Milton’s varsity boys’ and girls’ soccer teams faced some of the toughest opponents in the Independent School League (ISL) during the 2016 NEPSAC tournament last month. While both lost in the first round, the teams should feel proud of their seasons: both squads finished second in the ISL.
“Losing to Worcester Academy [girls] and Berkshire School [boys] in the quarterfinals is nothing to hang our heads about,” said boys’ Head Coach Chris Kane. “These are two high-powered teams, and Milton was competitive until the end. Both the teams, in defeat, showed a ton of resilience, a ton of fight, and a ton of growth.”
Milton’s girls saw a tremendous improvement, after finishing under .500 in 2015 to earning the second-place spot in the league with a 7-4-6 record, including nine shut-outs, in 2016. “It was a very big statistical improvement in terms of wins and losses, as well as our place in the league,” Head Coach Peter Kahn said. “The whole season was an incredible team effort.”
Two Milton girls, Dani Black (I) and Christina Sakellaris (I), were chosen for the All-ISL team, and are among the 13 seniors who led the team on and off the field this year. From practicing in “ridiculous” costumes to upsetting Nobles 2-0, the leaders of the tight-knit “Wolfpack” set the tone for the younger athletes, Coach Kahn said. “The idea of being in the spirit of the moment was very present throughout the season.”
“[In school] so much of our achievement is individually focused… Being on the Wolfpack was an escape from this self-centered attitude, for we live the mentality that our individual success both depends on and contributes to the team’s success,” Gabrielle Fernandopulle (I) wrote in The Milton Paper. “You know that everyone else on the field not only has your back, but also truly wants you to succeed.”
Coming off an historic, 22-0 season in 2015, in which they won the New England Championship, this year’s varsity boys maintained a successful 11-2-6 record despite an almost entirely new starting roster, Coach Kane said. “In some ways, it would have been easy to backslide into a less-successful season, but they dug deep and they battled all year.”
Captains Jack O’Brien (I), Luke Quintin (I) and Jack Sheehan (I) did an excellent job of leading the team this year. “Senior leadership is always important, and this year’s seniors really stepped up. We had a great group of seniors last year, and this year’s leaders took that torch and moved forward with it.” Jack O’Brien, with 17 goals and 7 assists, was named the offensive MVP by the ISL.