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Lynn Tech’s Helen Pojoy has 68 goals and counting – Boston Herald

Ever since she first saw the joy soccer brought to her brother Alex a decade ago, Helen Pojoy has been drawn to the sport. She has aimed to prove one thing — that there truly is no obstacle preventing her from reaching her dreams.

“I think (this) has been about just being able to make my family proud,” said Pojoy. “The people who have supported me, my coaches, my teammates throughout my 10 years of playing soccer are what inspires me to be the player I am today.”

Here we are, and Pojoy is a senior with Lynn Tech’s girls soccer program. Now the reigning Commonwealth Athletic Conference (Small) MVP has the Tigers on the verge of reaching a pinnacle they themselves have never attained — a statewide playoff berth.

Justin Barrasso took over coaching duties last season with the Tigers. He immediately noticed Pojoy’s talents on the field.

Lynn Tech girls soccer star Helen Pojoy, right, battles KIPP's Jasmine Castillo Rodriguez for control of the ball at Manning Field on Tuesday. (Staff Photo By Nancy Lane/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)
Lynn Tech girls soccer star Helen Pojoy, right, battles KIPP’s Jasmine Castillo Rodriguez for control of the ball at Manning Field on Tuesday. (Staff Photo By Nancy Lane/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)

“Stat-wise, win-wise, she’s the best player in Lynn Tech history,” Barrasso said.

With a tendency to switch between the striker and sweeper positions, Pojoy enjoyed a breakout season in 2021 with 35 goals. As a senior, she has distributed the ball more, with 21 goals and eight assists.

“Every practice, she brings the team to a different level,” Barrasso said. “That’s where it all starts for her, on the practice field. She carries that over into games. She’s someone who works every time she steps on the soccer field. It’s her passion. It’s her heart, the devotion to the sport really helps bring her to the next level.”

Everyone knows Pojoy for her incredible career stats (68 goals, 28 assists). Off the field, the senior works as a plumbing student at Lynn Tech with a 3.6 GPA. Pojoy has also led a recent breast cancer awareness drive with some of her Tigers teammates, with proceeds benefiting the Ellie Fund.

“I think it would be wonderful for her to pursue her college degree and play at the next level,” Barrasso said. “She said she wants to be the first in her family with a college degree, and that’s a wonderful goal. It’s a great example to her brother.”

Just like Helen, Alex wears jersey No. 2. The close siblings are hoping to guide Lynn Tech to new heights, with Alex having already propelled the Tigers to second-place finish in the CAC this season.

Meanwhile, Helen and her teammates can accomplish history this upcoming Monday. With a victory in its final regular season game, Lynn Tech (7-8-2) would secure a berth in the Div. 4 tournament for the first time in program history.

“It’s been extremely exciting,” Pojoy said. “Generally, I have no words to explain how much of an emotional roller coaster it’s been being a senior, being in my last year with the girls. It’s been fun.”

Oliver Ames teams soar

Those who’ve made the illustrious walk down Lothrop Street to the steps of Oliver Ames High School in recent weeks may have noticed a newfound sense of excitement in the community.

There’s a decent explanation.

For years, the Tigers have enjoyed success when it comes to soccer. This goes for both the boys and the girls programs.

This season however, the school has seen something unprecedented. Both of its teams currently sit atop the latest MIAA Div. 2 power rankings as seeding day approaches. The boys are in the midst of an undefeated campaign at 15-0-2. The girls sit in first with a record of 12-3-1.

Oliver Ames’ takeover of the sport can be attributed to a longstanding youth organization. In addition to coaching the boys at Oliver Ames, John Barata has served as the director of coaching for Easton’s youth soccer program since 2005, and has watched his players mature into the stars they are today.

“They love playing the game,” Barata said. “They’re young, which is interesting because we only have three seniors starting. But they’ve played together for a long time now. They’ve been climbing through the ranks. They’ve really just come together nicely, and they’ve gelled as a unit, which is cool, and they’re working hard. So at this point now, they’ve been able to enjoy the game, and they’ve been able to put forth a good effort everyday. So we’re pretty happy.”

Oliver Ames enjoyed its best Hockomock season ever this year, going undefeated at 15-0-1 against league competition. During Barata’s tenure, the Tigers have made the state tournament each of the last 14 seasons. However, they will be gunning for their first Div. 2 championship since 2015. Expect sophomore sensation Casey Milliken (21 goals, 21 assists) to shoulder the load after shattering the program record for points in a season.

Meanwhile, Britt Sellmayer’s group is in a similar position, thanks to the performances of holding midfielder Mary Cross (seven goals) and center back Sophia Byron (goal, seven assists). The senior captains combined to put home the eventual game-winning tally during a 2-0 win over Foxboro on Oct. 27, clinching the Hockomock League (Davenport) title for the Tigers.

Not bad, given Oliver Ames graduated a massive senior class from last season.

“It’s very exciting,” said Sellmayer. “We have a rich tradition in our town with our soccer programs at the high school, which are an offshoot of our youth program. Any time you have good sports, you have a youth program that’s feeding it. That’s been our secret.”

Should Oliver Ames’ girls embark on a run to a Div. 2 title, it would be the first for the program since 2007.

Milliken hopes that both programs can complete the miraculous feat together.

“It would be awesome,” Milliken said. “We all know them, they all know us. We all talk about (championships) a lot. The environment around the school is really good, everyone knows it.”

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