BANGOR — The numbers compiled by the Bangor High School boys soccer program in recent years require no additional hype.
Since the start of the 2006 campaign, the Rams are 61-4-3 with one state title (2006), a second Eastern Maine Class A championship (2008) and a third trip to the regional final (2009).
Bangor is 32-2-1 during the last two seasons alone under coach David Patterson, and last fall went 16-1 while outscoring its opposition by a combined 64-3 in a run that ended with a double-overtime loss to Brunswick in the Eastern Maine title game.
And while seven starters graduated from that team, including All-New England honoree Nick George and fellow midfielder Cody Cormier, now at the University of New Hampshire, the recent strength within the program suggests this year’s club should remain among the leaders in the Class A ranks.
“People have to understand that we’re a different team than we were last year and we’re not the same team as we were the year before that,” said Patterson.
“We’ve had a fantastic group of players come through the program, but this year’s team is a different group so there’s going to be a transition, but it’s something I’m really looking forward to.”
Bangor, which opens its season at home Friday at 6 p.m. against Brewer, will rely on the leadership of its five senior captains: Phil Frost, Luke Hetterman, Jacques Larochelle, Adam King and Jack Stacey.
Frost, an All-Maine performer a year ago, is the leading returning scorer after amassing 15 goals and seven assists last fall. Hetterman is another returning forward who contributed eight goals and five assists in 2009, while Larochelle and Stacey are back to anchor the midfield and King is the lone returning starter on defense.
“Within our group there’s a tremendous amount of respect for the senior class,” said Patterson.
King, one of 11 seniors on the 26-player roster, will be joined on the defensive end by classmate Andy Prusaitis and juniors John Szewczyk and Bobby Reasso, a transfer from New Jersey and the son of new Husson University athletic administrator Bob Reasso, the former men’s soccer coach at Division I Rutgers University.
“We lost three of our starters on the back four and we’re going to have to fill those positions,” said King. “They did a great job last year so these kids have big shoes to fill and hopefully we’ll be able to do that so we can support the front with our back.”
Bangor’s defenders will play in front of senior goalie Jesse Perkins, the backup to starter Bud Angst last year, and sophomore Tyler LaPlante.
Among those joining Larochelle and Stacey in the midfield will be junior Alex Shi, whom Patterson describes as one of the team’s more improved players.
Others expected to contribute up front with Frost and Hetterman are senior Tom Bearor, junior Connor Griffin and sophomore Chayce Beck.
“Last year we were very explosive,” said Patterson. “One of the big reasons we didn’t give up many goals was because we literally were going forward nearly all the time.
“We’re still going to score goals, but this year we’re going to have to be better in all phases of the game.”
With a program that is undefeated in regular-season play since 2006 — its only losses since then have all come during the postseason — there are plenty of positive vibrations around to inspire the new edition to strive for similar success.
“It’s definitely possible, we’ll just have to step up,” said King. “We’re not as skilled as we used to be last year and the year before, but I think we have kids who will fight and compete and hopefully we’ll be able to maintain that tradition.”
Hodgdon suspends boys soccer
The boys soccer team at Hodgdon High School is sitting out the 2010 season, the result of low participation numbers.
“The most we had at a practice was seven players,” said Hodgdon athletic administrator Brad Chiasson.
The Hawks began preseason practices in early August along with other Aroostook County schools, but opted to end their season several days before their scheduled Aug. 20 season opener against Fort Fairfield.
Had the team started the season and then had to stop playing midway through its schedule, it would not have been able to field a team for the next two years under Maine Principals’ Association rules.
A major issue this preseason was the lack of upperclassmen on the team. No seniors showed up for practices, and just one junior came out for the squad, Chiasson said. He added that three or four players who participated last year opted not to return to the team this season.
Hodgdon had 13 players on the boys soccer team last fall, when the Hawks finished with a 1-11-2 record after moving up to Class C from Class D.
In the previous two seasons as a Class D program, Hodgdon went a combined 1-27, but the school’s enrollment edged past the Class C minimum of 200 for the most recent two-year reclassification cycle, meaning the Hawks had to play in Class C in 2009 and 2010.
Chiasson said the school’s enrollment is approximately 155, meaning its athletic programs almost certainly will return to Class D beginning with the 2011-12 school year.
Chiasson is hopeful the school will be able to field a boys soccer team next season. Three sophomores and three freshmen tried out for this year’s team, and the Hawks also are anticipating an influx of new players from the local middle-school program.