Branson School News, Sports, Life and Opinion

The Blazer

Branson’s student-run newspaper
Branson School News, Sports, Life and Opinion

The Blazer

Branson School News, Sports, Life and Opinion

The Blazer

A new era for Branson’s varsity soccer goalies

With Dossey having graduated, boys’ soccer looks to the future in their upcoming season
Herschel Pell ’24 makes a save in his debut game as a starter on the Branson boys soccer team. The Bulls won 4-1. Courtesy of Charley Lightfoot

Branson’s varsity boys’ soccer team has overcome many obstacles in the goalie department after Finn Dossey ‘23 graduated.

After losing Dossey, the team’s newest recruit, Niccolo Machotka-Farley ‘26, who transferred from Marin Academy, is ineligible to play due to transfer rules, while the other potential goalie, Carl Smith ‘26, suffered a broken finger during football season. 

Luckily, Herschel Pell ‘24 stepped up, offering to play goalie for the first time in his life, leading Branson to their first win of the season. In an unexpected turn, Pell was involved in a car crash early in December which left Smith as the only option left. 

The search for a goalie has not been easy after Dossey’s departure. Both the players and current goalies understand the true impact he had on the game. 

Smith has worked at goalie with Dossey and fully understands his importance.  

“Finn’s definitely up at the next level,” said Smith. “He won Marin County Athletic League Player of the Year only playing half the year. It’s very important to have trust in the player in the back and everyone on the team had full trust in Finn.”

Callahan Green ‘24, a skill position player, also recognized the impact of such a dynamic player.

“Finn was a huge part of our team,” said Green. “He was a total leader, always trying to make everyone better. He was a very selfless player.”

Through his skill and accolades, Dossey sets a high standard for Branson goalies and the newest goalies looking to take his place. Each of the goalies attempting to play the starting position talked about the standards that have been set. 

“Knowing that he won player of the year and all that he did for the team just puts a lot of weight on your shoulders,” said Smith. 

“The team is expecting something close to Finn, so we have to match that technicality as well as goalkeeping and leadership,” said Machotka-Farley.

“It doesn’t matter who the goalie is, Finn being the player that he was creates pressure for the next goalies up while at the same time inspiring us and showing us that we can do well,” added Pell.

All three goalies understand the shoes they need to fill. 

Pell has played goalie for a total of two weeks now, but has already made an impact on the team. He stepped up when the team had no other options, and led them to win their first game of the season. His teammates have spoken very highly of his play.

“Herschel brings a positive attitude. He’s only been with the team for a couple of practices but he has already shown that he is a leader,” Green said. 

“He’s doing excellent. He’s showing the characteristics of a goalie who has played for many, many years,” said Machotka-Farley.  

After Branson’s first game of the season, a 4-1 win over San Domenico, Smith described Pell’s play. “[Herschel] played very well,” he said. “We played against top-tier talent and he made some amazing saves. He gave us a lot of security in the back.”  

Despite Pell’s performance, the goalie position is always changing with this group. Smith stepped in after Pell was involved in a car crash and Smith has currently played two games with a broken finger. Once Machotka-Farley is eligible coach Tom Ryan will have to re-evaluate his skill players at the position. 

Branson’s group of goalies is tough and resilient, leading to a team-first mentality. 

“No matter who has the starting job at the end of the season, the other two guys are going to support him and we are always going to make each other the best that we can be,” Pell said. “This group of goalies is very hardworking.”

Despite having to compete with Dossey last year and now Machotka-Farley and Pell this season, Smith has found a silver lining.

“It’s always great to have more competition in the goalie room. We always work to make each other better. I believe this will be a great season,” said Smith.

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About the Contributor
James Stovell
James Stovell, Writer