Boston High School: Cam McGrory

Simonton provides winning punch for C-C

November, 20, 2010
WORCESTER, Mass. -- All season, Stowe Simonton has heard it from his Concord-Carlisle teammates. When was he going to score? When was he even going to get an assist?

“How can you be the only one on the team without a point all year?” coach Ray Pavlik recounted of the friendly ribbing.

Apparently, the sophomore was just waiting for the biggest one.

Filtering into the box on a short corner kick, Simonton finished an Alex Puchrik pass for the game-winning goal in Saturday’s MIAA Division 2 boys soccer championship, lifting the Patriots to a 2-1 victory over Nipmuc Memorial at Foley Stadium. It gave Concord-Carlisle (21-1-1) its second straight title and third in five years, while denying Nipmuc (15-5-4) in its first title game appearance in 16 years.

“Luckily,” Simonton said of the goal, “it came at the right time.”

But the fact that it was Simonton -- a goal-less, first-year varsity player -- to provide the deciding score illustrated how special this season has been for the Patriots.

Besieged by injuries, Concord-Carlisle played with the same starting lineup Saturday for the fifth straight game — the longest such stretch this season. Seventeen different players started multiple games, Pavlik said, a result of losing two key players just prior to the state tournament, including Will Toczylowski, a senior who scored the game-winner in last year’s D-2 final.

This time, it was Simonton, who following his score flew down the center of the field in celebration, his teammates gathering in his wake before catching him at midfield.

It was the Patriots’ 71st goal this fall, Pavlik said, “and he (Simonton) couldn’t have had a better time to step up and get himself on the board.”

“That’s incredible,” junior Mikey O’Brien said. “It always ends like that. In the playoffs, you have to rely on people who don’t usually get a lot of those goals. But Stowe’s been great all season. For him to be able to finish, it was really nice.”

Simonton wasn’t the only hero. Concord-Carlisle’s aggressive defense kept Nipmuc out of the offensive half throughout the game and held Nipmuc junior Tim Peterman scoreless for the first time this postseason.

O’Brien, too, rose to the occasion, scoring his sixth goal in the tournament on a beautiful ball in the 14th minute.

After the Patriots flooded the box, the ball eventually found Puchrik, who wound up and fired only to be blocked by a set of Nipmuc defenders. But after glancing off both backs, the ball fell to the left side of the box to O’Brien, who spun and blasted a shot past goalie Andrew Morin (nine saves) for a 1-0 lead.

“I kind of shielded my guy and it was a little in front of me, so I was able to slide right into it,” O’Brien said.

The lead didn’t last. Roughly three minutes later, a Concord-Carlisle penalty gave the Warriors a direct kick 23 yards from the goal, where Kelly Rooney tapped the ball to Tanor Jobe. With a whipping wind at his back — it’d come back to hurt Nipmuc, too — the Dual Valley Conference’s regular-season points leader sent a left-footed rocket through the box and into the upper left-hand corner of the goal.

“He’s a go-to guy,” Nipmuc coach Bill Leaver said of Jobe. “He’s a guy, both he and Tim, who we count on to make things happen, and they do.”

Concord-Carlisle controlled the majority of the play until halftime, even nearly scoring again with 11 minutes until the intermission. O’Brien carried the ball in the right side of the box and found a wide-open Seth Bird, whose shot sailed hard and high, perhaps a result of the wind in his face.

The Patriots made sure they didn’t miss again. Eight minutes into the second half, following a hail of chances and corner kicks, Puchrik took a short corner, sprinted past a defender along the left baseline and centered it. Alone in the box was Simonton, whose one-touch blast sped through a crowd and ricocheted off a Nipmuc defender before finding the the back of the net.

“You gotta make sure you get it nice and get it on goal,” Simonton said. “It is mental focus, I guess.”

But Nipmuc again responded, getting its best chance at tying it in the 54th minute. Rooney lofted a free kick that bounced into the box and onto the foot off Jobe.

The junior forward fought off a draped defender to sneak a shot past goalie Cam McGrory, but put it directly into the right post. McGrory (three saves) quickly gathered the rebound.

“You always say if you win a championship, you’re going to look back and you’re going to find one chance where you got a little luck,” Pavlik said.

Concord-Carlisle didn’t leave much to chance either. With the stiff wind now their friend, the Patriots continually pressed Nipmuc’s midfielders and backs, never really allowing the Warriors a legitimate scoring opportunity in the final 20 minutes. It was a product of the conditions and the Patriots’ experience; they improved to 22-2 in the last five state tournaments, the only two losses coming in overtime.

“All year long, we always talked about how the defense is the core of this team,” Puchrik said. “… But the wind definitely played a factor in helping us not let them lob balls over the top as easy.”

And delivered the Patriots another title.

“So many people worked hard to make this happen,” O’Brien said. “You didn’t just have a starting lineup out there with a few subs who came in. Every single player on this team played a big role throughout the season, whether it was taking over when somebody got injured or stepping in when somebody was out for the season. It was great.”

Concord-Carlisle rolling to boys' soccer final

November, 18, 2010

QUINCY, Mass. – Championships are typically won by teams that are coming together at the right time.

Although defending state Division II boys’ soccer title-holder Concord-Carlisle is no stranger to the postseason stage, the Patriots only have begun to put together a consistent lineup in their last five matches. C-C has suffered through injuries to core players at times, particularly in the midfield, so the Patriots endured most of the season mixing and matching lineups while relying on their depth.

Lucky for C-C, things have really come together at the right time and the Patriots earned a chance to play for yet another state title by winning the Eastern Mass championship with a 2-0 win over South sectional champion Canton at Veterans Stadium on Wednesday.

“I think it all goes back to practicing,” Patriots forward Mikey O’Brien said. “Every day in practice, we come out really hard. I think at one point during our season, I think of the 23 players on our team 10 or so were injured.

“But we kept working and our roster in that situation because we had a lot of good players who can step in in those situations.”

The teams played to a scoreless first half, but the Patriots (20-1-1) were quick to start in the second stanza. In the 43rd minute, Seth Bird clanged a header off the post on a corner kick directed by Alex Puchrik. However, O’Brien was on the spot to collect the ricochet in the box and put C-C up, 1-0.

“Sometimes it comes down to a loose ball in the box, a scramble and can you get to it first?” Patriots head coach Ray Pavlik said. “Mike’s work ethic is tremendous and he’s scored a couple of huge goals for us in the tournament run here.”

C-C added an insurance marker in the 66th minute with Puchnik getting credit for the goal that was last touched by a Bulldog defender.

The Patriots backline kept the clamps on Canton’s forwards throughout.

“They were very difficult to break down,” Bulldogs head coach Danny Erickson said. “I thought we played as well as we were going to play in that first half. I thought that we did a lot of very nice stuff, but we just had difficulty breaking them down and getting behind them.”

C-C’s defenders led by junior Chris Walker-Jacks helped to keep Canton’s shifty forwards, like Igor Perun and Ramon Ambrosio, off the score sheet and limited Canton’s chances in front of keeper Cam McGrory.

“The back line played fantastic,” Pavlik said. “They have a couple of really good forwards. They play with three frontrunners up top and we were under a lot of pressure all night, but the kids really just marked individually, one [versus] one.”

The Patriots will face Nipmuc on Saturday at Worcester State College in search of their third state title in the last five years. First kick is at 5:30 p.m.

DeNormandie, Keys named soccer All-Americans

November, 11, 2010
The Eastern Mass. Soccer Coaches Association has also released its list of players who have made the All-New England and All-State squads, which include Lincoln-Sudbury's Cole DeNormandie and King Philip's Matt Keys as All-Americans.

From the EMSCA:

All-New England
Homero Morais, Somerville
Robert Lynch, Weymouth
Thomas Ballenthin, Lexington
Tyler Savonen, Nauset Regional
Keady Segal, Rockport
Edwin DeMoya, Salem
Cameron Bielski, Dover-Sherborn

Fernando Baptista, New Bedford
Carlos Ruiz, East Boston
Jim O'Leary, St. John's Prep
Caio Mitre, Barnstable
Devin Devoy, Bishop Feehan
Adam Johnson, Central Catholic
Justin Marino, Duxbury
Brad Prouty, Norwell
Alex Perkins, Nantucket
Doug Garabedian, Bishop Fenwick
Devin Delfino, Bourne
Stephen McAvoy, Walpole
Erickson Alves, Brockton
Claudio Soares, Madison Park
Adam Colella, St. John's Prep
Marcello Cugno, Medford
Tom Wampler, Attleboro
Jordan Vanderhooft, Lexington
Luke Finkelstein, Peabody
Gui Campos, Barnstable
Alex Roache, Whitman-Hanson
Flavio Cavalho, Gtr. New Bedford Voke
Nick Cotter, Sandwich
Cam McGrory, Concord-Carlisle
Timothy Hamelin, Coyle-Cassidy
Tyler McQuesten, Tewksbury
Aidan Harrison, Medfield
Josh Croteau, Pentucket
Yuri Catao, Marian
Luke Daniels, Nantucket
Jonah Adkins, Cohasset
Andrew Sheridan, Marshfield
Reyn Wagenaar, Wellesley
Phil DiTullio, BC High
Chris Kafina, Lincoln-Sudbury
Nate Petrou, Silver Lake
Ramon Ambrosio, Canton
Benjamin Bratt, Winchester
Evan Boudreau, North Andover

Breaking down the MIAA soccer tournaments

November, 5, 2010
The seedings for the Boys and Girls 2010 MIAA Soccer Tournament were announced on Thursday afternoon, and with teams getting seeded base solely on their winning percentage, this tournament set up to be one of the most exciting in high school sports.

D-I North
In 2009, Lexington came in as a No. 2 seed and Lincoln-Sudbury as a No. 5 seed, when they met in the North Sectional finals with Lexington winning 2-1 on penalty kicks.

In 2010, the Minutemen and the Warriors find themselves again ranked second and fifth, and both teams have the ability to win this section. Lexington finished No.1 on ESPNBoston’s final boys' poll and they score as a team with six players having scored four or more goals this season. Jordan Vanderhooft leads that group with eight markers.

Lincoln-Sudbury finished the season 13-2-1(No. 10 on ESPNBoston) and they have Cole DeNormandie up top who can change a game on his own.

Boston City League Champs Madison Park (No. 15 on ESPNBoston) grabbed the top seed in this section with a 14-0-1 regular season record and could pay ninth-seeded Greater Boston League Champs Medford (No. 20 on ESPNBoston) in one of this section’s quarterfinals.

D-I South
New Bedford (No. 3 on ESPNBoston) and Greater New Bedford are the top two seeds in this section, and for the record the New Bedford won the regular season local derby 3-0. The Big Three Conference flexes it’s muscles with Brockton (No. 4 on ESPNBoston) getting the third seed. But the Bay State Conference put three teams in the top 10 seeding in this section with Walpole at No. 5 (No. 13 on ESPNBoston), Weymouth at No. 6 (No. 11 on ESPNBoston) and Wellesley at No. 10.

The most interesting, potential quarterfinal would be if Brockton met Weymouth. The Boxers have scored three or more goals in nine of their 18 games, while the Wildcats have kept 12 clean sheets though 20 matches. Their first choice keeper Scott Greenwood is just a sophomore. Two other sophomores’ in this section to keep an eye on are Needham’s Mac Steeves, who scored 15 goals to improve on the eight he scored as a freshman, and Attleboro’s Dominik Machado, who is a member of the Revolution U-16 Academy.

D-I Central

The Algonquin Tomahawks (No. 7 on ESPNBoston) have been the class of Central Mass all season long and got the No. 1 seed. But No. 2 seed Leominster handed Algonquin one of their two losses on October 26, in a 1-0 game. The only way they could meet in the post season would be in the Central Final.

D-I West
Ludlow (No. 8 on ESPNBoston) has won three Western Sectional Finals in a row and come in as the top seed, but Amherst, the No. 2 seed, may have a say in who represents the West this year. Amherst finished above the Lions in the Smith Division this year even though Ludlow defeated and drew with the Hurricanes in their two regular season meetings. Chris Pereira has 25 points (15 goals, 10 assists.) through 18 games for Ludlow and is the marquee man in this section.

D-II North

The defending champs, Concord-Carlisle (No. 3 on ESPNBoston) come in as a No. 2 seed this year and appear in the tournament for the 26th season in a row. Senior tri-captain Cam McGrory is perhaps the most complete goalkeeper in the state and Ray Pavlik’s team will be well-tested having dropped only three points all season in the Dual County League, which is arguably the toughest in Massachusetts.

But the No. 1 seed in the section goes to the undefeated Winchester Sachems (No.6 on ESPNBoston), who won the Middlesex and have only two draws all season, both to Lexington. Their defense is full of confidence having allowed just one goal in their last six matches. And up top Ryan Connolly and Ben Davis have 27 goals between them.

D-II South
This section features two undefeated teams, No. 1 seed Sandwich (No. 5 on ESPNBoston) and No. 2 seed Canton (No. 9 on ESPNBoston) and they both seem to have an easy road to the finals, but looks can be deceiving.

Sandwich had only two draws all year, and learned an important lesson after squandering a four-goal lead to Marshfield in mid October. The Blue Knights didn’t allow a goal in five of their next seven matches. The Canton Bulldogs finished the season undefeated for the only time in the programs 28 years.

No. 4 seed Bishop Feehan has won nine of it’s last 10 and could potentially play Tri-Valley Champions Medfield (No. 19 on ESPNBoston) in the quarterfinals. The Warriors have a goal difference of plus-30 entering the tournament.

D-III Overview
There could very well be a re-match of the 2009 State Semi-Finals.

In D-III North, keep an eye on Weston, who is just the 11th seed at 7-6-3, but they will be ready for to make another run to the state finals after a tough regular season in the Dual County League, where they registered a 1-0 over Lincoln-Sudbury.

In D-III South, Cardinal Spellman finished the season 18-2 and it will take a major upset to stop them from getting to the state level.

D-I North
This bracket is unpredictable to say the least, which make the most exciting.

Top-seeded Peabody (No. 3 on ESPNBoston) handed fifth seeded Acton-Boxborough (No. 5 on ESPNBoston) their first regular season loss since 2006 on opening day. A-B ended up losing two games in 2010 -- their only other loss coming to No. 22 seed Lincoln-Sudbury. The two teams could have a rematch if they each reach the semifinals. Colonials goaltender Jessie Wiggins only allowed four goals in 17 games, but the Tanners strike force of Hayley Dowd and Victoria Digiacomo is a tough one-two punch.

On the other side of the bracket, No. 2 seed Masconomet (No. 13 on ESPNBoston) lost just once all year -- to No. 21 seed Andover. They have a scoring trio of Gabby Russo, Hannah Nekoroski, and Amy Griffiths making it tough to focus on just one player. No. 3 seed Central Catholic hasn’t been scored upon in their last seven matches, a nice run to be on heading into the tournament.

D-I South
Whitman-Hanson (No. 1 on ESPNBoston) finished the season undefeated and UCLA-bound Samantha Mewis is the most talented player in the state and also member of the USA Women’s U-20 team. It will be tough for any team in D-1 South to stop the Panthers.

Bishop Feehan lost only one game all season, and it was to an out-of-state opponent. The Shamrocks will most likely play the winner of No. 7 seed Needham (No. 16 on ESPNBoston) versus No. 10 seed Brockton (No. 10 on ESPNBoston), which will be the most interesting matchup of the first round. The Rockets have the second lowest goals against average in Division I at 0.5 and only Whitman-Hanson And Acton-Boxborough are better. Goalkeeper Victoria Tarabelli and senior defender Courtney Steeves will have their work cut out for them against the Boxers forward Morgan Branco.

D-I Central & West
These regions are also wide open. Nashoba and Wachusett look destined to meet each other in one semifinal, while Algonquin and Shrewsbury look ready for the other semi. It will be interesting to see if the Tomahawks can get out of the Central and defend their state title.

In the West, it’s Minnechaug’s title to lose. Lauren MacLellan is a tough forward to contain.

D-II North
Look for Belmont’s playermaker Katie O’Brien to set up Lauren Thurber as the top-seeded Marauders look ready to make a deep tournament run. Danvers is the No. 2 seed and had impressive regular season wins over Peabody and Central Catholic. But they also lost to No. 4 seed Bishop Fenwick, so the D-II North title is there for the taking.

D-II South
East Bridgewater is the top seed with a 16-2-0 regular season record. But don’t overlook No. 5 seed Cardinal Spellman, the defending D-II champions will no doubt be out to defend their title.

D-III Overview
Shawsheen (No. 20 on ESPNBoston) earned the top seed in D-III North and Nantucket earning the top seed in the South with a perfect 18-0-0 record. Bromfield earned the top seed in the Central and Gateway earned the top seed out West. And with defending D-3 Champion Millis not qualifying for the tournament this year, there will be a new D-III state champion crowned.