2018-11-08 / Around Town

Johnston Ousts Middletown Boys Soccer

GAME OF THE WEEK
By Josh Krueger
Photos by Meri Keller Photography merikellersmugmug.com


Islanders’ senior midfielder Jasun Nguyen (9) heads the ball back into the Johnston zone in front of the Panthers’ Connor Agnew (14). Islanders’ senior midfielder Jasun Nguyen (9) heads the ball back into the Johnston zone in front of the Panthers’ Connor Agnew (14). For the second time in one week, the third-seeded Middletown High boys soccer team was beaten by Johnston on Nov. 2, ending the Islanders’ run in the Division III playoffs.

If not for a late goal in their regular-season finale that resulted in a loss to Johnston, the Islanders would have had a different path in the playoffs. Instead, they had a rematch, losing 2-0 at Gaudet Middle School.

“There were a couple of teams I would have preferred not to face in the early rounds, and Johnston was one of them,” Middletown coach Luis Oliveira said. “They pose problems that made it difficult for us to overcome.”

The Middletown defense had a better night the second time around, limiting Johnston, the No. 6 seed, to six shots, compared to 22 in the previous meeting.


Middletown senior Trey Cruz (3) attempts to knock the ball away from Johnston defender Jarred Lameiro late in the final period. Middletown senior Trey Cruz (3) attempts to knock the ball away from Johnston defender Jarred Lameiro late in the final period. “We did a much better job of controlling the midfield,” Oliveira said.

Islanders senior goalkeeper Liam Clancey made four saves in his final game, and was a big part of the team’s success this season.

“He [didn’t make] the number of saves he had to make last year, but the saves he made [were] quality saves,” Oliveira said.

Another standout this season was senior defender Charlie Mey.

“Charlie Mey had a phenomenal game,” Oliveira said. “He just reads the game really well, breaks up a lot of plays and he’s unbeatable in the air. He tracks down every high ball, and that’s really nice to have in the back.”

Middletown, which finished 13-3 in the regular season, moved down to D- III after going 3-12 in D-II last season. The Islanders will play in D-III for at least one more season, but Oliveira is hopeful they can return to D-II in 2020.

“Obviously the goal is to always play the highest division you can play in,” he said. “I think we needed a little change. The last couple of seasons have been tough on the boys mentally, the psyche had taken a hit, and they just needed to refocus.

“This team really came together. They played for each other and with each other. I think we would have been successful in D- II.”

Spending next year in D- III could work out well, as Middletown will graduate 10 seniors from this year’s team, most of whom were varsity starters.

“The team will be very young next year, but we have good talent returning,” Oliveira said. “Hopefully we’re successful again and can move back to D- II. I think that’s where we belong.”

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