Boys' expectations run high

DORSET - Last year the Long Trail School boys soccer team finished with a 2-9 record after being eliminated by Cabot in playdowns. After coming out on the losing end of several close contests last season, the team is looking to make significant improvement and possibly turn some heads in Division IV.

"We started out a little slow last year. We got blown out of the water the first three games and then every game we played from then on was a one or two goal game that we were in," said coach Tim Smith. "I look for us to sort of be that way again, but probably be on the winning side of those results."

The Lynx last advanced to the quarterfinals in 2010 with a 5-2 win over Cabot in playdowns when they were the No. 5 seed. Coming into this season, Smith indicated he is looking to break the pattern of the past few seasons in which Long Trail has been eliminated in playdowns.

"Of course we'd like to qualify for the playoffs and a goal after that would be to get a higher seed so we could host a playoff game. To me that would be reaching our potential. Extending that potential obviously would be getting a top four seed," he said. "So, I have high expectations and I think these kids can certainly strive for those expectations."

This year's team is a young one with about half of the team being comprised of underclassmen.

"I'm most likely going to start five freshmen and an eighth grader. I'm just that young. But I'm pretty confident in the talent level that's for sure," said Smith. "We're more athletic than we have been in the last three years. Even though we're young our talent level is much higher than it has been in the past across the board. Our depth is much better than it has been over the last three years. So, I'm pleased with the talent I have on the team right now."

Freshman striker Will McCullough - who Smith said has "good foot skills, good speed and is super competitive" - is expected to help anchor the offense this season. Freshman Levin Coe will be starting as either a midfielder or marking back and freshman Eli Sanderson is also expected to see significant minutes, Smith said.

On the defensive side of the ball Smith has a solid nucleus returning led by captain Mark Edmunds who returns between the pipes for the Lynx for his senior campaign.

"I return my goalie from last year Mark Edmunds," said Smith. "I returned most of my defense from last year. There's one question mark with one marking back, but everybody else, four out of the five, are returning."

Senior Walker May and sophomores Liam Sheldon and Evan Crumb will serve with Edmunds as captains. Seniors Brian Gourlay and Wazirgul Hashimi, juniors Andrew Trombetta, Chris Trombetta, and Paul Vincelette, freshmen Luc Carmel, Nate Misasi, Ryan Powers, Brenden Sullivan, Colin Sullivan, Luca De Tursi and eighth grader Oscar Loomis round out this year's roster.

With the youth and talent of this year's team, Smith said that he is encouraged when looking at the long term future of the program.

"I'm incredibly excited about the potential of what we have. We're not losing kids going from eighth grade to ninth grade anymore. We're getting kids coming in who are quality athletes and soccer players," Smith said. "My seventh and eighth grade kids right now, we have a pretty good talent base down there as well. I think we're going to be a very competitive program over the next four [to] five years."

Follow on Twitter @BrandonCanevari


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