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Nipmuc Girls Soccer Re-loaded

In 2011, Nipmuc girls soccer coach Howard Cohen said he was coaching the most skilled team he has ever had at NRHS. After only graduating two seniors, who saw significant playing time last year, he is expecting big things from his team again in 2012.
"We are back and we are just as talented as last season," he said. "We have a 25 player roster and everyone can play, which gives us incredible depth. We play attractively, we move the ball well, and this is a very smart team."
Last season, the Warriors finished 16-3-2 and lost to Auburn 2-1 in overtime in the Central Mass Division 2 District title game. Nipmuc graduated goalkeeper Kelsey O'Hagen along with Meredith Collins, but welcomes everyone else back this season. Freshman Amanda St. Germaine has taken over in goal and, following a season opening loss to Northbridge, rattled off four straight shutouts.
"She is very mature, she has the potential to be as good as any goalie we have ever had," said Cohen. "She is a good player and the kids like her, and I have the utmost confidence in her abilities."
The top goal-scoring punch of senior co-captain Rachel Bloznalis and sophomore Gaby Carreiro are back and leading the charge again. Bloznalis sharpened her skills in Brazil in the off-season as a member of the Northeast regional team in the Olympic Developmental Program. Carreiro is also a gifted player who has drawn attention on the national scene. "The two of them have the ability to be among the most dominant players in Central Mass," said Cohen. "They are something special to watch."
The dominance has shown through on the field, where the Warriors rebounded from their 2-1 defeat against Northbridge to beat Sutton, Blackstone-Millville, Bromfield, and Whitinsville Christian by a combined score of 19-0. In addition to Bloznalis and Carreiro, Nicole Scott and Emma Blanchard are key returning players for Nipmuc. Both Scott and Blanchard served as captains in their junior seasons and will fill the role again as seniors. Jenna Fitzgerald, Kelsey Campbell, and Kaleen Laroque have all stood out on the very deep and talented squad. With so much depth and firepower, it comes as little surprise that Cohen is setting his sights high again in 2012.
"We have spoken about our goals for the season and we are going to define the success of this year by repeating as Dual-Valley Conference champions and playing for the Division 2 title again," he said.
Cohen expects Auburn, the defending district champs, to be strong again. He also sees Northbridge as a chief competitor in the league as well as Hopedale. The Warriors will take on the Blue Raiders on Saturday in an important early-season league game.




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