Boston High School: Edison Forbes

D2 Boys Final: Masconomet 4, Walpole 2

November, 15, 2013
LYNN, Mass. -– There are few 10-minute stretches in a soccer match that are as full of incident and action as the opening 10 minutes of the second half in Thursday night’s Division 2 boys’ state title game at Manning Field.

Four goals, a red card, and an injury to a captain set up an exciting finish, but Masconomet (23-1-1) took advantage of a quick start after halftime to break open a 1-1 tie and, despite being reduced to 10 men, held on for a 4-2 victory over Walpole (13-8-2) It was the program’s second state title and first since 1996.

The first half set the tone for the match with end-to-end action. Just six minutes after the opening whistle, Masco took the lead when senior Edison Forbes hit a perfect through ball to forward Stephen Pease, who slid it past Walpole’s Peter Hoegler for the first goal.

The Rebels, who came into the game with an eight-game win streak that stretched back into the regular season, did not back down and equalized in the 14th minute. A long throw was nodded on by Matthew Brownsword and fell to senior Nabil Chamoun. The striker hit a looping shot over Masco keeper Willie Stewart to tie the game at 1-1.

Walpole defended well and played its physical brand of soccer through the rest of the first half, but Masco continued to cause problems particularly on the flanks with Pease and Paul Criscione. The Chieftains had the best chance at taking the lead in the first half on a ball that slipped under Hoegler, but Thomas Helm dove in to block a shot at the far post and somehow prevent a goal.

Just two minutes after the restart, Masco was dealt a huge blow when towering central midfielder Jeffrey Panella went down in the Walpole box with an apparent head injury. Instead of fading, the Cheiftains responded almost a minute later with a goal. Forbes picking out a perfect pass to slide in Adam Grammer to make it 2-1.

The injury and the goal sparked a remarkable string of action.

Three minutes after Masco took the lead, it added a third. Pease made a long run down the right sideline and sent a ball across the edge of the 18. Criscione settled and picked his spot to make it 3-1. Less than a minute later, Forbes intercepted a pass in midfield and drove at the net. He rounded Hoegler and passed it into the open net to make it 4-1.

Masconomet head coach David Mitchell credited his captain Grammer for rallying the team after Panella’s injury and turning the tide in the game.

“When Jeffrey went down with the injury, I’m sure Adam had the guys together and everyone just had to step up a little bit more and the guys did that,” explained Mitchell. “When you have a player of Jeffrey’s caliber on the sideline then having Edison out of the game, guys came in and played those spot 10-15 minute roles and did a great job.”

Walpole responded to the setback just a minute later. Chris Gallivan flicked a header into the box and senior striker AJ Chauvin took it off the volley and placed it inside the near post to bring the Rebels back within two goals.

There was to be another twist in the 31st minute when Forbes, who had been a constant menace to the Walpole defense, was shown a straight red card for what was described as a punch. With Masco down to 10 men, it seemed Walpole had been given a lifeline, but instead it was the Chieftains that continued to control the match.

Mitchell noted, “We ran that one frontrunner to keep pressure on their four backs and just kept rotating that guy to keep him fresh; I thought we did a good job with that. I thought with a man down with did a good job with possession too.”

In fact, it was Masco that created the best chances of the final 31 minutes. Hoegler did well to slide out and block a chance by Grammer on the counter and then Pease shot wide after Grammer’s pass sent him in behind the defense.

“We’ve talked all season long about how sometimes our best defensive work is just keeping the tempo of the game,” Mitchell remarked. “I thought we did a better job of that in the second then the first, but you know in a state title game that you’re going to have it all thrown at you.”

Walpole head coach Lee Delaney, who was able to celebrate the team’s first sectional title earlier this week, was proud of his team’s effort and gave the credit to his opponents for a very strong game.

“We battled as best we could. Masconomet was terrific tonight,” said Delaney.

He elaborated, “They deserved it tonight. We had a lot of trouble with their speed. We just couldn’t stop them at the start of the second half. We have a couple of young defenders that have done well but these guys just overwhelmed us at the start of the second half.”

Mitchell reflected on the season that his team had just gone through and the redemption that a number of his players felt after losing the 2011 state title game to Ludlow.

“A lot of things have to go right for you for the whole season and certainly during the tournament. We were very fortunate that it went that way.”

Boys Soccer: No. 3 Somerville 2, No. 4 Masco 1

September, 25, 2013
SOMERVILLE, Mass. – Somerville head coach George Scarpelli could only shake his head as he talked about the turmoil that his team has faced this season. Scarpelli was speaking before his squad faced fellow top five team Masconomet Wednesday at Dilboy Stadium.

From the start of training, the well-publicized allegations against several Highlanders’ J.V. players have placed a cloud over the program. Yet, the team has succeeded on the field. But coming into Wednesday’s game, Somerville was preparing to play against one of the top teams in the state without seven of its starters, who were missing from both injury and internal discipline.

By the end of the game, Scarpelli was shaking his head again after his inexperienced crew held off a formidable challenge from Masco. A strong performance by senior keeper Luis Guerra and a second-half goal by senior Luis Salguero pushed the Highlanders to a 2-1 victory in an entertaining, end-to-end contest.

[+] EnlargeLuis Salguero
Josh Perry for ESPNLuis Salguero's winner in the second half kept Somerville ahead of a late Masconomet charge.
“It’s been tough…mentally, physically…I’ve said to people that we haven’t even put together two practices as a whole team to actually physically train together as team,” reflected Scarpelli after his team held on for the victory. “One thing that I was nervous about on this team was depth, but the good thing is that we saw some pieces that can now fill in.”

Masco started the game strongly, as Somerville’s inexperience showed in the opening minutes. The Highlanders were forced to scramble away a corner in the opening minute and Masco senior midfielder Adam Grammer forced Guerra into a good save with his legs. After that save, Somerville started to gain control through senior captain Francisco Neto.

In the 15th minute, Neto earned a free kick from 25 yards out that the midfielder then curled towards the top corner. Masco keeper Willie Stewart got across to palm it away for a Highlanders corner. Neto played the ensuing corner into the box where Jonathan Figueroa hit the bouncing ball on the volley to open the scoring.

The Chieftains came right back, but Guerra saved at the feet of Edison Forbes. Guerra was forced into several great saves in the first half as Masco pressed forward and he was quickly off his line to keep Max Craig from getting to a through ball. In the 30th minute, Jeff Panella played in Grammer, who beat the offside trap, and on a two-man breakaway he unselfishly fed Craig, but the senior slid the ball wide of the open net.

It was a moment that could have turned the game and Scarpelli was proud of the way that his team recovered and even created another chance before halftime. Daniel Raphael forced into a sliding block to prevent Salguero doubling the advantage.

“We stuck in there, we hung in there, we didn’t quit, we didn’t lay down and I was nervous after that one play that they missed that we would turtle-up and hang back I give a lot of credit because they pushed forward and kept going,” said Scarpelli.

The second half continued the pattern. Masco would push forward and create chances, but the Chieftains were denied by solid goalkeeping and inability to finish. Stephen Pease missed over the bar from inside the six-yard-box, Grammer had a shot from a corner cleared off the line by Neto and Guerra, and then the captain also had a header saved on a free kick.

Masco head coach David Mitchell rued his team’s missed chances.

“The difference in the game was that they finished their opportunities and we didn’t,” he remarked. “They didn’t get too many looks, I actually think we had more, but we just didn’t have enough composure in the box.”

Scarpelli credited his senior keeper. He noted, “They had the better chances, but Luis came up big with a few huge saves on breakaways and crosses. You can see how he stands out above just about every keeper in the state. He’s so good; it’s impressive. That’s why I’m going to enjoy this last year.”

Somerville continued to look for the second goal that could put the game away, but Salguero again could not keep his shot down off a Neto cross. From the goal kick, Masco had another chance, but again Grammer was unable to finish a breakaway as Jose Ayala slid in to clear the ball off the line. Two minutes later, the lead was doubled.

Salguero took a feed from Neto and this time planted an unstoppable shot from the edge of the box into the bottom corner to make it 2-0. Instead of sending Somerville to an easy win, however, the Highlanders backed off for a second and Grammer’s flick eluded Elliot Rippe straight into the path of Craig, who finally was able to finish a breakaway and get Masco back within one.

In the end, Masco pressed but could not find the equalizer. Mitchell was pleased with the performance of his team in a state tournament atmosphere, despite the defeat, “Adam created some good stuff, Max Craig played well up top just distributing balls, and Jeff Panella – I don’t think he missed a ball in the air all day. We’re a good team on the attack; I’m just disappointed that we didn’t finish the chances that we created.”

There was relief from the Somerville players with one player commenting that he could not believe that they had won. It was another positive sign for Scarpelli that his team is capable of going all the way.

“We had three J.V. players starting that game and you wouldn’t know where there were, so I’m proud of them,” he remarked. “These are the games we have to see…that prepare you for the state tournament.”