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By Michael Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
The Needham high varsity boys soccer team remains undefeated halfway through the 2016 season.
The Rockets (7-0-6) have recently earned wins over Milton (4-0) BC High (3-1), and Norwood (6-0) with ties coming against Framingham (2-2) and Brookline (1-1).
Head coach Jimmy Odierna says that his team has been trending in the right direction of late, especially on the defensive side of the ball.
“The BC High game I thought we played great. We’ve been trending up in our play, especially on defense,” said Odierna. “We controlled the game well, finished, and held up strong in the back. Our goal against was on a penalty kick, so in the flow of play our defense was very strong.”
While the Rockets have been playing very well of late, Odierna says that there are still a few things he feels that the Rockets could improve on such as finishing, hence the Framingham game.
“The Framingham game was frustrating,” said Odierna. “I would argue that it was the best game we played so far this year despite the result. We really controlled the game well and had a lot of opportunities on offense. We dominated the game in terms of possession and offensive opportunities but unfortunately the only thing we struggled on was putting the ball in the net. It was a frustrating result, but positive take away in terms of how we are playing.”
The key offensive contributors in the last two games for the Rockets have been a tandem of seniors: Kyle Brady (one goal, two assists), Michael McShane (one goal, one assist), and Michael Aksman (one goal, one assist). Jackson Segal and Christian Rufo have also been main contributors to the Rocket offensive attack in the last two games with Segal notching two goals via the header and Rufo an assist.
Odierna states that he is confident in his group moving forward.
“With our defense showing tremendous growth as the season has progressed and the team as a whole starting to click on all levels, I'm excited about the prospects of the second half of the season and a tournament run as long as we can get our finishing back on track.”
Staying unbeaten will not be an easy task for the Rockets, as Needham has a tough slate of upcoming games against Weymouth on October 14 followed by Braintree on October 18.