Boston High School: Caitlin Harty

Mr. and Miss Soccer finalists announced

December, 11, 2013
12/11/13
11:42
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We’re announcing our finalists for our second annual Mr. Soccer and Miss Soccer awards today, with the winners to be announced on Friday.

Here’s a look at the finalists:

MR. SOCCER FINALISTS:
Adam Grammer, M, Masconomet
Beraa Ibas, M, Ludlow
Brendon Vazquez, M, Amherst
Paul Beatty, F, Silver Lake
Klisman Sousa, M, New Bedford
Dave Stapleton, M, Oliver Ames
Michael Dushman, M, Bedford
Lucas Rezende-Verge, G, Weymouth
Mike Skarbelis, M, North Andover
Connor Henry, M, Algonquin

MISS SOCCER FINALISTS:
Breanne Moreau, M, Belchertown
Kayla Steeves, M, Needham
Aly Leahy, D, Newburyport
Taylor Coglaino, F, Franklin
Gabriela Kenyon, F, Notre Dame (Hingham)
Angela DeBruzzi, G, Concord-Carlisle
Courtney Walsh, M, Central Catholic
Caitlin Harty, F, Beverly
Brooke Murphy, F, Monson
Lucy LeBlond, F, Algonquin

Soccer Roundup: Silver Lake routs New Bedford

November, 8, 2013
11/08/13
1:05
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WEYMOUTH, Mass. -– Paul Beatty scored a second half hat trick to break open Thursday night’s Division 1 South sectional semifinal at Weymouth High. Beatty’s goals helped No. 1 seed (and No. 1 ranked) Silver Lake cruise to a 5-0 victory over No. 4 seed New Bedford.

Despite the final score, it was New Bedford that looked stronger at the start with star midfielder Klisman Sousa combining well with forward Edmilson Andrade and winger Felipe Ponte to put Silver Lake under pressure. The Whalers had the best chances of the first half and both came off of Sousa’s boot.

First, the Whalers senior played an in-swinging free kick that picked out defender Shawn Dias flying in at the far post, but he was unable to put the header on target. Just a minute later, New Bedford came forward again and Sousa worked the slightest sight of goal and let loose a left-foot rocket that Silver Lake keeper Stephen McSwain punched away.

Beatty had very little service in the first half with New Bedford putting a defender in front and behind him. The complexion of the game changed with just four minutes before the break. A long throw was barely touched past the post by Whalers keeper Austin Eugenio. On the resulting corner, New Bedford failed to clear and the ball bounced into the path of Tim Barrow, who ripped smashed it home to open the scoring.

Down by a goal, New Bedford started the second half by pushing numbers forward. That left room at the back for the speed of Beatty to have effect.

Lakers head coach Dan Correia explained, “They had all the momentum at that point, so for us to be able to be scrappy in the box and tuck one away...I mean those are the goals you need to get in these games. That opened things up a little bit in the second half because they had to change things defensively and freed Paul up.”

Beatty admitted that he was frustrated by the way the first half had gone, but he did not let it get to him. Instead, with his first real look at goal the striker was able to hit a shot that was deflected up over Eugenio to make it 2-0 just three minutes after halftime.

Beatty noted, “You just have to keep knowing that you’re doing the right thing and getting to places where you can get the ball and it will come eventually. I needed that to put me in the right state of mind.”

New Bedford tried to get back into the game through its star player, but Sousa was denied by McSwain again. The keeper was somehow able to get two hands to punch away a swerving shot and then also got down well to palm away the follow-up rebound by Andrade when it seemed destined for the net.

New Bedford head coach John Macaraco remarked that his team was unlucky not to have been on the board and that a goal at that moment would have changed the game.

He said, “The score doesn’t indicate how close this game was; every chance they got, they finished. Their keeper came up with some good saves. If we make it 2-1 then it’s a different game.”

From that point on, New Bedford struggled to get into the possession game that defines its style. Macaraco added, “We never settled down and got into our rhythm. I always say we need to play 'Calma' and I think we played 'calma' and go into our rhythm and if we did, I think the outcome would’ve been different.”

The Whalers were also facing a striker that suddenly felt momentum on his side. Beatty started to find a lot of space to turn and run at defenders. Fifteen minutes into the second half he went one-on-one with Ty Catunto and blew past him to finish from just inside the box to make it 3-0. A few minutes later he tapped in his hat trick when Sean Hurlburt’s long throw was allowed to bounce to him in the middle of the box.

Correia was aksed if this was a typical game for his center forward and he replied simply, “Yeah.”

He elaborated, “I think that’s 35 goals this season. He just has that extra gear that guys don’t have.”

Macaraco pointed to the goal as changing the way his team approached defending Beatty. He remarked, “Once we got down, you know, we had to push some numbers up top. We made a few mental mistakes and, with his blistering speed, he’s able to finish most of his chances.”

Silver Lake added a fifth in the final minutes when Brendan Nemes found space on the edge of the 18 and curled his shot into the top corner. It was an emphatic exclamation point on a dominating win for the Lakers.

It was also the final game in the New Bedford career of the talented Sousa, who drew praise from both coaches after the game. Macaraco reflected, “He’s a special player and he needs just an inch of space and with his ability he can get that inch and get that shot off. It’s been a pleasure being part of his four years at the high school.”

Silver Lake advances to the sectional final on Sunday at Taunton High at 5:30 p.m. to play the defending state champion Needham, which beat BC High 3-0 in the other semifinal.

TOURNAMENT NOTES:
  • While the Needham boys advanced to the sectional final with a solid win in a rematch with the Eagles, the Needham girls could not match the feat in the nightcap at Medway High. The Rockets were beaten 2-0 by defending champ Franklin, which returns to the sectional final. The Panthers got goals from Alexis Stowell and Taylor Cogliano in the first half to earn the victory. The D1 South final will feature the top two seeds, as Bishop Feehan scored in double overtime to end the amazing tournament run of Walpole. It was the first goal that the Rebels had given up in four playoff games.
  • In the D2 South boys’ semifinals, No. 2 seed Oliver Ames allowed a goal within the opening three minutes but then stormed back on a Dave Stapleton free kick and second half header by Gaston Cetrangolo to reach its first ever South final with a 2-1 win over Hingham. The Tigers will face No.13 seed Walpole, which beat Pembroke 2-0. Both of these teams competed in D1 last season. The girls’ final In D2, as it does in D1, will feature the top two seeds with No. 1 Scituate beating Sandwich 1-0 and No. 2 Notre Dame (Hingham) beating Dartmouth 3-2. Those finals will be played on Veterans Day at Braintree High.
  • There was another big upset on the girls’ side on Thursday. The top team in the state, Central Catholic, and the No. 4 team, Duxbury, were already eliminated and now the No. 3 team, Belchertown, is out as well. The Orioles were stunned in the D1 West sectional 1-0 by Pittsfield. The loss ends the remarkable careers of all-state twins Brittany and Breanne Moreau and puts Pittsfield back into the West sectional final for the second year in a row. Minnechaug will be the opponent after it beat East Longmeadow 2-1. There was also an upset on the boys’ side of D1 West with No. 2 seed Amherst beaten on penalties by West Springfield in the semifinal.
  • There will be a rematch in the D1 North boys’ final, as No. 1 seed Somerville beat Malden 3-0 and No. 3 seed St. John’s Prep knocked off Madison Park in double overtime. The Highlanders, led by forward Thayrone Miranda (you know, the guy who did this), will be looking to repeat as sectional champions. On the girls’ side, Newton North will face Acton-Boxborough. The North finals will be on Saturday at Manning Field in Lynn. Also on Saturday at Manning Field will be a top 10 showdown against unbeaten North Andover and perennial D2 power Concord-Carlisle, which will be one of the top games of the tournament. Not to be outdone, the D2 girls will feature a match-up of Beverly and ESPNBoston.com Miss Soccer candidate Caitlin Harty against Concord-Carlisle. Amazingly, those are not even the sectional finals; those are just the semis.
  • In the Central, the defending D1 champion Nashoba girls were eliminated by rival Algonuin. Last year, the Tomahawks lost only three games in the season, each of them against the Chieftains. Algonuin will face top seed Westborough in the final to be held at Wachusett. Westborough also has the top seed on the boys’ side and the Rangers advanced to the sectional final to face Wachusett, which knocked off two-time D2 state champion Groton-Dunstable (moved into D1 after the Central lost a Division 2). Wachusett will host the boys’ final. Like Westborough in D1, Sutton will have both the boys and girls in the finals in D4 after both were dropped down from D3.

Soccer Tourney Roundup: Needham gets revenge

November, 6, 2013
11/06/13
12:17
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NATICK, Mass. – The only blemish on Needham girls’ soccer’s regular season schedule was back in the second game of the season in a defeat to its Division 1 South quarterfinals opponent, Natick. The Rockets are much healthier at this point in the season and, on Tuesday night, turned the tables to reach the sectional semifinal.

Kira Oberle scored the winner and Rachel Kingston added a late goal on the break, as No. 5 seed Needham pulled out a 2-0 victory over No. 4 seed Natick on a cold evening at Natick High.

Needham head coach Carl Tarabelli praised the depth on his squad as crucial to the Rockets (12-1-7) having the energy to stay with the Herget division champions, especially coming off an overtime win in the first round and with one day less rest than the Redhawks.

He explained, “I went 18 deep into my bench today and it was a team effort; it was a complete team effort. Although I have some very, very talented players, our strength is our depth and we had to use it tonight.”

Natick head coach Lisa Wilkins admitted that there were no secrets between league rivals and it was clear from the start that Needham had a specific game plan to attack the Redhawks (12-3-4). The Rockets used width, especially down the Needham right, to avoid Herget MVP Carly Wilkins at the heart of the Natick defense.

In the opening three minutes, Kingston sped down the far side line and cut the ball back to the edge of the 18 for Oberle, who set herself but struck the post going for the bottom corner. A few minutes later, it was Alanna Bollas getting down the right side for the Rockets and she picked out Kingston, but the sophomore struck a shot just wide.

Defensively, Needham pinpointed Herget division leading scorer Haley Reddish as the person that spearheads the Redhawks attack and had Natalie Wong shadow her throughout the game. Just four minutes in, Natick had a big chance, but midfielder Danielle Ranucci’s shot from close range was closed down and blocked by Rockets keeper Emily Bowers.

Natick keeper Devan Malcolm was called into action 12 minutes before halftime. She dove low to her right to palm aside a shot from Kyra White. Wong also headed a chance narrowly wide off of a late free kick. Tarabelli was concerned with all the missed opportunities.

“I was a little nervous,” he said. “We hit the post and then we had a sitter that went wide. I was just thinking that this can’t be a re-creation of the game against Bridgewater-Raynham.”

Needham stormed out of the gates in the second half with Kingston getting several chances in the first 10 minutes out of the break. Natick turned up the pressure on the Rockets, especially after a cramp forced Wong to the bench for a few minutes midway through the second half.

With her marker on the bench, Reddish finally found a little room and sent in a corner that tipped off the bar, before a corner from the other side found her on the edge of the box and she again struck the woodwork. Ranucci also had a chance that went narrowly wide for the Redhawks.

“I thought we played outstanding in the second half,” said Wilkins. “The first half we were a little disorganized, but in the second half I thought we had equal opportunities for each team and they just capitalized and we didn’t.”

Not long after having its cross bar rung twice, Needham took the lead. Again pressure down the right touchline caused problems for the Natick defense and gave the Rockets a dangerous free kick. Kayla Steeves, who became increasingly dominant in midfield over the course of the game, found the head of Oberle and she placed into the corner to make it 1-0.

Wilkins noted, “I basically knew when we got into the second half that whoever gets the goal was going to win; that it was going to be 1-0. Their second goal was because we were pushing for the tying goal.”

With only three minutes remaining, and Natick becoming increasingly desperate to find an equalizer, Needham struck again. Sophomore Emma Spector picked out her classmate with a through ball and Kingston made no mistake with a shot across the keeper to wrap up the victory.

Kingston, who missed a large portion of the regular season with an injury, scored the overtime winner in the first round and was a consistent threat to the Natick back four. Tarabelli would not single her out after the game; he said that all of his forwards are a threat in every game and that is what makes Needham tough to defend.

“She’s just one piece,” he said. “They all bring something different. I go six deep up top. She’s fast and she’s talented, but I got six strikers and you can’t pick one because if you do then one of the others will get you.”

Statewide tournament notes from Tuesday:
  • Needham will advance to play the top seed in D1 South, Franklin, on Thursday in Medway. The other side of the bracket includes No. 2 Bishop Feehan and the Cinderella story of the tournament thus far, No. 19 Walpole. The Rebels advanced to the quarterfinals with a pair of penalty kick victories, both after scoreless games, but on Tuesday afternoon beat No. 6 North Attleborough, 2-0, on the road. Steph Lund and Lauren Regan had the goals for Walpole, which needed to win on the final day of the regular season just to qualify.
  • While Walpole’s win was impressive, it was not the biggest upset of the day. The top-ranked team in the ESPNBoston.com state wide girls’ soccer rankings was beaten in the D1 North semifinals. A lone first half goal by Acton-Boxborough’s Alex Spangler, which was described on Twitter as a bicycle kick, was enough for the Colonials to beat undefeated Central Catholic. It was the fifth goal allowed in the last three games for the Raiders, after allowing only one in their first 17 games. The win by Acton-Boxborough also denied a No. 1 versus No. 2 matchup in the sectional finals against Newton North, which eased past Masconomet, 5-0, in the early game on Tuesday.
  • On the boys’ side of D1 North, Acton-Boxborough was unable to reach the sectional semifinal after a 1-0 overtime defeat to No. 2 seed Madison Park. The Boston City League team advances to the semifinals to take on last year’s D1 North finalist, St. John’s Prep. A rematch of last year’s final is still in the cards after top seed Somerville continued its stellar play with a 4-0 win over a talented Brookline team thanks to a Thayrone Miranda hat trick. The Highlanders will need to go through No. 13 Malden in their quest to repeat as sectional champs, after Malden beat No. 12 Lowell, 3-2, in overtime.
  • D1 South has a pair of marquee matchups in the semifinals with Top 10 opponents squaring off on both sides of the brackets, although in the case of New Bedford just barely. The Whalers, the No. 4 seed and fifth-ranked team in the Top 25, needed a goal by Klisman Sousa in the final three minutes to cancel out a goal by Franklin’s Joe Kalil and send the game to overtime. After a nerve-wracking 20 minutes of sudden death and another six rounds of penalty kicks, New Bedford advanced to face top seed and No. 1-ranked Silver Lake, which has outscored teams 11-2 to get this far. On the opposite side, Needham and BC High will get a rematch of their meeting during the Bay State Conference/Catholic Conference tournament, which ended in a 1-1 tie.
  • Several marquee teams are still alive in Division 2 as well. Caitlin Harty continued to build her resume for Player of the Year with a hat trick to lead Beverly over Woburn and into a semifinal against Concord-Carlisle. Masconomet, which dropped down to D2 this year, also won 3-0 to advance to the semifinals. Both were teams that exceled in D1 last season and will be hoping to make similar waves in D2.
  • The first of the 2012 state champions to be knocked out was the Medfield girls. The Warriors scored the opening two goals of the game against top seed Scituate, but the Sailors stormed back with four goals to advance in the D2 South sectional. In fact, there will be a completely new D2 South final this year after Dartmouth defeated Duxbury, which was ranked in the Top 5, 1-0. Scituate will face No. 5 Sandwich in the semifinal and the Indians will take on No. 2 seed Notre Dame (Hingham), which survived overtime against Holliston on Tuesday.
  • Shocking news came today for the Palmer boys’ team in D3 West after it was determined that the team had accumulated five cards during its first round game with Hampshire. Palmer had won the game 2-0, but because of an MIAA rule that limits the amount of cards a team can get in a single game, it will forfeit the victory. Hampshire advances to the sectional semifinal and will take on top seed Belchertown. MassLive.com had the initial report.

Four MIAA soccer storylines to watch

September, 3, 2013
9/03/13
4:29
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With MIAA soccer matches kicking off this week, here are four storylines to watch for the new season:

1. Realignment changes dynamic of postseason.

The MIAA realigns this season and a number of teams will be competing in different divisions this year. The biggest change is that Division 2 now only exists in Eastern Mass. This means a shift for several teams out West, including Belchertown, which now has its girls playing in Div. 1 while the boys are expected to dominate in Div. 3. Two-time defending D2 state champion Groton-Dunstable also faces a jump up to D1 in Central Mass.

In the boys’ South sectionals, these changes have suddenly created a D2 tournament that will be as difficult as just about any sectional in the state. Division 1 South semifinalists Dartmouth and Oliver Ames, along with fellow playoff teams Nauset, Walpole, and Catholic Memorial will all be dropped down. The teams combined for seven wins in the 2012 D1 playoffs and, when added to D2 mainstays like Canton, Medfield, and Hingham, will provide a deep bracket filled with potential state champs. One team not included in that list is last season’s D2 South winner, Medway, which will now compete for the D3 title.

All of the movement will add some spice come October and November as many of the teams (for example the Dedham girls, who have been moved to D3) compete in leagues with teams in higher division or schedule those opponents to prepare for the playoffs.

2. What happens when the face of the program leaves?

The Needham boys will be without their all-time leading scorer, Mac Steeves, this season and on the girls’ side there are a number of programs that have lost not only good players, but among their best ever.

Franklin’s Kristi Kirshe, Peabody’s Hayley Dowd, Oliver Ames’ Kendall Andrew, Canton’s Lauren Berman, Nashoba’s Kim Slade, and Concord-Carlisle’s Andrea O’Brien are just a few of the graduates that have left question marks around entire programs. (Apologies to anyone not mentioned - it’s a very big list.)

Many of these teams are familiar faces in the rankings and will find a way to be successful even without the big name (Franklin for instance is still considered the team to beat in D1), but that is an amazing amount of talent moving on and it has changed the whole perspective on how successful these teams can be. It has opened the door for new league and sectional champions.

In many cases these players were not only the best player and the talent that produced wins on the field, but also the foundation on which the team formulated its game plan. Now, coaches may have to adjust to lesser talents that are not able to decide games on their own and players will have to step up and take responsibility where before they could simply pass to the star. It’s a challenge that will be interesting to watch this season.

3. A true rivalry out West.

Ludlow, boasting 17 state titles, has long been the dominant force in the West region, but last year Amherst earned its first ever sectional title and showed that it could compete with the best. This season, Ludlow is considered the team to beat but, with seniors Brandon Vazquez and Eric Gooden, Amherst believes that it has closed the gap. Both teams are ranked in the preseason Top 10 and now there are two teams that people out East have to ask about at the start of every year.

If the fans of Belchertown had their way, there would be a third team to add to the rivalry. The Orioles put up numbers last year that would make Barcelona jealous, but it is hard to determine the caliber of teams that they are competing against. With the drop into D3 this season, the gap between Belchertown and the top teams in the West is even larger, making it even more difficult to rate them.

4. Mr. Soccer and Miss Soccer races heat up.

Going into the season, there are a number of players to watch out for and the race for the second annual ESPNBoston.com Mr. and Miss Soccer awards (won last year by Mac Steeves of Needham and Kristi Kirshe of Franklin) has the potential to be very close.

Here are preliminary lists of some of the male and female players to watch heading into 2013:

Boys – Thayrone Miranda (Sr., F, Somerville); Dave Stapleton (Sr., M/F, Oliver Ames); Klisman Souza (Sr., M, New Bedford); Brandon Vazquez (Sr., M, Amherst); Noah Martins (Sr., M, Dartmouth); Aram Ouligian (Jr., D/M, Needham); Michael Dushman (Sr., M, Bedford); Paul Beatty (Sr., F, Silver Lake); Bobby Ivatts (Jr., M, Walpole); Lucas Resende-Verge (Sr., K, Weymouth).

Girls – Caitlin Harty (Sr., F, Beverly); Taylor Cogliano (Jr., F, Franklin); Kate Holleran (Sr., M, Oliver Ames); Lauren Petit (Sr., M, Medfield); Kayla Steeves (Jr., M, Needham); Breanne Moreau (Sr., M, Belchertown); Brooke Murphy (Sr., F, Monson); Maddie Jolin (Jr., F, Bishop Feehan); Alexis Fruzetti (So., F, Whitman-Hanson).

Franklin finishes No. 1 in girls' soccer poll

December, 5, 2012
12/05/12
7:01
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There can be little question over the top two teams in the final 2012 girls' soccer Top 20 poll.

The Division 1 and 2 state champions, Franklin and Medfield, proved their worth over the course of undefeated seasons capped by victories over Top 5 teams in the state finals. A combined record of 43-0-4 speaks for itself.

The two defeated finalists, Nashoba and Belchertown, also proved they belonged in the top five. Both teams were unbeaten going into the finals.

Two of the biggest upsets in the tournament ended the season for top seeds East Longmeadow and Peabody. Both teams dropped in the rankings after seeing their seasons end abruptly. Oliver Ames and Duxbury were the big movers up the rankings after impressive runs to their respective sectional finals.

Two teams were added to the rankings after tournament win streaks that caught just about everyone by surprise.

Beverly made it all the way to the state semifinal behind striker Caitlin Harty and goalkeeper Casey Cook. The Panthers won the incredibly deep D1 North sectional, which few (if anyone) had predicted.

Weston's run to the D3 state title is even more amazing as it was the 17th seed in D3 North and romped its was through the sectional. The only goal it gave up in the postseason was in the opening round against the 16th seed Georgetown. Weston outscored its next four opponents 19-0. A 1-0 win over Sutton in the finals meant that Weston had to be included in the rankings.

Mr. and Miss Soccer finalists announced

November, 20, 2012
11/20/12
1:20
PM ET
For the first time in site history, we're pleased to announce that ESPN Boston will honor the top boys' and girls' MIAA soccer player with its first-ever Mr. and Miss Soccer Awards this year.

The winners will be announced on Monday, Dec. 3, but we've whittled down our lists to a final five candidates today.

Without further ado:

MR. SOCCER FINALISTS:
Felix DeBona, Sr. F, Somerville
- The D1 North champions were led by DeBona's 29 goals, including the lone goal against St. John's Prep that clinched the sectional title. DeBona's scoring propelled the Highlanders to 15th in the NSCAA national rankings, a Greater Boston League title, and an undefeated regular season.

Dave MacKinnon, Sr. GK, Oliver Ames - MacKinnon was named an All-American for his commanding play in net for the Davenport division champions. He gave up only four goals during the regular season with 13 shutouts and was named the Hockomock League MVP. In the playoffs, MacKinnon's save during the shootout helped the Tigers beat league rival Franklin in the opening round.

Nate Pomeroy, Sr. F, Groton-Dunstable - Pomeroy, who is bound for Brown University next season, notched two goals in the D2 state finals to clinch back-to-back titles for the Crusaders. Pomeroy was named to the All-New England team and named Mid-Wach B MVP this season. He had eight goals in the 2012 postseason run.

Cody Savonen, Sr. F, Nauset - Savonen led Nauset to the D1 South sectional quarterfinals and eclipsed the 20-goal mark for the season. He had a hat trick in a 3-0 win over Plymouth South that wrapped up the third Atlantic Coast League title of his career and scored the winner in the opening playoff game against Wellesley.

[+] EnlargeMac Steeve
Courtesy of Josh PerryNeedham senior captain Mac Steeve led the Rockets to a Division I state title and is a finalist for our inaugural Mr. Soccer Award.
Mac Steeves, Sr. F, Needham - The Rockets all-time leading scorer was named an All-American this season and led Needham to the Division 1 state title. Steeves also showed his ability to step up in big games. He scored both goals (and drew the penalty for the second) against Somerville in the state semifinals and scored the winning goal in the state finals against Amherst.

Honorable Mentions: Osla DeBrito (New Bedford), Mike Lynch (Weymouth), Thayrone Miranda (Somerville), Brandon Miskin (Needham), Ryan Rose (Acton-Boxborough), Justin Rothemich (Sutton), Zach Scafati (Franklin), Stowe Simonton (Concord-Carlisle), Dave Stapleton (Oliver Ames), Brandon Vazquez (Amherst).

MISS SOCCER FINALISTS:
Lauren Berman, Sr. F, Canton - With over 40 goals this season, Berman was the standout player for the Davenport division champions and a Hockomock League All-Star. Berman's accomplishments earned her All-American status and she will be playing in the ACC for the University of Maryland next season. She finished her career with over 130 goals.

Kristi Kirshe Sr. F, Franklin - Kirshe eclipsed the 100-goal plateau for her career during the D1 playoffs. She scored in the state semifinal and scored both goals to lead the Panthers to the program's first-ever state title.She is an All-American as well as the state MVP. Compiling more than 30 goals this season, Kirshe helped a young Franklin team to an undefeated season.

Jen Narlee, Sr. M, Medfield - Narlee is the leader of a very strong defensive unit for the D2 state champions. A physical presence in the center of the field, Narlee does many of the little things that do not get on the scoresheet. Many of the Warriors' opponents saw their attacks snuffed out by Narlee's positional play. That strong defense has helped Medfield win two of the past three state titles.

Andrea O'Brien, Sr. F, Concord-Carlisle - O'Brien finished her career with over 100 goals and will take her talents to Boston College next year. An All-New England selection and submitted for All-American consideration, O'Brien helped lead the Patriots to a Dual County League title and to the second round of the tournament.

Kimberly Slade, Sr. F, Nashoba - Slade is one of the brightest stars in the Central region. The senior forward was an All-New England selection and her playmaking ability helped lead the Chieftains to a sectional title and trip to the state championship game, where she scored the team's only goal.

Honorable Mentions: Kendall Andrew (Oliver Ames), Mimi Borkan (Medfield), Jillian Cavanaugh (Belchertown), Taylor Cogliano (Franklin), Laura Courtney (Nashoba), Hayley Dowd (Peabody), Caitlin Harty (Beverly), Maddie Jolin (Bishop Feehan), Alexa Poulin (Central Catholic), Kayla Steeves (Needham).

Girls Soccer: Franklin 2, Beverly 1

November, 15, 2012
11/15/12
1:48
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LYNN, Mass. -– Led by senior captain Kristi Kirshe and sophomore Taylor Cogliano, No. 1 ranked Franklin punched a ticket to the MIAA Division 1 state championship game, with a 2-0 win over Beverly.

Kirshe drew first blood just seven minutes into the game, scoring her 100th career goal on free kick from about 30 yards out. She was the catalyst of Franklin’s offense throughout, constantly attracting close attention from Beverly’s defense.

The striker, Cogliano, who narrowly missed scoring on several occasions in the second half before increasing the lead with 11 minutes to go, was able to break away from a Beverly defender who had misplayed a ball near midfield.

“Eventually Kristi was going to get something and Taylor is good enough, skilled enough where she would get an opportunity,” Franklin head coach Tom Geyson said. “After that first goal I think they kind of took control of the game, but the last 15 minutes I thought we played really well, we really put the pressure on.”

Cogliano was the most aggressive player on the field in the second half, getting several opportunities to score around the net as a result of quick instinct and beating Beverly to 50-50 balls. Her goal late in the second half put the game completely out of reach for Beverly.

With the win, Franklin advances to the Division 1 state championship game against Nashoba, the top-seeded squad from central Mass. who, like Franklin, has yet to lose a game this season.

Despite Nashoba’s undefeated status though, Geyson said he wasn’t as concerned with who Franklin would face in the state championship game, but more about maintaining his team’s preparation and training routine.

“We’ll prepare the same way we have any other game. We’ll have a light workout tomorrow. We’re not going to change what we do, what we are. It’s 22 games through the season, too late to try anything new at the moment,” he said.

Beverly, who ended the season at 18-4-0, will graduate seven seniors. The Panthers are now no stranger to the state tournament, and will be an early favorite in Division 1 north thanks to a strong returning core, led by striker Caitlin Harty, Beverly’s leading goal-scorer this season.

“This is an incredible group of seniors, I couldn’t have asked for better group,” said Beverly head coach Kristin Simpson. “It’s tough to go out like this, but we had a great run and it’s certainly something we won’t forget.

“For those coming back, I hope [the loss to Franklin] is something that stays in the pit of their stomach...hopefully we can make a run at it next year and come back with a different result.”

Franklin, who was recently ranked No. 13 in the nation by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, will take on Nashoba on Friday at 5 p.m. at Worcester State University. Nashoba knocked off Western Mass. champion Minnechaug, 2-0, in the other girls Division 1 state semifinal match on Thursday night.

Boys Soccer: Needham 2, Somerville 1

November, 15, 2012
11/15/12
12:23
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(Highlights courtesy of The Needham Channel)

LYNN, Mass. -- Mac Steeves scored two first-half goals, including one from the penalty spot, to bring Needham back from a goal down in a 2-1 victory over previously unbeaten Somerville on Wednesday night at Manning Field.

The Rockets' 6-foot-4 forward was a menace throughout. In addition to scoring goals, Steeves was a towering presence in the midfield and defense as Needham dropped back midway into the second half.

Needham head coach Don Brock, who will be looking for the third state championship of his illustrious career, spoke after the game about the team’s many uses for Steeves in late-game situations.

“We’ve been doing it for several years with Mac," he said. "He can play anywhere on the field. He’s one of the taller players and he’s got a tremendous boot.”

Somerville started the game brighter, with its own star Felix De Bona forcing Needham goalie Kevin MacMillan into two early saves. The Highlanders jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the 13th minute when Francisco Neto’s cross from the left caromed into the net off the knee of Rockets defender Jack Nardi.

Gradually, Needham started to get more control of the ball in the midfield through senior captains Brandon Miskin and William Corkery.

The game changed in the 25th minute when Steeves, who had already had an early chance well-saved by Luis Guerra, was played in by an incisive through ball from Miskin. The team’s leading scorer made no mistake with a cool finish into the bottom corner.

Just before the break, Steeves went down in the box as he battled with Somerville defender Andre Rolim (who also received a yellow card). A penalty was given and Steeves sent Guerra the wrong way to give Needham its first lead of the night.

The call was hotly disputed by Somerville head coach George Scarpelli.

“It’s disheartening," he said. "You play that long and that hard, you know...It was tough when you lose on something like that. You’re talking about two kids that battled all night long. This is why you preach- finish your chances and we would have been there.”

The second half saw little in the way of goalmouth action as the Rockets dropped back into a defensive shell. Both goalies were only forced into one save apiece following the halftime interval.

Scarpelli saw the strategy being implemented and knew that it would be problematic for his team given the size and strength of the Rockets.

“They dropped off," he said. "They put six guys in the back and left one kid up top and it worked. I give a lot of credit to Needham. Coach Brock is a legend, he knows how to play these games and he did it.”

For Steeves, and the rest of the Needham seniors, it was a job well done and sets up a chance to win the program’s first state title since the turn of the millennium.

“Our team, collectively, just played a great game," Brock said. "Our defense has improved so much all season. I think we just put together a good game there and knocked off a very, very good team.”

Needham will advance to the state championship game to be played Friday night at 7:30 p.m. against Amherst, at Worcester State University.

Tournament Notes:
  • After Needham’s win, Don Brock commented that he wished that the Rockets would be taking on Ludlow in the state finals so to “get even with them.” Brock, who has more than 600 wins in his career, will have the chance to add his fourth state title on Friday Night.
  • Brock will not get Ludlow, but he will be facing a West region team. Amherst held off Leominster 1-0 in the semifinal game played at Nashoba Regional to advance to Worcester. This was not the expected semifinal matchup as most predicted a rematch of last year’s battle (in the metaphorical and literal sense) between top seeds Worcester North and Ludlow. It was fitting that the two teams that knocked off the top seeds would get to play each other. Amherst have now won three in a row by 1-0 scorelines (the game against Ludlow was scoreless into penalties but goes down officially as a 1-0 win), but it will be a tough task to keep the Rockets off the board.
  • Franklin will face Nashoba in the D1 girls final after the Panthers beat Beverly 2-0 in the early game at Manning Field. Kristi Kirshe, who is on the list of submitted names for All-American status, ended a two-game scoreless streak and notched her 100th goal of her career on an early free kick. Kirshe was dropped into a midfield role against Beverly as they looked to disrupt its attack. The star of the game was Julia Bireley, who was given the man-marking job on Beverly junior striker Caitlin Harty. Harty has scored an incredible 50 goals this season, but barely got a whiff of the goal thanks to the attentions of the junior defender. Friday’s early game should be a classic between two teams that have been ranked all season. Nashoba knocked off Minnechaug, who beat the favorites East Longmeadow in the sectional.
  • Groton-Dunstable will attempt to defend its D2 boys’ state title after handing Belchertown its first loss of the season. The opponent will be the mustangs of Medway who have advanced to the state finals despite losing their best player, Matt Coakley. Sutton will also look to defend its title (Division 3) when it takes on Watertown in the finals. The D3 North sectional champs advanced with a win over Dover-Sherborn in penalties.
  • It will be a battle of unbeaten in the D2 girls’ championship game as Medfield (the 2010 state champs) will face West sectional champions Belchertown. This is the final season for the Orioles at this level and they will have a tough task against the Warriors, who received national top 25 votes in the latest NSCAA poll released yesterday.

Soccer: Beverly girls, Somerville boys win D1 North

November, 11, 2012
11/11/12
11:37
PM ET
LYNN, Mass. -- The incredible tournament run of the Beverly Panthers continued on Sunday afternoon at Manning Field in Lynn.

The No. 4 seed Panthers took home the girls’ Division 1 North sectional title, 2-1 (4-1 in penalties), over No. 3 seed Central Catholic. All four Beverly penalty-takers made their shots, while Central missed its first two shots.

Captain Diandra Crowley calmly slotted home the final penalty setting off rapturous celebrations from her teammates and the large Beverly contingent in the stands.

The Panthers (17-3-1) reached the shootout thanks largely to a superb performance from goalkeeper Casey Cook. The junior netminder made a series of important saves including two in overtime robbing Alli Wiggins and Kylie Regan of game winners.

Beverly head coach Kristin Simpson was in awe of Cook’s play.

“She was by far the MVP of this game. We would not be where we are without her. She made some amazing saves towards the end and kept us in the game.”

The Panthers needed Cook to play well as Central Catholic (15-0-5) dominated large portions of the game, particularly in the first half. Wiggins, Regan, and midfielder Alexa Poulin pulled the strings in the center of the park and kept possession almost entirely in the Beverly half of the field.

It took half an hour, but Central Catholic was able to make the pressure pay with a goal from Alex Nagri off a great pass by Courtney Walsh. Raiders head coach Casey Grange was disappointed that her team was unable to find a second score.

“I thought we were going to get it eventually," Grange said. "This team has been patient all season in terms of scoring. We’ve always found a way to find the back of the net, but unfortunately the soccer gods weren’t on our side today."

Beverly equalized immediately after halftime through record-setting junior striker Caitlin Harty. The forward was raced on to a long pass and was able to chip the ball over the onrushing keeper despite being surrounded by two defenders.

Unbelievably, it was Harty’s 50th goal of the season, which is by a large margin a school record.

Simpson credited an improved effort by her team for changing the tone of the match after halftime.

“The biggest thing was the effort," she said. "We were losing the 50-50 balls and they were outworking us. We started yelling at them a little bit and they started winning some of the 50-50 balls and I think that made the difference.”

Central Catholic had a great chance to win the game in regulation, when Wiggins sprung free on a break following a Beverly corner, but her shot came back off the crossbar.

The Raiders will not advance in the tournament but will finish the season unbeaten (penalty shootouts do not count as losses but as draws). Amidst tears on the sideline, Grange spoke about the impressive season that her team had in 2012.

“Technically we tied and we haven’t lost all season so it’s a tough way to go out," she said. "Our defense was rock-solid, we have the top three scorers in the MVC, but unfortunately we didn’t get one when we needed it.”

It will be an all-Panthers match on Wednesday evening at Manning Field when Beverly takes on Franklin in the state semifinals. The game is scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m.

DIVISION 1 NORTH FINAL: SOMERVILLE 1, ST. JOHN'S PREP 0

In the boys’ D1 North sectional final, the Somerville Highlanders beat St. John’s Prep 1-0 through a goal by star forward Felix De Bona two minutes into the second half.

The final score was not a true reflection of how dominant Somerville was on Sunday afternoon. The Highlanders created numerous chances, particularly the potent DeBona, but were repelled by Prep goalie Ben Alpern.

On the other end, Somerville’s defending was solid and Prep struggled to create any clear cut chances.

It has been nearly 20 years since Somerville had reached this stage of the tournament. Highlanders head coach George Scarpelli explained that he focused on keeping Prep off the board in the first half and then using the wind after the break.

“If we could get the zero in the second half then something’s going to happen and it worked out. We should’ve put some more chances away and that’s something we need to grow on for the next game because I’ll have a heart attack if we do that again.”

St. John’s Prep head coach David Crowell raved about the performance of Alpern, who took over the starting role when captain Brian Keogh was injured prior to the season.

“He kept us in the game and gave us the chance to get the tie and send it to overtime," Crowell said. "But we didn’t really produce any chances in the second half. He was awesome today.”

In reaching the finals, Prep defeated two of the top five teams in the state (No. 4 Acton-Boxborough and No. 1 Masconomet) and Crowell was surprised at his team’s nervousness in the finals.

“I don’t know why we were so tight," he said. "We’ve already come in and beaten so many good teams. I think they felt some pressure today. Somerville deserved it today.”

The Somerville players were spurred on by a huge traveling contingent of fans, which created a great atmosphere for the game. At the final whistle, the players recognized the contribution of the fans by racing over to celebrate right in front of the stands. Scarpelli believes that this result is important not only for the soccer program, but for the city as a whole.

“I don’t think people realize how much this means for the city of Somerville.," he said. "For these kids to realize that if you do the right thing, everything falls into place. Winning comes along with doing everything right and going to school on time and being a good citizen. It’s an unbelievable feeling.”

Somerville will play in the state semifinals on Wednesday night at 7:30, at Manning Field.

State Tournament Notes:

" There will be a new boys’ state champion in Division 1 this year. Two-time defending champ Ludlow Lions, perennially one of the best teams in the state, were beaten in the West sectional finals by Amherst 1-0 (7-6 in penalties). The Lions had a chance to win it in the end, only to see the shot saved. Amherst will move on to play Leominster, the surprise champions of the Central sectional, in the state semifinals on Wednesday night.

" The Franklin Panthers have continued their amazing unbeaten season and took home the South sectional with a 3-2 win over fellow Hockomock team, Oliver Ames. Franklin built a 3-0 lead early in the first half, but were forced to hold on late when the Tigers scored twice within 90 seconds late in the second half. Panthers top scorer Kristi Kirshe did not get a goal in the win and is still stuck on 99 goals in her career.

" Somerville will face the top seed in Division 1 South, the Needham Rockets, in the state semifinals. Needham earned a hard-fought 2-0 victory over conference rivals Weymouth. Senior captains Nolan Brady and Brandon Miskin getting the goals for Needham. The Rockets are a talented group front to back and, with the losses by Masconomet and Ludlow, can make a strong claim to be the best team in the state. Having one of the state’s best players, forward Mac Steeves, certainly helps their cause. Wednesday night will be exciting to watch Steeves and De Bona go head-to-head.

" As colleague Bruce Lerch tweeted earlier today, what a great year it has been for Dave Wainwright. He led the Dover-Sherborn girls’ soccer team to a state title last season, brought them back to the sectional finals this year, and also led the Needham boys’ lacrosse team to Harvard Stadium in June. While the Lady Raiders may have been beaten today, the boys’ team clinched the sectional title with a 3-0 win over top seed Nantucket.

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