Indians Evan Anderson had a big year
Text and photos by Steev Riccardo
WEBSTER - Even though the Bartlett High School boys’ soccer team lost their last game of the season 2-0 to David Prouty in the opening round of district play, it had no bearing whatsoever on what an excellent season it was for them and their coach Ryan Renauld.
After starting 1-7-1, the team went on an amazing 7-0-2 run, finishing 8-7-3. They were also a part of Renauld’s 100th win as a coach at Bartlett. It was truly an outstanding season for a young team that looks to be set for the future.
With only two seniors, Nick Terranova and Jacob Gatto, the Indians played well in what was regarded as a rebuilding season and also found that they have some younger players who are really good soccer players.
“We were a young team so we started off slow but as the season kept going we started getting better and better and more experienced,” said Terranova. “When we were 1-7-1 we started getting focused and everyone started playing as a group and started scoring. Then we just kept winning, and getting Evan (Anderson) back from a broken collarbone was key for us.”
Along with the return of Anderson, who missed several games with his injury, the team also saw some emerging stars begin to rise. One of them was sophomore goalie Brian Tondel.
Sophomore goalie Brian Tondel earned the praise of his teammates
“Losing Tyler Mandeville (2012 graduate and starting goalie) was big,” said Gatto, “but I think after we figured out that the starting keeper was Tondel, it all came together. If Tondel was a little bigger I honestly think he could be one of the best goalies in the state.”
“He (Tondel) had a lot more confidence by the end of the season,” said Terranova, “and it showed in his play.”
Incredible as it sounds, the Indians had nine shutouts this season and it mostly had to do with strong goal tending and the outstanding defensive play of Anderson and guys like sophomore Kyle Liseno and freshman Justin Pepka.
Terranova praised Pepka’s play and said that he didn’t think that the opposition scored on his side of the field all season. Gatto agreed and called him the team’s most “underrated player.”
Another outstanding young player this season was Kody Morio. “You wouldn’t believe it, but Kody has only been playing soccer for three years,” said Gatto. “He is insane, he’s a natural, and he knows how to play. He has good vision on the field and he knows when to shoot and when to pass.”
Ultimately both players agreed that the real team leader and most valuable player was Anderson and credited his “tremendous leadership qualities and great defensive play” as the key to the team’s turnaround.
What may have been another key factor in the Indians strong finish was how Renauld casually told the team after they beat Quaboag that he had 98 career wins. With only three games left and a playoff spot looming, the players took that as a sign that they should play harder and won their final three games.
“When we found out that he (Renauld) had 98 career wins we definitely started working even harder,” said Gatto.
“I just want to say how proud I am of this team as a whole for what they accomplished when everyone counted us out. They never let the 1-7-1 start get to them in a way that it affected the next game or the next practice. We always practiced well and had fun,” said Renauld.
“I stress to my teams the mental aspect of sports and how things in sports are never perfect. The ball isn't bouncing our way and even when we feel good about how we played the scoreboard never showed it. But we needed to realize how well we played and trust that things will turn around as long as we relax and have fun. The second half of the season going 7-0-2 is remarkable.”
Renauld was proud of his senior captains as well as the job that Anderson and Brendan “Cup” Walker did as junior captains and feels good about the team’s future. It’s hard not to.
Both Terranova and Gatto plan on attending college next year to study Actuarial Science.
Terranova, who will be part of a solid Bartlett basketball team this winter, hopes to attend UConn, Bentley, or Bryant. Gatto is also looking at UConn and will also apply to Suffolk University.
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- Sunday, 11 November 2012
- Posted in Categories: : Sports