Tech boys soccer coach Gallo is cautiously optimistic

The Lynn Tech boys soccer team has established itself as one of the teams to beat in the Commonwealth Conference in recent years. Whether the Tigers will continue along that road is a question even coach Fred Gallo can’t answer.”This is one of those years. I can’t predict how we’ll do,” Gallo said.Tech won its fourth consecutive Commonwealth Conference title last year and made it to the Division 3 North semifinals before losing to Lynnfield, 3-0. The tournament ride included wins over North Cambridge Catholic and St. Mary’s.Several players from that team have graduated, including leading scorer Patrick Tchoumi and CAC Most Valuable Player Neftali Lopez (a sweeper). Although his numbers are low at this point (15 showed up for the first day of practice), Gallo usually doesn’t see his freshmen until school opens.The good news is that Gallo has some talented players returning, including striker Prince Tchoumi, the second-leading scorer on the team, and his cousin, Aloysius Fonta, a center-midfielder.”He (Tchoumi) is a good finisher,” Gallo said, adding that Fonta does a nice job as the setup man.Gallo will be looking for a new goalie and one of the prospects is sophomore Orlin Escalante, who started on defense as a freshman. The junior contingent includes Yerlin Guevarra, a midfielder who came on strong toward the end of the season last year, and Reggie Teah, an all-around solid player.”The team always surprises me,” Gallo said. “Every year I’ve had a handful of really good freshmen come in, but I don’t see them until school starts. That doesn’t help us in the (Lynn city) tournament.”The Tigers will open their season against Classical in the tournament, which begins next Tuesday at Manning Field. The finals and consolation games (boys and girls) are on Saturday, Sept. 8.Despite the question marks, Gallo is hopeful about his team’s chances.”I’m cautiously optimistic,” Gallo said. “I’m excited about this year. I do think we have some kids coming up, but there are a lot of unknowns.”Tech opens its conference schedule on Tuesday, Sept. 11, against Greater Lowell at Manning Field.

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