By Jim Fenton, The Enterprise (Brockton)
BRIDGEWATER, Mass. -- The Bridgewater State University men’s soccer team faced a challenge last season after losing nine players from a squad that went 17-4-1 in 2015.
“We were a very young team last year,″ said coach Brendan Adams. “A lot of the guys who got major minutes were kind of thrown into a role that maybe they weren’t ready for just yet.″
The Bears went 8-9-2, including 3-3-1 in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference, and picked up valuable experience along the way.
BSU reached the semifinal round of the MASCAC tournament, losing to eventual champion Worcester State.
The Bears are looking to take a step forward this season, which opens Friday afternoon in Springfield against Western New England University.
“I think it helped making the tournament,″ said Adams, now in his 16th season. “We were a corner kick away from being the second seed (in the tourney) and dropped to fifth place.
“I’m hoping the experience will help, and we’ve got some pretty good players coming in.″
The top returning players are juniors Filipe Gomes and Kane Moran, who made the first and second All-MASCAC teams, respectively.
Gomes scored seven goals with two assists to lead BSU while Moran was second with five goals and an assist.
Sophomore goalkeeper Nate Morgado won the starting position during last season and had two shutouts in 11 games.
“He didn’t let the playoff atmosphere play a part last year,″ said Adams, whose team is picked to finish second in the MASCAC. “He’s a good, competent goalie.″
Center midfielder Connor Spencer, who played in 2015, returns to the roster and a trio of newcomers will add to the offense.
Kessy Alves of Brockton, who played one season each at Massasoit Community College and Dean College, has transferred to BSU and will be joined up front by freshmen Kevin Roberts and Francisco Silveira.
Alves, a Southeastern Regional graduate, scored 10 goals with seven assists at Dean last season and made the All-Region 21 team at Massasoit where he scored 13 goals with eight assists.
“We have a little bit better talent than last year, but the chemistry and leadership is still a work in progress,″ said Adams.
“We’ve got some work to do. Once the guys get together and trust one another, it’ll be a fun team to coach. It’s competitive and smart group.″