The Pilgrim boys’ soccer team isn’t in an ideal position. There are some holes to fill from last year, and numbers are down significantly, so much so that program won’t have enough players to field a JV team.
But for the second year in a row, the Pats started their season on a high note. Playing in the annual Warwick Vets Fall Soccer Tournament last Wednesday, the Pats beat Vets and Hendricken to capture the title.
“It’s not going to be an easy season, but they get up for this,” said Pilgrim head coach Bill Carroll. “It’s the local kids and they know each other. They give their all.”
And they were rewarded with a good result. Pilgrim and Vets played to a scoreless tie in their 30-minute game, but in the shootout, Pilgrim goalie Joey Silveira made a save on the third Vets shot to clinch the victory. Then in the championship, the Pats got a late goal from Luis Pimental and held on for the 1-0 win over the Division I Hawks.
“We snatched that one,” Carroll said. “We defended like hell and snatched that one.”
The hope is that the Pats will keep working hard all year and have the chance to snatch a few more, but they know there are challenges ahead. The team lost four starters from last year’s 2-10-4 squad, including four-year standout Phil Tantimonico and team leaders Ian Giuttari, Dan LaPlante and Matt McCabe.
With only three freshmen joining the program, the math doesn’t look good.
“We’re struggling this year,” Carroll said. “We won’t even field a JV team. We don’t have the numbers. We only had three freshmen come in and we have three sophomores. It’s going to be tough all the way around.”
If Wednesday’s games are any indication, the Pats will be ready to work hard and muddle through.
The team is led by captains Travis Cherry, Jordan DeSisto, Pimental and Christian White. They’ll provide leadership all over the field, with DeSisto and White anchoring the defense, Cherry in the midfield and Pimental up front.
Silveira is penciled in as the starting goalkeeper, with freshman Liam Strain pushing for time as a freshman. DeSisto and White will lead the way defensively, with junior Travis Medeiros also a veteran presence.
“He’s come back playing really well this year,” Carroll said of Medeiros.
Several players are in the mix for the other defensive spot, with Jonathan Auger and Chris Ray seeing a lot of the time so far.
Cherry, Matt Christy and Austin DeSantis are back in the midfield after seeing some action last year. Up front, Pimental was a strong scoring threat last year and seems primed to do even more this season. Returnee David Saran is also ready to contribute up front.
The roster also includes Sam Adamo, Aaron Edmonds, Nathan Fonseca, Thomas Greenburg, Yollee Khomsompha, Nick Masse, Kamron Murphy, Brett Prescott and Devin Ramos.
Carroll hopes the team can jell and learn to play well together.
“Hopefully, they can smarten up as the year goes on and learn to do the simple things, because they work hard,” Carroll said. “If they play well, they could get something out of it.”
And, with Wednesday’s tournament in the book, the Pats hope that includes some more high notes. The team missed the playoffs last year for the first time since 2005. They’d like to get back.
“If we could make the playoffs, that would be a big plus,” Carroll said.