For five seniors on the Nipmuc boys’ soccer team, this fall’s state championship represented the culmination of four years of success and a fitting finale as they made their own indelible mark on one of the area’s most successful programs.
“They have all left their legacy on the program in a huge way,” said head coach Chris Hadfield. “I could not be more happy or proud of their presences both on and off the field.”
The Warriors rolled to a 21-2-2 record, earning a shutout over Norwell in last month’s championship for the first state title for the program in 23 years. The group of Michael Davidshoffer, Owen Lucas, Nathan Vance, Collin Flanagan, and Cameron Dunning has helped anchor the team through a period of nearly unparalleled success.
“These guys are all starting players and they’ve won two district titles, two league titles, they went to the state finals twice and won it once,” Hadfield said. “Their resume of success has been impressive.”
Vance netted the game-winning goal in the first half of the win over Norwell and Flanagan added an empty-net goal, the first of his career, to clinch the victory. Both players are looking to continue their soccer careers at the next level, Hadfield said.
With the seniors moving on, Nipmuc will turn to its younger players and athletes coming up through the youth and junior varsity programs to keep the team playing at a high level.
“We have been a successful program in terms of our overall playoff runs and district championships,” Hadfield said. “That legacy extends well before my time with my former coach and mentor Bill Leaver. He was always knocking on the door of the district championship.”
Hadfield said the program will continue to contend for district titles “for the foreseeable future,” pointing to strong youth programs through Mendon and Upton that develop a feeder system for the varsity program. Now that Nipmuc has its first state title in more than two decades, Hadfield said he and the players are hungry for more.
“This is something for us to hopefully build upon and hopefully capture more state titles in the future,” he said. “Hopefully, this winning is contagious for our program.”
This article appears in the Dec. 15 Holiday Edition of the Town Crier.