SAUGUS — New Sachems boys soccer coach Josh Hickey understands what he’s stepping into. Hickey, a New Hampshire native who previously coached Saugus’ JV team, is taking over a Sachems program that came a long way under former coach Larry Bolduc. The Sachems went 12-6 last season and qualified for the Division 3 North state tournament as the No. 7 seed. They hosted No. 10 Northeast in the opening round, a 3-0 Saugus loss.
Hickey’s goal is to continue guiding the program in the right direction.
“When I first started they didn’t win any games,” Hickey said. “My first year as the JV coach, they didn’t win anything. They’ve been around .500, maybe a win or two over, for the past few years. I just want to continue to progress the program. With the talent we have, I think we can do that. We lost a lot of seniors but I think we can build the program with what we have.”
This season’s captains are juniors Vincent Coluccio and Juan Oliveira, both midfielders, and senior striker Alec Aldred. Coluccio and Oliveira lead a talented junior class that projects to be a strongpoint for Saugus for the next two seasons.
“I think it says a lot about our team that two of three captains are juniors,” Hickey said. “I think that says a lot about the direction in which our team’s headed. I think that sets the tone not only for this year but next year.
“I think the junior class is the predominant class on the team. I think that’s our strongest class. We have 15 or 16 juniors on the team. Most of them will be on the varsity team. I think the junior class is where we’ll lean.”
In net, Saugus turns to senior Jacob Goodwin.
“He played JV for the past two years,” Hickey said. “I feel good about him. He has ups and downs, strengths and weaknesses, as anyone does. I’ve coached him before so I think that’ll help. Hopefully the strengths outweigh the bad but I think he’ll do well.”
Maintaining possession has been the biggest focal point at practice, Hickey said.
“We’re working on ball control, just working together as a team,” Hickey said. “I don’t think that was really focused on in years past. My biggest focus is on working as a team, ball control, possessing the ball. We don’t want to lose possession.
“I think our team is pretty well rounded. We have a good defensive group, a good striker group and a good midfielder group. I don’t think we have one particular strong suit. I know it sounds cliche but I think we’re good in all aspects.”
The Sachems opened the season with a 3-0 loss to English Monday at Manning Field. Up next on their schedule is another NEC road match Wednesday night (7) at Salem.