Tournament Preview: Boys Soccer at Greater New Bedford

Boys Soccer celebrates after a game.

Boys Soccer celebrates after a game.

Peter Hoegler

Boys Soccer celebrates after a game-winning goal against Dedham.
Boys Soccer celebrates after a game-winning goal against Dedham (Photo/ Tim H).

Boys Soccer has drawn Greater New Bedford Voc-Tech in the first round of the MIAA Division 2 State Tournament. After winning four straight to end the season, the Rebels have solidified themselves as a solid contender in the tournament and have been awarded a 13 seed. Their first round opponent, the Greater New Bedford Bears, have received a four seed and a much-coveted home game in this year’s playoffs. The game will be played on Saturday, November 2 at 5:00 at Greater New bedford High School.

This season, GNB Voc-Tech won the Vocational title for the second consecutive season, finishing with a 15-3-3 record, including a 12-2-2 mark in the South Coast Conference.

Walpole and GNB shared one opponent in the 2013 campaign: Bishop Feehan. Against Feehan–one of Walpole’s out-of-league rivals–the Bears faired mas ou menos (okay in Portuguese), losing their first battle by a score of 3-1, and tying 1-1 in the second-to-last game of the season. Walpole played Feehan only two days before GNB did and defeated them by a score of 3-2. Senior Robbie Ellis gave Walpole the lead, but the Feehan Shamrocks scored twice before the break to take the lead. Senior AJ Chauvin quickly tied the game before senior Captain Bob Ivatts delivered the game-winner in the 55th minute.

The Bears are led by junior forward Helio Vieira, a talented playmaker and finisher who has 17 goals and 10 assists. But after going up against some of the best forwards and goal-scorers night-in and night-out in the Bay State League, it seems as though the Rebels will have no trouble containing Vieira on Saturday. “The Bay State League is very tough and has gotten us ready for the tournament this year,” said senior Captain Colin Murray. “Vieira will be hard to contain, but I think our defense can do it.”

GNB Sophomore goalkeeper Junior Sanchez has notched five shutouts in his first season as a starter and the Bears, who returned four senior starters, have been helped by contributions from a number of new players who stepped in and played well right away.

Walpole is heading into the State Tournament with all the momentum in the world: winners of four in a row. The Rebels expect to start the normal core of Hoegler, Brownsword, Murray, Ivatts, and Chauvin–all of which are very comfortable in the State Tournament. Last season, in the Division 1 tournament, the Rebels made a rare South Shore double: first defeating Durfee in penalty kicks and then upsetting No.3 New Bedford after a late goal by Chauvin. So the Rebels are certainly comfortable in the area and definitely resilient under pressure. Don’t count out Walpole because of their seeding; they could make a similar run this year.

The rest of the Division 2 South bracket can be found here.