EPHS 11 eyes return to boys’ soccer postseason

Sting of narrowly missing playoffs a year ago hopefully spurs Townies this fall

By Mike Rego
Posted 9/7/19

EAST PROVIDENCE — The East Providence High School boys’ soccer team started its 2019 season last week on the front foot (soccer/football/futbol term) as it were after the Townies recorded four …

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EPHS 11 eyes return to boys’ soccer postseason

Sting of narrowly missing playoffs a year ago hopefully spurs Townies this fall

Posted

EAST PROVIDENCE — The East Providence High School boys’ soccer team started its 2019 season last week on the front foot (soccer/football/futbol term) as it were after the Townies recorded four points following a tie with Central Falls and a victory over Coventry.

Unlike in the recent past when E.P. struggled out of the gate and chased points the rest of the way, opening this fall in good form should only help the Townies as they attempt to qualify for the Division I state championship tournament following 2018’s postseason-less 2-8-5 record, 11 point performance.

To earn a playoff spot, Division I boys’ teams must accrue 13 points from their 15 regular season games.

“I think it’s a good start. Hopefully we can continue to build on that. We’re off on the right foot. I think it helps the guys believe in themselves more, keeps them focused, makes them fight a little harder because they know what happened to the them last year,” said EPHS head coach Tony Vieira.

“Most of the guys are back. They know how close we were to making the playoffs,” Vieira continued. “This group knows having that many ties is unacceptable. We gave three games up last year in the final five minutes. Those are valuable points you need to have to get into the playoffs.”

The Townies return the bulk of their midfield and defensive starters from a year ago, hoping the knowledge gained leads to improved results.

Junior goalie Andrew Mongeon is back in net as are central defenders and senior co-captains Owen Charron, a four-year-starter, and Aidan Schwab. The other senior co-captain, Ryan Moniz, also a four-year starter, opens at left defense. One of East Providence’s impressive freshmen, Andrew Jackson, starts on the right side.

“The core of the team is the defense. We have the keeper back, the three returning starters on the back like, all three seniors,” said Vieira, noting his side plays out of a 4-3-3 formation. “It’s kind of what we’ve played lately. Defensively, I like the four guys. A lot of teams are experimenting with three in the back, but I like the stability of having the four.”

Junior co-captain Colin Capelo, classmate Caleb Andrade and sophomore Brett Schwab compose the midfielders, each also returning starters.

“They’re hard working, a very, very blue collar group. I like that they keep things simple,” Vieira said of his cast in the middle of the pitch. “To this point, they’ve been very good. They understand defending. They fit the style we like to play. Hopefully, they make us a tough out in terms of people scoring against us.”

At the top of the formation are returning junior Gabe Ferreira along with first-time starters junior Corey Cabral and the other standout freshman, R.J. DeCampos.

“The group up front lacks experience, but hopefully as the year goes on they mesh and gel and find a way to score goals,” Vieira said of his forward group, which lost over a dozen goals to graduation. “They’re a little inexperienced. We don’t know what to expect from really. It’s a learning process for them.”

Of freshmen Jackson and DeCampos cracking the starting 11, Vieira added, “I like their confidence, their ability on the ball, their ability at possession. They fit right into our style. I think those two will be a force to be reckoned with in the next few years.”

The remainder of the varsity roster and those expected to contribute this fall include senior forward Fabio Almeida, senior midfielder Zachary Bento, junior midfielder Rodrigo Condinho, junior midfielder Fabio Fortes, senior midfielder Domenick Lopes and sophomore forward Nicholas Schwab. Junior Kyle Vieira is the back-up keeper.

The 2019 season for the Townies features several returning players and also marks a return to its former home. Due to construction of the new EPHS on campus, the Townies will play their home matches and practice on the grounds of Pierce Memorial Stadium instead of the Bayside FC-owned artificial surface.

“It’s an adjustment,” Vieira said of moving from the 120x76-foot turf pitch at EPHS to the 110x60 infield at Pierce. “It’s different dimensions. We like to open things up, make passes, but it’s a little more confined (at Pierce). The grass makes it slower. Everything is a tackle. There’s not a lot of room. It’s going to be interesting.”

“Interesting” would be an apt description of the Townies’ schedule this fall.

East Providence’s home outing against Central Falls was the first of just two contests at Pierce Stadium in the team’s initial seven games. After playing the Warriors to the draw, the Townies embarked on a three-match road trip, culminating in Providence for a game against Central on September 14. E.P. was next to play at Pierce September 18 against Tolman before the closing the month with games in Pawtucket against Shea on the 25th and in South Kingstown on the 28th.

The good news, in contrast, is East Providence plays six of its final eight games at home. That stretch includes consecutive October meetings against league powers Hendricken, LaSalle and Moses Brown. The Townies, however, are hoping they’ve gotten enough results early on to make the favorable second half schedule worthwhile.

“I thought we were a playoff team last year, but we missed out. Hopefully, the experience of last year, the memory helps the guys know we have to button up, finish off games to get the points we need to make playoffs,” Vieira said. The Townies needed nine more points out of their 13 remaining games to qualify for the postseason.

“But I think the league is as wide open as it’s ever been. LaSalle is the perennial power and they’re as good as they’ve ever been, but the rest I don’t know,” Vieira continued. “Last year, I knew the final four teams before the season started. This year, it’s extremely wide open. There are no easy outs. We need to go out and compete, take advantage of the opportunities we have, win the games we can.

“I feel we’re a playoff team again this year, but I’m a little concerned about scoring goals. If we can figure that out, I think we’ll be competitive and be able to make the playoffs.”

The Townies don't have to travel too far for their next game, which is on the road Tuesday night, Sept. 10, against neighboring Barrington High at 5:45.

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Mike Rego

Mike Rego has worked at East Bay Newspapers since 2001, helping the company launch The Westport Shorelines. He soon after became a Sports Editor, spending the next 10-plus years in that role before taking over as editor of The East Providence Post in February of 2012. To contact Mike about The Post or to submit information, suggest story ideas or photo opportunities, etc. in East Providence, email mrego@eastbaymediagroup.com.