Experienced Raiders set sights on tournament berth

By Colin Rajala - Staff Writer
Enfield - posted Thu., Sep. 6, 2012
Goalkeeper Nick Romei punts the ball during a scrimmage versus St. Paul. Photos by Colin Rajala.
Goalkeeper Nick Romei punts the ball during a scrimmage versus St. Paul. Photos by Colin Rajala.

The Enfield High School boys’ soccer team returns the majority of the starting lineup, a group that is now upperclassmen and poised to make a run at a state tournament berth. The squad’s high aspirations come after a disappointing 2011 campaign that ended with a 2-10-4 overall record.

“We’re hoping to finish better than .500 and make it to the state tournament,” said John Mancuso, head coach. “Those are the main goals for the players and coaches. I keep telling the seniors that the one thing I want for them this year is to finish the season and their careers strong. They have not seen the state tournament since their freshman year and they deserve to see it one more time. They are smart, they work hard, and they are a good group.”

The strength of the Raiders will be their experience on the backlines. The Enfield defense will be bolstered down by the strength and size of senior captain Joshua Gaines. The Raiders will also look to senior Andrew Norris and juniors Kory Wells and Andrew Halgas to reinforce the back four by winning a majority of 50-50 balls and headers. The final line of defense - the goal - will be protected by junior Nick Romei.

“Our chemistry will help us win more games this year,” Gaines said. “We work together as a team so well. Our back four are going to help lead by example.”

The Raiders struggled last year putting the ball in the back of the net; they only managed nine goals in 16 games. Mancuso hopes that the team's excessive speed will help facilitate their offensive attack. Mancuso says the team has "speed to burn" and hopes they can use their quickness to slip behind the defense and score some easy goals. The offensive attack will be aided by senior midfielder Joe Linehan. Senior Zack Corso may be the x-factor for the offensive attack - he had six goals and two assists last season.

“I know that I need to put more goals in the back of the net, being one of the big offensive players,” said Liam King, senior captain. “We need to have our backfield come up and get some deep shots and surprise the goalie.”

The Raiders' home opener is Sept. 21 versus Coventry.

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