Boys Soccer Makes Walpole High School History


David Moser

  With the end of the regular season, the 11-3-3 Rebels have achieved several milestones. Despite the fact that the team dropped three out of their final four games, Walpole clinched the overall Bay State League title as well as the Herget Division title—granting Walpole the sixth seed in the postseason state tournament. Despite being the higher seed, the Rebels lost, 4-1, to eleventh seed Oliver Ames on Sunday, November 6. The surprising upset loss not only ended the hopes of a long run in the tournament for the Rebels but also ended one of their most unexpected seasons.

  “We were not expected to be this good,” said senior forward Dammy Ojuolape. “Winning the entire league — we proved people wrong.”

  In addition to the team’s regular season success, the Boston Globe also ranked Walpole as the fourth best boys soccer team in Massachusetts—the highest ranking that Walpole Boys Soccer has received in program history. The accolades did not stop there, for Walpole’s 10-0-3 undefeated start to the season also marks the best season opening run in program history. Furthermore, Walpole’s final regular season record (11-3-3) is one of the best overall in Walpole Boys Soccer history — the best record is held by the 14-2-2 2004 team.

  Besides all the new team records, several players have also been recognized for their athletic excellence. Three of Walpole’s starters, senior captain midfielder Justin Burns, senior captain goalkeeper Devin Moore and junior stopper Kevin Sullivan all made Bay State League First Team All Stars. At the end of each season, coaches from around the Bay State League (12 teams in total) come together to select the top 11 players of both the Herget and Carey Divisions.

  “It’s great that three kids on our team got first team all star. It really shows how talented and successful our team is and can be,” said Burns.

  Junior midfielder and captain-elect, Billy Porter, who finished the season with nine goals, was named a Second Team All Star Honorable Mention as well. In addition to being a First Team All Star, Burns was also awarded MVP of the Bay State League Herget Division and Eastern Massachusetts All Star.

  “I feel like all my hard work into the preseason is paying off. It feels really good to be the MVP for the Herget Division, but I wouldn’t have achieved the award without the success of our team,” added Burns.

  Despite their success, they could not fend off the defending state title champions, Oliver Ames (OA).

  Twelve minutes into the game, Oliver Ames was the first to score when they carried the ball down the field and were awarded a controversial free kick directly in front of the net. Less than a minute later, senior captain midfielder Jon Sarkis notched Walpole’s first goal to tie the game. Before the half ended, Oliver Ames scored another to send the the game into halftime, 2-1.

  In the second half, similar to their problems late in the regular season, the Rebels were unable to score. OA also capitalized twice more on two Walpole mistakes to cement the final score of 4-1—Walpole’s biggest deficit of their season.

  Walpole’s season may have ended on a sour note, but the future looks bright for the young soccer team.

  “We lost a lot of seniors last year, so we knew we had less experience than other teams, but many players stepped up and took big roles that needed filling and that caused our success,” said junior sweeper Zach Schultz. “We are returning the full starting defense and almost an entire midfield next year, so we should achieve similar, if not more, success.”