Hopedale Soccer finishes 6-2-1Dec 29, 2020 04:29PM ● By Christopher Tremblay
Although it was a season like no other, one in which the athletes had to not only take part in an abbreviated campaign, but it was also one that endured numerous rule changes. Despite the uniqueness to the season the Hopedale boys’ soccer team still managed to do alright.
Hopedale finished 6-2-1 in their pod and quite possibly could have been even better, but the squad was forced to shut down the final two weeks of the season due to a couple of COVID-19 cases on the team. The Blue Raiders went 2-0 against both Whitinsville Christian and Blackstone Millville, split their two games with Nipmuc, went 1-0-1 against Grafton and lost its only contest to Blackstone Valley Tech. The team never got to take the field against Northbridge due to the COVID-19 outbreaks.
While the season had a different look on the field Hopedale Coach Greg LaBossiere was optimistic coming in with the number of starters he had returning.
“Obviously, it was an adjustment, but we’re a possession team so we were still able to play our type of game,” the Blue Raider Coach said. “Our team is made up of a lot of skilled players so that helped us a lot. The physical part of our game was challenged, but our defense got things moving out of our zone and we saw some pretty good results despite all new rules.”
As they entered the 2020, season Hopedale had eight seniors returning to the field and having been gone deep into the Division 4 Central Tournament the last three years the squad was hoping to finally get past Bromfield. Hopedale was sent packing thanks to Bromfield 6-1 in the Finals in 2017; lost in overtime 1-0 in the 2018 Semis and 2-1 last fall once again in 2019.
“The team was ready to go this year,” LaBossiere said. “They were upset that there were no playoffs this season as they wanted to prove that they can beat Bromfield. Instead they had to play what they were given and made the best of it.”
Leading the Blue Raiders were senior captains Trevor Hibbert, Tyler Small, John McDonough, Sean Ryan, Amer Hukanovich as well as junior captain DJ Tucker. Hibbert was the team’s leading scorer with 10 goals and 4 assists, while Tucker was second with 3 goals and 15 helpers. In addition to the captains suppling much of the goal scoring, Hopedale also had a couple of younger players who stepped their game up to assist in the offense.
Steve Marchionni, who plays midfield for Hopedale and never shows up on the stat sheet was a key contributor in the center of the field, battling on every play. Brayden Kelleher, a transfer from Holliston High School, played an outstanding back for the squad. Not only did the first year Blue Raider help the team with his defensive play, but he also provided some offensive skills that netted him a few goals.
Senior Kiro Bebeway and junior Will Parker split time in net for the Blue Raiders. Bebeway saw the majority of minutes as the Hopedale keeper, but Parker, who hadn’t played goalie since junior high school, is Hopedale’s future.
“Parker is a baseball player as well as a friend of DJ’s and had left soccer after junior high to play football,” LaBossiere said. “DJ knew that we would have no goalie going forward after this season so he convinced will to come out and play for us.”
Junior Everett Hava was a big surprise on the field this past season. Having not played too much during his sophomore campaign he worked on his skills during the off-season and came into camp ready to contribute.
Having once again put together another successful season LaBossiere will be saying goodbye to eight departed seniors and look to his nine returning juniors to carry the team next fall.
Tucker will be relied on heavily to provide the team with the scoring. According to the Coach, Tucker is a game changer and a lot of the team’s in the league are aware of what he brings to the table each and every game. With that said, LaBossiere will be looking for someone to step up and take some of the burden away from him.
“Trevor will definitely be our biggest loss and his production will be missed,” the Blue raider Coach said. “However, having the nine juniors back, as well as a bunch of sophomores who saw some action this year, we’ll be ready to go once the season begins.”
With so many things being adjusted this fall Hopedale may have to face another adjustment next season as the MIAA will be realignment of the schools, which may move the Blue Raiders from Division 4 to Division 5. We’ll just have to wait and see, but it shouldn’t bother the team as we’ve already seen them tackle the Covid-19 adjustments with relative ease.
by Steve Bassignani