Rebels Have Poor Showing to Start October

A Walpole player dribbles around an opponent upfield.

A Walpole player dribbles around an opponent upfield.

Matt Brownsword

A Walpole player dribbles around an opponent upfield.

The boys soccer team is in unfamiliar waters.

After losing three straight divisional games to Needham, Natick, and Weymouth and tying a far inferior Malden Catholic team, the Rebels are at .500, a record they haven’t been close to in the last two years. Most of the problems have come through the lack of goal-scoring—with a total of four goals in those last four disappointing results—a predicament that has haunted the boys all season.

Needham scored two quick goals off of Providence commit Mac Steeves’ long throw ins and corner kicks, and after a Needham goal right after halftime, the Rebels had an uphill battle for the rest of the game. Natick was a little bit of a different story, as the Rebels, looking to avenge the 5-0 opening day loss, struck first with a John Lochhead goal. After that, it was all Natick: A goal off of a free kick right before halftime and then three more in the second half downed the Rebels in thumping fashion. Malden Catholic, a team from the Catholic Conference, was a 5-0 win for the Rebels last year, but this year was a different story. Lochhead finished a penalty kick to put the Rebels up 1-0, and junior AJ Chauvin scored 30 seconds into halftime to put the Rebels back up 2-1. In the closing seconds, Malden Catholic tied the game with a stunning goal. Weymouth, the number three ranked team in the state according to espnboston, looked to be a tough challenge for the Rebels from the start, as they dominated most of the possession and put in a goal to make it 1-0 before halftime. In the second half, the Rebels fought hard, but were only rewarded with a ambiguous hand ball call for a penalty kick that was calmly finished to down the Rebels.

In the past two years, the boys soccer team went 19-0-1 against all Herget opponents, yet this year, they have already lost twice to Natick and still have to play the other four teams once more. On Wednesday, the boys play Wellesley in Wellesley; the Rebels won the last meeting by a score of 2-0, probably their biggest win of the season, as Wellesley came into the game ranked 5th by

Coach Lee Delaney challenged the whole team at the begginning of the year to try and replace the goal-scoring and overall offensive effort shown by leading scorers in 2011 Tim Sullivan and Conor Murtagh, and, at some points, players have stepped up for the challenge. Junior forwards Chauvin and Maurice Young have both looked bright, scoring some big goals. Chauvin scored the game-clinching goal against Wellesley while Young scored his only two of the season in the late moments of a 2-1 thriller victory against Milton. Senior midfielders Lochhead, Harvest Perez, and Conor McCarthy, and juniors Bobby Ivatts and Jack stedman have all scored at least one goal. The number of players that have scored looks impressive; however, the goals have not come in large quantities and, except for Young’s heroics, the team have not been able to respond after going down a goal.

Defensively, the Rebels have not looked sharp either. Four goals in both losses to Natick and Needham, as well as two against lowly Malden Catholic, equal the most amount of goals the Rebels let up in one game last year—four against Needham. The loss of Nolan Murray has impacted the defense greatly; his tenacity and heart defensively has been missed. However, captain Alex Sarkis, junior Colin Murray, and junior Matt Brownsword—three returning varsity players–need to replace Murray’s defensive prowess in order to give the team a lift. Allowing only two goals to Weymouth was a start, as the goals were both dubious, but a shutout is needed from both the defense and the offense in order for the Rebels to get back on track defensively.

Although the Rebels have not looked good as of late, there is still time to right the ship: six of their last seven opponents were victories for the Rebels last year–Wellesley, Milton, Norwood, Dedham, Braintree, and Bishop Feehan–and since they only need seven points to make the tournament, that looks favorable. Delaney still remarks that “the boys are still in the race for the Herget and Bay State title,” but that seems like an objective that requires the Rebels to win out or come very close to it. Whatever the case, the Rebels have time to fix this ship before it sinks, and maybe they can peak right in time to make some surprises in the tournament.