Boston High School: Soccer

Kicks for Cancer raises more than $44K

December, 10, 2014
Dec 10
Last Monday, the captains of the Concord-Carlisle High School boys' and girls' soccer teams -- Charlie Booth, Garrett Leahy, Mitchell Palmer, Molly Adams and Angela Ortiz -- presented a gift of $44,307.65 to Kerry Sachs, of the Dana Farber Institute & the Jimmy Fund.

Earlier this fall, on Sept. 27, 20 high school soccer teams raised proceeds and participated in the eighth annual Lois Wells Kicks for Cancer. The day’s matches were played in honor of Lois Wells, mother of Concord-Carlisle assistant coach Steve Wells.

Participating schools included boys' high school soccer teams from Reading, Woburn (Div. 2 North finalist), Wakefield, Lexington, Wayland (Div. 3 state champion), Acton-Boxborough (Div. 1 North finalist), Brookline, Newton North, Bedford, Boston Latin, Lincoln-Sudbury and Concord-Carlisle (Div. 2 State Champion), as well as girls' high school soccer teams from Bedford, Acton-Boxborough, Lincoln-Sudbury (Div. 1 North champion) and Concord-Carlisle (Div. 2 North-Finalist).

Additional proceeds were raised by the Concord-Carlisle field hockey team and the CCHS Student Council KFC Dance.

Kicks for Cancer began in 2007 as a single soccer game and has grown to 10 games in 2014. Since that first game, Kicks for Cancer has raised more than $175,000 for cancer research at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.

D4 boys' soccer final: Sutton 4, Archies 0

November, 22, 2014
Nov 22
WORCESTER, Mass. - There is a lot of pressure when everybody expects that you will win. That did not bother Sutton on Saturday afternoon, as the Sammies put in a dominating performance to run away with a 4-0 victory in the Division 4 state championship game at WPI’s Alumni Stadium.

There was special symmetry for the Sammies with four goals to match the four consecutive titles that they have won (two in D3 and the last two in D4) and for the seniors it meant an entire career without knowing what it was like to lose the last game of the season.

“It’s amazing -- just going out on top again,” said senior defender Jordan Elster, who had a goal and an assist in the final. “Every year we think we can win it, but we don’t know that we can do it.”

He added, “Some people probably want us to lose because we’ve been winning so much, everyone wants to beat us because we’re the top dog, but we just keep on going.”

Jordan is the son of head coach Mike Elster and also shared this year’s title with his brother Brandon. He has also shared the past three titles with his other brother Ryan, who is currently at Springfield College. The family connection makes each title a special one for the head coach.

“It’s been special for me,” said Mike Elster. “I’ve won a few with my son that is at Springfield College right now and now I have two on the team so I’ve been able to share this with my family.”

The coach continued, “We thought we would have a good team but you just don’t expect that you’re going to get this far, so it’s a lot of fun.”

Sutton opened the scoring in the third minute. Kevin Rothermich got to a through ball from Dale Dubinsky and he placed his left-footed shot perfectly into the corner to make it 1-0 and ease the pressure on the favorites.

“Just to get an early gave us a lot of confidence,” explained Jordan Elster. “I don’t think we were playing well to be honest but when Kevin put in the goal and then we put in a couple more we knew it was good.”

Archies coach Brian Mitchell, who referred to Sutton as “hands down the best team in D4,” noted, “Focusing on Kevin was our plan coming in and he scores two minutes in. They’ve got a lot of club players and they’re very well organized…These guys haven’t given up a goal all postseason and have won four state titles so we knew how good they were coming in.”

Early in the game, Archies defender Brian Fisher was forced to the sidelines with a concussion and could not return. The shift of players left the Bishops vulnerable and in the 28th minute the Sammies took advantage to make it 2-0. Matthew Vallaro scored off a corner from Eric Bater.

Not wanting to sit on a two-goal lead, Sutton came out and attacked right out of halftime. The third goal was fortuitous with Jordan Elster’s long free kick being headed into the Archies goal by a Bishops defender.

“We got goals and we put pressure on them…we didn’t want to let them hang around,” said Mike Elster. “We talked about it at halftime because at 2-0 you’re still a little tight…Once we got the third we felt we were good and then we hoped that we would calm down.”

The game became increasingly physical in the second half with the teams collecting a combined seven yellow cards, including an Archies player being sent off after receiving his second.

“We had to try and keep our team composed…guys get very passionate in these games,” said Mike Elster. “So, you have to calm them down, pull them out and talk to them.”

The fourth goal came seconds after the sending off. Another long free kick by Jordan Elster found Cole Acocelli in the box and he finished to make it 4-0.

Jordan Elster said, “It’s a lot of pressure because we have to win all the time to get a good seed for districts so we just have to play extra tough. It’s all focus during the season and nothing comes in the way of soccer.”

In the state semifinal Archies scored a “Golden Goal” in overtime to book a trip to Worcester and Mitchell was focusing on what the team accomplished rather than the result of the program’s first ever state final appearance.

“I couldn’t have been any prouder of these guys,” he said. “That pig pile [after the semifinal] was the greatest thing that I’ve ever been a part of in soccer. Congrats to Sutton, but we’re so excited about what we’ve accomplished this season.”

D4 girls' soccer: East Bridgewater 3, Monson 0

November, 22, 2014
Nov 22
WORCESTER, Mass. - Sophomore forward Mackenzie Vlachos scored a pair of goals and senior Sarahkate “Skate” Norton had a goal and an assist to lead East Bridgewater to the Division 4 state championship against Monson at WPI’s Alumni Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

“It’s awesome,” said East Bridgewater coach Pam Ross, who is a lifelong resident of the town and who played for the Vikings along with her sisters. As Ross was being interviewed, her sisters were in the crowd cheering her on.

She continued, “I love East Bridgewater…and I couldn’t be prouder for the town. I’m just so happy for the kids. These kids worked so hard starting in June and every game this is what they were going for.”

The Vikings reached the South final in 2013, which was the program’s first in D4 after years in Division 2. Last year, East Bridgewater was eliminated in the sectional final on penalties and that experience acted as motivation for the team to go even further this fall.

“It was huge motivation finding out we can do this that we can make the sectional and that we need to get better to get past that,” said Ross. “If we play our game and we win then we deserve it and that’s what kept happening.”

Norton laughed and explained, “Every single day after practice we have worked on PKs, so if it came down to that then we would have been confident in it.”

The Vikings, who brought a strong and loud contingent of fans to Worcester, got off to the perfect start when Norton picked out Vlachos with a through ball into the right channel and she blasted an angled shot inside the far post.

Monson struggled to get anything going in the first half against the East Bridgewater pressure and in the 32nd minute the lead was doubled. Following a shot by Megan McGuill that went over the bar, the Vikings turned the goal kick into a break and Vlachos was sent clear of the defense by Sarah Lofstrom to make it 2-0.

In the second half, Monson started to get a foothold in the game and played further up the pitch to create chances. Sophomore Bryanna Murphy, in particular, managed to get a few shots on target and slipped a pass through to Jennifer Fabrycki that forced a sliding save from Vikings keeper Rose Lipinski.

The Mustangs pushing forward opened a chance for East Bridgewater on the counter and a quick transition through Vlachos to Haley Griffin to Norton for a low finish to essentially put the game beyond reach with half an hour left.

“I thought we had a good strong second half and then they get one break down here,” said Monson coach Eric Degan. “That third goal hurt. We thought that we had a little momentum going there and we were finally put a few things on goal.”

Despite the score line, Monson continued to play hard and attack throughout the second half and Degan expressed his pride in seeing the team fight right to the end.

He said, “They’re a special group of kids. They deserve to be here and we ran into a very talented team, but I wanted them to know that I appreciated everything they gave over the course of the season.”

East Bridgewater rounded off a one-loss season, in which the Vikings entered the playoffs as the top seed in D4 South. According to Norton, this championship was the culmination of four years of work by the senior class.

She said, “It’s all that we worked for so it’s just great that we’ve been able to get it. We’ve been working at it for four years and we’ve gotten a step further every year, so it’s great to finally get it.”


D3 girls' soccer final: Nipmuc 5, Lynnfield 0

November, 22, 2014
Nov 22
WORCESTER, Mass. -- Junior Kiley Larocque scored a goal and assisted on two others and Boston College commit Gabby Carreiro had a brace as the Nipmuc girls rolled to a 5-0 victory over Lynnfield in the Division 3 state final at WPI in Friday’s nightcap.

The Warriors (22-1-1) jumped all over the Pioneers (17-5-2) from the opening whistle and did not relent with an attacking style that regularly opened up the defense and created chances.

“We possess the ball, we play attractively, we finish, our defense is ridiculous…total domination…I’m just so proud of the effort,” said Nipmuc coach Howard Cohen. “It’s everything put together that makes it beautiful. Ten to nothing in the semifinals and finals of the states -- that’s pretty good.”

Larocque opened the scoring for Nipmuc in the 17th minute off an assist by Brynn Mitchell. Eleven minutes later the lead was doubled by Stephanie Esker, who chased down a long ball over the top and was quickest to react when the keeper cleared it off her chest and rolled it into the empty net.

Larocque would provide on the first two goals in the second half. He perfectly weighted pass found Carreiro in the box and the senior forward danced around a pair of defender before picking out the bottom corner. In the 62nd minute, it was Madison Neri that got on the end of a pass and then fired in a goal that made it 4-0.

“It feels really good,” said Larocque about collecting three points in the state final. “It’s a team effort and we all worked really hard for it and I’m glad that we could perform this well.”

Cohen added, “[Kiley] had a great game. She set up Gabby several times and she is the glue in the middle. She’s a tough kid, plays 80 minutes at full speed. That first goal that she scored was gorgeous.”

Carreiro wrapped up her career with a second goal (her sixth in the last two games). She picked up a loose ball at midfield and outran the Lynnfield defenders for 50 yards before rounding the keeper and finishing.

Larocque said, “For four years we’ve wanted this and it’s always been a disappointment. I think for the seniors, we stressed it and we definitely just wanted it.”

D1 girls' soccer final: West Springfield 1, W-H 0 (OT)

November, 22, 2014
Nov 22
WORCESTER, Mass. - On Aug. 24, the West Springfield captains sat down with head coach Brenda Marti and set a goal to win the program’s first state championship.

Nearly three months to the day, senior captain Kathryn O’Brien made that preseason dream a reality. O’Brien scored six minutes into the first overtime to win Friday night’s Division 1 state title game, 1-0, against Whitman-Hanson at WPI’s Alumni Stadium.

After the final, O’Brien raced to the stands to celebrate with the large West Springfield fan contingent. She was then handed the game ball by the referee and took a moment to share a hug with Marti.

“Kathryn has been our leader all year,” said Marti. “She’s been in the midfield but we moved her up front for a bit and someone sent her a great through ball and she buried it. I’m really proud of her.

O’Brien said, “They’re a good team, they played really hard, they always pushed and there were a couple of times that you just hold your breath. We just kept pushing through it and we did it.”

West Side (21-0-2) controlled pay in the second half and started to push forward. In the 62nd minute O’Brien nearly opened the scoring with a shot on the run but it sailed narrowly wide of the post. Four minutes later, Lauren Beliveau had another chance after a square ball from O’Brien, but again the shot was just off target.

As the time wore down in regulation, West Side pushed numbers forward in an attempt to make the pressure turn into a goal, but the Panthers held out.

“They sustained a lot of pressure and momentum,” said Whitman-Hanson coach David Floeck. “They weren’t creating a lot of great shots, but they were in our end and we said that we needed to change it or it was only a matter of time.”

He added, “They made a good physical play at the end to hold someone off and get it done.”

When asked if she was worried after not turning the pressure into a score, Marti said, “At the end of the game I thought we were going to get one but when we went to overtime it was like okay let’s go. I thought for a minute that we were going to PKs so I’m glad we didn’t.”

In overtime, O’Brien and Beliveau combined again but the shot was charged down. A minute later sophomore Nicole Abel thought that she had won it only to be robbed by Whitman-Hanson keeper Arianna Comendul, who got to the 20-yard shot that was sneaking under the bar.

“Just keep the ball, keep pressing hard, keep doing what we were doing the last 15 minutes of the second half and we’ll be fine,” said O’Brien about the game plan heading to overtime.

That left it to the captain to provide the heroics. O’Brien held off her defender as she ran onto a pass in the channel. She took another touch and under pressure fired a shot past Comendul into the bottom corner.

O’Brien, who understandably could not contain her smile while being interviewed, explained, “I don’t even remember the goal. I just remember having the ball and kicking it and hoping it would go in. I saw it go in and my heart just stopped.”

The Panthers (19-2-3) could have taken the lead in the opening three minutes of the game. Freshman Taylor Kofton hit a long-range free kick that was right at West Side keeper Jaimee O’Brien. The rebound fell to a Whitman-Hanson player but O’Brien recovered to make an important block at the near post.

Floeck said, “We’ve survived when other teams haven’t put those away, so it was a little bit fortuitous that we weren’t able to get on the end of that one.”

Whitman-Hanson had been on the other side of dramatic results in each of the last three rounds with two overtime wins and a last-minute comeback against Lincoln-Sudbury in the state semifinal. Floeck appreciated the effort that it took for his team to get to the program’s first state championship game.

He added, “We also know that the road to get here is so difficult that when you get here that you want to get it.”

Marti also took a moment to reflect on the journey and what it meant to her program to hoist the trophy for the first time (following the lead of the boys’ program that won the title last fall) and to complete an unbeaten season.

“The three captains sat us down and said we want states; let’s go and get it,” said the coach.

She continued, “It’s really surreal. As soon as they scored, the three captains started bawling and looked at each other and said, ‘We did it.’ That’s awesome; they really worked hard all season.”

Brock's influence reaches past sideline in Needham

November, 21, 2014
Nov 21
When Needham takes the WPI pitch on Saturday evening to face Amherst in the Division 1 state championship game, the Rockets will have extra incentive to win the title. The Needham players will be trying to bring home the trophy for longtime head coach Don Brock, who will not be able to travel with the team to Worcester after being hospitalized during the South semifinal.

“It’s ‘win one for the Gipper’ you know,” said Needham assistant Jay Steeves, who has taken over head coaching duties in Brock’s absence and who is a former Needham player. “I told them that first of all you’re playing for yourselves, second of all you’re playing for Needham High School, and third of all you’re playing for Don Brock.”

Steeves remarked after beating BC High to win the South sectional he said that the team needed “two more wins for Don Brock” and after the win against St. John’s Prep in the state semifinal he added that it set up a “storybook ending.”

Senior midfielder Aram Ouligian, the latest All-American that Brock has coached in his 48-year career, added, “We played with so much heart and we outworked the other team and I think a big part was because of him; we’re playing for him.”

In nearly five decades, he has built Needham into perennial state title contenders, but when former players, coaches, and friends speak about Brock -- who is expected to make a full recovery -- it is clear that his influence extends beyond the lines on the pitch.

“He’s a teacher and a mentor first and a coach second,” said Needham girls’ soccer coach Carl Tarabelli, who was a captain on the 1977 team that went unbeaten and did not allow a goal. “At the end of the day, he treats them like adults. He holds them accountable; he wants them to take responsibility for their actions.”

Mac Steeves, the program’s all-time leading scorer and captain of the 2012 state title team, spoke about Brock’s influence in an October interview. He said, “He was definitely not just a coach, but more like a teacher. He helped me learn, kept me on the right track, and moving forward from high school to freshman year of college it definitely helped me playing under Coach Brock.”

Brock was a math teacher at the high school when he took charge of the Needham soccer program in 1966 and both Jay Steeves and Tarabelli highlighted his classroom experience as a factor in his ability to connect with high school soccer players.

“He understands kids and their mentalities and what it takes to motivate them,” said Steeves. “I have numerous stories of people coming up to him that didn’t even play for him…as a teacher and a coach he’s affected so many people. “

Steeves added that even while Brock is in the hospital his mind is still on the team.

He sent Steeves to The Needham Channel -- the public access station in town -- on Wednesday to get copies of the game (“I told him I’d swing by the Dover Market and get him a bowl of chowder and sneak the tapes in for him,” joked Steeves) and had to be told by his family and doctors that he could not stream the game live online.

“Here’s a guy that’s not 100 percent but his first question every time when I speak to him on the phone is: ‘How are the boys?’” said Steeves.

While he is able to motivate the players as a mentor, Brock also has a passion for soccer and has stayed on the forefront of tactics and training. He has had to adapt to a series of rule changes and style changes to remain on top. Whether it was the change in the pass-back rule, the attempt at instituting a 35-yard offside line, or adopting 15-minute quarters, Brock has kept the Needham program strong throughout his 48 seasons.

“He has a great analytical mind,” explained Tarabelli. “He was ahead of his time in the system that he employed even going back 30 years. He’s stayed current in the latest and greatest in training techniques. He has never sat back on his credentials.”

Tarabelli also called Brock “the Bill Parcells of high school soccer” for the number of coaches that have gone through the Needham program. He believes that 30-40 percent of the coaches in the Needham youth programs were coached by Brock, which has molded the next generation of Rockets to step in with an understanding of the Needham system and the expectations that go with being part of the program.

Brock’s influence extends well beyond Needham and even into the upper levels of U.S. soccer with former player Doug Williamson, a member of the 1968 state title-winning team, now a senior staff member at the NSCAA. Williamson still credits Brock as being an important influence.

The game has changed and the players are different, but there is continuity within the Needham program. Jay Steeves was a ball boy for the 1977 team and watched up close as Tarabelli and the Rockets went unbeaten. Mac Steeves was a ball boy before becoming the program’s leading scorer and current Rockets captain Jason Miller was a ball boy during Mac’s sophomore season.

Steeves said, “The winning attitude that [Don] instilled and the way everyone always came out and played for him; as a seventh and eighth grader that was something that I wanted to be a part of. That winning tradition has always been there.”

On Saturday in Worcester, many former Needham players will be in the stands to cheer on the current Rockets when they take the pitch. It is a tangible reminder of the legacy that Don Brock has built and that the current players are motivated to continue.

“Every team tries to be the best team that ever plays for him,” said Tarabelli. “If you go to the finals on Saturday there will be 14 of us (players from the 1977 team) that we still follow the team, we still hang out together.” Tarabelli pauses and laughs before adding, “And we still remind everybody that nobody can do what we did.”

Snapshot: Latest early NLI signees

November, 17, 2014
Nov 17
With the National Letter of Intent early signing period coming to a close this week, here are the latest signings across Massachusetts:

D1 North soccer: Prep 0, A-B 0 (4-3 PK)

November, 16, 2014
Nov 16
LYNN, Mass. - For a soccer match that remained scoreless through regulation time and two following overtimes, the atmosphere was electric at the Division 1 North championship game.

In front of hundreds of enthusiastic fans, the St. John’s Prep Eagles (18-1-3) and the Acton-Boxborough Colonials (15-4-3) battled on Saturday night at the Manning Bowl for the opportunity to advance to the Division 1 State semifinals on Tuesday.

Ultimately, the Eagles walked away with the win, continuing their quest for the D1 state title.

This was the Eagles’ third consecutive trip to the Division 1 North Final, and they clearly craved the win.

“We’ve been looking at this since last year when we lost to Somerville,” said goalkeeper Zach Rowell. “We knew that we were going to win this one.”

Neither team was able to put any points on the board in regulation time – or the two overtimes that followed. St. John’s Prep struggled to take get opportunities from the swarming Acton-Boxboro defense while Acton-Boxboro struggled to overpower Rowell in the Eagles’ net.

When the second overtime ended scoreless still, both teams knew that they had one last chance to overpower their opponents during the PK shootout. St. John’s Prep’s Stephen Heintz made the final kick, clinching the shootout 4-3.

“I’d be kidding anybody if I said that we weren’t lucky to be moving on,” Prep head coach Dave Crowell said. “A-B was a great team tonight and gave us all we can handle.”

Rowell proved the difference as the Eagles’ goalkeeper, making 15 saves. Having allowed only 10 goals on the year, Rowell continued a long streak of great performances.

“Our goalie Zach Rowell was phenomenal,” said Crowell. “Especially the one he saved with his feet during the second half, that was clearly the match-saving save.”

“When it came down to it, we pushed through,” Eagles senior Peter Kilcommons added. “We had confidence, we had trust in Zach, and we had trust in the people who kicked PKs. The rest is history.”

St. John’s Prep will move on to face off against Needham for the Division 1 semifinal on Tuesday at 7 p.m., at the Manning Bowl in Lynn.

“They’re just a juggernaut,” Crowell said of Needham. “We’re going to show up, play, and give ‘em a game.”

Soccer: Needham, Whitman-Hanson take sectionals

November, 15, 2014
Nov 15
BRAINTREE, Mass. - Many of the Needham players showed up for Saturday afternoon’s Division 1 South final at Braintree High sporting more than just the typical playoff mohawk. Most had shaved the letters ‘DB’ into the sides of their heads as a sign of respect for head coach Don Brock.

The longtime coach of the Rockets (the only coach in the program’s history) had been taken to the hospital at halftime of Needham’s semifinal win over Silver Lake and remained in the hospital for the final. Although he was not at the field, Brock remained an inspiration.

[+] EnlargeNeedham
Josh Perry for ESPNAfter longtime head coach Don Brock was hospitalized, Needham boys' soccer has railed to another Division 1 South sectional title. Jason Miller and his teammates sported the initials "DB" cut out of their hair during Saturday's sectional final against BC.
“Last game when he went down and the ambulance came onto the field that put a lot of emotion into all of us and it gave us a reason for us to be here and to win,” said senior midfielder Aram Ouligian. “We played with so much heart and we outworked the other team and I think a big part was because of him; we’re playing for him.”

Ouligian, the Carey division MVP and an All-New England selection, scored a pair of goals and Needham held off a late BC High surge for a 2-1 victory and the program’s second sectional title in three years.

Jay Steeves, who took over as head coach in Brock’s absence, said, “The game could have gone either way, but luckily we were on the right side of it tonight. Two more to win for Don Brock and we’re all set.”

This was the Rockets third consecutive trip to the South final and the memories of last year’s overtime loss to Silver Lake and the added motivation of winning the game for their coach got Needham off to a flying start.

Ouligian remarked, “This was the game that we lost last year and we weren’t going to do it again.”

Senior forward Don Igo created havoc against the BC High defense in the third minute with a run into the box and a shot that was deflected past the post. On the ensuing corner, Ouligian had a chance from just outside the six-yard-box but BC High keeper Chris Phillips made a terrific reaction save down to his left.

In the 20th minute, Phillips came to the Eagles rescue again and this time in even more spectacular fashion. Marco O’Donnell cut inside on his left foot and his shot angled across the box where Igo was lurking but Phillips was able to smother the shot for a corner. That corner found Ouligian for a towering header destined for the top corner until Phillips, an Eastern Mass. All-Star, made a flying, fingertip save to keep it out.

BC High coach Billy Ryan said, “Chris has been our most improved player all year. He’s a tremendous leader out there and he made some tremendous saves. He really puts us in a position to win.”

Four minutes before the break, Needham had the breakthrough. Senior captains Jason Miller and Ouligian combined to put Needham ahead when Miller danced past his defender on the left touchline and squared the ball across the box to Ouligian, who directed it inside the far post.

The start of the second half mirrored the first. Needham continued to press forward and Ouligian continued to create chances.

He had a shot blocked out for a corner from six yards out after Igo created an opening on the left and then flashed to the near post to meet a cross from Miller but it was a comfortable save for Phillips. He also had a header on a free kick that sailed inches wide.

“Aram is an absolute beast,” said Steeves. “He’s like a man playing among kids out here. Having the ability to drop him back defensively always helps out to kill off a game.”

Ouligian seemed to give Needham control of the title in the 53rd minute when he got on the end of an Igo free kick at the near post and flicked an unstoppable header under the crossbar to make it 2-0.

About the connection he has with fellow attackers Miller and Igo, Ouligian said. “We’ve been playing together since we were eight and we formed that chemistry. He knows where I’m going to be and I know where he’s going to put the ball.”

Instead of making the game comfortable for the Rockets, the goal spurred BC High into action and the Eagles began to press into the attacking third.

Christian Labeck cut onto his left foot and had a shot deflect inches past the top corner and then seven minutes later he sent in a free kick that was knocked up off the crossbar at the back post before Needham cleared the rebound.

In the 63rd minute, Igo had a chance at one end when he took on two defenders and forced a save out of Phillips (seven saves in the game). Immediately down the other end, Eagles defender Ryan Tropenao took advantage of a mistake by Needham keeper Alex Raskind (three saves) but his goal bound shot was cleared off the line by Paul Kondratyev.

Steeves said, “I thought Paul was immense. He was the difference the first time we played them. He got hurt, went out, and they kind of pushed us around in the midfield. He was very good today.”

BC High finally got on the board with 13 minutes remaining. Alpha Fofanah reacted first to a header back into the box on a cleared free kick by Tropenao. Fofanah sent his header into the far post out of the reach of Raskind to make it 2-1.

Ryan said, “I don’t think my kids ever quit; they kept going until the final whistle. I thought our kids worked hard throughout the whole game.”

He added, “After the goal we had some more momentum and we could’ve scored the equalizer, but tonight unfortunately that second ball did not go in.”

The Eagles spent the final 13 minutes on the front foot and continued to press Needham back towards its own goal, but still the Rockets posed a threat on the break with Igo again forcing Phillips to make a sliding save.

In the end, Needham had enough to hold on for a victory to make Coach Brock proud.

Needham will face North champion St. John’s Prep in the state semifinal on Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Manning Field in Lynn.

D1 South girls: Whitman-Hanson 2, Franklin 1 (2 OT)

Freshman midfielder Taylor Kofton pounced on a loose ball with six minutes remaining in the second overtime to lift Whitman-Hanson to its first D1 South title since 2009 and prevent Franklin from winning its third straight sectional title.

In fact, Whitman-Hanson is the first non-Hockomock team to win the South since its last victory (Franklin in 2010 and 2012-13 and Oliver Ames in 2011).

Franklin was missing two-time Hockomock League MVP Taylor Cogliano, who was injured in practice this week, but still got off to a great start. Sophomore Megan Adams stole the ball of the toe of a defender and scored to give Franklin a 1-0 lead in the fifth minute. One minute later, Bailey Knous had a great chance from inside the six but Arianna Comendul made a point-blank save at full stretch.

In the 22nd minute, Knous got on the end of a cross by Alexis Stowell and deflected it over the keeper but Kelsey Gilbert, who was everywhere for the Whitman-Hanson defense, cleared it off the line.

Instead of 3-0, the Franklin lead was just one goal and in the 31st minute, Alexis Fruzzetti met a cross by Kofton at the back post to tie the game.

“I thought their speed and athleticism gave us some trouble in the beginning and we were kind of back on our heels a little bit and they had the one and we were happy that Ari came up with the huge save to keep it 1-0,” explained Whitman-Hanson coach David Floeck.

He added, “We felt in the first overtime that we were getting the better of the chances and we were just hoping that we would get one before PKs.”

The score stayed tied into the second overtime period. Fruzetti created the chance with a cross from the right side that Franklin keeper Dani Lonati came for but could not collect. Rachel Kelly settled the ball in the box but her shot was blocked and Kofton was on hand to collect the loose ball and fire it inside the post for the winner.

Whitman-Hanson will face Lincoln-Sudbury in the D1 state semifinal game on Tuesday at 5 p.m. at Manning Field.

Snapshot: Thursday's NLI early signees

November, 13, 2014
Nov 13
Yesterday, the one-week National Letter of Intent early signing period began. Today and tonight, we had some more ceremonies honoring student-athletes accepting athletic scholarships.

Here are some of the best moments from today:

The best moment from the first day of the National Letter of Intent early signing period today was one that technically didn't even count.

The Ivy League has a long-standing policy of not recognizing NLI's, and so Newton North outfielder and Columbia commit Ben Porter took matters into his own hands with this creative little stunt:

A tip of the cap to Mr. Porter. Here are some of the other great moments from today's start of the early signing period:

Boys' soccer: BC High 2, Attleboro 0

November, 11, 2014
Nov 11
BROCKTON, Mass. - BC High's Alpha Fofanah picked a perfect time to finally use his left foot.

Fofanah broke the scoreless deadlock between the Eagles and Attleboro in the 63rd minute, scoring his first goal off his left foot all season. 15 minutes later, Joao Carlos Barbosa iced the game as third-seeded BC High took down the tenth-seeded Bombardiers, 2-0, and advanced to the D1 South sectional final.

Fofanah took a feed from Barbosa and raced across the 18-yard line. He finally was able to push the ball far enough to get some space from the defense and used his left foot to bang home the opener, just beating Attleboro goalie Jason Ross.

The Eagles continued the pressure and it paid off in the closing moments of the game. After a throw in was cleared by Attleboro's defense. Barbosa was able to win the ball just over midfield, muscled off a would-be defense and ripped a low shot from about 25 yards out. The ball was able to find the inside of the near post, just beating out a diving Ross.

"I think the 20 games prior to this prepared us for this," BC High head coach Billy Ryan said. "We've been defensive all year, we were fortunate in the second half and we have some depth. I think we outran them in the second half and scored some timely goals."

It was a back and forth first half with the Eagles' getting the first scoring chance 10 minutes into the game. Barbosa faked a shot and got some space and ripped a shot, but Ross handled the bouncing shot. Just a minute later, Jared McLeary played a through ball to send Jake Elliott in alone on goal, but Ross came charging out to make the sliding stop.

Attleboro had a pair of chances in the final 10 minutes, but couldn't convert. First, senior Kyle Lameiras sent a perfect diagonal ball through traffic to find Matt Rodrigues in the area, but he was sandwiched between two defenders and his touch fell to BC High goalie Chris Phillips.

On the play, Rodrigues - a senior captain the midfield for the Bombardiers - was hurt and didn't come back into the game.

Attleboro's next chance came when Lameiras raced past three Eagles defenders but didn't get enough of his tough angle shot to get it on target.

With Rodrigues out, Attleboro was forced to bring Lameiras back to the midfield. From there, BC High patiently pressed forward until they found the opener.

"I thought our discipline and our will to get to those 50/50 balls really put us one the top, Ryan said. "And we had some timely scoring. I thought the team worked extremely hard on and off the ball and that's the reason we're moving on."

The opener nearly came just five minutes into the first half for the Eagles when McLeary headed a cross into what looked like an open net, but Attleboro's Junior Coca was there and headed it out.

The Eagles' biggest threats of the game came via long throw-ins. Anytime BC High had an attacked throw, they would use it to send the ball right into the area but Attleboro's defense and Ross were up to the task each time.

"Their goalie made some outstanding saves," Ryan said of Ross. "I think he played excellent, I thought the ball was one the line sometimes and he kept it out."

After BC High went up 1-0 in the 63rd minute, the Bombardiers started to press forward for an equalizer. In the 72nd minute, Lameiras laid off a perfect through ball to Ahijah Joseph, but Phillips came sliding out just before he could get a touch.

BC High will now play top-seeded Needham – which beat Silver Lake, 4-0 – in the D1 South Sectional Final.

The game is currently scheduled for Saturday (4:15 p.m.) at Braintree High.

C-C caps regular season as boys' soccer No. 1

October, 30, 2014
Oct 30
Concord-Carlisle scored in the final minute of its final regular season games against Acton-Boxborough to earn a draw and stay in the top spot in the final MIAA boys' soccer Top 20 poll of the regular season. The Patriots had only given up two goals in 15 games before the final game, which ended 4-4.

That draw keeps C-C ahead of also unbeaten Needham, which closed out its season with a 3-0 win against Lexington on a hat trick by midfielder Aram Ouligian, who is making a push for Player of the Year with his scoring run in the final stretch of the season. This is the second consecutive unbeaten regular season for the Rockets, who have not lost in the regular season since a defeat to Wellesley in early September 2012.

The big move up the rankings into the top 10 was by Amherst, which completed an unbeaten season out west, The Hurricanes took advantage of some of the teams ahead of them dropping points to jump into the third spot. Defending D1 champ West Springfield is the other West team in the top 20; moving from last 10 out to No. 15 after a win over previously ranked Belchertown.

D1 South is going to be a war of attrition with one quarter of the top 20, and three of the top seven, all coming from that bracket. Add in Brockton and Wellesley from the last 10 out and other Bay State teams, such as Natick, Braintree, and Weymouth, to that list and there will be no easy path to the sectional final.

The Boxers were one of four teams that dropped out of the top 20 this week after losing their final four games of the season. Wachusett, Belchertown, and Wellesley were the other three teams to move into the last 10 out, while West Springfield, Shrewsbury, Westborough, and Duxbury all move into the top 20 heading into the postseason.

For this week's complete rankings, click HERE.

Conference Breakdown:
Patriot - 3
Mid-Wach - 3
Bay State - 2
Catholic - 2
DCL - 2
Smith - 2
ACL - 1
Big 3 - 1
Cape Ann - 1
Dual Valley - 1
Hockomock - 1
TVL - 1

Concord-Carlisle takes over boys' soccer No. 1

October, 22, 2014
Oct 22
There is a new No. 1 in our MIAA boys' soccer Top 20 poll with just one update remaining before the start of the playoffs. Concord-Carlisle, which has been less No. 2 than No. 1A in recent weeks, jumps up one spot after another comprehensive victory on Tuesday over Cambridge. The Patriots have now recorded 13 clean sheets in 14 games and have only allowed two goals all season. The perennial Division 2 power has dominated like the best team in the state should over the course of the season and, thanks to a small slip by Needham, takes the top spot.

The drop is slightly unfair to Needham, which also is less of a No. 2 than a No. 1A, because of the Rockets' overall strength of schedule in the deep Bay State Conference. Two draws against Top 20 squad Framingham and a draw with Top 10 BC High are the only blemishes on the record, but with Concord-Carlisle continuing to stay perfect the Rockets take a tiny drop.

There were several losses in the middle of the rankings, but not a lot of movement. Sutton fell to Algonquin but stayed at No. 11 then the Tomahawks lost the next day to Wachusett, which enters the rankings at No. 17, but remained at No. 9. Despite a second defeat to New Bedford, Brockton stayed put at No. 10 ahead its second meeting with BC High on Thursday.

There were three additions to the rankings this week. Wachusett's aforementioned win over Algonquin earns it a spot along with reigning Division 3 champion Belchertown, which enters at No. 19, and No. 20. Wellesley, which has taken the lead in the Bay State's Herget division. Duxbury moves into the Last 10 Out after three straight losses, as does Minnechaug after a loss to Ludlow, and Lexington after a slip-up on Tuesday.

For this week's complete poll, click HERE.

(Editor's note: Records are as of Tuesday, Oct. 21.)

Conference Breakdown:
Bay State - 3
Big Three - 2
Catholic Conference - 2
DCL - 2
Midland - 2
Patriot - 2
ACL - 1
Cape Ann - 1
Churchill - 1
Dual Valley - 1
Hockomock - 1
Smith - 1
TVL - 1

Franklin on the move in girls' soccer poll

October, 16, 2014
Oct 16
Franklin jumps back into the top two of our MIAA girls' soccer Top 20 poll this week after a 3-2 win over then No. 7 Central Catholic. Needham drops one spot to three after a pair of draws, including an imporessive scoreless tie with No. 1 Acton-Boxborough on Saturday. With Bishop Feehan sliding into the No. 4 spot, three of the top four teams in the state are from Division 1 South.

West Springfield moved up four spots this week and is the top team in the West and only team from the West in the top 20, although Belchertown and Minnechaug are both in the Last 10 Out. Minnechaug could jump into the rankings next week if it gets a positive result against West Springfield on Monday.

Central Catholic has had a rough couple of weeks. The No. 14 Raiders lost for the first time in the regular season since 2011 and then followed it up with draws against Haverhill and Chelmsford and the aforementioned loss to Franklin. Central Catholic is young, with a number of freshmen playing key roles, but there is plenty of talent led by senior forward Ali Wiggins, so the Raiders remain a threat in D1 North.

Mansfield and Newburyport dropped into the last 10 out this week and were replaced by Nashoba at No. 18 and Medfield at No. 20. Both are perennial powers in their respective divisions and have shown great improvement over the course of the season. Both also have top 10 opponents coming up with Nashoba traveling to No. 1 A-B this weekend and Medfield facing No. 7 Medway on Thursday.

For this week's complete poll, click HERE.

(Editor's note: Records are as of Wednesday, Oct. 15.)

Conference Breakdown:
DCL - 3
Patriot - 3
Bay State - 2
Hockomock - 2
Midland - 2
TVL - 2
Coombs - 1
Dual Valley - 1
EAC - 1
Middlesex - 1
MVC - 1
NEC - 1