Boys’ Soccer Off To Strong Start

All photos by Bill O'BrienThe Branford boys’ soccer team is off to another good start, winning their first three games of the season. Last year they rattled off five straight wins on their way to a 13-7-1 record and an appearance in both the SCC tournament and the Class L State Tournament before falling to no. 3 ranked Guilford 3-0 in the quarter finals. Above, co-captains Marzio Mastroianni and Ben DeMaio hustle to catch up with the ball.

The Hornets are coached by Paul Hunter, who’s assisted by Mark Harris and Andres Wullaert. Hunter came to Branford with a plethora of experience. He played at Staples High School, was a captain and two times All American at UConn, before turning professional and playing in the North Atlantic Soccer League with the New York Cosmos, Detroit Express, and Tulsa Roughnecks.

A resident of Branford, Hunter started coaching youth soccer for the Branford Soccer Club after he left the pros. He led his team to two championships. He is now in his 10th season with Branford.

The Hornets lost All SCC and All Area player Ethan Boileau to graduation last year, but the nucleus of this year’s club is strongly led by senior co-captains Marzio Mastroianni and Ben DeMaio.

And Praneeth Ganedi, who has a lot of experience in goal, gets ready to stop a shot.

Abdalla Syed brings the ball up with Juan Leon-Munoz. Both players had assists in the game.

Action in front of the net included (23) Konstantinos Gionteris, (9) Marvin Hernandez, (21) Matt
Cordero, and (2) Ben DeMaio

Coach Paul Hunter talks to the team during a timeout.

So far this year, Hunter’s Hornets have toppled Notre Dame 3-0, Hamden 3-2, and Jonathan Law 1-0.

The Eagle was at the first game of the season at home against Notre Dame. The Hornets scored first on a goal by sophomore Raffaele Ciarleglio on an assist by Abdella Syed at 37:00 of the first half.

Ciarleglio is congratulated for scoring the first goal. Syed (#26) assisted on the goal.

Sophomore Raffaele Ciarleglio attempts to get the ball back from the Notre Dame goalie. 

In the second half, co-captain Marzio Mastroianni scored at 57:00 on an assist from senior Juan Leon-Munoz to increase the lead to 2-0.

Junior Cody McCarns gets set to pass to a teammate

Marcio Mastrianni battles a Notre Dame player for the ball.

He then scored two goals in the game.

Two minutes later the Hornets scored their final goal once again by Mastroianni this time on an assist from senior Ben DeMaio. 

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