Agawam Owls look to make a move in MASCAC

10/5/2017 | Chris Miracle

Category: October 2017

Cam Ritter is one of the six members of the Westfield State University men’s soccer team from Agawam in 2017. Reminder Publications submitted photos

The Westfield State University men’s soccer team is looking to settle into a winning groove with contributions on the roster from local players from Agawam.

Finishing 8-7-2 overall and 2-3-2 in the MASCAC last season, the Owls were voted to finish last in league play in a preseason poll, a source of motivation to the team.

“I always believe we are capable of finishing high in the table. I believe we are capable of a first place finish in the conference.  By the way, we were picked to finish last, and that has fueled this squad so far in our league,” Westfield State coach John Evans said.  “This is a group that can do something special if they set their collective mind to it. I'm confident.”

Evans said a 1-0 win over Worcester State on Sept. 30 might have the catalyst to put the Owls on the right path this season. Evans also touched upon the strengths of this Owls squad that will be the ingredients to a successful season.

“That was a big conference win against a team with a great record who had gone 2-0 in conference prior to that match.  This team has a very good ‘soccer IQ’ throughout the squad, great technical ability, a devotion to fitness, the experience of older players, and a sincere belief that we can play with anyone,” Evans said.

Any good team will make adjustments throughout the season, no different for this group of Owls.

“We're working on finishing and organizing our attack in the final third. We have the personnel, and simply need to further develop the final phase of play – scoring,” Evans said.

As for the local roots connection on the Owls’ roster, Evans offered a brief breakdown of how the players from Agawam are doing thus far.

Junior Brodie Keene: “Brodie had been our best scorer in the past two seasons. However, this year he was hampered by an early injury and has been slowly returning to form. When Jimmy Murphy was hurt, Brodie came forward to take his defensive slot. He makes us both stronger in the backfield and more of a threat going forward.”

Senior Cam Ritter:  “A former All-Conference center back, and a great center defensive midfielder this year. He is one of the voices on the field, and the organizer of our midfield. He is physically strong and technically excellent.”

Senior Kyle Mutti:  “There is not a spot on the field where Kyle is not the most dangerous man on the pitch. He is simply a quietly excellent player. After a game, an opponent knows he has played against Kyle.”

Freshman Luis Nieves:  “Luis has made a quick transition from high school to college play. He has great feet, good vision and a quick shot. He is silky smooth with the ball, deceptive and emerging as a dangerous guy on the pitch.”

Sophomore Anthony Sciartelli: “Anthony is another great Agawam player with tremendous control of the ball. Like Ritter, he has the ability to organize the midfield and anchor that holding mid spot. Over the arc of his college career, he is going to be one of the best midfielders we have had.”

Sophomore Sean Moore:  “Sean has been a great asset to the team as a backup keeper to Alex Kraver. Look at a tape of our Springfield College game this season when he shut down his opponent in all but a penalty shot that he got a hand to, but could not keep out.”

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