Morgan Posts Stellar Season Despite No Shorelines Appearance
Senior captain midfielder Sean Cafferty and the Morgan boys’ soccer team turned in an 8-2 record for the best record in the Shoreline Conference this season. Cafferty earned the Shoreline Conference Player of the Year Award with 17 goals in 10 games. (File photo by Kelley Fryer/Harbor News | Buy This Photo)
Sophomore Alex Gallardo’s incredible versatility and speed made him a perfect fit anywhere Head Coach Ross Demay put him on the field. (File photo by Kelley Fryer/Harbor News | Buy This Photo)
Senior captain Max Skidmore earned All-Shoreline Conference Honorable Mention this season after upping his offensive game. (File photo by Kelley Fryer/Harbor News | Buy This Photo)
The Morgan boys’ soccer squad turned in an outstanding season in 2020, but unfortunately did not have a chance to cap that campaign with another Shoreline Conference Championship.
The No. 1-seeded Huskies had to bow out of the Shoreline Conference Tournament after The Morgan School had to temporarily close due to a spike in positive COVID-19 tests. That ended a streak where Morgan took at least a share of the title in the past three seasons.
The Shorelines were ravaged by closings due to the coronavirus, especially at the top of the standings. Head Coach Ross Demay was disappointed that his 8-2 squad was unable to prove themselves in the tourney, but he also knew that the Shorelines weren’t going to be the same anyway.
“We finished as the No. 1 seed and would have had home field advantage through the whole tournament. It was disappointing that the top-3 teams being struck with COVID. It was us, Valley, and Saybrook had two weeks off and played their first game back in the tournament,” Demay said. “It feels more like a COVID tournament than an actual representation of the power in the Shoreline. I know we had a good chance, and I feel really disappointed that for the kids.”
The Huskies had a bit of a slow start this year, and Coach Demay believes that he should take the blame for that as a result of working with a new formation. Of course, with no preseason scrimmages and a shortened schedule, it was hard for everyone to build momentum. Morgan did recover nicely as evidenced by having the league’s best record.
“We won seven straight after our first couple of losses and that was on me for using a different formation that didn’t work,” Demay said. “In those seven wins, we had five straight shutouts.”
Part of what made the Huskies so potent was a collection of the Shoreline’s top talent. Senior captain midfielder Sean Cafferty earned the Shoreline Conference Player of the Year, and junior captain Tyler Mucha earned All-Shoreline Conference First Team honors, as well. Junior goalkeeper Bailey Goss garnered All-Shoreline Conference Second Team recognition as did sophomore midfielder Sebastian Kadlof. Senior captain midfielder Max Skidmore and sophomore defender Matt Lopez both earned All-Shoreline Conference Honorable Mention.
“We had the most dominant player in the Shoreline in Sean Cafferty. He had 17 goals in just 10 games,” said Demay. “Then we had the most dominant defense with Tyler Mucha who was First Team All-Conference. We had a lot of guys recognized.”
Morgan’s captains Cafferty, Mucha, Skidmore, and Sebastian Salgar proved to be effective leaders, and senior Evan Baptista took a big jump this season and helped keep the wheels of the offense turning.
“We had good captains who were good workers,” Demay said. “There were a lot of people who stepped up like Evan Baptista. He really stepped into his own this year and was an irreplaceable cog this year. He was our leading assist person this year.”
The Huskies had a tremendous defense thanks to players like Lopez, junior Aidan Maduro, and sophomore Jake Mastriano, but another key to success was the play of Goss in the net.
“Bailey did great this year and was the No. 2 ranked keeper in the league. He could probably be a keeper in college if he wanted to really focus on it. He rose up in crowds to punch or catch a ball better than I’ve seen in the Shoreline. There might be better shot stoppers, but nobody could touch Bailey in terms of knowing when to come out and collect a ball or get in the air to win it in a group.”
Another valuable player for the Huskies this season was sophomore Sebastian Kadlof. His rise to prominence allowed Cafferty to take a more active role as a scorer.
“Kadlof’s basically the reason I could put Sean up when we needed offense. He’s good on the ball and has a high soccer IQ. He’s one of the top technique and skill players, and he’s young,” Demay said. “As far as this year goes, Sean and Tyler were most instrumental on the offense. Next year or the year after will be his year. He started as a freshman, and he was a full time starter this year. He played 75 minutes against the top teams.”
Alex Gallardo was another sophomore who had a big impact for Morgan. Gallardo’s versatility gave Demay the roster flexibility to make changes on the fly depending on the match up.
“Alex Gallardo was more or less a put-him-anywhere player,” Demay said. “When we needed more solid defense, I could throw him back there and keep up with the faster players. He could be up front and put pressure on their defenders, too.”
While a lot of players showed tremendous skill on the pitch for the Huskies, the best ability is availability. Coach Demay made sure that his players kept their risk of infection at a minimum. Unfortunately, no precautions the Huskies took could have averted a school closing that took Morgan out of contention.
“What I’m proud of with our kids was that none of them had to sit out,” said Demay. “We took it seriously from the start. If the goal is to be No. 1 in the Shoreline then you have to mean it. You interact with your team and your family, and that’s it. It’s unfortunate that it was brought into the school.”
Even though the season didn’t conclude with the raising of another Shoreline banner, Morgan had a successful season. It seems like no matter what, the Huskies are a perennial Shoreline powerhouse, and next year Demay is hoping for more of the same. Morgan has plenty of young talent on the team with a solid pipeline of skilled players feeding the program.
“Next year we are really going to have to find a way to score. We have our entire defensive line coming back. We have our goalie coming back. We have our main center midfielder coming back,” Demay said. “We also have some younger guys who are hungry. We have some good freshmen and sophomores. Kids normally come back stronger the following year, so it’s going to be just as hard if not harder to score on us.”