2022 Fall Sports Previews: Keene boys soccer looks to new coach, ConVal brings back veteran squad

·12 min read

Aug. 27—Multiple local boys soccer teams have sights set on deep playoff runs, while others are looking to continue building up their programs.

While Keene brings in a new coach and some pieces, ConVal, Conant and Hinsdale all have veteran squads that can help push their teams through the playoffs. Monadnock is also a youthful group, while Fall Mountain looks to build off a successful year last season.

Here's your in-depth look at the six local squads:

Keene

The Blackbirds are in a transition year, says first-year head coach Dan Robel, but that doesn't mean they don't expect to be a playoff team. Matter of fact, Robel has his sights on getting to at-least the second round.

To do that, Keene will be relying heavily on its offensive firepower. Doesn't matter if the team gives up six goals, as long as it scores seven, right?

Senior Alex Nicholas — a transfer from Haiti — will be a big part of that offensive production, along with senior Cutler Ansevin-Allen and sophomore Will Fauth. Junior Trevor Voisine will likely have his fair share of scoring opportunities as well. He scored twice in the Blackbirds' scrimmage against Fall Mountain last Monday.

With that offense, along with senior Caz Couble back in net, it's playoffs or bust for Robel and the Blackbirds.

Last year: 3-13, missed playoffs

Key losses: Aidan Fauth, Brady Beldon, Liam Glodgette

Key returners: Senior Caz Couble, senior Cutler Ansevin-Allen, senior Matt Branand, junior Trevor Voisine, sophomore Fitch Hennessey, sophomore Will Fauth

Newcomers to watch: Senior Alex Nicholas, sophomore Jacob Parrott, freshman Gus Smith

First game: Aug. 30 at Manchester Central, 6:30 p.m.

Home opener: Sept. 1 vs. Bishop Guertin, 4:30 p.m.

Head coach: Dan Robel (1st year)

Coach's thoughts:

"We've got 14-15 solid, Division I players. There's a little drop-off after that, so that's where we're try to settle into from there. We want to be around 20."

"It's a transitional [year] in the sense that we only have 10 seniors total and four juniors. Then you go down the list and we have 21 sophomores and 18 freshmen. ... So it's a transition because the 10 seniors this year can play."

"The 10 seniors that are here, they're good players."

"We're going to give up goals, so the plan is to score more than that. Probably going to be a lot of high-scoring game. If anything, it'll be entertaining and it'll be fun."

"I don't think [just making the playoffs] is enough. We're going to set our goals to getting to at least the second round. ... Then that will be the standard moving forward."

Monadnock

The Huskies come into the season with a ton of youth (only two seniors on the roster this season), meaning there is a lot of room for growth and potential. Monadnock went winless last season, but look to be competitive in every game this season. The losses of Georgios Pananas and Owen Manlove leave significant holes in the offense, so it'll be up to the juniors and sophomores to step up and replicate that production on the pitch.

Last year: 0-14, missed playoffs

Key losses: Georgios Pananas, Owen Manlove

Key returners: Junior Mason Hill, junior Gavin Gomarlo, junior Mikey Cintron, sophomore Miguel Batista, junior AJ Givetz, junior Ryan Zipps, sophomore Francis Cardine, sophomore Haden Bertolami

First game: Aug. 30 at Fall Mountain, 4 p.m.

Home opener: Sept. 2 vs. Campbell, 4 p.m.

Head coach: John Naso (10th year — 2004-2012, 2021)

Coach's thoughts:

"We are strong in numbers and very young. We will continue to teach the technical and tactical aspects of the game so we can be competitive this season."

"Our goal this year is to be competitive in all of our games."

ConVal

Despite Scott Daniels coming in as the first-year coach, he has been coaching this group of seniors for a long time, and steps into a program with state championship hopes this year. The Cougars have 11 seniors on the roster this season, meaning the experience is there.

The key, Daniels said, is for the team to pull together towards their common goal. After a short-lived playoff run last year, the desire to make that deep run is there for this Cougar team.

Senior Wyatt Beaulieu will shift to fill the role of goalkeeper, with seniors Jake Daniels and Bryson Boice leading the offense. Sophomore Garrett Rousseau and freshman Max Cail will likely contribute in the midfield as well.

Senior Austin Klonel will anchor the backline.

Playoffs, maybe more, for this veteran Cougars team this year in a tightly-contested Division II.

Last year: 8-6-2, lost in D-II preliminary round (2-0 vs. Stevens)

Key losses: Zach Burgess, Fletcher Maggs

Key returners: Senior Wyatt Beaulieu, senior Austin Klonel, senior Jake Daniels, senior Bryson Boice, sophomore Garrett Rousseau

Newcomers to watch: Freshman Max Cail

First game: Aug. 30 at Laconia, 4 p.m.

Home opener: Sept. 6 vs. Pelham, 4 p.m.

Head coach: Scott Daniels (4th year, previously head coach from 2013-15)

Coach's thoughts:

"We are a pretty veteran squad. So we have 11 seniors at this point so there's a lot of experience returning to the team this year, which I think in the long run will be a benefit."

"These guys did not have a season their sophomore year, so for many of them last year was their first varsity experience and I think it took them a little while to adjust to that. This year, they'll all be in a much better position and know what to expect."

"I definitely think this group has the potential to make a deep run. I'm fortunate enough to be in the position where, with this group of seniors, I've been coaching them since they were 8 or 9 years old, so I know them well. And they've had success at the club level. So I do expect that they can make a deep run as long as we really pull together as a team and work towards that. That's one of the goals that they set for themselves."

"The expectations for themselves are high. I think they have all the talent in the world. If they play for one another, we might be able to have the success as the teams of a few years ago and make a deep run into the playoffs and hopefully a championship."

Conant

The Orioles have been on the uptick for the last couple of years, and head coach Tom Harvey — the reigning Division III Coach of the Year — has all the confidence in the world that the trend can continue this year.

The team lost seven seniors from last season's quarterfinal team but bring back much of the talent that helped propel the Orioles to another deep playoff run. Had it not been for a heartbreaking loss to Trinity — the eventual state champions — in a game that took six rounds of penalty kicks to decide a winner, who knows how far last year's Orioles could've gone.

Now, many of them get another chance. And you certainly learn a lot from a loss like that.

Juniors Josh DiPasquale and Thomas Harvey — Coach Harvey's son — will pair up as Conant's main strikers, with sophomore Ben Sawyer anchoring a revamped back line. Junior Ben Ramirez is slated to replace Garrett Somero between the pipes.

Last year: 12-2-2, lost in D-III quarterfinals (2-1 vs. Trinity)

Key losses: Garrett Somero, Ethan Vitello, Noah Mertzic

Key returners: Junior Josh DiPasquale, sophomore Ben Sawyer, junior Thomas Harvey, senior Jacob Sawyer

Newcomers to watch: Junior Ben Ramirez

First game: Aug. 30 at Wilton-Lyndeborough, 6 p.m.

Home opener: Sept. 1 vs. Derryfield School, 4 p.m.

Head coach: Tom Harvey (3rd year)

Coach's thoughts:

"We're going to look a little different this year — we're a little smaller — but overall, we don't lose too much. Yeah, we lose a little, but we should be very strong again this year. I'm looking forward to this group of boys."

"I look for Conant to be a solid team this year. We've got a great group of freshmen and our team will be carried by our juniors, for sure."

"We're going to look different, but we still have a lot of talent."

"I like what we look like. I think we're going to do alright this year. I think some of the bigger teams this year will give us a real challenge, but I think overall we should be pretty good."

"I'm really excited about this year. I think we're going to do really well. I think the boys will have as good of a season as we've been having. My only concern is health because we are a little small. ... As long as we can stay healthy, we can make a good push."

"We learned a lot [from the playoff loss]. We're young. I had seven seniors — only five started — five starting juniors and five starting sophomores and one starting freshman. So we were young, and they learned a lot by going through that last year."

Fall Mountain

The main goal for the Wildcats this year is to build on what they did last season. 2021 was a decent year for Fall Mountain, ending with a one-goal loss to Mascoma in the first round of the playoffs.

The Wildcats lose their starting goalie from last year — Brayden Ring — but bring in junior Aiden Parrott (no relation to coach Justin Parrott), who was the JV goalie last season, to fill that role.

Fall Mountain will also have a brand-new midfield but bring back a strong — but small — senior class, led by Derek Bader (All-State Honorable Mention last season), Aiden Bailey and Eli Royce.

The losses of Jack Wilde and Will Bellows also loom large, but Coach Parrott feels confident that the guys on his roster can continue the upward direction of the Fall Mountain boys soccer program.

Last year: 8-8, lost in D-III preliminary round (3-2 vs. Mascoma)

Key losses: Brayden Ring, Jack Wilde, Will Bellows

Key returners: Senior Derek Bader, senior Aiden Bailey, senior Eli Royce, junior Aiden Belden

Newcomers to watch: Junior Aiden Parrott

First game: Aug. 30 vs. Monadnock, 4 p.m.

Home opener: Aug. 30 vs. Monadnock, 4 p.m.

Head coach: Justin Parrott (3rd year)

Coach's thoughts:

"I'm feeling pretty optimistic about this group. It's a very competitive group. A lot of guys competing for spots. Competing for more playing time. I've been really pleased with the effort and the quality of kids that are out there for us this year."

"Just a good, fun group to coach. Very coachable kids."

"I've got a couple of really great leaders. You've got those vocal leaders and then you have those kids that lead by example. Got a good mix of that in our seniors."

"I would hope every year we improve on what we did in the previous year. Last year was a pretty good season for us, 8-8 in the regular season, lost a heart-breaker in the playoffs. I want my guys to compete every day, leave everything on the field and I think the results will come."

Hinsdale

Hinsdale brings back all of its roster from last year, and this is a group at head coach Syla Sengaloun believes can make a deep run in the Division IV playoffs. This is a group that has been playing together for a while, and that Sengaloun has been coaching for a while, and the fourth-year coach feels this is the year he's been waiting for for quite some time.

Sengaloun is here to win, and that's exactly what he expects from his team this season.

Seniors Aiden Davis and Noah Pangelinan highlight a big senior class, with Davis leading the midfield and Pangelinan anchoring the back line.

Junior Connor Clement will step in as goalkeeper this season, as junior Brayden Eastman — last year's goalie — will fill a different role on the field.

The seven seniors will lead the charge and, supplemented by the underclassmen, can put Hinsdale soccer back on the map.

Last year: 4-11, missed playoffs

Key losses: N/A

Key returners: Senior Aiden Davis, senior Noah Pangelinan, senior Connor Sengaloun, senior Alex Shank, senior Cooper Scherlin, junior Brayden Eastman, junior Connor Clement, sophomore Ryan Sweetser, sophomore Trey Corey, sophomore John Winters

Newcomers to watch: Freshman Grady Jutras, freshman Hunter Taylor

First game: Aug. 26 at Portsmouth Academy, 4 p.m.

Home opener: Sept. 2 vs. Newport, 4 p.m.

Head coach: Syla Sengaloun (4th year)

Coach's thoughts:

"I believe that we're going to run pretty deep in the playoffs. I'm pretty confident. ... A lot of returning players, which will be the anchor of our team. ... The goal is to obviously to win state, and with a young team that's tough. So we're relying on the seven seniors."

"If the goal isn't to win state, what's the point of being out there?"

"We have a pretty strong defense. Our midfielders and pretty fast, then I have some fast frontrunners. This is what I've been waiting for the last four years. I'm pretty psyched."

"I'm pretty confident that we can go pretty deep this year."

"The seven seniors are great leaders, and they gel well with the younger players. It's going to be a strong connection and I think that's what's going to make us tough to beat."

"The grind and the hard work is going to show at the end of the season."

{div class="asset-tagline text-muted"}Chris Detwiler can be reached at 352-1234, extension 1411, or cdetwiler@keenesentinel.com. Follow him on Twitter @Chris — Detwiler.{/div}