Boys Soccer Off to Lackluster Start

A Walpole Player Slides in for a Ball

A Walpole Player Slides in for a Ball

Michael Greulich

A Walpole player dribbles past a Brookline defender (Photo/Michael Gruelich).

The boys varsity soccer team is angry, especially after back to back season ending losses in the first round of the state tournament.  Their anger has been visible in the way they have played their first four games, but the way the Rebels use their anger has varied.  In some games, such as their 2-0 wins over both Newton-North and Wellesley, the Rebels channeled their anger and reflected the fire inside them into the intensity with which they played.  But at other times, the Rebels were not able to turn their anger into production, falling 5-0 and 4-1 to Natick and Brookline, respectively.  The Rebels have shown that they have what it takes to be a dominant team, but have yet to show consistency in their first few games.

The Rebels opened their first game of the season against Natick, and after the 80+ minutes, it was clear that there were still some kinks to work out.  The Walpole boys dominated possession for the first 15 minutes, clearly fueled by the anger still felt after their early exit from the playoffs last year.  The Red Hawks struck first however, scoring on a break away after limited possession.  Despite the Rebels best efforts, Natick scored one more goal before half time, deflating Walpole’s spirit.  The boys refused to give up however, and continued to battle with Natick, showing great skill, but were still unable to score.  Natick scored three more times in the second half, defeating the Rebels 5-0 in the opening game of the season.

The loss in the first game was an eye opener for the Rebels, and they came back big against Newton-North.  The teams battled for the first half, but neither were able to get ahead.  Finally, 10 minutes into the second half, junior AJ Chauvin scored the team’s first goal of the year.  The goal brought life back into the Rebels’ play, and junior Bobby Ivatts doubled the lead after cleaning up his own saved penalty kick.

A Walpole Player Fights for the Ball

The boys followed up their impressive win over Newton-North with another 2-0 win over Wellesley, who had been ranked number  5 in the state by ESPN.  As the first half came to the end, Chauvin fired a shot on goal that was saved by the Wellesley goalkeeper, but senior Harvest Perez was “Johnny on the spot” and cleaned up  to score his first career goal.  As the game resumed after half time, the Rebels continued to dominate the game play.  With 15 minutes of play left, Chauvin scored his second goal of the season off a through ball from senior captain John Lochhead.  The boys showed the true skill that the team had and shutout Wellesley 2-0.

The Rebels, however, did not fair as well against Brookline.  When Brookline finally arrived at the game, 30 minutes late, the boys were ready to go.  Brookline got off to a quick start and never looked back. Despite what appeared to be evenly matched gameplay, Brookline scored twice early in the game, forcing Walpole to call a timeout.  The Rebels tried their best to answer Brookline’s goals but they were unable to make up any ground, as Brookline scored twice more in the game.  The Rebels got one back at the end, and the game ended Brookline 4, Walpole 1.

When they are on, the Rebels play together beautifully, but at other times they have no fluidity in their play.  The boys have shown that they certainly have the skills to defeat any team, it is just a matter of putting it all together.  With their next game this Wednesday at Milton, hopeful fans will see if their team’s season is destined for greatness, or for the gutters.