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Hingham boys’ soccer chasing another season-ending championship, this time in the state tournament

Led by captains (from left) Tetor Nghiem, Curtis Murphy, and Brian Odell, Hingham has high hopes for this season.Matthew J Lee/Globe staff

The lofty expectations set this fall for the Hingham boys’ soccer team started last November.

The Harbormen concluded the abbreviated Fall I season in style, capturing the inaugural Patriot League Cup with a 2-1 win over Marshfield.

On the bus ride home, the Hingham fire and police departments waited for the team at the town line and escorted the Harbormen back to the high school with lights flashing and sirens blaring.

“It was like we had won the state championship,” Hingham coach Ken Carlin said. “We said then, we we’re going to build on that and that was going to be a building block for this season.”


With seven returning starters, Carlin said this group is one of the best he’s had since his hire in 1999. He hopes the momentum from hoisting a trophy last fall carries over.

The Harbormen believe their strength comes on the backline, which features the team’s three senior captains — Tetor Nghiem, Brian Odell, and Curtis Murphy — all three-year starters.

Junior striker Aidan Brazel is a heady player and leading returning scorer for Hingham.Matthew J Lee/Globe staff

Up front is last year’s leading scorer Aiden Brazel, third-leading scorer Cole Sampson, and potential breakout junior Griffin Coppola, who wove through a bevy of defenders and fired a strike into the top left corner for a highlight goal in Friday’s 4-1 season-opening win over Scituate.

“With a lot of returners we’re able to build a much more stronger foundation,” Odell said. “We’re able to play more on the ground and skilled soccer than previous years. Hingham’s known as an athletic town that relies on athleticism, but we have a team with club players and a lot of skill.”

Hingham, ranked 10th in the Globe’s preseason poll, is confident. Internally, the team has already discussed its goal of winning a state title in November. But confidence can inflate egos, and the Harbormen have already been humbled.


After defeating Nauset, a perennial state title contender and the Globe’s top-ranked team, in a preseason scrimmage, Hingham followed with a lackadaisical practice and then scored one goal in three jamboree scrimmages against Marshfield, Cohasset, and Arlington.

“We came back from Nauset all this-and-that,” Nghiem said. “I think that was a wake-up call we definitely needed.”

Hingham boys' soccer captains (from left) Tetor Nghiem, Brian Odell, and Curtis Murphy are pushing the team to carry the momentum of last fall's Patriot Cup championship.Matthew J Lee/Globe staff

Odell said the takeaway is to not take any opponent for granted, no matter the record or pedigree. It was a shock to the system that the Harbormen hope will help them over the course of the season.

“When you start at a high place it creates a lot of confidence,” Odell said. “It hit us hard and we know we have to play well no matter what.”

For Carlin, a state title would be his first at Hingham. He’s been close before. His 2005 team won the Division 2 South title before falling in the state final. In 2006 and 2014, the Harbormen lost in the South final.

To get over the hump this season, Carlin said he needs his entire roster to push each other in practice to build depth and continuity.

“The guys who aren’t playing all the time are the key to us being good,” Carlin said. “They make us better in practice and make practice seem real so we aren’t going through the motions.”

Under the new MIAA realignment, Hingham will compete in Division 1 for the first time as one of the smallest schools in section. The bracket will be loaded with top contenders such as BC High, St. John’s Prep, Needham, and Framingham.


Hingham is preparing for the gauntlet with a challenging nonleague schedule. Aside from Nauset, the Harbormen scrimmaged Western Mass. power Ludlow and have nonleague matchups later in the season against BC High and Brockton.

After cherishing the Patriot Cup title last fall, Hingham has its eyes on more.

“I think we’re just building off the momentum of last year,” Murphy said. “We stay confident but we’re hungry and we’re looking to keep it going.”

Ken Carlin believes this year's team is one of the most talented he has had at Hingham.Matthew J Lee/Globe staff
Jack Price makes a save during Hingham boys' soccer practice Monday.Matthew J Lee/Globe staff

Corner kicks

• KIPP Academy kicked off its second season as a member of the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association in explosive fashion, with convincing victories over Innovation Academy (8-0) and Greater Lawrence (9-2) last week.

The team’s onslaught was spearheaded by senior forward Marco Escobar, who bagged six against Greater Lawrence and three more against the Red Tailed Hawks, putting him 22 goals shy of 100 for his career.

“I’m on the road to having possibly the best season I could have in my last year,” Escobar said. “I expected to start off the season like this, although not [scoring] as many goals, but I’m not complaining about it.”

KIPP Academy coach Jon Langlois credits Escobar’s work ethic.

“He’s been working tirelessly all offseason,” Langlois said. “He sets the tone for the rest of the guys, he demands a lot out of them, and they respect him as a captain, as a player, and as a teammate.”

With 16 games remaining, Escobar believes he could surpass the 100-goal mark this season.


“That’s what everyone’s talking about right now in school,” Escobar said. “I don’t think it’s very impossible.”

• There were a couple of surprising results in Week 1. Concord-Carlisle, ranked No. 2 lalst week, lost to previously-unranked Beverly, 4-2. No. 8 Milford was shut out against unranked Sharon on Friday.

Games to Watch

Tuesday, No. 11. Brookline at No. 12 Wellesley, 3:45 p.m. — The Raiders open their season against the Warriors (1-0-1) in a Bay State Conference match of ranked teams.

Wednesday, No. 4 Framingham at No. 18 Newton North, 3:45 p.m. —The Tigers (2-0), who recorded shutouts over then No. 12 Lincoln-Sudbury and Waltham last week, square off with the Flyers (2-0) in both teams’ first Bay State Conference game of the season.

Saturday, No. 10 Needham at No. 2 St. John’s Prep, 10 a.m. – The Rockets (1-0-1) battle the Eagles, who have yet to play this season, in a Top 20 non-conference matchup.

Saturday, Burke at Latin Academy, 10 a.m. — Latin Academy has its first opportunity of the season for revenge against reigning Boston City League champion Burke in a rematch of last season’s BCL championship match.