Holliston Soccer Ready to Bring It On

Christopher Tremblay, Staff Sports Writer
Despite a team of largely inexperienced players last year, Holliston boys’ soccer had a decent year. This year, they bring that strength back, along with experience, and hope to see tournament play.
Issue Date: 
September, 2018
Article Body: 

For the past two seasons, the Holliston boys’ soccer team has put forth a valiant effort on the field during the regular season only to fall in the Division 3 South Quarter Finals to the eventual championship runner-up. This fall, the Panthers are hoping put their quarter finals losing streak to rest. After losing to Dover-Sherborn last year on penalty kicks, Coach Jay Dupuis is confident coming into this year’s season.
“We are coming off a very good year, where we finished 10-2-3 with a somewhat inexperienced squad. This year, we return nine players that started, and 14 that were on the squad,” the Panther’s Coach said. “This will be my eighth year coaching the team, and I am looking forward to this season more than ever before. It’s going to be a fun year for Holliston soccer.”
The team that made the Quarter Finals last season consisted of a lot of new starters who were young and somewhat inexperienced, and what they accomplished was somewhat of a surprise to the coach at first.
“What they did was very nice, but as the year went on, you could see what was developing and what the team was becoming,” Dupuis said.
Looking to get the Panthers deeper into the tournament and hopefully a Sectional Championship Holliston will be led by five captains; returning Tri-Valley All Stars Jake Heihsel and Johnny Paecht in Addition to Patrick Mejia, Evan Katz and Tyler Cotting.
Paecht, who is a 4-year starter at midfield, scored 10 goals for the Panthers last fall and will be looked upon as the go-to guy for offense. Last year Mejia (a 4-year starter) had more of a defensive role in his midfielder position, but Dupuis is hoping that the senior can take more of an offensive initiative this fall and increase his scoring. Katz is a 3-year varsity player that will move up from his defensive position from a year ago into the midfield this year. Cotting is the team’s only junior captain and will once again patrol the defense.
Standing guard at the front of the net will be Heihsel, a very stingy individual when it comes to allowing the opposition to put the ball behind him. The Holliston keeper’s goals against average was just under one goal a game.
“Jake is an excellent goalie that doesn’t give up a lot of goals,” the Coach said. “He gives us a chance to win e very time that we take the field, and with Ty (Cotting) in front of him it makes things that much harder.”
In addition to the captains, Dupuis has four other starters returning from last year’s team: senior defender Grifin Delin, junior midfielder Evans Djohan, senior midfielder Yavar Mehdipor and junior defender Carter Mikkelsen. Other returners will be senior Dylan Potemri and sophomores Idrissa Smith and Sam Glazer.
Holliston will be looking to not only build upon last year’s loss to DS on penalty kicks, but is hoping to grab the TVL crown as well.
“Losing the way we did last year was difficult, but I think our squad will learn from that experience and use it as fuel for this year,” Dupuis said. “We play in a very tough league where there are no days off, but winning the league title is our goal this upcoming season. If we win the TVL it sets us up for a good tournament seeding.”
While last year’s team was inexperienced at some positions their experience this year should propel them to the top of the league. With the likes of Thomas Sojka and Zachary Jacobs ready to take on larger roles, experience should be one of Holliston’s greatest strengths on the field.
“I am really looking forward to seeing how far this skilled group can go this year,” the coach said. “I know that, based on the character and work ethic of these young men, anything is possible.”