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New Nipmuc Boys Soccer Coach Looking for Offense
Through four games this season, the new Nipmuc boys varsity soccer coach, Chris Hadfield, has found himself in search of more scoring, and a victory. The Warriors have battled through a tough portion of their schedule to an 0-2-2 start and had only found the back of the net twice. "To be without a win is frustrating, I try not to label it as an attacking issue, it's a team issue," said Hadfield, who is in his first year coaching the program. "As a team, we have to get more goals."
The Warriors did graduate Tanner Jobe and Tim Peterman, two of their top scorers from last year's squad that lost in the District Finals to Groton Dunstable. Also moved on is Chris Gormley, who Hadfield described as the team's "engine" last season. Still, the new head coach is confident in this year's team. "Our defense has played really well, it has been a real strength, and our attack line is still developing," he said. "We are not disheartened, just without a win."
The schedule has also not been kind to the Warriors early on. They started the season against the defending state champions from Division 3 in Sutton before tying a tough Northbridge team 2-2. Nipmuc also lost 1-0 to the defending Division 1 Central Mass champions from Worcester North and battled to a scoreless tie with Bromfield, one of the stronger teams in D2.
Nipmuc will turn to its captains for leadership, particularly Colin Jackson and Matt Burke, two key performers on the back line. Steven Lucas, who will start in goal, is also a captain. On offense, Hadfield says it comes down to two areas. "We need to create more chances, and we need to have a better conversion rate when we do have scoring opportunities," he said. "That has been the focus, to help out our defense a bit."
Brett Szymko and Wally Esker have the only goals so far for the Warriors, but Hadfield feels there are four or five players on the roster, who could step into a consistent scoring role. Finding a more consistent offense will be important with the high expectations once again set for the program.
"The goal is always to make the playoffs so we can make a run in the tournament, but ultimately we want to be back in the district finals," said Hadfield. "We are eager to get that first win, but it will come, I am not too concerned about it. I know this team will get the wins."
A former standout player at Nipmuc, Hadfield played under longtime head coach and current Athletic Director Bill Leaver, who stepped down as soccer coach after leading the program for a quarter-century. Hadfield coached at Hopedale before leading the Nipmuc JV program for the past four years.
"I got into coaching right after graduating, and coaching the program you were a part of is something I am proud of," he said. "Bill Leaver was there a long time, and he was my coach and then my mentor. I think it is fitting that I move in to take part in a tradition that means a lot to me."




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