach Mellon watches the action unfold.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Second Annual Wolverines in Training Soccer Clinics Set To Take Place At Bridgton Academy

After a successful inaugural year the Wolverines In Training Soccer Clinics are set to kick off once again on Sunday, September 13th at Bridgton Academy.

Bridgton Academy head soccer coach, Kevin Mellon, will oversee the program which brings area youth to the Academy so they can work with and learn from the players at Bridgton. “We have a number of top level athletes that will likely move on to play at a very high level in college, this is a chance for our players to work with area kids as well as for area youth to get to know the Wolverine soccer team,” said Mellon.

“Our mission is to improve the skills of all young soccer players with one-on-one instruction from our Bridgton Academy soccer athletes. This clinic is for soccer players of all levels from beginners to the junior high school level. Some of the many topics that will be covered over the three Sunday’s are dribbling, passing, receiving, shooting, defending, one-on-one, and small-sided games,” continued Mellon.

The program is built for boys and girls ages 5-15. The cost is $40 with pre-registration or $50 day of. The program will take place on Sundays and run from September 13 through September 27, from 8:30 am to 10:30 pm.. Participants will receive a soccer ball and t-shirt. For more information contact Coach Mellon at 207.647.3322 x211.