Competition is key as BBA enters 2019 season
MANCHESTER — The Burr and Burton boys soccer team ended last year on a very positive note.
After starting the year with a 4-5 record, the Bulldogs rattled off five straight wins, before falling to Brattleboro in the Division I playdowns.
Despite a number of key graduation losses from that group, BBA will look to build off last year's successes heading into the 2019 season.
With 11 seniors on last year's roster, there were plenty of spots to fill this fall.
"There's been a lot of gaps to fill and we've had a lot of competition," said Bulldogs coach Pete Mull. "Good young players and older players were competing to find a spot. In my 17 years of coaching, we've had probably the toughest tryouts, in terms of it being really competitive. Unfortunately, we had to leave some really promising players off the team."
One of those seniors from last year was Garren Aberth, who played a crucial role as goalkeeper throughout his high school career. Filling his shoes will be senior Liam Day, who saw time last year, but will take on the starting role this fall.
"He saw a good amount of time last year and he's really good in the air," Mull said of Day. "He's big, but he's deceptively quick with really good reflexes. He's one of the leaders of the team."
In front of Day, on the back line, junior Duncan Chamberlain, a captain in his third year on varsity, will play a crucial role, following the graduations of Blake Greene, Aiden Francomb and Colby Leary.
Fellow junior Luke Lehmann has really impressed over the offseason and will play a crucial defensive role.
"Duncan is a real leader out there and he'll be teamed up with Luke," Mull said. "[Luke] is a first-year varsity player, but it seems like he's been playing his whole life."
Seniors Andrew Toussaint and Pheonix Heleba will play in the back as well.
BBA employed a very balanced offensive attack last season and that figures to be the case this as well.
Senior Will Fox is the top returning scorer from 2018, where he had four goals.
River DeFelice moves to the attacking half after playing mostly defense last year for BBA.
"We've moved [River] up top, where he seems to be more naturally suited and temperamentally suited," Mull said. "I think that will help us a lot. He's a big guy and can win a lot of balls. He doesn't give it up to easily."
Jayden Bloom, a Leland and Gray transfer, should find some time either playing on the flanks or up top.
In the midfield, Mull expects some big things from junior Niall Monahan, who was injured for part of last season.
John Miceli, Devin Deets, Jacob Giering and Walker Brown are strong pieces in the Bulldogs' midfield as well.
BBA has an exchange student on their roster as Nacho Matas Duffo, of Barcelona, Spain, joins the Bulldogs. In practice Friday, he showed a deft touch on the ball and figures to be a critical piece.
BBA already had one scrimmage, a loss to Essex, and has another one coming up today against White River Valley.
The Bulldogs start the regular season on the road against defending D-I champion CVU on Friday.
Roster: Jayden Bloom, Walker Brown, Duncan Chamberlain, Mason Cox, Liam Day, Devin Deets, River DeFelice, Will Fox, Jacob Giering, Judd Gourley, Max Hasaj, Pheonix Heleba, Luke Lehmann, Nacho Matas Duffo, Madox Mathews, John Miceli, Niall Monahan, Tate Morris, Christopher Ott, Malachy Rukat, Elijah Samuelson, Declan Sullivan, Andrew Toussaint.
Adam Aucoin can be reached at email@example.com and followed at @AAucoin_Banner on Twitter.
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