Townies could contend in abbreviated boys’ soccer season

Mix of key core returnees, talented newcomers gives EPHS hope

By Mike Rego
Posted 10/13/20

EAST PROVIDENCE — The host East Providence High School boys' soccer team opened up its abbreviated 2020 Division I regular season schedule on a windy, but warm Saturday afternoon, Oct. 10, at …

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Townies could contend in abbreviated boys’ soccer season

Mix of key core returnees, talented newcomers gives EPHS hope

Posted

EAST PROVIDENCE — The host East Providence High School boys' soccer team opened up its abbreviated 2020 Division I regular season schedule on a windy, but warm Saturday afternoon, Oct. 10, at Pierce Stadium with a 3-2 victory over St. Raphael.

The Townies led the visiting Saints 2-0 at intermission before holding on for the victory in one of just six scheduled regular season games due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Max Collins scored the game-winning goal at the 63rd minute in the second half. Nick Morrison gave the Townies a 1-0 lead with his goal 17 minutes into the first half and Ryan DeCampos, from Morrison, made it 2-0 EPHS in the 23rd minute of the opening period. EPHS keeper Andrew Mongeon was credited with two saves.

The Townies completed what was a dominant first 40 minutes with a decisive 7-0 shots on frame advantage and several others that flew either wide or high, which could have left them comfortably ahead in the second half. However, the Saints scored 12 minutes into the final period before Collins, a sophomore off the bench, netted what proved the deciding tally after intercepting a back pass attempt then dribbling past the approaching Saints' keeper before beating him for the goal.

St. Rays added its second goal in the 73rd minute, but the Townies were able to see out the win without much more worry.

"I thought we played a really good first half defensively and offensively we created some good chances, but we didn't finish as many as we should have," said EPHS head coach Tony Vieira. "In the second half, I thought we leveled off. Fitness seemed to be a bit of an issue with it being so hot out there. But for first game of the year for some of the guys and for some their first game in 12 months, I was a tough critic during the game, but it actually wasn't a bad performance for where we are at this point of year."

Both teams, according to health and safety guidelines initiated by the Rhode Island Interscholastic League, wore masks throughout the 80 minute contest. There were two breaks for water and brief mask removal, one in each half at around the 20 minute mark.

"I thought it was a little challenging with the weather. It got warm for the first time for us because when we've been training so far it's been pretty cool. It was a first time experience for us in warm weather with the masks," Vieira said. "I don't think there's an issue with it. The guys are doing pretty well wearing them. It gets hot with that extra layer or two of cloth over your nose and mouth, but I don't think it's been as difficult as we assumed it would be. And I think once the temperature drops a bit when we play in late October and early November it won't be an issue at all."

The Townies opened the season with a starting 11 led by senior captain and co-leading returning goal scorer in all of Division I, Colin Capelo, setting the pace. He's joined in the central midfield by junior Morrison. Freshman Jacob Barcellos and senior Corey Cabral man the wings. Up top, sophomore DeCampos and senior captain Gabriel Ferreira are the forwards.

"For me this is one of the best attacking groups I've ever coached at East Providence," Vieira said of his front-half contingent. "We have maybe four to five guys who could score at a moment's notice as compared to last year when Colin scored the bulk of the goals. I think the way we share the ball and can finish the goals will be spread out a bit more this year.

"But any time you return the state's leading goal scorer, it's a positive," the coach continued of Capelo, who shared top honors in D-I last fall with 14 goals. "Teams are aware of Colin. They're going to make sure they know where he'll be at all times. He's going to be marked all the time, maybe be double and triple-teamed at some points. But with the ability of the younger guys we have to step up and contribute I think we'll be able to handle the situation well."

Mongeon, a senior captain, anchors the backfield along with senior, captain and central defender Caleb Andrade. Junior Brett Schwab plays the more defensive oriented holding midfielder spot. Sophomore Andrew Jackson is the left back and senior Kyle Vieira is his counterpart on the right side.

"Defensively we still have some work to do. We only return two of the defenders so it's a work in progress. And with no scrimmages or non league games, typically we've played seven to eight of those games already to figure it out, but now we've been thrown into the fire at the first kick," Vieira added of his defense. "Andrew gives us a little stability in the back of the line. He and Caleb, who started last year and played a lot as sophomore, are back there pulling the strings."

Collins along with sophomores wingers Ryan Paiva and Martim Moniz as well as classmate and defender Nathan Capelo are expected to see the bulk of the minutes off the bench. Sophomore Nicholas Bento is the back-up keeper.

"I think defensively we need to shore up a lot of the little things and that's going to come in training. And we need to be a little more efficient offensively around the goal," Vieira said. "Hopefully we can get to November and to the playoffs, and if we can to that stage and are healthy I think we have a group that could make some noise for the first time in a while and be a serious contender for the title."

The "ifs" about the situation surrounding the pandemic concern Vieira more so than even those that remain about his team. It's something that will very much be on his mind as well as that of his players and their peers throughout the coming weeks.

"Honestly, a lot of us are just hoping to get that point," Vieira said of finishing the shortened season. "I know when I talk to other the coaches, we look around and see what's happening with professional sports and the testing. They're having problems and they have the ability to test every day. We wonder what happens if a kid or one of us test positive? Is it just going to affect one guy or the whole group?

"But right now I'm just glad we're out there playing. It feels good to be out there and I know the guys are really enjoying it. I know the parents are ecstatic we're playing. So I'm hopeful and thankful. Honestly I just hope it continues for a few more weeks so we can get through the season."

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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.