EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Sports

November 24, 2012

Saluting 'Big-shot Baiguy' and unstoppable Baladi

Windham won its first state title in just its third varsity season and North Andover made an exciting run in coach Bill Tarbox’s final season as coach.

And then there is junior Salah Baladi, who scored 25 more goals than he did as a sophomore and Windham junior James Baiguy, who had to take the biggest shot of the year.

Overall, it was an exciting boys high school soccer season. Without any further delay, here are the awards:

BEST MASS. TEAM:

North Andover

In their first season in the MVC, the Scarlet Knights went 13-0-2 in conference and outscored their opponents 62-13.

With coach Bill Tarbox in his 22nd and final year at North Andover, the team won the Division 2 North tournament before losing 3-0 to Medway in the state semifinals.

It was a great run for the team and a terrific 40-year overall coaching run for Tarbox.

BEST N.H. TEAM:

Windham

Windham’s boys soccer program earned its first-ever victory Sept. 7, 2010. Less than 26 months later, it won its first Division 2 state championship, posting a 3-2 victory over top-seeded Hollis-Brookline in the title game Nov. 4.

The championship went to a dramatic best-of-five shootout.

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR:

Connor Merinder

The Andover sophomore keeper had a strong season, including a 22-save effort in a 2-1 victory over Danvers. The 6-foot-5 basketball standout shut out Haverhill twice, combining for 14 saves.

MOST IMPROVED:

Salah Baladi

Baladi scored just three goals last year after he and his family moved to Methuen all the way from Morocco, where he had not play organized soccer.

Baladi, a junior, was the MVC Division 2 MVP this fall, scoring 28 goals with seven assists.

NAME OF THE YEAR:

Kristoff Gonzalez

The Greater Lawrence senior midfield not only has a cool name, but he scored 10 goals, which was tied for the team lead with Douglas Leiva.

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