LYNN — A pair of Danvers players made sure that the 23rd annual Agganis All-Star Boys Soccer Game wouldn’t be close, as James McPherson and Teddy Vaillancourt helped lift the North team to a 5-0 win over the South at Manning Field Tuesday afternoon.
“It was a blast out there today,” said North coach Shawn Bleau, a Lynn native who coaches at Newburyport. “I played here in the Agganis game when I was at English in the ’80’s, so I know how important Harry Agganis and this week is to this area. To be able to come back and coach in it as well, it was a great honor.”
McPherson, who took home North MVP honors, had one goal and one assist. Vaillancourt played the entire game in net for the North, making eight saves to complete the shutout.
“It was fun out there playing with so many talented players, we had a great supporting cast out there,” said McPherson, who will be playing soccer at UMass Amherst this fall. “It was good to have it get competitive, that’s how we all like to play.”
Other scorers on the North side were Newburyport’s Will Olson-Sidford (two goals), Central Catholic’s Kyle Ouellette (one goal, one assist) and Triton’s Cole Lojek (one goal).
Although the South team didn’t score any goals, Chris Garcia of St. Mary’s took home MVP honors after a great performance.
“It was a great opportunity to play here,” said Garcia, who’s bound for UMass Boston this fall. “Every single kid was talented and skilled, so it was a lot of fun. Great competition out there today.”
It took a long time for the lamp to get lit in this one, as both Vaillancourt and South goalie Richard Mateo of St. Mary’s (nine saves) put on a show over the first 30 minutes of action. Each keeper recorded multiple diving saves, knocking away quality scoring chances.
Finally, with just over seven minutes left in the first half, Olson-Sidford found himself wide open with the ball in the offensive zone and fired a goal into the net to give the North a lead. Despite several other good scoring chances in the waning minutes, the North took that 1-0 lead into halftime.
The second half played out differently. While it still took over 20 minutes for a goal to be scored, once the North found the net in the second half they didn’t stop scoring.
It started when Lojek redirected a shot home on a cross to make it 2-0 with a little under 20 minutes to go in the game. Less than three minutes later, Ouellette scored to put the North up by three. Four minutes after that, Ouellette took the ball up the right side and sent a perfect cross back over the middle for McPherson, who sprinted upfield and slammed in a header to make it 4-0. Olson-Sidford was able to add his second goal with about five minutes to go, a happy sight for his high school coach.
“It was nice to see him play well in his last high school game,” Bleau said of Olson-Sidford. “He was one of my captains, so seeing him get two goals like that was great.”
Both MVPs will follow up their Agganis performances with summer league soccer before continuing their soccer careers at the next level.
“It’s sad that it’s the last game of high school, but it’s time to move on,” said McPherson. “Time to keep working hard to reach the next goal.”
“We’ve just got to keep our heads up, keep working and keep playing how we can play,” Garcia said.
Agganis Week continues this evening with the seventh annual girls (5:30) and boys (7) lacrosse games at Manning Field.
Tickets for the Agganis all-star games can be purchased online at agganisfoundation.com.
New Balance has created a team store with Agganis all-star apparel and is donating a portion of its proceeds from sales to the Agganis Foundation. Apparel can be purchased by visiting newbalanceteam.com/team/member/order?orderId=53468.