In a world of ever-present change, the 2013 boys’ high school soccer postseason will look different after division realignment.
A number of last year’s Division 1 teams in Eastern Mass. — Oliver Ames, Nauset, and Dartmouth in the South — drop to Division 2. Masconomet, a Division 1 North semifinalist last season, also will move to Division 2. Last season’s Division 2 South champion, Medway, drops to Division 3. And Division 4 makes its debut this fall.
But there still might be a surprise or two in Division 1. There is one team that a few coaches have on their radar.
Framingham’s season ended in the first round of the Division 1 North playoffs last year, St. John’s Prep knocking off the Flyers, 2-1. The Flyers — a No. 13 seed last season — could make a deeper playoff run as they return eight starters.
“I felt they were very, very good and they were young [when we played],” said Dave Crowell, coach of the St. John’s Prep team that lost to Somerville in the Division 1 North final last season.
Crowell’s Eagles lost seven starters from last season.
Weymouth coach Bill McEachern, whose Wildcats play in the Bay State Carey with the Flyers, echoed Crowell’s comment and specified one player they will have to contain.
“Lorran [Cancado] is the Framingham goal scorer, and he’s a tough player to handle,” said McEachern. “Framingham is going to be a challenger for the league title.”
In Division 1 North, Somerville should be strong. After reaching the Division 1 Eastern Mass. final last season, the Highlanders have eight returning starters. Among them is senior Thayrone Miranda, who led the state last season with 48 points (23 goals, 25 assists).
“We have very strong senior leadership, are very good in goal and at the back, but we’ve lost some depth,” said Somerville coach George Scarpelli.
In the South, McEachern believes Silver Lake could make a deep tournament run.
“Silver Lake has a lot of returning starters,” said McEachern. “Their forward [Paul Beatty] is a returning starter, leading goal scorer from last year. He’s going to be tough to stop.”
Concord-Carlisle coach Ray Pavlic has what he calls a more “balanced” team this season, with six returning starters. The Patriots hope to make a run in Division 2 North.
“We have a pretty good technical group of kids,” he said. “It’s not a team with just one or two stars on it.”
Pavlic knows the threat Masconomet will bring after moving down to Division 2 North.
The winner of last season’s Division 2 South tournament, Medway, will compete in the Division 3 South bracket this season with last season’s Eastern Mass. Division 3 champion, Dover-Sherborn. Medway returns senior captain and three-year starter Justin Kaplan. Kaplan was the Mustangs’ leading goal scorer in 2012, registering 17 goals and seven assists.
In Division 3 North, Watertown — a state finalist last season that lost, 2-1, to Sutton in the title game — could make another run in the tournament.
“Watertown brings a whole lot of kids back from last year,” said Scarpelli.
A player to watch in Division 3 is Bedford senior midfielder Michael Dushman, the Dual County Small MVP last season. He had 15 goals and 10 assists as Bedford finished second behind Concord-Carlisle.