Seniors key Lions’ sensational season

Seniors key Lions’ sensational season

Lincoln senior Matt Carvalho, #11, races down the field with the ball as he is pursued by a Mount Pleasant defender and teammate Thomas Corcoran, #10, during the second half of last Thursday afternoon’s Division II game at Ferguson Field. Carvalho, who has scored 10 goals this season for the Lions, netted two goals to help the Lions top the Kilties, 7-3. (Breeze photos by Eric Benevides)
Boys’ soccer team shakes off slow start to occupy fourth place in D-II with 7-3-1 mark

LINCOLN – It was two years ago, near the end of what would be his team’s fourth straight losing season, when veteran Lincoln High head boys’ soccer coach John D’Aloisio predicted that the Lions’ 2019 season could become a very special one.

While his 2017 team lacked seniors, it had strength in numbers in its sophomore class, with quite a few up-and-coming 10th-graders playing vital roles.

This season, those sophomores are now experienced seniors, with 16 on the roster and most of them with two or three varsity seasons under their belts. And not only did they help the Lions break through last season and return to their winning ways by posting a 9-5-2 record, but they also have guided this year’s Lions to a superb season.

On Monday night, the Lions rolled to their third victory in five days by blanking Chariho, 4-0, at Ferguson Field. That win raised their record to 7-3-1, and entering Wednesday’s Division II action, the Lions sit in fourth place in the standings, trailing North Smithfield (9-1-1), Cranston East (8-1), and Mount Hope (7-1-2).

“It’s been a great season,” D’Aloisio said after Monday’s victory, which saw the Lions break open a close game with three second-half goals and the defense net its sixth shutout of the year. “There are still a couple of really strong teams we have to face. We’re heading to East Greenwich on Thursday (at 6:30 p.m.) and we’re playing Cranston East next week, and those are really solid teams.”

Of course, D’Aloisio himself has a really solid team, and it’s a squad that has been playing some exceptional soccer since it kicked off the season with a 2-2 tie with Mount Saint Charles and close losses to Hope, 2-0, and North Smithfield, 2-1.

While the Lions have scored 31 goals (16 coming in their last three games), it’s been their air-tight defense that has certainly pleased D’Aloisio. Lincoln has allowed just 11 goals, and three of them were scored on a rare off day for the ‘D’ last Thursday that still resulted in a 7-3 victory at home over Mount Pleasant.

“I’m getting happier watching these guys play because they’ve tightened up defensively,” D’Aloisio admitted. “Our captain, Kyle Rodrigues, is a really nice force back there, and we have a freshman keeper, Oskar Calderone, that has also played well.”

Offensively, senior midfielder Matt Carvalho has guided a balanced attack with 10 goals and five assists, and right behind him in the scoring department has been the likes of seniors David Idarraga, Matt Morra, Josh Jahnz, and Chris Albanese, as well as sophomores Thomas Zhao, who is a transfer from La Salle Academy, and Thomas Corcoran.

“As you can see, it’s not one guy doing everything,” D’Aloisio said. “The teams we face aren’t worried about one guy, so as a unit, it’s a very good one.”

The Lions have also received solid contributions from two newcomers to the team, junior midfielder Danny Fish and sophomore midfielder Jordan Furtado, noted D’Aloisio, and four more seniors that have also played very well are Sam Ferranti, Ryan Fish, Chris Accardi, and Luke DeStefano.

After the Lions take on the Avengers tonight, they will host neighboring Davies Tech next Wednesday and wrap up that week with their Oct. 18 showdown against Cranston East at Cranston Stadium. They will then conclude their regular season the following week with matchups against Cranston West and Burrillville.

“We’ll see what happens,” D’Aloisio said when asked about his team’s final five games. “Right now, I’m just expecting that every week, (our players) get a little better, and it seems like they are.”

David Idarraga
Sophomore midfielder Thomas Zhao has been a welcomed addition to this season’s Lincoln High boys’ soccer team, which owns a 7-3-1 record that has the Lions in fourth place in the D-II standings.
Senior back Luke DeStefano, #6, shakes off a Mount Pleasant midfielder as he passes the ball to a teammate during the Lions’ 7-3 victory last Thursday afternoon.