By John Anderson   

The Auburn Boys Varsity Soccer Team started their season strong with a 3-1 victory over Uxbridge on the Spartans’ home turf, literally. Thursday’s match was the first varsity game played on the new artificial turf field at the high school. Auburn Coach Chris Bailey said the Spartans were a much-improved team from a year ago.

Auburn controlled the play in the first 15-20 minutes creating multiple scoring opportunities. Alex Strafer took a 30 yard shot and sophomore Dean Lemansky found the rebound inside the six and softly placed it in the back of the net. Uxbridge scored 5 minutes later on a breakdown of the Rockets’ back line. Zack Mages had a direct kick 25 yards out and placed a well played ball to the weak side, creating the scoring opportunity for teammate Yan Desouce. Auburn bounced back with just a few minutes remaining in the half when sophomore Steve Froio powered a shot in the lower right corner of the net past the Uxbridge keeper.

Uxbridge came storming back in the 2nd half. They picked up their pace, made some adjustments, and repeatedly created scoring opportunities from their two outstanding mid/forwards Yan Desouce and Jamie Caffrey. Auburn’s defense lead by seniors Liam Gribbons, Connor Aubuchont and Jake Frotton and anchored by junior sweeper Scott Williams met the Uxbridge challenge head on and kept them at bay. Auburn goalie Adam Gillies’ smothering keeper style halted Uxbridge on 3 break-a-ways in the 2nd half. This junior’s aggressive style clearly frustrates good offensive teams and players. Gillies had 11saves on the afternoon.

The Rockets scored their final goal when junior attacking mid Richie Augusto received a perfectly placed ball from the hustling Auburn striker Alex Strafer who stripped the ball from an Uxbridge defender. Augusto powered the ball behind the outstretched hands of the Uxbridge keeper giving Auburn a 3-1 lead.

Coach Bailey said, “We received outstanding goalkeeping from Adam Gillies. He is one of our most talented field players, but it’s games like this that I’m glad we had him in net.” Coach added that junior Steve Racine contributed a lot to the victory. “Steve has emerged as a solid holding-mid and is simply a primary playmaker in our attack.” Bailey concluded, “It’s nice to start out well against a good team, but we have a lot of work to do if we are going to establish ourselves as a consistent competitive team this season.”