TOWNSEND -- Last fall, 16 seniors graduated from the boys' soccer team, and coach Pen Burnham is looking for a strong comeback with his new players as he begins his ninth season at North Middlesex.
"My whole midfield is new, we plan on working hard every day and doing a lot of conditioning, moving every day," he said. "I want my team to be in better shape than the other team." Burnham had a great record last year of 9-7-2 during the regular season and he hopes that pattern of success will continue this season. "We went to districts last year," said Burnham. "We ended up losing the first round to Wachusett, 1-0."
Helping with the team's continued success this season are seniors Jacob Fitzgerald and Steve Julius. "Jacob Fitzgerald is our high scorer, he scored 14 goals last season," said Burnham. "Steve Julius scored 10 goals last season."
Even though the team proved their success last season by going to districts, there are still talents that need to be improved. "Scoring is always an issue; any shot is a good shot as long as it is on net. Algonquin, Wachusett, and Groton-Dunstable are always tough teams to beat. This season, I think Groton-Dunstable will be the toughest team to beat," said Burnham. "We have a strong defensive team. Mike Spagnola, a junior, stepped in and played sweeper. He's really good. We only have 46 athletes in the boys' soccer program, so it is important that everybody is strong and in shape during the season." Making sure their
This is a rebuilding year for the team, having lost 16 seniors, but Fitzgerald, the top scorer from last season, is stepping up to fill the void. Fitzgerald hopes that his outstanding talents on the field will get recognized beyond North Middlesex. "I want to go do districts with the team," said Fitzgerald. "I also want to be on the Division All Star Team or the State All Star team. They only select certain players."
The main focus this season is rebuilding the team after graduating the 16 seniors. "They were really good. It is going to take a lot of hard work this season to make it to districts," said Fitzgerald. "Groton-Dunstable will be a really hard team to beat."
Sharing the role of being a high scorer on the team with Fitzgerald is senior Steve Julius. As a captain, he hopes to be a good role model to his fellow teammates. "We have a lot of kids that are inexperienced at the varsity level. The difference from junior varsity and varsity is probably the speed of the game," said Julius. "I want to take what I learned from last year's seniors and put it towards being a good role model. Julius was one of the team's high scorers last year. This year my goal is to score 15 or more."
Sharing the goal of going to districts is Monahan. "I want to go to districts. Algonquin and Wachusett will be tough teams to take on, but we get better game by game."