Windham Tech boys' soccer team puts together winning season

By Melanie Savage - Staff Writer
Windham - posted Tue., Nov. 8, 2011
Kevin Hernandez takes a penalty kick during a Nov. 4 practice of the Windham Tech boys' soccer team. Photos by Melanie Savage.
Kevin Hernandez takes a penalty kick during a Nov. 4 practice of the Windham Tech boys' soccer team. Photos by Melanie Savage.

On the blustery autumn morning of Nov. 4, veteran coach Charles Rayner put the Windham Tech boys’ soccer team through their paces on the artificial turf of the Eastern Connecticut State University Athletic Complex. The team was coming off of a highly-successful regular season (15 wins, 0 losses, 2 ties), and looking ahead to the final game of the Constitution State Conference tournament the following evening. The teammates were clearly having a good time, jostling and joking, as they simultaneously worked on their ball-handling and kicks.

“We have a good group of juniors and seniors who’ve been part of the team for three or four years now,” said Rayner. Junior Greg Frieman has shaped up to be the lead scorer for the team, with a total of 23 goals going into the CSC finals. “The good thing about our team is we have good balance,” said Rayner. Two other players, juniors Dylan Grenier and Brandon Martingano, also boast double-digit season scoring records.

“We’ve got the best starting 11 we’ve ever had, as far as strength in all positions is concerned,” said Rayner. In 34 years of coaching the team, this is the most successful season that Rayner has ever experienced. “Prior to that, it was last year,” he said.

Last year, the Tigers finished their season with a 13-2-1 record, capturing the CSC title and falling in the first round of the state tourney to Weston. They only lost one starter, All-State goalkeeper Connor Anniello. This year’s team shares a camaraderie that works to their advantage. “They work well together,” said Rayner. “They take the initiative. That’s a real joy.”

During the regular 2011 season, the Tigers have only given up 10 goals, while scoring a total of 65. Goalkeeper Chris Maheu has contributed to that record. “He’s a good goalkeeper,” said Rayner. “But we have a very balanced team. We have a really strong back four that have really contributed defensively.”

The Tigers went on to defeat Abbot Tech on Nov. 5, by a final score of 2-1 after double overtime, securing their second consecutive CSC win. Heading into the state tourney, which has been pushed back to a Nov. 10 start date, it will be a matter of staying healthy and playing to their potential. “It’s a matter of sometimes you have to have a little luck, too,” added Rayner with a grin.

The assistant coach of the Windham Tech Tigers is Brian Bisson. The team captain is senior Jose Mendez. Other seniors are Luis Ortiz, Jonathan-Brent Payne, Mikhail Arroyo, Kevin Hernandez, Luis Solano and Chris Maheu.

Check the website for state tournament brackets.

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