The “Drive For Five” is well underway in what will be another special year for the Massachusetts Maritime men’s soccer program, as the Buccaneers are in search of their fifth straight trip to the post-season and will celebrate Head Coach Greg Perry’s silver anniversary campaign at the helm this fall with a veteran laden group that includes 16 letterwinners and eight starters returning to the fold.
Perry has built a reputation as one of the most respected mentors in the region, and his longstanding success both on and off the pitch has relied heavily on the leadership provided by his captains throughout the years. Seniors Mick Rouette (Three Rivers, Mass./Monson) and Chris Beaulieu (Carver, Mass./Carver), along with junior William Taylor (Hanover, Mass./Hanover), look to continue that tradition this season, and the trio is described by their mentor as “leaders by action who continue to uphold and strengthen the tradition of our program. They know my expectations, but they’ve set higher ones for themselves and their teammates both on and off the field. They will continue to represent our program and the Academy with great pride.”
Here’s a look at how things are shaping up for the 2017 edition of Buccaneer Men’s Soccer:
FORWARD. Taylor, who earned MASCAC Player of the Week honors last October, is the top returnee up front for Perry this fall, as he netted four goals and three assists for 11 points while starting 13 of 16 outings. Senior Kevin O’Leary (Norton, Mass./Norton) has been a versatile performer during his career and chipped in with a pair of markers and three helpers in 15 matches last year, while sophomore Andrew Wayrynen (Rockport, Mass./Rockport), who was tabbed as a MASCAC Rookie of the Week last September, tallied twice as a newcomer. Junior Zach O’Neil (Scituate, Mass./Scituate) collected a pair of goals and an assist for five points in eight starts for Massachusetts Maritime, while freshman James Roland (Fairfield, Conn./Fairfield Ludlowe) looks to contribute during his inaugural collegiate campaign.
MIDFIELD. Junior Brendan Gawron (Braintree, Mass./Braintree) led the Buccaneer scoring parade with seven goals in 14 outings a year ago, as both he and sophomore Adam Crawford (Kingston, Mass./Silver Lake) earned all-MASCAC accolades for Perry in the middle last fall. Crawford collected two goals and three assists for seven points for the Buccaneers, who also received a marker and three helpers from sophomore Justin Le (Springfield, Mass./Cathedral). Sophomores Tyler Haynes (Bridgewater, Mass./Cardinal Spellman) and Bryan Osorio (Providence, R.I./St. Andrew’s) combined for 16 match appearances during their rookie seasons, while sophomore Brady Lemmon (California, Md./Saint Mary’s Ryken), along with freshmen AJ Bubencik (Foxboro, Mass./Foxboro), Jacob Crawford (Rockland, Mass./Rockland) and Justin Burns (Walpole, Mass./Walpole), will be vying for roles in Massachusetts Maritime’s midfield as newcomers in 2017.
BACK. Rouette, a three-time first team all-MASCAC selection, has established himself as one of the top defenders in the region and leads an experienced corps, and he was a dual threat after scoring three goals and adding an assist for seven points last season. Beaulieu bolsters the Buccaneer backfield with an additional veteran presence that also included a marker and two helpers on offense in 16 starts in 2016, while junior Nicholas Van Ness (Waldwick, N.J./Waldwick) has been a steady performer in each of his first two collegiate campaigns that included starting all 18 matches a year ago. Sophomores Kyle Daly (Plymouth, Mass./Plymouth South) and Jake Pforr (Weymouth, Mass./Weymouth) combined for 27 appearances (including all 18 contests by Daly) as rookies last year for Perry, who will look for contributions from freshmen Mike Roland (Fairfield, Conn./Fairfield Ludlowe), Ben Paine (Dartmouth, Mass./Dartmouth) and Goddy Fombe (Stoughton, Mass./Stoughton) as well.
GOAL. Senior Mike Pruchnik (Rochester, Mass./Old Rochester), who earned second team all-MASCAC honors as a junior, returns as a solid last line of defense for Massachusetts Maritime, as he posted six wins and a pair of shutouts to go with 89 saves and a 1.51 goals against average in nearly 1,375 minutes played. Junior Connor Murphy (Mashpee, Mass./Mashpee) provides additional depth in the Buccaneer cage after earning a win and making 11 saves in seven contests, while freshman Kevin Lynch (Dedham, Mass./Blue Hills) will be vying for time in goal as a newcomer this fall.
SCHEDULE. Perry has always taken on the toughest challenges that a deep and talented New England region can offer, and this year’s schedule is no exception to that philosophy. In addition to squaring off with national semifinalist Brandeis in mid-September, Massachusetts Maritime will take on Suffolk, Wentworth, WPI, Nichols, Salve Regina, UMass Dartmouth, Anna Maria, Coast Guard and Dean in non-conference action that will prepare his squad for the rigors of another MASCAC race. The Buccaneers will host Salem State, Westfield State, Framingham State and Worcester State in league action while heading to Fitchburg State, MCLA and Bridgewater State after earning a spot in the conference semifinals in three of the last four seasons.
Massachusetts Maritime begins its 25th campaign under the watchful eye of Greg Perry on Saturday, September 2nd when the Buccaneers travel to Suffolk for a non-league clash at 1:00 p.m. EDT.