Season Preview written by Hayden Barbosa, Rivier University Assistant Sports Information Director
The Rivier University Raiders closed out the 2018 fall season with a record of 1-15-3. While it was another year of rebuilding and establishing a new culture with Coach Barbosa at the helm. Barbosa believes there has been a lot of progress. "Our program is starting to come together," says Barbosa. "I'm confident that this group will shock our competition. He have a bit of everything, strength, athleticism, pace and creativity!"
Coach Barbosa is descending upon his 3rd season with a strong, core group of student-athletes. Before the season kicked off. The programs first test was against the Knights of Northern Essex Community College. The Knights are led by 1st year Head Coach and former player of Barbosa's, Eusebio Marote. While Marote's program had a strong showing, the Raiders pulled away with a 2-0 victory. Both goals were penalties that were capitalized upon by A couple days later the Raiders hosted its annual Alumni scrimmage that showcased 20 former members of the program. While the match ended in a -0-0-0 draw. On Monday the Raiders faced off against the Hornets of Northern Vermont University in a friendly at Kennett High School in North Conway, N.H.. The Raiders walked away with a 4-0 win.
Senior Captains Zachary Pontarelli (Coventry, R.I.) and Goalie Collin Deyarmin (Raymond, N.H.) have set high standards for the team particularly in the defensive third. Deyarmin has tallied over ------ saves since putting on a Raiders jersey, while Pontarelli has held the backline down for over ---- games and has contributed ---- minutes. Other returning contributors include 6'1 center back Ramon Bonfante (Sao Paulo, Brazil). Bonfante tallied 4 goals in the 2018-2019 campaign all from headers and scrambles off of set pieces.
Newly named 3rd captain, Mike Federico (Milford, N.H.) has been pulled out of the backline to join the midfield in an effort to stabilize the midfield unit and provide physicality and leadership. Federico scored the game winning goal against Southern Vermont College last year marking his first goal of his collegiate career.
The Raiders will showcase 10 freshmen this year who are all expected to make an immediate impact. "Our bench is deeper than last year and our starting line-up is much more dynamic," Barbosa says. We have guys who are willing to take players on and who have high soccer IQ's and the mindset necessary to grind out wins."
Some of our newcomers include center midfielders Lars Rattunde (Merrimack, N.H.), Poe Reh (Lowell, Ma.) Edwin Bonilla (Dracut, Ma.) and Jimmy DiGiovanni (Lowell, Ma.) are all expected to be dangerous all over the field. "Rattunde has proven to be a general in the midfield, dictating pace and physicality while facilitating efficient transition throughout the field. Reh and Edwin are incredibly technical and have absolutely no problem taking players on. DiGiovanni is also expected to cause some havoc up front with junior Pedro Lopez-Montgomery!
Anthony Zucco (Andover, Ma.) is definitely going to drop jaws with his blistering speed in the midfield. Camden Harrigan (Burrillville, R.I.) has shown great skill and composure in front of the goal already, slotting one in on a one-on-one with NVU-Lyndon's goalkeeper on Monday.
Tyler Demaral (Raynham, Ma.) is also known for his goal scoring abilities as he notched a half-dozen goals in his senior year. Demaral is expected to be a threat with his bullish play through the midfield.
The Raiders first regular season contest will be up against the Bulldogs of Dean College. "Coach Campbell is an outstanding tactician and will certain have his squad organized", says Barbosa. Stylistically I think we'll be very similar, however the winner today will be the team who wants it more!"
Today's matchup will be hosted by Bulldogs at Longley Sports Complex in Franklin, Massachusetts at 5PM. (69 Maple St. Franklin, Mass)