2018-10-11 / Around Town

MHS Boys Blank Chieftains for Ninth Win

GAME OF THE WEEK
By Josh Krueger


The Islanders’ senior midfielder Jasun Nguyen (9) battles for ball control in the first period. 
Photos by Meri Keller Photography merikellersmugmug.com The Islanders’ senior midfielder Jasun Nguyen (9) battles for ball control in the first period. Photos by Meri Keller Photography merikellersmugmug.com A new division isn’t the only thing different this year about the Middletown High School boys soccer team.

“We definitely have more chemistry than last year, and the biggest part is working hard at practice,” senior goalkeeper Liam Clancey said after a 5-0 win over Ponaganset High on Oct. 9. “We want to do so much better than last year.”

Last year, the Islanders went 3-12 in Division II. This year, they’re 9-2 in Division III.

“It is a new division, but it’s also a new team,” Middletown coach Luis Oliveira said. “The chemistry is better, the team plays better, they’re working together and they’re having a lot of fun.”

Winning, of course, tends to be fun, and the Islanders were on their way to their ninth win eight minutes into the game. Trey Cruz scored the first of his two goals, with Charlie Mey assisting. Cruz added another with 2:14 left in the first half, bringing his season total to eight goals, on an assist from Jasun Nguyen, and Keydell Fuller scored the first of his two goals 10 minutes earlier on a Matthew Nieva assist.


Middletown senior Keydell Fuller (5) winds up for a shot on the Ponaganset goal. This shot missed, but two others found the net in his team’s 5-0 victory on Oct. 9. Middletown senior Keydell Fuller (5) winds up for a shot on the Ponaganset goal. This shot missed, but two others found the net in his team’s 5-0 victory on Oct. 9. Fuller added his second, and team-leading 11th goal of the season, as Nikolai Karlsen assisted with 25:49 left in the second half, and Nieva closed out the scoring as Cruz assisted with 17:30 to go.

“We had a couple rough years and kind of underachieved, so it’s good to see them putting it together,” Oliveira said. “I think we have a really solid team and the chemistry is the best part of it all. Good chemistry often leads to more success.”


MHS freshman Matthew Nieva (16) gets airborne to intercept the ball against the Chieftains. MHS freshman Matthew Nieva (16) gets airborne to intercept the ball against the Chieftains. Last fall, Clancey was one of the top goalies in Division II, if not the state. He made 133 saves, averaging nine a game and often amassing as many as 16.

He needed to make just three saves against Ponaganset, none particularly challenging.

“Sometimes it’s fun to have shots, sometimes it’s not,” Clancey said. “Our defense is so much better this year than it was last year, definitely stronger and more mature. But we have plenty of other games where I’m going to have shots and I’m going to have to be ready.”

In Division II last season, the Islanders couldn’t look at any opponent as a potentially easy victory. Not that they do now, but a winless Ponaganset team (0-9, D-III) likely wasn’t going to pose much of a problem if Middletown played its game.

“I worry about teams that are in the lower end of the division. We struggled to score against PCD,” Oliveira said, referring to last week’s 3-1 win over Providence Country Day (2-5). “We dominated the game, we just couldn’t finish.”

The cause for that, Oliveira said, was playing too slowly, something Middletown did not do against Ponaganset.

“We don’t play well when we play slow, they make too many mistakes, too much time to think,” he said. “We picked it up and the results showed.”

The Islanders will look to continue their winning ways on Oct. 11 at home against Toll Gate. They then host Pilgrim on Oct. 18. Both games start at 6 p.m. at Gaudet Middle School.

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