Boston High School: Chicopee

Needham on rise in boys' soccer Top 20

October, 15, 2013
10/15/13
7:10
PM ET
New Bedford holds on to the top spot in the boys' soccer Top 20 again this week after a draw against South Coast rival Dartmouth and a tough road win at Agawam.

Right behind the Whalers in second is Needham. Everyone keeps saying that the defending state champs are not as good as last year, but nobody has been able to beat the Rockets yet this season. Head coach Don Brock has his team heading towards another possible Bay State Conference title.

North Andover jumped up a couple of spots after extending its perfect start to 13-0. But the big move was former No. 1 Ludlow dropping from third to ninth after a loss to Chicopee and another draw with rival Amherst. The Lions have lost two and drawn two over the last two weeks.

Nauset continues to move up after clinching its third consecutive Atlantic Coast League title. The Warriors have improved throughout the season and are living up to the preseason hype.

A pair of unbeatens make their way into the Last 10 Out, as Martha's Vineyard improved to 12-0-2 and Norton sits at 9-0-4.At 9-1-3, Belmont also moved back into the Last 10 Out.

For this week's complete poll, click HERE.

The Road Ahead: Keep an eye on several huge games this week, including a Catholic Conference (and Top 10) showdown between St. John's Prep and BC High on Wednesday as well as a huge Bay State Conference clash between Needham and Framingham on Thursday. Prep also has another Top 10 matchup next Monday against Silver Lake.

ESPNBoston.com's State Semifinal Hoop Picks

March, 11, 2013
3/11/13
1:58
AM ET
EASTERN MASS. FINALS

Boys

D1: Mansfield (24-2) vs. Central Catholic (21-5)
Brendan Hall: Whatever the fourth-quarter lead is, you might as well double it. Both squads are terrific finishing teams. Still, it’s hard for me to go against The Illuminati. Pick: Mansfield
Chris Bradley: The way Central Catholic is playing defensively, they can’t be beaten by anybody in the state. Tyler Nelson is on another level from pretty much any guard in the state in terms of playmaking, while his backcourt mate Lucas Hammel is great on-ball defender. Pick: Central Catholic

D2: Brighton (19-6) vs. Scituate (21-3)
Hall: Last month I said that whoever came out of the D2 North tournament would be battle-tested enough to run the table. Brighton came back stronger than ever after last season’s disappointment, and they are playing as well as any right now. Malik James has been playing his way into Super Team consideration at this current clip. Pick: Brighton
Bradley: Brighton’s toughest tests of the Division 2 tournament have passed—the Bengals beat Melrose and North Andover, two of the best teams in the state. A great season by Scituate, but I can’t see any of the teams left in the Division 2 field hanging with Brighton. Pick: Brighton

D3: Danvers (22-2) vs. Martha’s Vineyard (18-5)
Hall: Save a bad weekend at the Comcast Tournament, Falcons have survived every test given to them this season. With the Vineyard, there is always the element of the great unknown. We know the Vineyarders can run, but so can the Falcons. Pick: Danvers
Bradley: What a run by the Vineyard, beating Wareham in the D3 South final. That being said, Danvers has proven that they are hands-down the best team in the state. Expect a few treys each from Nick McKenna, Nick Bates, and Vinny Clifford. Pick: Danvers

Lynnfield (16-7) vs. Bishop Connolly (18-6)
Hall: Pulling for Scott Barboza’s alma mater to get some hardware here. Pick: Connolly
Bradley: Connolly has a slew of quick, athletic guards who can score and put a lot of pressure on opposing teams defensively. I foresee Lynnfield struggling with that pressure. Pick: Bishop Connolly

Girls

D1: Braintree (24-2) vs. Central Catholic (20-5)
Hall: Defense wins championships, and the Wamps have one of the best defensive players around in Bay State Conference MVP Bridget Herlihy. Four of the Wamps’ five starters are sophomores or younger, including Herlihy, yet this is one of the tallest lineups in the state. Gonna be fun to watch this crew the next few years. Pick: Braintree.
Bradley: Make it another sweep for Central Catholic boys and girls in the state semifinals. I’m calling upset here, expect a huge game from Casey McLaughlin. Pick: Central Catholic

D2: Reading (23-0) vs. Medfield (24-2)
Hall: Would be cool to see one of the state’s finest athletes Jen Narlee bring home a state title in two sports this calendar year, but you don’t get to 48 straight wins without some role players stepping up. Rockets’ workhorse Olivia Healy will get hers, but the hero will once again be someone else. Pick: Reading
Bradley: Well, I don’t have the guts to pick against an Olivia Healy-led team. Anybody who does--feel free to raise your hand. Pick: Reading

D3: Archbishop Williams (21-5) vs. Pentucket (24-1)
Hall: Does this qualify as an upset if I go with Pentucket? Sachems have been quietly waiting in the grass all season long. Monday night, they will strike with a first-round haymaker. Pick: Pentucket
Bradley: A great run by Archbishop Williams here in the final stretch of the season. I know this has been a highly-anticipated matchup all year, but I’m going to pick what some may call the “upset” and go with Pentucket, but expect an absolute thriller Pick: Pentucket

D4: Fenway (14-7) vs. Greater New Bedford (20-4)
Hall: Tajanay Veiga-Lee was the hero last year against this same GNB squad, but I like the Bears getting their revenge Monday night. Pick: Greater New Bedford
Bradley: Fenway's girls are battle-tested and on quite a roll right now, as they've won seven games in a row. Pick: Fenway

***

CENTRAL/WEST FINALS

Boys

D1: Springfield Putnam (22-1) vs. Milford (20-3)
Hall: I love the way Putnam plays so inspired, and their whipping of Springfield Central in Saturday's D1 West Final might be the Beavers' high water mark of the season. Look for big games out of KayJuan Bynum and David Murrell. Pick: Putnam
Bradley: Putnam has more talent and more speed than Milford, but during their tournament run the Hawks have displayed the type of toughness and poise that it takes to go to the state finals. Milford doesn’t have a go-to guy, but they have a team full of kids who aren’t afraid to take the big shot-which is why they’ll beat Putnam and give Central a run for their money in the state finals. Pick: Milford

D2: St. Bernard's (19-4) vs. South Hadley (16-7)
Hall: Bernardians made it this far last year, only to meet a disappointing end. They're back again, and more determined. Pick: St. Bernard's
Bradley: The Bernardians will have a significant size advantage, as well as one of the better scorers in Division 2 in John Crawley. Count on St. Bernard’s to punch their ticket into the D2 state finals. Pick: St. Bernard's

D3: Smith Academy (21-3) vs. Littleton (24-1)
Hall:
Here's a team we missed the boat on. Smith took the D3 field by storm, and from what I understand they're a loaded bunch. I like their chances in this one. Pick: Smith Academy
Bradley: Littleton hasn't lost a game since December, thanks mainly to a high-scoring attack and exceptional play from senior guard Chris Murray. They certainly weren't the favorite in a tough D3 Central field, but they made it out alive. Pick: Littleton

Girls

D1: Holy Name (22-2) vs. Chicopee (16-7)
Hall: Junior center and Providence commit Brianna Frias is a monster on the boards, and my pick for Defensive Player of the Year. Long-time Naps coach Barry Finneron has his best shot at a state title in a while. Pick: Holy Name
Bradley: Holy Name is on quite the run and couldn’t be any higher emotionally after absolutely blowing out Wachusett in the D1 Central final. Sophomore Gigi Gunther is a future star. Pick: Holy Name

D2: Nashoba (21-2) vs. Hoosac Valley (19-5)
Hall: Going with strength of schedule in this one, and the Chieftains delivered powerhouse Tyngsborough its first-ever loss within Central Mass. to get to this stage. Pick: Nashoba
Bradley: All five of Nashoba’s starters could be considered go-to scorers, they’ve had such an even scoring attack all year. Their balance offensively is going to give Hoosac plenty of problems. Pick: Nashoba

D3: Lee (18-5) vs. University Park (23-1)
Hall: Death, taxes, and the Lee Wildcats on the DCU Center floor competing for a state title. Pick: Lee
Bradley: Lee is clicking at the right time, beating favored power Sabis in the Western Mass. Division 3 finals. Not only that, Stephanie Young has shown several times this year that she can break 20 or 25 on any given night. Pick: Lee

MIAA Soccer: Needham boys blank Dartmouth

November, 10, 2012
11/10/12
12:11
AM ET
TAUNTON, Mass. -- There are certain points in a game when a goal will have the biggest impact on an opponent. Early goals, goals just before halftime, or goals coming out of the break can be devastating to the mental state of the opposing team.

The Rockets used all three on Friday night.

The Needham High boys’ soccer team picked the perfect moments to score each of its three goals in a 3-0 shutout of the No. 4 seed Dartmouth in Friday night’s Division 1 South sectional semifinal at Taunton High School.

Senior captain Will Corkery scored just 90 seconds into the game with a laser into the top corner off an assist from fellow captain Mac Steeves. The goal stunned the Indians (15-3-2), but they came back stronger and continued to push the top seed.

At the end of an even first half, the Rockets (18-1-3) struck again.

Just four minutes before the break, Hantzly Murat -- who had been on the field for less than a minute -- was in the right place to prod home the rebound of a Steeves shot to make it 2-0 going into the half. At this stage, the next goal was going to be crucial to the outcome.

Needham didn't have to wait long for that.

The Rockets effectively killed off the game two minutes into the second half when a Steeves long throw picked out an unmarked Aram Ouligiam to nod home the third. Dartmouth continued to fight and create chances, but Needham defended well and held out for the win.

Dartmouth head coach Steve Frank acknowledged after the game that heads dropped on the Indians sideline when the third goal was scored.

“That deflated them," he said. "We didn’t mark him. He had an open net to head into and you just can’t do that. You can’t do it against weak teams, never mind a great team like this one.”

While Steeves is the headliner for the Rockets, head coach Don Brock emphasized the strength the Rockets have shown defensively this season.

“They’ve been underrating our crew since we stumbled a little at the beginning of the season," he said. "This is a good squad.”

Following Corkery’s opener, Dartmouth had a series of free kicks that were played long into the box, but Needham keeper Kevin MacMillan held strong with solid catches in traffic. In the 18th minute, the Indians had their best chance at an equalizer when Nick Paine’s shot was cleared off the line by Ouligiam.

In the second half, Dartmouth also had a chance cleared off the line as Andres Pinto had a strong header blocked. Needham also had several chances to extend the lead through Nolan Brady and a Corkery free kick that curled off the crossbar.

The Indians battled an unfamiliar turf surface and the Rockets’ height advantage, but continued to fight to avoid a shutout, which impressed their coach.

“This group has been tremendous, just a pleasure to be around," Frank said. "They play hard. Up to the end we were trying to plug to get a goal so we could stop the shutout, but it wasn’t to be.”

Needham advances to the sectional finals Sunday at 7:30 p.m. at Braintree High, against Bay State Conference rivals Weymouth.

State tournament notes:

" When the Needham and Weymouth players shook hands and walked off the Memorial Field pitch after the Rockets ended the Wildcats’ very short reign as the No. 1 team in the state, both teams said, “We’ll see you in the playoffs.” Thanks to an overtime goal by senior Akere Tambi, Weymouth advanced past Oliver Ames on its home field. The Tigers took the lead twice but both times Weymouth responded and now the top two seeds will meet for the third time this season. Oliver Ames made another strong push this season, which may be its last in Division 1. Head coach Jon Barata expects the Tigers to be in D2 next season.

" The number one seed also advanced to the D1 South girls’ sectional as the Franklin Panthers continued their unbeaten season with a 2-0 win over Marshfield. Kristi Kirshe scored her 99th career goal in the Panthers victory. It will be an all-Hockomock final after Oliver Ames knocked off the No. 2 seeded Needham Rockets. The lone goal of the game was scored by senior Kendall Andrew.

" The big game in the D1 North sectional pitted No. 1 seed Masconomet (the No. 1 ranked team in the state) against fourth-seeded St. John’s Prep. The game lived up to the hype with Prep pulling the 2-1 upset and advancing to the finals on Sunday against still unbeaten Somerville. Prep has now knocked off two of the top five teams in the state to make the sectional finals (the other being Acton-Boxborough in round two). In the girls’ sectional, the Beverly Panthers continued to make a historic run as they knocked off Westford Academy 1-0 and will meet Central Catholic, who won by the same score line against Lincoln-Sudbury.

" The defending state champions are still alive, but just barely. The Ludlow Lions were pushed to overtime by Chicopee in the West sectional, but scored the golden goal to continue on, 2-1 and will face Amherst in the sectional finals. Both the Belchertown boys’ and girls’ teams continued their unbeaten runs and will head to their respective D2 West finals.

" There are a lot of conferences that get their rightful due as being competitive top to bottom, such as the Hockomock, the Bay State, and the Dual County, but the Tri-Valley league is rarely part of that conversation. This year, the TVL sent three teams into the semifinals of the D2 South boys sectional, will send the Medfield girls into the D2 South finals, and Dover-Sherborn boys and girls into the D3 finals. The league is often overlooked because it lacks a presence in D1, but it has real depth and is guaranteed at least one team taking home a sectional title this season.

" Earlier this week, star players Andrea O’Brien (Concord-Carlisle) and Hayley Dowd (Peabody) had their illustrious high school careers come to an end. On Friday night, Canton’s Lauren Berman had her season ended at the hands of Duxbury in penalties. All three crossed the 100-goal plateau in their careers and each will be headed to play in college next season (Dowd and O’Brien at Boston College, and Berman at Maryland).

Battle for No. 1 spot in boys' soccer Top 20

October, 16, 2012
10/16/12
11:39
PM ET
So who exactly is the No. 1 team in MIAA boys' soccer?

That question became increasingly harder to answer this week, as we tapped Weymouth as our No. 1 squad in the latest ESPN Boston Top 20 poll.

However, hours after taking the No. 1 spot in this week's poll, the Wildcats were shut out against No. 6 Needham, meaning their reign could be short-lived.

Ludlow dropped from the No. 1 spot after a surprise loss to Chicopee last week. The Lions are still one of the favorites in Division 1 and stay in the Top 5 despite the defeat.

Weymouth is followed in this week's poll by Acton-Boxborough, Masconomet, and Concord-Carlisle.

Worcester North dropped a few spots after a loss to Marlborough, which enters the rankings for the first time at No. 18. Oliver Ames is on the edge at No. 20 after one-goal losses to Weymouth and Taunton.

Undefeated Winchester is making a push to be included in the Top 20 if any of the teams slip up.

Bay State Games: July 12 recap

July, 13, 2012
7/13/12
12:18
AM ET
Bay State Games communications coordinator Craig Kaufman sends along results from today's plethora of action:



WOBURN, Mass. -– A busy Thursday at the Bay State Games saw the start of the soccer, field hockey, basketball, ice hockey and boys' lacrosse competitions, as well as the continuation of the 2012 baseball tournament and the conclusion of the girl’s lacrosse event. Friday will see all of these scholastic results continue and baseball will draw to a close with all the medal positions still hanging in the balance. Friday night will also see the beginning of the 2012 Bay State Games swim competition at Harvard University.

GIRLS LACROSSE

Bronze Medal Game: Southeast 14, Metro 6
Gold Medal Game: Northeast 13, West 11

BASEBALL

Northeast 5, Metro 5
Metro almost pulled an upset by taking a 5-3 lead in the top of the sixth inning but had to settle for a tie as Northeast came back to tie the game and then stranded the winning run on base in the bottom of the inning.

Austin Johnson (Brookline) drew a bases loaded walk and Nick Bruno (Lynnfield) followed with an RBI single before Jonathan Santana Arias (Somerville) knocked in two more runs as Metro plated four runs in the sixth. Kyle Hood (Arlington) had scored an unearned run for Metro in the second.

Northeast scored single runs in the second, third and fourth innings and then took advantage of three walks and two hit batsmen in the bottom of the sixth to tie the game at 5. Justin Freeman (N. Chelmsford) drove in a run for Northeast, as did Colby Morris (Newburyport), who drew a walk with the bases full.

Central 4, Southeast 1
Southeast scored in the top of the first when Cameron Hanley (Walpole) doubled home Sean Scales (Weymouth), but Central, led by Jake Ryan (Whitinsville), who went 2-2 with a run scored and an RBI double, had taken a 4-1 lead by the bottom of the fifth. Zack Tower (Auburn) also drove in a run for Central, who got good pitching from their rotation, including starter Christian Doskocil (Sterling), who went three inning s and struck out two.

West 3, Coastal 0
Austin Salnitis (Lenox) went five innings, allowing four hits and striking out seven for West, who ran their record t o3-1. West got on the board in the fourth when Kenny Potts (Southwick) drew a walk and scored on a double by Phillip Jasak (Palmer). They added another run in each of the next innings with an RBI single by Andrew Noonan (Springfield) and an RBI double by Jake LaBranche (W. Springfield).

Coastal was led at the plate by Andrew Mancini (N. Easton), who went 2-2 with two singles.


BOYS SOCCER

Metro 1, Southeast 1
Metro scored first in the 20th minute when Thayrone Miranda (Somerville) connected on an assist from Walter Guzman (Chelsea), but the Southeast team equalized in the 67th minute on a connection from Nick Savage (Milton) to Marquardt.

Coastal 2, Central 2
Coastal scored first through Joshua Medeiros (New Bedford) in the 34th minute, but Central scored twice to take a 2-1 lead with Riley Steele (Sutton) and Lukas Ritzer (Sutton) connecting. Coastal salvaged a draw with a 58th minute goal by Ty Catunto (New Bedford).

West 3, Northeast 0
West got three second half goals from Mark Richards (Springfield), David Serafino (Ludlow) and Nicholas Martinelli (East Longmeadow).


GIRLS SOCCER

Northeast 3, Metro 0
North got three goals in the first half, their first just three minutes into the game. Megan Cullen (Amesbury) scored the first two goals for Northeast and Alexa Cicolini (Methuen) finished the job in the 31st minute.

Southeast/Coastal 1, Central 0
Lauren Farrell (Rockland) scored the only goal in the 48th minute as Southeast/Coastal edged Central.

West 8, Metro 0
Jennifer Delasco (Lenox) and Mary Edwards (E. Longmeadow) each scored twice, with Stefano adding an assist. Jordan Bates (Chicopee) and Kiley Baran (Granby) added two assists apiece as West rolled to their first win of the tournament.

Northeast 4, Southeast/Coastal 1
Megan Cullen (Amesbury) scored four straight goals for Northeast to give them the victory after Jessica Murphy (Norwood) had given Southeast/Coastal a 1-0 lead in the 26th minute. Cullen started her scoring spree just a minute later.

West 4, Central 0
West endured an onslaught of Central possession early before scoring four times in the second half. Sharlotte Pernice (W. Springfield) scored twice, and Christina Ferriter (Springfield) and Brianna Voight (Springfield) also tallied for West.


FIELD HOCKEY

Metro/Northeast 3, Southeast 2
Central 2, Coastal 1


BOYS LACROSSE

Southeast 16, Northeast 4
Steve Righini (Weymouth) scored four times for Southeast, while Conor Martin (Plainville), Sean Williams (Scituate), and Jack Vail (Franklin) each tallied twice, with Martin adding two assists. Six other players tallied single goals, including Nicholas D’Innocenzo (Medway), who also added an assist. Tyler Boardo (Weymouth) and Daniel Sprague (Weymouth) combined for nine saves in goal.

Northeast got two goals from Derek Lawton (Bishop Guertin) and a goal apiece from Devlin Crane (Arlington) and John Curcuru (Gloucester). Evan Connolly (Peabody) made 13 stops in net and Joshua Nelson (Medford) spelled him for five saves.

Central 10, Metro 9
Joshua Daigle (Marlborough) and Alex Sabel (Algonquin) each scored twice and added an assist, while Thomas Whiting (Hudson) notched two goals as well. Matthew McIntire (Milford) made ten stops in the winning effort.

Jack Trottier (Tyngsborough), Brian Walsh (Lowell) and Joey Pescatore (Waltham) each scored twice for Metro and Ben Foley (Tyngsborough) added a goal and two assists in a losing effort. Scott Powell (Swampscott) made 9 stops in the Metro net.


BOYS ICE HOCKEY

Northeast 8, Southeast 7
Metro 6, West 1
Central 12, Coastal 2
Southeast 8, Metro 2


GIRLS ICE HOCKEY

Central/West 9, Metro 1
Southeast/Coastal 4, Northeast 2


BOYS 11-12 GRADE BASKETBALL

Central 82, Metro 47
Central was led by Tyler Delorey (Worcester), who scored 22 points, including four three-pointers. Matt Mobley (Worcester) also chipped in 18 points, including two buckets from downtown.

Coastal 75, West 59
Coastal got 25 points from Chris Green (Taunton), including four three-pointers, while Paul Maurice (Taunton) added 22 points.

Central 89, Coastal 80
Central got 26 points from Delorey, who nailed three shots from downtown and also got 17 points from Jacek Louisville (Worcester). Tommy Keyes (Somerset) led the way for Coastal with 19 points.

Northeast 79, West 78
Northeast’s Devin Thompson (Winthrop) led all scorers with 22 points and two three’s in the fourth quarter. Anthony Smith (Springfield) was the top scorer on West with 17 points.


BOYS 9-10 GRADE BASKETBALL

Central 68 Metro 64
Matt Grose led Central with 19 points and Bobby Flanagan put up 15. The Metro squad was led by Keith Burns (Belmont) with 22 points while Christian Lejuene (Waltham) added 14.

West 73 Coastal 41
The West squad was led by Keith Natale (Hatfield), who had 22 points and Conner Eckstrom (Greenfield) pitched in 15. The Coastal region had Tom Galanek (Plymouth) and Kent Mertz (Dennisport) score 8 points each.

Northeast 72 Coastal 60
Anthony Gilardi (Malden) led the Northeast squad with 24 points while Cody Broges (Dartmouth) picked up the slack with 16. Liam Gerrity (Barnstable) was the leading scorer in the game with 26 points and Pat Danner (Plymouth) had 10 points for Coastal.

West 67 Metro 40
West’s Keith Natale (Hatfield) had 20 while Conner Eckstrom (Greenfield) pitched in 11. The Metro squad had Jaewoo Chung (Arlington) score 11 points.


GIRLS BASKETBALL

Northeast 73 Southeast 71
Northeast lead scorer Amanda Williams (North Andover) scored 13 points. Sarah Hood (Burlington) added 12 points to the scoreboard. Katie Lowerre (Sharon) led the way for Southeast with 18 points

Metro 72 Central 24
Melissa Baptista (Somerville) led the Metro region with 15 points. Kaila Duarte (Boston) score 13 points throughout the game which included making both of her free throws in the 4th quarter. Central was led by Kristen Smith (Littleton) chipping in 7 points.

West 66 Coastal 55
Keri Paton (Russell) contributed 17 points to West which included 13 points in the 4th quarter. Tea Spellacy (Belchertown) contributed 11 points to the scoreboard as well. Norma Waggett (Saugus) led Coastal with 25 points.

Southeast 68 Central 39
Lowerre led Southeast to victory against Central contributing 21 points. Montana Burke (Bromfield) and Abrielle Peltier (Leicaster) both chipped in 8 points for Central.

Metro 66 West 32
Metro got 14 points by Maggie Mulligan (Brighton) leading the team. Spellacy scored 11 points for West and Paton added 8 more to the scoreboard.

Northeast 62 Coastal 36
Hood tallied 14 points in Northeast’s last game against Coastal. Williams and Courtney Walsh (Windham) added to the scoreboard. Coastal’s Rachel Camara (Fall River) contributed 10 points and Brianna Camara (Fall River) chipped in 7.


Tags:

Basketball, Lacrosse, Boys' Soccer, Girls' Soccer, Ice Hockey, Field Hockey, Chelmsford, Swampscott, Gloucester, East Longmeadow, Somerville, Burlington, New Bedford, Bishop Guertin (N.H.), Belchertown, West Springfield, St. Peter-Marian, North Andover, Courtney Walsh, Nick Bruno, Newburyport, Josh Medeiros, Paul Maurice, Kaila Duarte, Tyngsborough, Bay State Games, Colby Morris, Marlborough, Mary Edwards, Megan Cullen, Chris Green, Brian Walsh, Rachel Camara, Cam Hanley, Riley Steele, Amanda Williams, Matt Mobley, Jacek Louisville, Tyler Delorey, Devin Thompson, Andrew Noonan, Steve Righini, Zack Tower, Kenny Potts, Sean Scales, Austin Johnson, Jonathan Santana Arias, Justin Freeman, Christian Doskocil, Austin Salnitis, Phillip Jasek, Jake LaBranche, Andrew Mancini, Thayrone Miranda, Walter Guzman, Nick Savage, Lukas Ritzer, Ty Catunto, Mark Richards, David Serafino, Nicholas Martinelli, Alexa Cicolini, Lauren Farrell, Jennifer Delasco, Jordaan Bates, Kiley Baran, Jessica Murphy, Sharlotte Penice, Christina Ferriter, Brianna Voight, Conor Martin, Sean Williams, Nicholas D'Innocenzo, Tyler Boardo, Daniel Sprague, Derek Lawton, Devlin Crane, John Curcuru, Evan Connolly, Josh Nelson, Josh Daigle, Alex Sabel, Thomas Whiting, Jack Trottier, Joey Pescatore, Scott Powell, Tommy Keyes, Anthony Smith, Matt Grose, Keith Burns, Christian Lejuene, Keith Natale, Conner Eckstrom, Greenfield, Anthony Gilardi, Cody Broges, Liam Gerrity, Pat Danner, Jaewoo Chung, Sarah Hood, Katie Lowerre, Melissa Baptista, Kristen Smith, Keri Paton, Tea Spellacy, Norma Waggett, Montana Burke, Abrielle Peltier, Maggie Mulligan, Brianna Camara

Bay State Games: July 7 recap

July, 8, 2012
7/08/12
3:32
PM ET
The annual Bay State Games officially kicked off this weekend. Communications Coordinator Craig Kaufman sends along a recap of all the action from yesterday's wrestling tournament:



BOSTON -– The 2012 Bay State Summer Games officially got underway this weekend with the annual wrestling tournament highlighting the first weekend of individual sports competition.

The event saw 450 wrestlers from around New England, including many from New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine, who were welcomed to the Massachusetts games, compete over the two-day tournament. The games kicked off with Friday’s junior tournament, featuring 100 wrestlers from fifth thru eighth grade.

The scholastic and open tournaments took place on Saturday afternoon and featured 250 of the top high school wrestlers from New England, as well as 100 more competitors aged 19 and up.

More than thirty different wrestling clubs sent wrestlers to the Bay State Games, including Doughboy Wrestling in Lowell, which had two of its combatants face off in both the 106.1 pound weight class, where Ryan Stanton (Melrose) defeated Thomas Hamilton (Lincoln) and the 160.1 weight class, which saw Alec Golner (Lowell) take the crown over Vincent Benincasa (Concord, N.H.).

Ben DeFronzo (Sudbury, Mass.), also of Doughboy, took down the 120.1 weight class. Fellow Sudbury resident Joseph Rottman was victorious in the 138.1 class.

Kyle Streeter (Waitsfield, Vt.), came south to claim the 220.1 weight class in the scholastic division.

The open division featured wrestlers from many of the top colleges in New England. Those winners in the 19 and over group included David Brown (Plymouth State), Bruin Suitor (Boston University), Trevour Smith (Duke), Everett Deslips (Johnson and Wales), Howard Tobochnil (UNH), Andrew Tanner (WPI), Zach Bates (Bridgewater State) and Caleb Crump (Rhode Island College).

The winners in Friday’s Juniors Division were Andrew Fallon (Fall River), Hunter Adrian (Melrose), Cole Wyman (Brockton), Jack Darling (Boxford), Casey Broadhurst (Plaistow, N.H.), Matthew Cabezas (Methuen), Austin Cooley (Somerset), Craig Santos (Londonderry, N.H.), Ahmad Sharif (Chicopee), Ethan Bartley (Somerset), Philip Conigliaro (Dedham), Matt Kelley (Foxborough), Griffin Murray (Chelmsford), Dylan Nottingham (Melrose), Trent Goodman (Blue Hill, Maine), Connor Petros (Ellsworth, Maine), Darius Franklin (Haverhill), David O'Brien (Dalton), Joseph Rodriguez (Merrimack, N.H.) and Mathieu Messian (North Andover).



The Bay State Games continues today with weightlifting and judo competitions. The scholastic sports will begin on Monday, with the baseball and softball competitions kicking off in Waltham.

For full schedules and results, go to baystategames.org.

MHSFCA unveils 'Super 26' All-State Team

December, 29, 2011
12/29/11
1:38
PM ET
The Massachusetts High School Football Coaches' Association unveiled its annual "Super 26" All-State Team today. Those honored will be presented this spring at Lantana's Restaurant, in Randolph.

Below are the selections. Italicized names indicate they were also a selection to ESPN Boston's MIAA All-State Team.

OFFENSE

Quarterback
Jonathan DiBiaso, Everett
Cam McLevedge, Weymouth
Matt Montalto, Dennis-Yarmouth

Receivers
Armani Reeves, Catholic Memorial
Don Webber, Duxbury

Offensive Line
Brendan Melanson, St. John’s (Shrewsbury)
Dan McCourt, Pembroke
Jameson McShea, BC High
Andrew VanderWilden, Concord-Carlisle
Chad Woodfine, Chicopee

Running Back
Sacoy Malone, Springfield Central
Quinton Perkins, Fitchburg
Melquawn Pickney, Springfield Putnam

DEFENSE

Defensive Line/Linebacker
Henry Bumpus, Concord-Carlisle
Nick DiChiara, BB&N
Tim Joy, Chelmsford
Vondell Langston, Everett
Max Randall, Duxbury
Zack Schafer, Mansfield
Nick Schlatz, Bridgewater-Raynham
Will Twyman, Lincoln-Sudbury
Camren Williams, Catholic Memorial

Secondary
Todd Collier, St. Mary’s (Lynn)
Jack Connolly, St. Sebastian’s
Joe Epps, Bourne
Charles Ruffin, King Philip

What We Learned: Week 1

September, 12, 2011
9/12/11
6:01
PM ET
The best and brightest from a helter-skelter Week 1 of MIAA football:

A RAM-BUNCTIOUS UPSET
Catholic Memorial plummets 15 spots to No. 19 after getting shut out 24-0 at Marshfield, and today there is undoubtedly some intense conversation going down on Baker Street. But to totally make the story about the heavily-favored Knights failing to get out of first gear is to forget what a well-coached team Marshfield is.

As we predicted last Thursday, this was going to be a bad matchup for the Knights. The talk at CM is often centered around its four BCS commits in Armani Reeves, Cam Williams, A.J. Doyle and Donovan Henry, while the line is considered a weakness in spite of its size.

Let's not forget that Marshfield is one of the South Shore's more historic programs over the last two decades (Sean Morey, Austin Giles, anyone?). For as long as we can remember, Lou Silva has been running an unorthodox Wing-T scheme and has always been strong in the trenches. Think back 10 years ago when Sean Morris was the Rams' feature back, and remember that every starter on that line went on to earn a college scholarship. Like those gritty Acton-Boxborough squads of the early 2000s, year after year the Rams' emphasis has been on beating you at the point of attack not with size, but speed.

For the Knights, who have garnered a lion's share of preseason hype the past few seasons, a hard lesson was learned. Games are still won on grass, not paper.

BE ON GUARD FOR ST. PETE
St. Peter-Marian debuts in the poll this week at No. 23 after scoring one of the more significant victories west of I-495 traveling up to Crocker Field and taking down a Quinton Perkins-less Fitchburg squad, 20-6. Those in the know will tell you it's far from an upset.

Could we be headed for a return to the golden era of Jerry Azumah, Ricky Appiah and the late legendary coach Owen Kilcoyne? Let’s not get ahead of ourselves just yet. Still, the Guardians certainly have some talent that is blooming late, but worth your consideration.

Senior defensive end Jordan Knowles is a force coming off the edge at 6-foot-2 and 230 pounds, able to overpower with a bull rush but also come across the face with a shifty swim move. He racked up two sacks and nine tackles in the loss, and barring injury could end up with 12 to 15 this season. Meanwhile, the Guardians were stout in the secondary, with Roosevelt Westbrook, Tyler Kmon, and Jonathan Harrigan all coming up with a pick each. Tre Watson, a star during basketball season, is another key cog.

But the sleeper of the bunch might be senior quarterback Steve Flynn, who threw for 240 yards and two scores, and also led the way defensively with 11 tackles from the defensive end spot opposite Knowles. This is Flynn’s first season as the full-time starter under center, and he’s still somewhat new to the sport (he didn’t pick up a football until his sophomore year).

You might remember his older brother Frankie –- a baseball standout at SPM, and one of the stars of the 2002 Jesse Burkett squad that lost to Louisville, Ky. in the Little League World Series final –- and the apple hasn’t fallen too far. At 6-foot-5 and 240 pounds, Steve is an imposing force on the mound for the Guardians’ baseball squad, with a fastball that has touched 90 miles per hour.

On the gridiron, though, he’s just as intimidating.

“He’s definitely the real deal,” Guardians head coach Tom Henrickson said of Flynn. “He’s thrown the ball 75 yards downfield. It’s insane. You have to see his arm to appreciate it. He’s thrown a 20-yard out from the short side of the field all the way across, and it’s a laser. You just don’t see that in high school football, he’s a real good one.”

Not to mention, Flynn will be a tough one to tackle this season. While he runs a 4.9 40-yard dash, he also reportedly benches upwards of 350 pounds, one of several reasons he’s just starting to get Division 1 looks.

“He’s not fast, but he’s not slow either,” Henrickson said. “People go to sack him, you try and grab him and he just tosses you…[against Fitchburg] our running back didn’t pick up a blitz, so he took a sack once, but it took four guys to take him down. He’s like an unknown commodity.”

ANOTHER NAIL-BITER, ANOTHER CLASSIC
Once again, the Central Mass clash between St. John's of Shrewsbury and Holy Name went down to the wire. And, once again, the Pioneers emerged victorious over the Naps.

What also was displayed in the annual rite of autumn, in rare form, was the gut and determination of Mike Pucko's team to overcome what they might lack in depth. With an unseasonably warm day and playing on artificial turf at Assumption College, the matchup was a battle of attrition. Pucko commented postgame that his team was "gassed" by halftime.

"We knew we were going to be in for a long second half," he told Scott Barboza on Saturday.

With many of his players running on empty by the third quarter, three of the Naps starters would be taken to the hospital by ambulance while fighting dehydration. Lineman Sean Zuromsky was overcome by the heat at the end of the third. After receiving a double-team block from the Pioneers offensive line, Zuromsky doubled over, face first into the turf, unable to breathe.

"He was so dehydrated, his mouth was white," Pucko said.

Outsiders might think it extreme, the savagery of a brutal game, which football can be. But the underlying truth is that pound-for-pound, Holy Name teams remain toughest team in the state. Pucko gets his players to show up and play, no matter who the opponent, no matter what the circumstance.

That doesn't necessarily fit into the "What We Learned" category, but it's worth reaffirming.

CRIMSON CHURNING
The feeling among the Everett contingent following last Friday’s 47-12 win over Leominster was not of satisfaction, to say the least.

“We take good out of it, but we have a long way to go,” quarterback Jonathan DiBiaso said.

“There are a lot of things we need to improve upon,” said his father, long time head coach John DiBiaso.

Fact: right now, there isn’t a player in the No. 1 Crimson Tide’s program at the talent level of either of its graduated wide receivers Matt Costello (Princeton) and Manny Asprilla (Boston College), considered two of the greatest in program history.

But here’s another fact: The Tide could have put up 60 on Friday if not for a few drops in the end zone. Jakarrie Washington and Jaylen McRae are two potential home-run threats with burners (filling Costello’s deep-ball role) while Kenny Calaj and Vondell Langston are tough to bring down, when taking handoffs out of the backfield or coming over the middle (much like Asprilla’s role there).

Consider Everett’s new batch of receivers like a baseball glove. It’s going to take a few games to get broken in.

But when they’re broken in, look out.

DEFENSE IS KING
As much as folks might dwell on the 42 points the Eagles posted on the Boxers at Viola Stadium, equally if not more impressive was the true shutout the BC High defense posted.

The Eagles' defense thrives behind junior middle linebacker Luke Catarius, who again set the tone with 15 tackles, including three for a loss, along with 1.5 sacks and two quarterback hurries.

"We just really practiced the coverages and where they set up," Catarius told ESPN Boston correspondent Adam Kurkjian on Friday. "I just read my keys well and made the plays."

Easier said than done, but the Eagles were effective in shutting down the Boxers' ground game behind Josh Brewster and quarterback Paul Mroz was held to completing just two passes for 10 yards with an interception.

The Eagles simply never Brockton in the game.

BIG WEEKEND FOR THE SMALL
The Merrimack Valley Small went 4-1 on this opening weekend, including eye-opening upsets by Lawrence (33-14, over then-No. 17 Reading) and Dracut (13-7, over then-No. 12 St. John’s Prep). If you can recall, the Small had another strong start a season ago, but this time around the feeling is that momentum will stick.

By now, Dracut’s read-option attack is a well-oiled machine, and despite some obvious signs of rust – and without returning MVC lineman of the year Peter Salem due to injury – the Middies sold play fakes well and at times took the outside lanes at will. It’s also got a strong junior class led by quarterback Jimmy Ryan and running back/linebacker Zach Bassett.

For anybody that saw Reading this summer or in scrimmages, this Lawrence upset comes as a surprise. The Rockets are stout at the line of scrimmage and feature a core of youngsters that is talented in spite of its inexperience. But what the Lancers lack in size they more than make up for in speed, and that should make waves in this spread-happy conference.

Some predicted a drop-off at Methuen after the graduation of Cal Carroll and Raudy Minaya, and the departure of head coach Pat Graham. But they’ve picked up right where they left off, with quarterback Eric Lacroix racking up nearly 300 yards of total offense and having a hand in every score, as the Rangers exacted revenge on Plymouth North with a 27-13 win.

And last but not least, Haverhill snapped a 32-game losing streak forcefully, with an impressive 39-12 win over a Malden squad that isn’t as thin as some people are saying. The Hillies reportedly took it to Central Catholic in a preseason scrimmage, so don’t be surprised if they make some noise when it comes to the gauntlet that is the MVC slate. It’s too early to predict hypothesize on the chances of their first postseason berth since 2002, but this will be a fun team to watch.

STREAKING NO MORE
While Auburn extended its state best 37-game winning streak on Friday, Eastern Massachusetts' longest football winning streak came to an end for Gloucester. The Fishermen's 26-game winning streak was derailed by a motivated Lynn English team at the Manning Bowl.

Bulldogs quarterback Jermaine Kelley went off for six touchdowns and 279 yards while earning ESPN Boston Player of the Week honors for Week 1. Kelley, a transfer from Swampscott, spread the ball around with Josh Batista accounting for four touchdowns and top target Malcolm Brown-Simpson, a Pope John transfer, providing big-play potential to the aerial attack.

Lynn English head coach Peter Holey wasn't about to get ahead of himself even after the victory, adding that there's a long way to go before deeming the season a success during practice in Lynn on Monday afternoon. However, with a talented offense led by Kelley and a talented running back in senior P.J. Dorsey, the Bulldogs will be worth watching all season long.

BAROMETER OF THE WEST?
Springfield's Putnam High beat previously ranked Central (No. 20 in preseason poll) on Friday, showing that the Beavers are the early favorites to claim the Division 2 crown in Western Mass. While the Division 1 race out West always runs through Longmeadow, the question is who will be the team to stand up to the Lancers this year?

We think Central can still be that team -- this weekend's test against No. 1 Everett will be an every greater indication -- but Putnam could serve as a great measuring stick. With a schedule that includes Westfield, Chicopee and West Springfield, the Beavers should prove a barometer as to who can take the fight to Longmeadow. After all, that is because Putnam might be the best team in Western Mass not named the Lancers.

Bay State Games: Day 4 Recap

July, 9, 2011
7/09/11
1:34
AM ET
Courtesy Bay State Games media relations director Peter Cohenno:

ICE HOCKEY
New England Sports Center – Marlboro, MA

Boys Scholastic

Northeast 3, Metro 2
Northeast mounted a comeback to defeat Metro in a thriller, 3-2. Metro scored both goals with less than a minute to go in the first period. The first goal was scored on a perfectly executed two-on-one as Conal Lynch (Charlestown, Boston Latin) threw a centering pass to Kevin Cotrone (West Roxbury, Boston Latin) who finished it off for the first goal of the game. Just 40 seconds later, Northeast got an unfortunate bounce as Metro’s Brendan Kerrigan (South Boston, BB&N) fired a centering pass that deflected off a defenseman’s skate and into the net. Leading 2-1 going into the third period, Metro maintained its relentless fore check and kept Metro from sustained offensive pressure. With less than five minutes remaining, Northeast found momentum when Tyler McKelvie (Acton, Acton Boxboro HS) corralled the puck off the boards and drove the net, splitting both defenders and sliding the puck past the goaltender. Northeast continued the charge, scoring the go-ahead goal and eventual game-winning goal with two and half minutes remaining. Northeast was able to hold strong in the final minutes despite Metro getting numerous scoring chances, as Alex Buckley (Newburyport, Newburyport HS) stood tall in net.

Central 13, West 0
Central pulled away in the second period to defeat West, 13-0. West struggled to get an attack going after taking four first period penalties, but did play solid defense and only gave up one goal in the opening frame. The Central attack was led by the line of Tyler Kirby (Hudson, Hudson HS), Blake Seymour (Hudson, Hudson HS), and Kyle Griffin (Marlborough, Marlborough HS). Kirby tallied four goals in all. Seymour recorded three assists, and Griffin had a goal and four assists in the win. Nick Stasack (West Springfield, Loomis-Chaffee Prep) and Tommy McCarthy (Longmeadow, Longmeadow HS) combined for the shutout in net.

Coastal 5, Southeast 3
Junior forward Ryan Gouveia (Dartmouth, Dartmouth HS) scored twice including the game-winner and added an assist to lead Coastal over Southeast, 5-3. Joe Kingsbury (Plymouth, Plymouth North), Jonathan Hart (Bridgewater, Bridgewater-Raynham HS) and Daniel Magalhaes (Fairhaven, Bishop Stang) rounded out the scoring for the winners. For Southeast, Jason Riley (Dedham, Dedham HS) tallied two points with a goal and an assist.

Metro 6, West 2
Sophomore Brendan Kerrigan (South Boston, BB&N) scored twice to help Metro beat West, 6-2. Connor Demore (Watertown, Watertown HS) and Colin Defrancisco (Lincoln, Lincoln-Sudbury Reg HS) added two points apiece in the winning effort. For West, Trevor Berman (Turners Falls, Turners Falls HS) and Corey Deres (Leverett, Amherst Reg HS) each collected two points with a goal and an assist.

Girls Scholastic

Southeast/Coastal 4, Metro/Northeast 0
Southeast/Coastal got two goals from Samantha Fallon (Pembroke, Dexter) and Christina Frasca (Norwood, Norwood HS) pitched a shutout in net to guide their team to a 4-0 victory over Metro/Northeast. Haley Gaughan (Canton, Canton HS) and Emily Kelly (Norwood, Norwood HS) added tallies for the winners.


SOCCER
Waltham High School – Waltham, MA

Boys Scholastic

West 6, Central 0
West topped Central, 6-0, on Friday morning. Six different West team members scored in the outing. Goal scorers included: junior Kyle Cupka (Wilbraham, Minnechaug Reg. HS), junior Michael Pope (Springfield, Minnechaug Reg. HS), junior Jon Bzdel (West Springfield, Williston-Northampton), sophomore Ryan Dickinson (South Hadley, South Hadley HS), sophomore Edward Mercer (South Hadley, South Hadley HS), and sophomore Nate Fornier (Belchertown, Belchertown HS). In net for the West, goalkeepers junior Austin Lefebvre (Wilbraham, Minnechaug Reg. HS) and junior Tyler Stratton (Monson, Monson HS) combined for the shutout victory.

Metro 3, Northeast 2
Down 2-0, Metro made a strong second-half comeback to defeat Northeast, 3-2, on Friday. Junior John
Dumbuya (Medford, Medford HS) led the charge for Metro, scoring all three of the team’s goals, including the winning goal in the 58th minute. Sophomore Jack Heintzeman (Middleton, Masconomet HS) and junior Valerio Silva (Woburn, Woburn HS) each netted a goal for Northeast.

Southeast 0, Coastal 0
In what turned out to be a defensive deadlock, Southeast and Coastal played to a 0-0 draw. Both teams struggled to create scoring opportunities, as the defense on both sides was impenetrable. The goalkeepers on both sides turned in strong performances to help keep the contest scoreless. Sophomore keeper Alex Sarkis (Walpole, Walpole HS) anchored Southeast, while junior Mike Delgado (New Bedford, Greater New Bedford Voc. HS) and junior James Withers (Coyle Cassidy) split time in net for Coastal to secure the shutout.

Southeast 2, Metro 1
With all of the game’s goals coming in the first half, Southeast held on to take a 2-1 victory against Metro on Friday. Southeast scored two quick goals, as junior Jonathan Keys (Norfolk, King Philip HS) netted one in the 24th minute of play and sophomore Roy Butlin (Milton, Milton HS) made good on a penalty kick in the 28th minute. Metro struck in the 33rd, when junior Brent Lo (Arlington, Arlington HS) found the back of the net, but the squad was unsuccessful in its comeback attempt. Junior Colby Gavigan (Canton, Canton HS) recorded the win in goal for Southeast.

Northeast 5, West 3

Coastal 2, Central 0


Girls Scholastic

Metro 1, Southeast 0
With both teams deadlocked through 68 minutes of play, Metro scored with two minutes left to edge past Southeast, 1-0. A defensive battle for most of the game, the lone goal of the game was scored by sophomore Victoria Clancy (Dorchester, Boston Latin School) on a penalty kick in the 69th minute of play to lift Metro to victory. Sophomore Autumn Scanlon (Waltham, Waltham HS) recorded the shutout in net for Metro.

West 3, Central 0
West earned a decisive, 3-0, shutout victory against Central on Friday afternoon. Freshman Mary
Edwards (East Longmeadow, East Longmeadow HS) broke the game open for West in the 25th minute, when she found the back of the net on a penalty kick. The squad never looked back as sophomore Jordan Bates (Chicopee, Chicopee HS) added a goal of her own and Edwards struck again for the third and final goal of the game to seal the victory for West. Freshman Shelby Hall (West Springfield, West Springfield HS) and junior Briana Kubik (Blandford, Westfield HS) combined for the complete game shutout in net for the West.

Northeast 3, Central 2
Northeast edged past Central to secure a 3-2 victory on Friday afternoon. Central struck first, as junior Hannah Millea (Sutton, Sutton HS) found the back of the net in the eighth minute of play. Northeast retaliated, scoring three goals in a row. Sophomore Megan Cullen (Amesbury, Amesbury HS) scored in the 33rd and 65th minute, while junior Lanie Jowett (Atkinson, NH, Central Catholic HS) netted one to make it a 3-1 game in favor of Northeast. Miller struck again in the 68th minute for Central, but the squad was not able to tie it up before time expired. Junior Melissa Toomey (Saugus, Saugus HS) secured the win in goal for Northeast.

West 3, Southeast 0

In Chicopee, pride lies in the sword

November, 10, 2010
11/10/10
10:59
AM ET
CHICOPEE, Mass -- Chad Woodfine was only a sophomore last year, but he saw through the distractions and realized the big picture of his team’s Week 9 game.

It was not important that both his Chicopee High Pacers and the Colts of Chicopee Comprehensive High were both 7-1 and poised to make the Western Mass playoffs.

It was not important that the game was scheduled for primetime on Monday night to draw a bigger crowd.

Instead, what was really important was a sword.

“It’s the biggest rivalry in Western Mass.” Woodfine said of the matchup between Chicopee and Chicopee Comp. “We’ll talk about this game forever, and everyone wants to go out with the Sword in their senior year.”

“This is our super bowl,” Chicopee Comp wide receiver Austin Berneche said. “Winning the Sword is what we need, to have a complete season.”

In what has become known today as “The Sword Game”, Chicopee High and Chicopee Comp square off every year in a game that blends together generations of historic and economic intra-city differences and adds in the bragging rights of the entire city of Chicopee. The end result is a mixture of pride and sportsmanship that annually makes for one of the most intriguing high school football games in the area.

Last year the city’s intersections were blocked off as the Chicopee Police Department escorted the Pacers’ bus from storied Bill Moge field at Szot Park, across town to the new football field at Chicopee Comprehensive High School.

As the game began, a crowd estimated at 5,500 people roared as the Massachusetts Ninth Light Artillery -- a civil war reenactment group -- shot off a 19th century cannon after each period, score and kickoff.

“It was crazy…” Woodfine reminisced. “It felt like we were like NFL players -- it was really big.”

At the end of each game, the mayor of Chicopee presents the winning team with a Sword that was manufactured in the city in the 1890’s. Emblazoned with delicate lettering, the steel sword is a symbol of the division of the school district, the city’s rich industrial history, and athletic dominance on the gridiron.

The rivalry engulfs Chicopee every November, but was forged years ago when the city’s population forced a second high school to be built in 1962.

The Split

Chicopee’s Westover Air Reserve Base is today a source of pride in the area. However at one time, the base caused a split in Chicopee’s school district, and caused the city to grow beyond its limits.

Westover was completed in the early 1940’s and prepared for use during World War II and the Cuban Missile Crisis. But by the mid 1960’s, the base had brought in an unexpected amount of people. Chicopee’s population ballooned to 55,000 people, and most of its inhabitants found the city a suitable place to raise a family.

Accordingly, the city then built Chicopee Comprehensive High School in order to accommodate the excess students. “Comp”, as it is affectionately called today, gave children an opportunity to get a high school education, but also learn a trade.

To keep both high schools equal in enrollment, the city drew an imaginary line on the Chicopee River, and effectively split up the student population. The students on the north side of the river went to Comp, and those on the south went to CHS.

This imaginary line, bisected not only the city’s land and population, but also drew a line through generations of the traditional economy.

The south side of Chicopee is rich with historic mills and factories of the 19th century, while the north is centered on Westover and the remnants of its expansion. All of the newcomers after World War II stayed north of the river and the descendants of the original inhabitants and factory-workers stayed south.

The division created an incentive to the games between the two high schools, and thus created the build up for the Sword Game.

The History of the Mayor’s Sword

“The kids grew up together,” Chicopee coach Alex Efstratios said. “They grew up knowing about the sword, knowing what it means to the Mayor, knowing what it means to the city of Chicopee, and it just brings out that rivalry.”

The first Sword was presented in 1964 after the inaugural game between Comp and CHS (in which Comp upset Chicopee 13-6). The mayor at the time, Edward Lysek, initially gave a naval officer’s sword as the trophy because the game was originally played on Veteran’s Day.

Though the game has since been scheduled for days besides Veteran’s Day, the presentation of a sword to the victor has not lost its significance.

The Latin motto “Industriae Variae” is engraved behind Chicopee Mayor Michael Bissonnette’s desk in the mayor’s office. The term directly translates to “industry varies” in English, and is emblematic of Chicopee’s historical routes.

Although times have now changed, the Cabotville section of the city was filled with bustling factories and a strong downtown area until around the time that Comp was built. The city’s businesses harnessed the power from the Chicopee River to make guns, bandages, brushes, sports equipment and tires to name a few.

But to the football players at Chicopee High and Chicopee Comp, the most significant of those businesses was the Ames Manufacturing Company.

Located directly across the street from city hall, Ames made swords and arms during the Civil War. It was in that foundry, that the Mayor’s Sword was cast in the 1890’s.

“The sword symbolizes both our history and our future,” Bissonnette said.

The sword also signifies the city’s economy and grit. Bruce Socha, a 53-year-old lifelong resident, believes that the cities economy was centered on the work ethic of its inhabitants.

“My parents were the type of folks who when they came home after work, they had something to do to make extra money,” Socha said. “A lot of people had lathes and machinery in their cellars, and they made parts to supply industries out of their cellars or garages.

“We were and still are a very industrious population.”

Current Comp head coach and Chicopee native Marc Schuerfeld echoed the sentiment.

“We’re a working-class town,” Schuerfeld said of Chicopee. “We do have ‘professionals’ that live in this town, but for the most part, everyone gets up early in the morning, and puts in a solid eight hours, five or six days a week.”

The relic is a perfect example of what hard work has accomplished for the city -- on and off the field.

The 2010 Edition

This year, both teams hold 4-4 records and neither team is destined for the playoffs, but that does not take away from the rivalry.
“Even if we were 0-1 and they were 8-0 it doesn’t matter,” Chicopee High’s Daniel Poe said.

“This game means everything. There is just so much hype and it is just so intense.”

“When either team plays each other for the sword, you can pretty much throw the records out the window,” said Schuerfeld, who attended Chicopee High School and played for the legendary Coach Moge.

The date has clearly been circled on both teams’ schedules.

“We want to get revenge for last year,” Comp’s co-captain Alex Shaver said. “We want to run the points up just like they did.”
Last year Chicopee took a resounding 39-6 win from Comp -- but more importantly took back the Sword.

In both Chicopee High and Chicopee Comp buildings’ blueprints, a special section near the entrances was marked down as display cases for the ceremonial trophy. Every day for the past year, Comp players have had to walk into school knowing that they lost the coveted sword.

“Seeing it empty isn’t nice.” Shaver said of the case. “We definitely want to fill it up for the school.”

However heated the rivalry is, the kids always maintain a good attitude after the game. Although the victor holds the Sword and bragging rights, sportsmanship is always a constant.

“We battle each other, we bang and hit and hit, but after the game it’s always a big hug,” Efstratios said.

On Friday night both teams are attending a team dinner that Bissonnette is hosting, in order to celebrate Monday night’s matchup.
Though there is no bad blood between the two teams, there is always fierce competition.

“I think we are pretty evenly matched,” Schuerfeld said about the game. “… I think we’ve got a pretty good chance -- but I won’t take them lightly.”

“It is going to be a war,” Efstratios agreed.

Hoophall Schedule Unveiled

October, 20, 2010
10/20/10
4:54
PM ET
The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced the schedule today for its 10th Annual Hoophall Classic, to be held at Springfield College's Blake Arena from January 14-17, 2011 (Martin Luther King Day weekend).

Annually chock-full of the nation's premier high school talent, past Hoophall alumni include Kevin Durant, O.J. Mayo, Jerryd Bayless, DeMarcus Cousins, Derrick Favors, Xavier Henry and Lance Stephenson. 2010's Classic featured high-major talents Kyrie Irving, Jared Sullinger, Tobias Harris, Cory Joseph, Brandon Knight and Austin Rivers.

Forty-seven teams from 17 different states as far away as California and Nevada are represented in this upcoming classic, among them nearly two dozen ESPNU100 talents including Michael Gilchrist, Quincy Miller, Myck Kabongo, LeBryan Nash, Andre Drummond, Shabazz Muhammad and DaJuan Coleman.

Locally, there will be several key games to look for, particularly on Monday morning when Notre Dame-bound Pat Connaughton leads St. John's Prep against Perspectives, the Chicago-based charter school that features Kentucky commit Anthony Davis.

The schedule is currently as follows:

GIRLS

Friday, Jan. 14
Springfield Central vs. East Longmeadow, 3
Sabis International vs. Frontier Regional, 4:30
Murry Bergtraum (N.Y.) vs. Mater Dei (Calif.), 6

BOYS

Friday, Jan. 14
Belchertown vs. Hoosac Valley, 7:30
Sabis vs. Taconic, 9

Saturday, Jan. 15
West Springfield vs. East Hartford (Conn.), 11 a.m.
Hillhouse (Conn.) vs. New London (Conn.), 12:30
Mount Vernon (N.Y.) vs. Taft (Calif.), 2
St. Anthony (N.J.) vs. DeMatha Catholic (Md.), 4
Morgan Park (Ill.) vs. Seattle Garfield (Wash.), 5:45
Oak Hill (Va.) vs. Milton (Ga.), 8
Chicopee vs. Columbia (Ala.), 9:30

Sunday, Jan. 16
St. Mark's vs. Life Center Academy (N.J.), 11 a.m.
St. Thomas More (Conn.) vs. Hargrave Military (Va.), 12:30
St. Andrew's (R.I.) v. Findlay Prep (Nev.), 2
Jamesville-DeWitt (N.Y.) vs. Webster Groves (Mo.), 4:30
Springfield Central vs. Newton North, 6
Sabis International vs. New Mission, 7:30
Skills Challenge, 9

Monday, Jan. 17
St. John's Prep vs. Perspectives (Ill.), 9 a.m.
Christ the King (N.Y.) vs. Westchester Country Day (N.C.), 11 a.m.
St. Patrick (N.J.) vs. Bishop Gorman (Nev.), 1
Dallas Lincoln (Texas) vs. Findlay Prep (Nev.), 3
Academy of the New Church (Pa.) vs. Boys and Girls (N.Y.), 5
East Longmeadow vs. Northampton, 7

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