After getting only one victory a season ago, the Hoosac Valley boys' soccer team is just one point away from clinching sole possession of the South Division title.
It's been a quick rebuilding process that began on the first day of practice when new head coach Camilo Bermudez took over the team. He spent the previous two seasons coaching St. Joseph's, but took a new job teaching at Hoosac Valley and filled the vacated coaching position.
"My big thing was organization. I wanted the team to be structured a certain way and wanted to bring more discipline in," Bermudez said. "All of these kids are very talented. They were all ready willing to learn, I just taught them how I thought we could win and these guys all really want to win." With Monday's win over Drury, the Hurricanes clinched a trip to the Western Massachusetts tournament and at least a share of the South title. At this time last season, the team was just playing out its final few games.
"My big thing was organization. I wanted the team to be structured a certain way and wanted to bring more discipline in," Bermudez said. "All of these kids are very talented. They were all ready willing to learn, I just taught them how I thought we could win and these guys all really want to win." With Monday's win over Drury, the Hurricanes clinched a trip to the Western Massachusetts tournament and at least a share of the South title. At this time last season, the team was just
"Our season meant nothing last year," forward Nick Ryan said. "Now this year, it's a big deal. We really could do something."
The Hurricanes have dropped just one game in the division this year, that coming to Lee. Heading into today's rematch, the Hurricanes are on a four-game winning streak and have outscored opponents 13-3 in that span with three shutouts.
The current streak has highlighted one of the team's biggest changes on the field. Last season, Ryan played on the back line and Mitch Carlow played up front. In the first days of practice, Bermudez saw something and swapped the two. Ryan has recorded eight goals during the streak and Carlow has shined on defense.
On the season, goalkeeper Tom Galisa and the defense have allowed opponents to score only 16 goals. The team's biggest loss of the year was 5-0 to Lenox, compared to a 10-1 shellacking at the hands of Mount Greylock in 2011. This year Hoosac still lost to the Mounties, but it was by just one goal.
The Hurricanes have outscored opponents 35-16, and have re cor ded seven shutouts on the year.
"Our defense has just been in shut-down mode," senior Matt Bresett said after Monday's victory. "Tom has been doing what he needs to when he has needed to. Our defense has just held up the line perfectly. You can't ask for a better defense."
Defense has been the focus for the Hurricanes, especially when playing against North Division opponents. Against teams like Greylock, Monument and Wahconah, the Hurricanes have sat back on defense and focused on keeping the ball outside, waiting for an opportunity to attack.
Those opportunities haven't always come, but Hoosac did beat Wahconah 3-0 on Oct. 13 to start the current win streak. In that game, the Hurricanes had just four shots but capitalized on 75 percent of them.
"I think they're just more confident now," Bermudez said. "They're definitely more composed and they're more organized."
With a division title and the prospect of a 12-win season, the possibility of a home game in the Western Massachusetts tournament is becoming more and more of a reality. That's something most players wouldn't have even dreamt about at the start of the season.
"It feels really good for me personally after missing last season, it's great," Bresett said. The senior missed all but the first 10 minutes of last year with a knee injury. "It's just unbelievable the strides this team has made from the end of last season till now."
Bresett credits the success to better talking and on-field decisions. The Hoosac coaching staff has also been given some of the credit.
"The coaching is a lot calmer this year, he says a lot more important things on the field," Ryan said. "He's much more laid back, and much more serious at the same time."
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