Ali Taleb and the rest of the seniors on the boys soccer team at GHS celebrated Senior Night with a scoring barrage.
Taleb scored three goals and the Guardians exploded for a season-high nine goals in a 9-1 victory over Bristol Eastern at GHS last Monday (Oct 25).
“We were looking forward to this. This was a statement game” said Taleb, “It was a special night and we all came together and made the seniors proud.”
Glastonbury jumped out to a 3-0 lead early in the contest, scoring three goals over a 90-second span.
Vincenzo Greco’s corner kick was deflected in by Kevin Carmichael at the 33:51 mark. A Minute later, Taleb scored his first after receiving a beautiful lead pass from Carmichael. Taleb struck again 30 seconds later after being set up by Michael Sardo.
The early lead allowed first-year head coach Chris Vozzolo to get all his seniors on the field and dig deep into his bench.
“We got an opportunity to get everyone on the field tonight and our guys enjoyed that. They root for each other and they wanted to get everyone on the field,” stated Vozzolo. “At the end of the day it’s a great team win led by our seniors on Senior Night. We’re happy about it.”
The scoring onslaught increased after halftime as Taleb netted his third less than a minute into the second half when he dropped a pooch shot into the left corner of the net after rebounded a deflected shot attempt by Sardo.
Vozzolo said of Taleb, “He’s been an unbelievable addition to our team. Obviously on the field he’s very dangerous, a natural goal scorer, a natural playmaker, and at the same time off the field he’s given us a great amount of leadership.”
The Guardians added five more insurance goals over the final 30 minutes.
Senior Matthew Doucette scored (52nd minute), freshman Timothy McGuire hammered home a goal (59th minute), junior Nathan Infante scored on an assist from Vihaan Shah (71st minute), junior Gage Haines scored (74th minute), and sophomore Alex Silverman sent one home off a deflection to polish off the scoring in the 75th minute.
“Every game we come out as aggressive as possible. Every game we want to start early and finish strong,” added Taleb, who is the team’s leading scorer and scored a season-high four goal in a previous game this season.
The eight-point blowout happened to be the eighth win for a team headed for postseason play.
“We’ve got a great group of senior guys. They were the first guys I talked to when I got hired for the position. They gave me the confidence to keep moving the program forward after taking over the head coaching role,” added Vozzolo, “There’s a lot of different personalities and they bring a lot to us on and off the field. It’s been definitely memorable and I’ve had a blast getting to know them on a more personal level.”
Taleb, Greco, Carmichael, Doucette, Sardo, Mitch Williams, Kevin Clarke, Matthew Herrera Zachary Kridler, David Daigle, Kane Mazur, Josh Patermo are the Guardian’s dozen seniors who were honored prior to the game.
Taleb said that the group’s connection off the field is key to their success on it, “I think we are really close this year. We are all really good friends and all hang out outside of practice and in school. It’s a good environment, all the seniors are close to each other.”
Greco, Carmichael, Williams, and Clarke are captaining the team.
Vozzolo said of his four captains, “They’ve been great and it’s fun to lead with them. They all lead differently but they all have that same connection with the team.”
Williams and Clarke have been primarily protecting the back end, keeping the crease clean for a rotation of goalie that Vozzolo has used this season.
Mazur started against Bristol Eastern, making four saves. Junior Alex Bellofiore and freshman Patrick Butler split time in the second half.
The three sent back every shot attempt from Bristol Eastern, with the exception of a penalty kick from Dominik Femiak in the 62nd minute.
With the Class LL state tournament right around the corner, starting on Nov. 6, Taleb believes the team has the tools to make a push in the postseason.
“I think it’s better to peak in early November than it is early in the year. Coach always tells us that and I think we’re almost at the peak when it matters.”
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Sports Editor for the Rare Reminder, Glastonbury Citizen, and Rivereast News Bulletin