Townies are capable of deep boys’ soccer playoff run

EPHS has the elements to be a factor in D-I title chase

By Mike Rego
Posted 9/21/21

EAST PROVIDENCE — The East Providence High School boys’ soccer team completed the first two weeks of its 2021 Division I regular season schedule without a loss, entering this week with a …

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Townies are capable of deep boys’ soccer playoff run

EPHS has the elements to be a factor in D-I title chase

Posted

EAST PROVIDENCE — The East Providence High School boys’ soccer team completed the first two weeks of its 2021 Division I regular season schedule without a loss, entering this week with a 1-0-3 record and good for six points in the league standings.

The Townies played to 1-all draws with Moses Brown and Portsmouth on the road, earned a 2-1 win over North Kingstown during their first ever home match in the new EPHS stadium and recorded an odd scoreless draw with visiting Shea, which was intially delayed after the first half due to lightning strikes in the area then officially declared a tie by the Interscholastic League when the weather wouldn’t cooperate the rest of the evening.

“The North Kingstown result was something I would say we didn’t expect. To me, they’re one of the better sides in the state. I group them with LaSalle and South Kingstown as the three teams at the top of the table, so that was a good result for us,” said EPHS head coach Tony Vieira. “I thought we’ve played well so far, but we’ve left some points out there. The Shea game we dominated the first 40 minutes. I think we outshot them like 10-0. You could feel a goal was coming, but unfortunately we didn’t capitalize on any of our chances when we had the opportunity and then it was out of our hands.”

EPHS began the fall minus six starters from last year’s COVID-19 shortened season, including leading scorer and All-Stater Colin Capelo and veteran keeper Andrew Mongeon. The Townies played just four league games and lost in the first round of the D-I playoffs in 2020.

The five starters back this fall in some instances return to different positions. They include senior attacking winger Nick Morrison, junior Andrew Jackson, who moves from the defensive back to a hold midfielder role, junior center forward Ryan (R.J.) DeCampos, senior midfielder Brett Schwab, who moves to right center back from the outside, and sophomore left back Jacob Barcelos.

“For me, Brett is the best center back in the state. We have three ties and a lot of us being able to do that has been predicated on his play commanding our back line,” Vieira said of Schwab, a four-year starter. “He’s a physical force, a great communicator, a great teammate. In my opinion he’s been the best center back in the four games we’ve played so far and he will end up being the best in the state.”

He continued on Jackson, “Andrew’s work rate is second to none. He’s a good tackler. He handles the ball well. For me he’s one of the better juniors in the state. As long as he stays focused, doesn’t get distracted by the opposition or calls by the referees he could be one of the better players in the state.”

Other returnees who saw meaningful minutes last fall now starting in the Townies’ 4-3-3 formation include senior Owen Tellier at right defensive back, junior midfielder Ryan Paiva, junior midfielder Ethan Paiva and junior Max Collins at right wing as well as junior left center back Nathan Capelo.  Sophomore Dorian DaSilva is likely to enter the starting lineup at left center back when he returns from injury. Bento, who served as Mongeon’s understudy in 2020, takes over as the Townies’ full-time goalie.

“I’m actually pleasantly surprised with how Nick has played so far,” Vieira said of keeper Bento. “He’s a good shot stopper. Being the starting varsity goaltender for the first time can be intimidating, and we’ve played some pretty good opponents, so I would say I’m pleasantly surprised with where he is right now. He’s got to get better at distribution and managing the game, but that will come with experience.”

Of his front three, Viera added, “Our guys on the attack are a talented group. R.J., to me, has looked the part of a guy who could score 15 to 20 goals in a season. Max is tight on the ball and he’s laterally quick. Morrison is a smooth player. The three of them on the counter have been extremely dangerous so far. They’ve created a number of opportunities. We just need to be better finishing those off.”

The substitute group includes junior backup keeper Nigel Monteiro, senior forward Dilson Vieira, senior midfielder Ryan Amoroso, junior wing Martim Moniz and sophomore midfielder Ricardo Lima. Of the freshmen newcomers to the program, Vieira said forward Kendrick Costa seems the most likely to see time on varsity.

Vieira considers the Townies capable of being a factor in the D-I state championship race if they do what’s needed during the rest of their 15-game regular season schedule.

“This is 100 percent a playoff caliber team and a team that could win a state championship if we click on the right night,” Vieira said of his side’s potential in 2021. “But we’ve got to put ourselves in a position to do it. We need to avoid an extra playoff game or being on the road, things that make or break a team in the playoffs. It’s no coincidence that over the last several years the top four teams (from the regular season) have been in the semifinals. That’s because they get the (first round playoff) bye and the home game. We need to put ourselves in a position to be one of those teams. We need to have the bye and the home game. You have a lot more energy. Your body isn’t as beat up. The key is to put ourselves in a good position to make a deep run.”

EPHS were to be tested once again in the early going with a trip to South Kingstown September 22 for a match against the reigning state champion Rebels. The Townies return home for game at the new high school stadium Saturday afternoon, Sept. 25, against Tolman at 1 o’clock.

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A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.