E.O. Smith boys’ soccer dives into new season
By Melanie Savage - Staff Writer
Storrs - posted Tue., Sep. 13, 2011
The E.O. Smith High School boys’ soccer team put together an amazing season for 2010-11. With Captain Aaron Chen providing cohesion, the team plowed through the regular season with a total of 15 wins and one tie. It looked like it would be their season.
Having last captured a state championship in 1998, the Panthers were looking for that LL state title. Round one of the state tourney went well, with the Panthers putting together a solid win against Career Magnet. But round two proved to be their undoing, as the number one-seeded Panthers, who had been voted the number-one team in the state by the Connecticut Soccer Coaches Association poll, were upset by number 17-seeded Hall High School. The Panthers finished their season with a 16-1-1 record.
That was last year, and this year may be a challenge. The 2010-11 Panthers were top-heavy, and lost not only Chen, but 10 other seniors, including six starters. That would be a big hit for any team, and it remains to be seen whether the Panthers will be able to overcome it. Head coach John Blomstrann is optimistic, though. “I expect we’ll be strong again,” said Blomstrann, who is in his 32nd year of coaching the team.
Players to watch for 2011-12 include team captains Luke Melody and Mitchell Taintor, seniors who were looking sharp during a Sept. 9 scrimmage against Guilford. “This should be a good test today,” said Blomstrann. “Guilford is considered one of the better teams in the league, and the coach says they’re strong again this year.”
During the opening half of the scrimmage, the Panthers were looking strong as well, with Melody and Taintor standing out. Both are Division I recruits, with Melody having committed to Holy Cross and Taintor to Rutgers. Also strong in the field, according to Blomstrann, is senior Darren McCall.
Alex West was named CCC All-Conference last year as a freshman, along with Aidan Larson, Chen, Taintor and Melody. A sophomore this year, West is expected to replace Chen as a leader for the defensive line.
The Panthers’ first home game is scheduled for Monday, Sept. 19, against Rocky Hill. Home games are held at Farrell Field (near the post office). The game begins at 3:45 p.m. Smith plays RHAM at home on Wednesday, Sept. 21, beginning at 3:45 p.m. For a full season schedule, go to www.casciac.org.
The seniors on this year’s E.O. Smith boys' soccer team are Janson Erhard, John Estes, Jack Kissane, Darren McCall, Luke Melody, Mark Schmidt and Mitchell Taintor.