Phillips Big Blue Boys Soccer '07

Phillips Academy Boys Soccer Preview

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Coach: Bill Scott (18th year)

2006 record: 9-3-4, didn't make New England Prep Tourney

Outlook: Phillips allowed 22 goals in 16 games last year, which might be tolerable for some coaches, but not Bill Scott, whose club gave up two or more goals in eight matches. Those defensive leaks probably kept the Big Blue out of the New England tourney.

Enter Rory MacCrae, a new arrival from Scotland whom Scott believes will anchor a revamped backline. MacCrae, a senior, joins veterans Pumi Maqubela of Andover and Mike Donelan, along with returning letterman Aaron Weisz. "We've really beefed up our defense," said Scott. "We're hopeful we can get the goals against way down from where it was a year ago."

The Big Blue return three of their top four scorers, including Atkinson's T.J. Thompson and Andover's Mike Spiak (5 goals each), who reunite as a forward tandem after Spiak spent most of last year in midfield.

Outside midfielder Alex Clifford (8 goals) of Andover and playmaker Justin Wu highlight an experienced midfield.

In goal, sophomore John Gardner has made the jump from JV to win the starting job.

Returning starters (7): Alex Clifford, Jr., midfield, Andover; Mike Donelan, Soph., defense, Andover; Pumi Maqubela, Sr., defense, Andover; Mike Spiak, Sr., forward, Andover; T.J. Thompson, Sr., forward, Atkinson, N.H.; Chris Wade, Soph., midfield; Justin Wu, Sr., midfield

Returning lettermen: J.R. Santaniello, Soph., goalkeeper, Kingston, N.H.; Aaron Weisz, Sr., midfield; Jason Zhu, Jr., midfield, Andover

Promising newcomers: Alex Campbell, Sr., defense, Andover; Zach Dixon, Soph., midfield; Mike Galaburda, Sr., midfield, Andover; John Gardner, Soph., goalkeeper; Matt Gorski, Frosh., midfield; Trevor Gullick-Stutz, Frosh., forward; Merzudin Ibric, Sr., defense; Rory MacCrae, Sr., defense; Tanner McNeill, Soph., defense; Joey Mensah, Soph., forward; Sam Woolford, Sr., defense, North Andover

Candidates in all grades: 70

Captain: Mike Spiak

Assistants: Steve Carr, assistant; Mike McHugh and John Rogers, JV1; Patrick Kabanda, JV2; David Stern, JV3

Opener: At Brooks Wednesday, 3 p.m.

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