The Hopkinton High School boys soccer team comes into the new season with a large group of returning seniors, some of whom will be entering their third year at the varsity level. Head coach Garrett Sawyer said the experience will serve the Hillers well in their quest to get back to the postseason this fall.
“I think with the talent on the team and the senior leadership we have, we should win more games than we lose,” Sawyer said. “The last few years we have been just under .500 but that’s something the guys have been talking about a lot, wanting to break into the playoffs this year.”
The senior class is headlined by a trio of captains who bring a veteran presence to difference areas of the field. Mac Lind returns at central midfield. Sawyer said his tri-captain is “very strong on the ball and in the air.”
Justin Normandeau will play outside defender and fellow captain Michael Poovakad returns to pace the attack.
“Justin is very good in one versus one situations and also has the ability to participate in the attack,” Sawyer said. “Michael is very creative with the ball at his feet and a creative passer. He can feed the forwards and create scoring chances for us.”
The captains are not the only seniors who are expected to lead the way this fall. Central defender Philip McCarthy is another strong athlete for Hopkinton and Sawyer extolled his intelligence on the field. Peyton Burns will aid the attack, and the coach said he is a strong player with the ability to hold onto the ball and create his own scoring opportunities or help his teammates find chances to find the back of the net.
Hopkinton’s talent is not limited to the senior class, Sawyer said.
“We have a lot of depth this year, there are a lot of younger players on the team who are strong and I think that depth will serve us well with our schedule which is very game-intensive,” Sawyer said. “It will allow us to play with maximum intensity and pressure the opponent and not back down.”
Entering his 15th season at the helm, Sawyer said he is looking for Hopkinton to have an “attacking mindset” this fall and continue to improve as the season progresses.
“Our goal is to be the best team we can be and reach as much of our potential as we can,” he said.