CRANSTON â€“ Mount St. Charles Academy saw 14 seniors, most of them starters, graduate from last yearâ€™s playoff team that finished second in Division II-North.
With a new batch of talented upperclassmen mixed in with some quality underclassmen, MSC head coach Miles Henderson was cautiously optimistic on how his squad would fare for the upcoming fall season.
After the first few weeks of practice, that confidence level increased a notch or two.
â€śI was not confident (before the season began),â€ť Henderson admitted. â€śIt was one of those things where I looked at it and said we got some returners. Luckily, a lot of our returners are right where we need them to be, like the center of the field. A lot of these kids, they really developed tremendously over the summer. We got some sophomores that really stepped up, participated in summer soccer and really played very hard and made themselves varsity material to the ninth level.â€ť
Itâ€™s just the first game of the season and the playoffs are not even in the thought process for most coaches at this point. But that didnâ€™t stop Henderson from visibly showing his pleasure on Thursday after his Mounties posted a 3-1 victory over league rival Cranston West. Senior forward Evan Traumuller netted two goals and senior teammate Tim Stein had a goal and an assist for the Mount, which out-shot the Falcons by a substantial 25-13 margin.
Despite showing some rust, the Mounties took a 2-1 lead in the first half with both their tallies coming from Traumuller. Stein scored the final goal just 10 minutes into the second half, a stanza that was completely dominated by Mount.
â€śAfter todayâ€™s showing, beating a team like this, I am very optimistic,â€ť Henderson said. â€śBut we got a long road ahead of us, being only one game into the season.â€ť
Traumuller, who was not a starter on the 2010-11 squad that posted an 11-3-2 record in the league before it was upset by the Prout School in the quarterfinals, gave Mount the early lead, scoring a close-ranger that was assisted by senior Chris Brown on a throw-in at the 13-minute mark.
â€śThe back post was unprotected and he just shot it there,â€ť Henderson said. â€śHe just has a nose for the ball.â€ť
The Falconsâ€™ Chris Burrows tied the score six-minute later. Traumuller netted the eventual game-winner with three minutes remaining before the break with a little assistance from the opposition.
â€śI was on the sideline and the goalie (Jonas Sullivan) stepped out,â€ť said the MSC senior. â€śI decided to shoot it and he deflected it into the net.â€ť
Henderson was not surprised with the effort of Traumuller, a player he will be counting on to spur his offense.
â€śEvan is a natural striker,â€ť he said. â€śI need him because we have no finishers. He is pretty much one of our few finishers and he has really started to step forward in this game. And in some of our scrimmages that we played, he has definitely made his impact. Heâ€™s a senior so he knows itâ€™s his year.â€ť
Mount clearly was in control the second half with most of the action on the Falconsâ€™ side of the field.
â€śThe first half we came out flat,â€ť Henderson said. â€śI donâ€™t know what was going on. We came out very flat, very tentative, very nervous almost. Then in the second half, we really started to impose ourselves a little more and started playing our style of game.â€ť
Mount returns back to the pitch on Friday when it plays host to intra-city rival Woonsocket at 3:30 p.m.
Cranston West 1 0 â€“ 1
Mount St. Charles 2 1 â€“ 3
First half â€“ 1. MSC, Evan Traumuller (Chris Brown) 13:00; 2. CW, Chris Burrows (Evan Petrarca) 19:00; 3. MSC, Traumuller (Tim Stein) 37:00.
Second half - MSC, Stein (Matthew Labatti) 10:00.
Saves â€“ MSC, Geoffrey Cicatiello 5. CW, Jonas Sullivan 9. Shots â€“ MSC 25, CW 13. Corner kicks â€“ MSC 10, CW 4.