NORTH ATTLEBORO — The North Attleboro High boys’ soccer team set a goal for itself of qualifying for the MIAA Tournament after a ragged start to the regular season.
Since moving senior Jaad Ismail to a centerback role and inserting freshman Patrick Etienvre into a midfield role, the Rocketeers have gone 5-2-2 and posted their second shutout win of the week Friday, a 3-0 verdict over Sharon High in the Davenport Division meeting of Hockomock League members at Beaupre Field.
“We’re putting things together at the right time,” North Attleboro coach Geoff Burgess said. “We felt that if we finish strong, we could make it to the tournament.”
Even more inspirational was sophomore Owen Doeller, who was promoted from the junior varsity to sub for ailing senior starting goalkeeper David Floyd. Doeller totaled 10 saves in his varsity debut, collecting five in each half to preserve the clean sheet.
The Rocketeers, who avenged a 3-0 loss to Sharon earlier in the season, gained the lead at the four-minute mark of the match as senior Connor Ward converted a penalty kick and then gained a two-goal lead by halftime as junior Griffin Rodden tallied in the 37th minute.
“We’ve been steadily improving,” Burgess said of North being able to build an attack, while presenting a staunch defensive posture. “And moving those two (Ismail, Etienvre) has given us some fluidity.”
North Attleboro had a chance to take the lead when sophomore Quinn Conley was taken down in the penalty box area. Ward’s penalty kick found the lower right corner of the Sharon net.
Rodden scored out of a loose-ball situation late in the first half after Conley sent the ball in from the left to create a scoring chances for Givany Carney.
North made it 3-0 in the 70th minute when Ismail scored off a corner kick taken by Ward.
The Rocketeers routinely took away any Sharon pressures. Right back Jack Regan took away a pair of Sharon pressures in the 18th minute; center back Brody Rosenberg cleared a Sharon corner kick at 19; midfielder Zach Smahi headed away a Sharon corner kick at 22 and Rosenberg headed away a threatening ball at 35. Ismail made faceshield block of a point blank Sharon shot early in the second half in the 52nd minute.
North Attleboro had plenty of chances to extend its halftime lead as Carney was on target with a drive in the box two minutes into the second half; a Kaden Burns free kick gave Carney a header in the fourth minute and drilled a direct kick on net at 55; Carson Dameron had back-to-back corner kicks in the 54th minute; while a Ward pass to Silas Brooks-Hedstrom at 68 resulted in a great chance inside the penalty box.
The Rocketeers host Foxboro Monday.