The Hopkinton High School boys soccer team has a new crop of seniors leading the way after the team advanced all the way to the state title game a season ago. Coach Garrett Sawyer said his team has good senior leadership this fall as well as a strong culture, so things are looking good.
“Even though we graduated a large senior group, we are bringing back a group of seniors who did get a lot of playing experience last year,” Sawyer said.
Defense once again is a mainstay for the Hillers. Hopkinton posted a number of shutouts last season and kept three of the first five teams it played this year off the scoreboard en route to a record of 4-0-1. Senior captains Sean McCann and Will Bialobrzeski are back after starting on the defensive line in 2022.
The attack is anchored by Jack Ianelli and Drew Bialobrzeski, two more senior captains.
“They got a lot of playing experience last year, and they will help fill the holes left from the graduating group that contributed a lot of goals,” Sawyer said. “They are both strong seniors and strong forwards who are going to help us out a lot this year.”
Carlos Henkle, the team’s fifth captain, is another experienced player.
“He plays with a lot of energy in the middle,” Sawyer said. “He is disruptive as a defender, and he has good vision as an attacker. All five of those players are good leaders to go along with their skills.”
Sawyer said the goal for his team is to compete for a Tri-Valley League title again and then make another run in the state tournament.
“Even though we have a lot of guys back, we are still trying to establish our team identity, so that is a short-term goal, too,” Sawyer said. “I think contending for a league title is a reasonable goal for this team.”
Sawyer said the TVL Large School Division looks fairly even, with Ashland, Westwood and Holliston among the Hillers’ top competition. He expects this year’s team to be defined by the play of its seniors.
“It’s like that every year; I think the seniors step up every year and try to establish their own identity as a team and create their own unique legacy, no matter what happened the previous year,” Sawyer said. “We are lucky to have another strong group of senior leaders who know how to perform our best as a team and know what it takes to win.”