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

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