2011-10-27 / News

NKHS varsity boys’ soccer make push at the postseason

BY MARGO SULLIVAN

The North Kingstown High School boys’ varsity soccer ends the regular season on Monday, Oct. 31, with the team poised to take a shot at the state title.

“We’re doing well,” Jamestown’s Nathan Lambert said during Monday afternoon practice at Wilson Park.

Officially, they’re not in the playoffs yet, Lambert said. But they’re “on the edge” said the 16-year-old junior. “We’re in a position to go,” he said.

The players spent part of the practice working on drills designed to keep the ball away from the opponents.

They started the season “rough,” Skippers’ coach Kyle Froberg said. He added that they have come on strong towards the end of the season.

Jamestown’s Nick Ferguson, a 16-year-old junior who plays forward on the team, helped lead the Skippers’ charge.

“He’s one of our leading goal scorers,” Froberg said. His other two stars, both from North Kingstown, are the two captains: goalkeeper Ben Jones and “playmaker” Matt Lamb.

Looking back at the season, Froberg mentioned a couple of high points, such as the La Salle game.

“We tied La Salle 3-3,” he said. That result boosted the Skippers’ confi dence, since La Salle is a perennial powerhouse in the state.

“After that game, we started to believe in ourselves,” he said.

Following the tie against La Salle, the North Kingstown High boys’ varsity soccer team amassed a 10-game unbeaten streak and tore up the competition, playing to a couple of ties but without any losses. The streak lasted more than a month, from Sept. 15 to Oct. 17.

Froberg said that streak also marked a turning point, and it was “the way” they did it that began to define them as champs.

“We always rely on a lot of Jamestown kids,” he said.

Four islanders made this year’s varsity, Froberg said, naming Lambert, Ferguson, Nick Fay, a senior right back, and Christian Ellerbe, who is out for the season with a knee injury.

“He won’t be back, but he’s not the forgotten man,” Froberg said.

NKHS has racked up up a winning 7-3-4 record in Division-I play, Froberg said, which is the “top division in the state.” The Skippers’ performance should catapult them into the playoffs.

Froberg should know. He was himself a North Kingstown High soccer star before playing on the University of Rhode Island’s varsity soccer team.

He’s “positive” this team will have a postseason, he said, but he’s not telling the team that yet.

“It makes them fight harder,” he said, when they think their playoff chances might slip away.

“And we have to do well in the next four games,” he added.

North Kingstown’s worst defeat this season was a 3-0 loss against Shea.

That was an away game that killed the 10-game unbeaten streak.

Tonight’s home game against East Providence will also not be a pushover, according to Froberg. Over the last two seasons, the Townies battled a long losing streak and haven’t blown the competition away. But they also have come on strong at the end, and could also cap their season with a playoff spot.

“Their record doesn’t show it, but they’re tough,” he said. “They’re a pretty physical team, and they don’t let their opponents score too many goals.”

Froberg said the Skippers will try to “score early” and get some points on the board.

The Townies’ team includes a lot of good players, he said, but they don’t really have a star that can do damage.

After East Providence, the Skippers will face La Salle in a rematch, and finally Barrington. The last game is Monday, Oct. 31, and it was rescheduled from Oct. 21.

“We try to play our own style and have teams play to us,” Froberg said, “but inevitably, we face teams that are better than us and have players we have to neutralize.”

Sometimes, that means just playing hard and sometimes it means tactics, he said.

“It depends on the team,” he said. “We can play different styles.” But the Skippers do like to keep the ball away from the other team.

“We like to keep possession,” he said, so they focus on winning the tackles.

If they can’t hold on to the ball, they’ll counterattack, he said.

North Kingstown’s big rival is South Kingstown, according to senior varsity right back Nick Fay, 17. Their star, Zack Campo, can beat a team a couple of ways, Fay said.

“He scores a lot of goals and makes a lot of things happen,” Fay said.

Fay, the right back, is one of eight seniors playing their last matches for North Kingstown. They’ll all be saluted at tonight’s match during Senior Night, Froberg said.

Froberg is also from Jamestown. In his coaching career, he is following in another islander’s footsteps. His older brother, Steve Froberg, also of Jamestown, coached the North Kingstown High varsity boys’ soccer team from 2003 to 2006.

Froberg for three years worked as an assistant coach with his brother. The two “switched roles” eventually when Steve Froberg accepted a new job that didn’t give him time to be a head coach. He’s not coaching this year, though. The team downsized to two coaches, instead of three, due to costs, Froberg said.

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