Undefeated Boys Soccer Team Faces Tantasqua Regional Saturday in Playoffs

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Eva Nguyen

Coach Steven McCaughey addresses the boy’s varsity team during a timeout in their game against Shrewsbury High School.

Eva Nguyen and Aaron Santana

The LHS Boy’s Varsity Soccer team’s playoff game will be held at 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021, at Doyle Field against Tantasqua Regional High School. 

The team is undefeated for the first time in Leominster soccer history as they move onto the MIAA Central Massachusetts District playoffs.

“It’s a great accomplishment for the players to go undefeated,” said Coach Steven McCaughey. But he was quick to add “being undefeated was not a goal.”

This unprecedented situation has led the team to take on a winning and more competitive mentality said the players.

“Everyone expects us to win,” said Senior Team Captain Alex Miller. 

Talking with the players, it is clear the team feels there is more pressure to win due to the winning culture. Despite the high expectations they place on themselves, they enjoy and thrive under the pressure. 

McCaughey and the players worked together to create a new lineup and formation that would strengthen them.

“We always adjust to the strengths and weaknesses of our players,” said McCaughey. The team added two new players last year from Lunenburg High School and the Advanced Math and Science Academy who both have played a fundamental role in the team’s winning streak:  Senior Agustin “Agu” Silva-Olivera and Senior Phillip “Phil” Costa.

Agu, playing center mid, said that being able to play for Leominster High School has been a dream. “I can prove myself and get my name out there,” said Agu.

Phil, playing center back, said, “It feels great because coming from somewhere that we didn’t get many wins… It feels like an accomplishment because we put in so much work and time and it just feels really good to win. It’s hard work well done.” 

The team credits their success this season to the bond and chemistry they have built with each other. Over the summer of 2021, the team played a summer league competing in a total of eight games against D1 schools. This gave the new players time to bond with their teammates.

“We consider ourselves a family,” said Junior Andy Truong, left-wing-back. 

Senior Team Captains Jevic Perez and Alex Miller expressed the impact of McCaughey’s ability to connect the players.

“He’s a great sports coach,” said Alex. “He knows how to bring a team together.”

 The seniors added they also have a strong amount of trust in one another.

Senior Julian Booth, right-wing-back, explained that the trust in his team has allowed them to carry out their plays without a single thought of doubt. “[The trust] allows us to play with eyes behind our backs,” said Julian. 

 The team has taken on a new offensive formation called 4-4-2, creating a diamond shape in the midfield. This granted them more opportunities to push forward on the field and score more goals, compared to their former 3-5-2 defensive formation. The team has made no adjustments when it comes to practicing for playoffs. 

The game begins at 6 p.m. under the lights at Doyle Field this Saturday night.

 

 

Coach Steven McCaughey addresses the boy’s varsity team during a timeout in their game against Shrewsbury High School.
(Eva Nguyen)