It's a new season in high school boys soccer on the South Shore.
That means it's time for usual contenders to duplicate the success of seasons past and new faces to prove their standing in what has been a perennially-competitive local landscape. As with any Top 10 – especially this one being our first of the young season – there always comes room for adjustment going forward.
Among the best of last fall: Oliver Ames won the Division 2 crown, with Plymouth North right on its heels making a Final Four appearance. Weymouth and Randolph, respectively, also made strides to the semifinals and Pembroke has an ongoing regular-season winning streak that dates back to 2021.
Here's to the opening act of the 2023 season:
Note: This is a pound-for-pound ranking. Records as of Thursday.
1. Pembroke (3-0)
The Titans are now on their third straight season of preserving their long regular-season winning streak. After Monday's 1-0 win over Hanover, it extended to 34 games. Last season, Pembroke earned the top seed in the Division 3 state tournament bracket and advanced to the Elite Eight, where the team suffered a 2-1 loss to No. 9 Newburyport. The attack is headlined by playmakers Matt McAuliffe, Colin Blake, Quinn Reilly and Thomas Halloran, with the defense spearheaded by goalkeeper Jack Eva.
2. Hingham (2-0)
The Harbormen have outscored their opponents 7-0 through the first two games of the young season (against Marshfield and Scituate). Small sample size, sure, but it was Mason Lemieux (2 goals), Chris Connolly (2 goals), Michael McNabb (2 goals) and Ryan Murtagh (1) to make up the balanced scoring effort early. Hingham is coming off a season in which it had a 12-3-4 regular season and clinched the No. 16 seed in the state tournament. The team lost in the opening round to No. 17 Attleboro, 2-1.
3. Hanover (2-1-1)
Despite graduating key starters Tyler Richards and Dan Bevilacqua from last year's squad that advanced to its Division 3 Final Four since 2005, the Hawks have hung tough against some of the area's elite so far this fall. On Monday, Hanover suffered a 1-0 loss to Pembroke, which is riding a 34-game regular season winning streak. Ben Elliott (4 goals) and Michael Schlumpe (2 goals) have been leading the offensive charge thus far, with James Solari as the standout in net.
4. Plymouth North (2-0-1)
The Eagles are back strong after a season in which they advanced to the Division 2 Final Four and lost to the eventual champion, Oliver Ames, 2-0, as the No. 12 seed behind a 12-3-3 regular season. In a 5-1 win over Falmouth on Tuesday, Liam Hewins scored two goals, and Dylan Healy, Josh Murray and Miguel Olivera each chipped in one. That was one game after drawing even with league rival Hanover, 2-2, and two games after taking a 2-0 win over Silver Lake in the season-opener at home.
5. Norwell (3-1-1)
The Clippers have hung tough against Weymouth (2-2 draw) and Hanover (1-0 loss) so far this fall, and now embark on the part of their schedule dominated by South Shore League competition. The team defeated East Bridgewater, 6-1, and Sandwich, 2-1, to cap a perfect week. Under new coach Michael O’Dea last year, Norwell finished the regular season with a 13-2-4 record to earn the No. 8 seed in the Division 3 bracket and lost in the Elite Eight to Newburyport, the eventual champ.
6. BC High (2-0-1)
Bouncing back strong from a 7-8-3 campaign last fall, the Eagles' have had an impressive opening week to 2023. BC High defeated last year's state champion, St. John's Prep, by a 2-0 final on Thursday as seniors Liam Heffernan and Jack Tisdalle came through with second-half goals to decide the win. Junior keeper Jake McConville sealed the shutout in that one, his second in three games. The draw came against Brockton (2-2).
7. Brockton (3-1-1)
A familiar face is back on the sidelines for the Boxers, as longtime coach Herminio Furtado returned to the program after taking a leave of absence early last season. Despite having graduated Walter Fernandes, a three-year captain and reigning league MVP, and implementing a new core, Brockton played BC High (2-2 draw), Dartmouth (2-1 win) and Barnstable (3-2 win) tough. Senior striker Edgar DeAndrade is the team's leading playmaker up front as the team has bounced back from a season it went 14-2-2, had the No. 22 seed in the Division 1 tournament and advanced to the Sweet 16.
8. Oliver Ames (3-1-1)
The defending Division 2 champs are back to competing at a high level, just slightly handicapped compared to the talent they had this time last fall. Two of last year's top playmakers, Casey Milliken (MLS Next) and Andrew Martins (transfer to Noble and Greenough), are not with the team and one of the captains, Luke Churchill, is injured and hopes to return come the postseason. Despite the turnover, OA is on a three-game win streak with wins over Stoughton (3-1 win), King Philip (2-1 win) and Mansfield (1-0 win).
9. Rockland (4-0)
The Bulldogs are back for another strong season. After a campaign in which the team saw its top player Joao Faria break its single-season scoring record, Rockland finished 13-4-3, clinched the fourth seed in the Division 4 state tournament and advanced to the Sweet Sixteen. So far this year, the scoring has spread between James McCrorey, Kaiky Araujo, Daniel DaSilva, Josh DelPrete, Sam Santos and Pedro Schilkes with Faria, who's back for his senior year, also in the fold. The team has wins over East Bridgewater (2-1 win), Cardinal Spellman (9-1 win) and Randolph (3-2 win) already stashed.
10. Weymouth (1-1-3)
The Wildcats are back for another strong year after their first-ever trip to the Division 1 Final Four last year, after a 13-3-6 regular season in which reserved the team the 12th seed in the bracket. Now led by returning senior keeper Bo Carley and senior striker Bruno DeSouza, Weymouth suffered a 3-1 loss to Needham, recorded a 4-0 win over Falmouth and salvaged draws with Norwell (2-2) and Walpole (1-1) so far this fall.
On the bench: Cohasset (3-0), Abington (2-0), Marshfield (1-1) Canton (1-2-1), Duxbury (0-2-2), Archbishop Williams (2-2-1).
This article originally appeared on The Enterprise: South Shore Top 10 high school boys soccer rankings