We’re now officially a month out from the 2018 NEPSAC soccer championships, held Nov. 18 at the Middlesex School in Concord, Mass.
As teams build towards that, every win, draw and loss matters. There’s very little margin for error in prep school soccer, a lesson the likes of Avon Old Farms and Milton Academy have learned the hard way as they narrowly missed out on Top 10 appearances in our weekly coaches poll.
In Week 5’s edition, there’s some notable movement towards the top and a debutante in Phillips Exeter. As always NEPSAC coaches voted anonymously.
Let’s get right on into things.
Record: 9-0 | Last week: 1
The Bears had their Saturday game vs. Suffield cancelled, but recorded a thrilling 3-2 win over Taft last Wednesday. Costa Rican goalkeeper Marco Saborío Perez made two penalty-kick stops, while UVA commit and forward Nick Berghold scored a top-notch goal against Taft. Pomfret and Canterbury are opponents this week.
Record: 7-1-1 | Last week: 2
The Pelicans dropped a heartbreaker, 3-2, to Berkshire last Wednesday, but bounced back on the weekend with a commanding victory, 7-0, over Trinity-Pawling. The attacking duo of UNC commit Sammed Bawa and senior Marvin Sibanda remains among the best in the NEPSAC.
3. Worcester Academy
Record: 7-1-3 | Last week: 4
Last week, the Hilltoppers drew Phillips Exeter, 1-1, and then bounced back with a 7-0 thumping of Tilton. To keep the four-game unbeaten stretch going, Worcester Academy will take on Hotchkiss and Beaver Country Day this week. Once again, head coach James Proctor has a good thing going.
4. South Kent
Record: 8-0-3 | Last week: 5
The Cardinals remain unbeaten and have won their last five games. In the past week, South Kent recorded back-to-back 4-2 wins over Hotchkiss and Millbrook, with Brunswick up next on Sunday. Hassane Diakho, a serious Division 1 commit, had two goals and an assist vs. Millbrook.
5. Loomis Chaffee
Record: 6-2-1 | Last week: 3
There was big news for the Pelicans on Wednesday morning, with the announcement that junior forward Akeim Clarke (Windsor, Conn.) has verbally committed to North Carolina. Aside from that, the ups and downs continue. Last week, Loomis beat Salisbury, 5-0, and fell, 2-1, to Williston Northampton. They’ll look to right the ship vs. Deerfield and Suffield.
Record: 9-0-1 | Last week: 6
Middlesex remains one of three undefeated teams in Class B, but nearly saw that streak snapped last Friday vs. Groton. Nonetheless, head coach Ken Risley‘s team edged out a 3-2 win, courtesy of a brace from junior forward Anyolo Makatiani and two assists from senior winger Joshua Quirk. This week, ISL games vs. Belmont Hill and St. Sebastian’s await.
7. Northfield Mount Hermon
Record: 6-1-2 | Last week: 7
The bread and butter of NMH is its defense, led by junior goalkeeper Khamari Culcleasure and center backs Luis Gazo and Mickey Ameris. They’ve combined for six shutouts. Last week, NMH beat Avon Old Farms, 5-1, and drew Phillips Exeter, 0-0.
8. Kimball Union
Record: 7-0-1 | Last week: 8
The Wildcats recorded two wins last week, downing Brewster (4-2) and Proctor (1-0). Khenrab Norgay had a strong week with two goals, including the game-winner vs. Proctor. Head coach Michael Doherty‘s group could record a statement win on Wednesday vs. NMH.
9. Phillips Exeter
Record: 4-2-3 | Last week: Not ranked
After a rough start to the 2018 season, Exeter has rebounded strongly and makes its debut in our NEPSAC coaches poll. The Lions have found ways to grind out results, drawing both Worcester Academy and NMH 1-1 last week. Head coach AJ Cosgrove‘s team is now unbeaten in its last seven matches.
10. Choate Rosemary Hall
Record: 8-2-1 | Last week: 10
Choate has quietly been very solid this fall and is now undefeated in its last four games. Across that stretch, the Wild Boars have beaten Trinity-Pawling, Andover, Williston Northampton and Kent by a combined 16-0 scoreline. Goalkeeper Julius Chiang-Boeckmann and forward Tife Agunloye have both been impressive.
Also receiving votes: Milton Academy, Avon Old Farms, Brooks, New Hampton, Noble and Greenough, Millbrook
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