Boys soccer tops NEC South after successful season


Mark Elliot Graham

Gloucester huddles up for the last time in their final game against Saugus.


The GHS boys soccer team ended their season on a strong note, sweeping the NEC South, finishing 8-2-0. After multiple players returned from quarantine, they finished the second half of their season with games against Peabody, Saugus, Danvers, and Swampscott. 

The boys soccer had their senior night on November 13th where they had a close matchup with their NEC rivals, Peabody High. Prior to the game they held a ceremony where they honored their 3 seniors, captain Owen Hardy, Robert Mugabe, and Yonathan Cortez. 

These two NEC title contenders had a very intense game. Peabody opened up the scoring early in the second half off a corner kick set piece. Gloucester responded deep into the 3rd quarter when Kayky Barbosa played a ball across the box to captain Andrew Coelho who cut onto his right foot and tucked it away.

The battle between these 2 teams continued into the fourth quarter, as this game was back and forth. In the fourth, Peabody scored a solo goal that would eventually determine the outcome of the game, in a close 2-1 loss for the Fisherman. 

After their second loss of the season, Gloucester was determined to bounce back and finish strong. Traveling to Saugus, Gloucester dominated as they won their last away game 5-2. Captain Coelho and Robert Mugabe each had 2 goals and the other goal came from Geremy Palacios.

The next day, Gloucester hosted Danvers where they continued to prove their dominance. A strong 4-1 win came from solid defense led by captain Jack Patten, Aidan Almeida, Daniel Hafey, and Gerson TiulRax. Captain Coelho scored 2 more goals and also dished out an assist to Mugabe. Late in the fourth quarter, Freshman Gino Tripoli scored his second goal of the season. 

Playing their third game in 4 days, the GHS soccer team hosted Swampscott. Gloucester opened up the scoring with Mugabe as they held onto this 1-0 lead for most of the game. In the fourth quarter, captain Hardy played a fantastically placed through ball to captain Coelho who scored the goal that ended up being the game winner. 

In the closing minutes of the fourth quarter, goalkeeper captain Max Sperry made numerous impressive saves in order to salvage this lead. Captain Sperry tipped a freekick off the crossbar on Swampscott’s last effort that left Gloucester victorious. 

After defeating Saugus on their home field, Saugus came to Newell Stadium for the last game of the season seeking revenge. After Gloucester took an early lead in the first quarter, Saugus came out strong in the second quarter, turning the game around as they took the lead. Mugabe then went on to have one of his best high school performances ever in his last game, as he turned the game around and scored a game winning hattrick.

With the score tied at 2-2, captain Hardy played a beautiful cross that fell right to Mugabe as he slotted away his third of the night. Later in the fourth quarter, captain Coelho was taken down in the box and captain Hardy placed the penalty kick far into the top right corner to finish off the game. A 4-2 win to cap off the season, the seniors ended their high school careers on a good note, in a successful 8-2 season. 

After speaking with the seniors, they had a few words to say about this year’s season: “I think we had a very successful season despite all the changes this year.” said captain Owen Hardy. “I am sad that my high school soccer career is over but I am very thankful to have had the chance to play for my school and my city over these years. It is something I will always cherish.”

“Every practice was worth going to, every game was worth attending, and that’s what made it an amazing season.” said senior Robert Mugabe. “We all got along, we laughed together, we played together, we made fun of each other, we pranked each other, it was like a family and that’s what a real team should look like.”