NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — It seems like yesterday Mike Dowling was celebrating his 100th victory as the head coach of the McCann Tech girls soccer team, and here we are again to celebrate 100 more wins.
It is the kind of milestone that can only achieved by a trailblazer of the game, and Dowling did it in style on Tuesday as the Hornets beat Commerce, 7-1.
A veteran after 24 years roaming the sidelines, Dowling kicked off his coaching career by working under former Drury boys' coach Chris Wondolowski. Dowling spent nine seasons as the Blue Devils' JV coach before stepping up to lead the varsity squad for four years.
He considers Wondolowski to be one of his biggest mentors in the profession, as well as legendary Drury baseball coach Tom McGrath, who really helped him understand the "discipline part of coaching.” In his 18th season with the Hornets he has achieved a lot, including winning a championship with the 2005 team, a squad that set a school record by going 19-2 and finishing a perfect 15-0 in Tri-County League play.
“I’ve been doing high school soccer since 85', with Drury and here [McCann], I just enjoy it I’m a soccer guy,” Dowling said. “It’s nice for a coach to reach a goal once and awhile, so I’ll just take this one and run with it.
“It feels good, it’s one of my personal goals after I hit 100 I wanted to stay coaching for 200 and it’s all been here the last 18 years.”
It was an emotional day and a big 7-1 victory only made it sweeter. The Hornets got going early with a goal inside six minutes from Dana Canales. Not long after Isabella LaCasse scored three straight goals for the Hornets giving her a hat-trick before the halftime whistle. From that point on McCann (10-2-3) coasted their way to the win in fashion. With qualification for the Western Mass tournament The Hornets will look to close up the season on a high note with an outside chance of winning the division title. They will take on St Mary’s next who is currently in first place in the division.
“We are trying to win out, whether we win the league or not,” Dowling said “As of right now we are ranked first in the State Voc Division 2 so hopefully we will be hosting a home game. We’re back to competitive games, the last two years have been tough, it’s so much fun for the kids to play close games and that is what we are here for.”
McCann has dropped back down to its original league after two years playing a division up.
The Hornets will have a quick turnaround tomorrow against St. Mary’s, a game that has major implications on the division title.