New England Soccer Today

PDL: Pioneers Fall to Phantoms in Finale

Photo credit: David Henry/

Photo credit: David Henry/

A trying campaign for the Western Mass Pioneers came to a frustrating finish after they were dealt a crushing 5-0 loss by the Seacoast United Phantoms in Sunday’s season finale at Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, N.H.

PDL leading scorer Anthony Grant added to his regular season haul by notching a hat trick with strikes in the 34th, 59th and 78th minutes. Teammate Andre Simmond collected the first two goals of the game in the 11th and 23rd minutes to put the Pioneers in an early deficit.

Goalkeeper Dominic DiMaggio made three saves to collect the clean sheet as the Phantoms claimed their second-straight Northeast Division crown with a 9-3-2 (29 points) mark.

On the other side of the pitch, first-year Pioneers head coach Dennis Gomes could only look back in disappointment with the way the 2015 season unfolded.

“Obviously, we are not happy about the season, and I hope the players aren’t, too,” Gomes said in a team release on Sunday. “Our organization is going to look at everything this off season to ensure that this doesn’t happen again”

The Pioneers finished with a franchise-worst five points after going 1-11-2 during the 2015 campaign, one which saw Gomes attempt to assemble a cohesive group using a slew of inexperienced players.

Among those who did impress include goalkeeper Nick Valleca, who collected 25 saves in only six games between the sticks. The play of forward Ryan Taylor (three goals, one assist) was also a bright spot for the Ludlow-based selection.

“I’m sure we are going to see new faces, and maybe see some 2014 players return,” Pioneers general manager Greg Kolodziey said in a team release. “We need players that want to be here, that want to wear the Pioneers shirt, and that will fight for 50/50 balls, hustle, and give their all. We are going to address these issues.”

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