WILMINGTON – It was certainly an up and down season, more down, but overall improvement was drastically made, and now the Tewksbury Memorial High School Boys Soccer team is just hoping to take a giant step forward in 2014.
On Monday night, the Redmen came up very empty with not much to show in the team’s regular season final, losing 6-0 to a very good Wilmington team, who could very well end up winning the Division 3 state championship title. But for Tewksbury they are nowhere close to that talent level as a team, but one thing is for sure, take away two ugly losses at the end of the season with Billerica and Wilmington, and the Redmen are finally moving up the ladder.
“We return everyone (besides Nick Bain and Ron Mallach) from a team that won five games, tied three and lost ten,” said head coach Chris Burns. “It wasn’t exactly where we thought we’d be, but it was an improvement for sure, for sure. But look at a club like Wilmington and that’s where you want to be at. They are one of the top Division 3 teams in the state, and they have a very good chance of winning the state championship, at least I think that. (Head coach Steve Scanlon) has 16 seniors and only one kid who really plays who is not a senior and that’s what we are going to be next year.
“For these guys (in Tewksbury), they have seen it but I think we just need to continue to get better. We improved a lot from last year. We need to keep improving and take that next step. We went from zero wins last year to winning five games this year. We went from having four points last year (with four ties) to 13 points this year. We just need to keep moving forward. We were five points away from the state tournament, two points short from the MVC (small school title). I think a little better scheduling on my part, but I think everyone in the MVC realizes that we are only losing two guys and we’re going to be there next year.
“We just need to be a little bit more creative in the top third of the field and score more goals. We only scored 20 or 21 goals this season and that’s not good enough. It should be more like 30 to 35. We need to score more goals but we have eight juniors, eight sophomores and 16 freshmen so they are all coming back, so hopefully we add a good group of incoming freshmen to give us over 40 kids.”
While Burns is hoping the program will have 40-plus kids at next year’s tryouts, he knows two of those players who won’t be there will be Bain and Mallach, who really were so instrumental in helping the entire attitude of this program completely change around, since frankly the last three years was completely miserable to say the least.
“I feel bad for those two seniors and I wish we could have done more for them,” said Burns. “For me, those two guys brought leadership (to the team), in terms of being a good person off the field -- forget about the on the field stuff -- then you add in the fact that they are our two most influential players, leading the team and holding themselves accountable and showing everyone else how to me a stand-up person, nevermind everything else.
“I couldn’t have asked for anything more from the two of them as a coach. It’s going to be tough losing them just for that kind of stuff.”
Besides the 6-0 loss to Wilmington, Tewksbury also was defeated by Billerica 2-0. Before that the team defeated Methuen 4-1, which included scoring all four goals in the second half thanks to Connor McLean, Mallach, Matt Lemos and Bain, while MacLean also added an assist. Keeper Andrew Loiselle made four saves for the win.
Also this past week, the MVC announced its all-league and all-stars and juniors Matt Lemos and Kyle Paquette were named to the All-Conference squad and Bain and Mallach were named all-stars.
“Matt was our leading scorer with eight goals and Kyle was our best defender all season and they deserve it,” said Burns.