Here's a look at five things you need to know in boys high school soccer this week.
1) Player of the week -- Dennis-Yarmouth senior Connor Coughlan netted a hat trick to top Falmouth, 3-2, last Thursday. The forward and tri-captain scored his first goal on a header from a long throw in. After converting a penalty kick in the second half, Coughlan scored a second header off a free kick.
Dolphins coach Bill Altieri said the 6-foot-3 forward is “…excellent in the air and can play with both feet.” The win was a dream start for Altieri in his first game at Dennis-Yarmouth, and it was also the second win for the Dolphins in the past three seasons.
2) Team of the week -- The No. 3-ranked New Bedford Whalers have smoked competition early on and jumped out to a quick 3-0 record. Last Wednesday in the season opener, the Whalers beat Taunton 4-0 behind a goal and assist from senior forward Klisman Sousa. Just three days later, Sousa struck again with a goal and three assists as the Whalers toppled Attleboro, 6-0.
Finally, the Whalers knocked off Nauset, 1-0, on Monday behind a goal from junior Edmilson Andrade. It’s no surprise that Sousa recorded the assist – his fifth of the season. The Whalers (3-0) have now scored 11 without allowing a goal. They travel to Barnstable on Wednesday, looking for a fourth straight win.
3) Question of the week -- Needham (1-0) began its Division 1 title defense on Saturday against Wellesley, defeating the Raiders, 2-1, behind two goals from junior Aram Ouligian. But who will step up consistently in the Rockets’ attack? Having lost the program’s all-time leading scorer, Mac Steeves, to graduation, the Rockets will need to find players who can contribute offensively.
It’s virtually impossible to find an individual who can replace Steeves’s 14 goals and 17 assists (31 points) last season. But that doesn’t mean the Rockets can’t have three or four solid players contributing offensively.
The Rockets travel to Natick Tuesday afternoon, before returning home to play Walpole on Thursday night and Brookline next Tuesday (Sept. 17).
4) Storyline of the week -- Dennis-Yarmouth’s new coach, Bill Altieri, faced Falmouth in his first game with the Dolphins. The team didn’t win a game last season, and had one win in 2011. Thanks to a hat trick from Coughlan and what Altieri called a “stellar” performance from sophomore goalkeeper Jake Gleason, the Dolphins (1-1) won their season opener, 3-2, against Falmouth. It was as positive a start as Altieri could have hoped for.
“When we scored first, you would not believe how excited the players were,” Altieri said. “Leading 1-0 at the half was enough in itself but when we scored two quick goals within 30 seconds of each other early in the second half, [the team was] ecstatic. It was overwhelming and unbelievable at the same time.
“After the game, the players could not believe that they had won the game. They never believed that they had it in them. Looking at them sitting on the bench, anyone could see how emotionally drained they were and yet extremely happy at the same time.”
5) Game of the week -- Brookline travels to No. 15 Wellesley on Thursday, Sept. 12. The Brookline Warriors (2-0) have started the season well, scoring eight and conceding none. Brookline faces Walpole on Tuesday afternoon. Junior Ben Gerber has scored three times for the Warriors, and sophomore Simon Fisher has two goals and two assists.
Warriors coach Jeff Katz said while he’s pleased with how his team has been scoring, “…the jury is out until we get through some of the tough Bay State League match ups this week and beyond.”
The Raiders (0-1) lost their opening game at No. 2 Needham on Saturday night, 2-1, and don’t have an easy second game (No. 4 Weymouth travels to Wellesley on Tuesday). If the Warriors get the better of Wellesley on Thursday, the Raiders will have to play well and avoid an early season tumble. Raiders’ senior forward Tyler Kuckenbecke will try and break down the Brookline’s defense, after leading the Raiders with 11 goals and eight assists last season.
Several reporters and editors contribute updates, news and analysis to the High School Sports Blog.
- Bob Holmes: A Reading resident (Go Rockets!) and Boston College graduate, Holmes is the Boston Globe High School Sports Editor. We remind you now that his weekly picks are often made in jest so everyone just calm down when he picks against Everett for 11 straight weeks. Contact him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeHolmes.
- Craig Larson: A native of West Springfield (Leo Durocher anyone? Tim Daggett?) and Curry College graduate (a proud Colonel!), Larson is the sports editor for the Globe's regional sections: South, West and North, as well as a frequent contributor on the college beat. Abington to Xaverian: it all starts with the schools. Have a compelling story idea? Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeLars.
- Zuri Berry: Berry attended the same high school as sports legends O.J. Simpson and Joe DiMaggio. (Guess which one is his hero.) He's a South Boston resident (formerly of Eastie) and the editor of the High School Sports blog as well as the go-to-guy for everything high school sports on Boston.com. Contact him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @GlobeSchools for all of the latest updates.
Then there are our winter correspondents:
- Emily McCarthy | @EmilyMcCahthy | BPS correspondent
- Jake Fischer | @GlobeFischer | Boys basketball
- Michelle Fenelon | @michfenelon | Girls basketball
- Andrew MacDougall | @Andy_MacDougall | Boys hockey
- Liz Torres | @etorres446 | Girls hockey
To reach the high school sports department, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.