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Falcon boys' soccer preview
RUMFORD -- There is some unfinished business to kick over for the Mountain Valley boys’ soccer team. However, the current campaign shows promise.
The Falcons graduated seven experienced seniors, so it will be a daunting task to replicate making the playoffs. If the team continues to play the way it practices, the debut in Class C should be successful have us playing extra games in October.
"Our goal remains the same every year," said coach Todd Papianou. "(Team) wants to play good soccer, win games, respect the game and our opponents and qualify for the playoffs."
Returning seniors are Andrew Boucher at defender, Shawn Bennett and Micheal Theriault as front line strikers. A full load of juniors will shore up the defense and the midfield.
The Falcons most well-rounded player is Tucker Phelps (MF), with Chris Bourret (D).
MV lost several games last year by one goal or tied, so the objective is to finish strong. A new focus on scoring and using their power speed players into the defense should give teams something to worry about.
Many quality younger players that will provide some scoring threat include Ryan Bennett and Curtis Steele.
Some cool heads in the backfield should make jr. goalie Dakota Jacques keep his tally low. With a growth spurt and year of experience as the Varsity Keeper, expect the goal to get much smaller and teams will need to create opportunities to get Jacques out of position.
Freshmen have been working hard to adapt to the speed and physicality of the high school game. With 30 players showing for preseason, it's encouraging for the program.
Papinaou avoids making predictions year to year as so many teams change from season to season.
"Lastly, I will measure success on how we handle adversity from day to day and game to game," said Papianou. "How we handle the elite teams like St. Doms and Hall Dale and if we can play above the level of teams that are struggling."
MV should benefit from a quality staff that includes JV coach JT Taylor and two experienced volunteer assistants in Rich Todd and from UMPI Player/Student Josh Shaw (hiatus). The Owl has brought some fresh perspective from the collegiate ranks.
The Falcons held early and late doubles practices (6-8 a.m. and 6-8 p.m.) to avoid the heat and allow body recovery.