Starting between the pipes on a regular basis at the varsity level has been something Whitman-Hanson Regional High boys’ soccer senior Anthony Pasciuto has been waiting for since he was a freshman.
Pasciuto, who has been playing on the pitch since he was in kindergarten, served as the starting goalkeeper at the lower levels during his first two high school campaigns. Last season he backed up Patriot League Keenan Division All-Star Conor Keane on varsity, while receiving reps on defense as well. This fall there was never a doubt, even to first-year W-H head coach Dave Leahy, that Pasciuto was ready to take over.
“He knew he was the starter, I knew he was the starter, he’s just, he’s a great goalie,” Leahy said.
Pasciuto, despite receiving minimal playing time in goal last season, said the move from second to first string wasn’t too much of a challenge.
“It’s not really much different because I’ve been playing goalie my whole entire life, so I’ve been playing goalie and defense so it’s really no change for me,” Pasciuto said. “I used to play goalie in club, so it’s been an easy transition for me.”
Pasciuto, who stands at 6-foot-4, has relished in the opportunity.
In 15 regular season games, he posted a 1.5 goals against average and recorded six shutouts for the Panthers (10-7-1). W-H is headed to the Division 2 South Sectional tournament for the first time since 2014.
“This year in goal I’ve been feeling really good,” Pasciuto said. “Probably my best year in goal in my whole entire life, so I’m feeling really good right now.”
Leahy said his senior goalkeeper has been everything he could have imagined this season.
“We had a tough first week going 0-3 and then from that point on, after a very important Hingham game (2-1 Panthers loss) for him, he has been outstanding in the league,” Leahy said.
In preperation of the new season, Pasciuto said he spent count less hours with the rest of his squad trying to get better at anything they could.
“In the summer, I was on the field four times a week just to work on goalie stuff,” Pasciuto said. “My whole entire team went every single week. We just worked really hard and that’s why we’re here right now, 10-7-1, making the tournament.”
Pasciuto said if there is one aspect of his game that separates him from his opposition on the field it’s his work ethic.
“I’ve been working really hard, I’ve been waiting for this since my freshman year,” he said. “I wanted to be the starting goalie since my freshman year. So, I’ve been waiting for this so I got to make the most of it.”
Not only is Pasciuto crucial to the Panthers’ on field performance, but he’s a leader off the field as well, serving as a captain. Those two combined make a player like him tough for a coach not to appreciate.
“He’s got the heart of a lion and he’s just a gentleman,” Leahy said. “You add all those things up, and he’s an athletic guy, he’s an outstanding goalie and outstanding captain.”
As W-H heads into the tournament, Pasciuto said it is essential for it to keep doing the things that got it there in the first place.
“We have to stay together, stick together,” he said. “One focus, we’re a family, we’re gonna go far. We just [have to] stay focused and hungry.”