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.

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