No. 4 Needham boys' soccer recently won their first Bay State Conference championship since 2001 and have a team built for a deep tournament run.
The Rockets have senior leaders in captains Jake Bronstein and Quentin Pagnier, who were just freshman the last time Neeedham reached the Division 1 South sectional final back in 2008. One of the reasons the Rockets are one of the favorites in the south is the forward combination of sophomore Harry Swartz and junior Mac Steeves.
We caught up with Steeves to talk about the upcoming tournament, the Bay State Conference, and sibling rivalries for our latest Player Perspective Q-and-A:
Q: You had a pretty successful season in 2010, but this year things seem to be clicking better for your team.
A: “We mesh well together. We got a lot of players that can score goals, we got great guys that can play midfield and defense this year."
Q: Speaking of goals and your club teammate (from Boston Bolts Academy), Harry Swartz has been slamming them in this season, what’s it like playing up top next to him?
A: “It’s great playing with Harry! He’s fast and he gets behind the defense so if you play the ball up he’ll get to it.”
Q: You see a lot of guys that you play with or against at club level right here in the Bay State Conference, how tough is this conference?
A: “Well you have to get up for every game, because the Bay State Conference is probably one of the toughest in Massachusetts. Every game is just as important as the next, so you have get up for it, and play as best as you can and put a lot of effort into it.”
Q: So you’re pretty good, but I hear you might not even be the best soccer player in your house?
A: “Well, my younger sister Kayla has been playing really well for the girls' varsity team (Needham) as a freshman and my older sister (Courtney,) she’s starting and playing a lot for Franklin Pierce in New Hampshire as a freshman. So they’re all right!” (Laughs.)
Q: So if all of you played in the back yard, who would be the best? Or would your father (assistant varsity coach Jay Steeves and NHS varsity player from 1981-1984) beat you all?
A: “I think I’d win, usually. I think I’m a lot faster than they are."
Q: Are they going to be mad when they hear that?
Q: With your sister at college, what are you thinking about in terms of the next level?
A: “I have to go through my options, but I’m hoping to go to college, and then hopefully to the next level, but next year is high school.”
Q:You have any colleges in mind? Are any schools reaching out to you?
A: "I’m not really sure yet. I’m still in the process of narrowing down schools."
Q: How far can this Needham team go in the postseason?
A: "I think we can make a really deep run in the playoffs, and I hope for a state championship, but I don’t know. I think we have a lot of potential to go that far in the playoffs."