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Girls soccer

Danvers coach reaches 200-win milestone

By Phil Shore
Globe Correspondent / October 18, 2010

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The Danvers girls’ soccer team’s 3-0 victory over Marblehead Thursday was the 200th victory for coach Jim Hinchion. It was a milestone number, but one that Hinchion was unaware that he was even approaching.

“I found out when there was a Gatorade jug of water dumped on me,’’ he said, referring to the celebration that ensued thanks to his players.

Since 1999, when Hinchion — a 1990 Danvers High School graduate — took over the girls’ team after five years of being an assistant coach with the boys, the Falcons have a record of 200-31-18. Danvers has been Northeastern Conference champions nine times, North Division 2 champions four times, and EMass Division 2 champions once.

A Hinchion-led Danvers team has never lost more than four games in a season, and the Falcons have won nearly 72 percent of their MIAA tournament games.

“We’ve obviously had some success, but we’ve had some great athletes and players, and I’ve been lucky enough to work with some great assistants,’’ Hinchion said.

He also applauded the Danvers Youth Soccer program, saying, “They get a lot of athletes to play and want to be involved with the high school team.’’

Two hundred victories and an 80 percent overall winning percentage add up to a lot of happy times for Danvers. But for Hinchion, one game stands out above all the rest.

“The biggest one was our first North championship win against Belmont [in 2002],’’ he recalled. “It was the first one in school history. [Danvers] had been there before I was coach and just missed out. So I remember how much it meant to the players and to the program.’’

While success seems to be commonplace for the Falcons, Hinchion said he believes that there is still more to accomplish. He has never led a team to a state championship. Danvers fell short in the 2003 title match.

While he said that he believes his team still needs to improve quite a bit before it can compete for the state title this year, the win against Marblehead did qualify Danvers for postseason play.

Hinchion said the most challenging thing about the job has been graduating seniors every year after developing strong relationships with them.

“Wins and losses come and go, but you remember the players forever,’’ the coach said.

Hinchion said that 10 minutes after the Marblehead game the team was thinking about its next opponent. The Falcons face Salem Monday, and then rival Peabody Wednesday. However, the win did give him a second to reflect on the importance of the milestone.

“It’s been 11 ½ great years,’’ he said. “I feel blessed to coach in the town I grew up in, the school I went to and played at, and where my daughter will go to school as well.’’

Game of the week: Whitman-Hanson at Duxbury, 4 p.m., Wednesday — The two best teams in the Patriot League square off. The No. 9 Green Dragons have won nine straight games, but an early season loss to No. 1 Whitman-Hanson has Duxbury two games behind the Panthers in the division. Whitman-Hanson, led by senior Samantha Mewis, is undefeated and will look to continue its dominance.