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NHIAA Boys' Soccer: With talented group of seniors, Pioneers are 9-0

New Hampshire Union Leader

September 24. 2018 10:38PM

MANCHESTER — Cycles are common in high school sports. Teams take the good with the bad, and that’s exactly what the Trinity High boys’ soccer team has done coming into this season, winning just seven games combined over the last two years in Division II after three consecutive seasons with at least 10 wins.

Trinity appears to have found its way out of its recent valley, continuing an undefeated start in 2018 with a 6-1 win over Laconia on Monday at Derryfield Park. Ethan Frenette’s hat trick helped the Pioneers improve to 9-0 in their first Division III season while the team has now outscored its opponents 24-2 in the last three games.

“The skills are not the same (in Division III), but there’s still plenty of things my guys are trying to prove to themselves,” Trinity coach Fernando Martinez said. “There’s confidence and skill here, and it’s all the same players (from the last few seasons). It’s still a game even though it’s another division. They need and want to win.”

Martinez said at one point in 2017, which was a 3-12-1 campaign for the Pioneers, that his club was not able to compete in Division II, admitting he had athletes who were still learning the game and each other. Monday was just another example of the strides Trinity has made with individual skills and playing as a unit. Frenette’s technical skill was evident on each of his tallies and several other runs he made at the net, but it came by way of setups from midfielders Mitch Feren and Colby Barker.

The improved and successful connections out of the midfield stem from a concerted effort by Trinity to keep numbers in front of the ball on its own side of the field before moving forward.

“We don’t have just one guy running up trying to make a tackle and then try to get balls through,” Feren said. “We’re moving as a unit up and down and staying in the middle. We’ll still send guys for through-balls on the wings, but Colby and I really try to move through the middle mostly.”

Joining Frenette in Trinity’s scoring on Monday were Barker, Dominic DiZillo and Evan Meeker. The Pioneers scored three times in five minutes midway through the first half with two goals in two minutes by Frenette before DiZillo netted a direct kick, leading to 3-0 halftime edge.

“The system of pressing really comes down to seeing a mistake immediately and attack that side,” said Martinez of Trinity’s ability to score in bunches. “I’m lucky to have Ethan and Dominic, who have good skills individually, but this whole team is skilled and plays things perfectly.”

Frenette finished the hat trick early in the second half before Barker and Meeker scored around Tanner Shore’s tally for the Sachems (4-4-1). Anthony DiZillo, Dominic’s brother, made five saves in goal for Trinity while fullback Ryan Stultz was key on the pressure Laconia did manage.

Trinity players won’t deny that a move to Division III has led to the dominance the team is enjoying. However, you need look no further than the club’s senior class, which includes Frenette, Feren and Dominic DiZillo, to find where the Pioneers’ desire to win stems from.

“We had a rough start (to our high school careers),” Frenette said. “(Some) of this is us dropping to D-III, but honestly, more of it is we are just really hungry here.”

Familiarity plays a role in Trinity’s good fortune, as well, with Martinez coaching a handful of the seniors since middle school. Martinez started with the group when they were seventh graders at St. Joseph’s Regional Junior High School in Manchester and he continued coaching them at every level until taking over the varsity job at Trinity two years ago.

“He’s been with us the entire way,” Feren said. “Nothing changes and we know exactly what we’re going to get every year we’ve come to tryouts with him. We just have to work with what we have and do what he says.

“It’s been tough in the past because we’d do everything he’d go over in practice, but we wouldn’t always see the results. Everything we do to get better shows on the field this year, which is just so rewarding and you see it in our record.”