Patriots ahead of schedule as practice begins
On the girls side, MAU coach Mark Boudreau said 33 players came out for tryouts Thursday morning.
"We're right where we want to be," Boudreau said. "It's a good number. The freshman class is a little smaller, but the overall numbers are good, we'll have teams of 20 up and down the line."
Last year, MAU was 7-7-1, falling in the opening round of the Division I playoffs. Eight seniors graduated, including Boudreau's daughter Allie and leading scorer Emily Altland.
"It seems like eight to 12 graduate every year, but I think we'll have a good smattering of multiple ages this year," Boudreau said.
Boudreau said a handful of players have already taken on leadership roles.
"Anna Salem has come in ready to get going, she has a great attitude and she was one of our leaders last year," Boudreau said. "Kaidin Gauthier, Maddisyn Kinney in the back. We want to sprinkle the vets in with the newer and younger players. Every year is different, you have to get in on the first day because you never know what you've got until you see it."
A big loss is Olivia Salem, who tore her ACL in the final summer league game and is out for the year.
"Last year was injury-riddled and now Olivia," Boudreau said. "She'll be a leader on the sideline, she just won't be out on the field."
On the boys side, the numbers are a little down, but they've hit the ground running.
"At least 10 of the guys played club soccer this summer, we had some alumni pickup games, guys played at the Nordic Cup and the Goldsmith tournament," said MAU boys coach Mike Molloy. "They've been working throughout the summer, so even though it's Day 1, they aren't Day 1 guys."
Molloy said he has a good mix of sophomores, juniors and seniors coming back from last year's 4-10 campaign, which broke a string of three straight 10-win seasons.
"There's no magic number, trying to get this many backs or this many midfielders," Molloy said. "We're just looking for guys that are capable and willing to step up. One of the things we're pushing this year is that it's about heart. I think some of our losses last year were because of lack of fight."
A handful of players return a year stronger, both physically and mentally. Jeff Potter was a defensive center midfielder last season, but this year, he's in the front as a striker.
Matt Glanovsky returns on defense and Ryan Rogge comes up from JV and will be strong in the back line.
"[Ryan] has grown and gotten bigger, he's going to fit himself into a role," Molloy said. "But we have a great group overall that will say, where do you want me to go and they are willing to go wherever they are needed. That's all you can ask for as a coach."
In net, Dylan Woodside is in his third varsity season, but there are two others that will challenge him for the spot, including Jack Rogge.
"We have three varsity-level goalies and most programs don't," Molloy said. "I've told Dylan that it might not be his job for the entire season."
Both teams start their season with games on the road at Essex on Sept. 2.
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