Boston High School: Glastonbury

Peabody, Franklin hold steady in national poll

October, 17, 2012
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Peabody continued its hold on the No. 1 spot in the land in the latest NSCAA national girls' high school soccer Top 20 poll.

The poll's other MIAA entrant Franklin also held steady at No. 19 this week. Meanwhile, Exeter (N.H.) continued inching closer to the Top 5, moving up a spot to No. 6 this week. Glastonbury (Conn.) also moved up a spot to No. 16.

In addition, Brunswick (Maine) H.S. received votes in this week's girls' poll.

In the boys' poll, despite dropping their first loss of the season, Ludlow remained at No. 16 in the boys' national poll. New England's other entrants Daniel Hand-Madison (Conn.) and Norwalk (Conn.) checked in at Nos. 8 and 24, respectively.

New England Roundup: Connecticut

September, 27, 2012
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Xavier High School held its opponents to no more than seven points in 12 of 13 contests last season, when the Falcons went 13-0 and won the Class LL state championship. Nine starters from that defensive unit graduated, making defense Xavier's biggest concern entering the 2013 season.

ConnecticutThat side of the ball has been anything but a problem through two games, however.

Xavier has allowed seven points in its two contests – victories that extended the program's winning streak to 28 games.

The Falcons have been particularly stingy against the pass. Xavier's Nathan Gonzalez and Max Tylki each had an interception during a season-opening 44-0 triumph over Notre Dame-West Haven, and the Falcons didn't allow any yards passing in last weekend's 49-12 victory over North Haven.

Boston College-bound quarterback Tim Boyle has guided on offense that has had little trouble finding the end zone. Boyle, who suffered through a injury-plagued junior season, has completed 24 of 38 passes for 433 yards.

Xavier, the No. 1 team in the state's media and coaches' polls, is attempting to become the first team to win three consecutive Class LL championships.

Last weekend's results for the Connecticut's top 10 teams, as ranked by the Hartford Courant:
  1. Xavier (2-0): Beat North Haven, 49-0. Up next: Fairfield Prep.
  2. Hand (2-0): Defeated Hillhouse 37-19. Up next: Cheshire.
  3. Staples (2-0): Knocked off Bridgeport-Central 49-6. Up next: McMahon.
  4. Ansonia (2-0): Beat Woodland 47-16. Up next: Derby.
  5. Windsor (2-0): Defeated Bristol Central 49-7. Up next: Bristol Eastern.
  6. Greenwich (2-0): Topped Bassick 48-2. Up next: idle.
  7. Ledyard (2-0): Defeated Killingly 35-18. Up next: at Windham.
  8. Berlin (2-0): Snuck past Rocky Hill 25-14.
  9. Holy Cross (2-0): Beat Watertown 28-13.
  10. Glastonbury (2-0): Had no problem beating Newington 63-28. Up next: at Conard.

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New England Roundup: Connecticut

June, 2, 2012
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Bryan Daniello said he felt less pressure this spring than he did a year ago – and it showed on the field.

ConnecticutDaniello, a pitcher/shortstop for Norwalk's Brien McMahon High School, was selected as the state's Gatorade Player of Year earlier this week. Daniello, a senior, has signed a national letter of intent to play baseball at the University of Connecticut.

“I was more relaxed this season,” Daniello said. “I had already committed to UConn so I could just go out and play my game and have fun. There wasn't as much pressure as there was a year ago.”

Daniello raised his record to 8-1 Tuesday, when he picked up the win in Brien McMahon's 11-1 triumph over New Milford in the Class LL tournament's first round. He also hit an inside-the-park home run (his seventh home run of the season) and a double in the victory.

He entered the tournament's second round with a .407 batting average and a 1.22 ERA.

“Daniello is fast, he plays a great shortstop and he has tremendous power,” Fairfield Warde coach Mark Caron said. “I think he's the best player we've seen all year.”

GRIDIRON MOVES
Mark Ecke resigned as Cheshire High School's football coach on May 21 after he was suspended by the Cheshire Board of Education on May 9 following an incident at his son's junior varsity lacrosse game.

Ecke, a spectator at a contest between Cheshire and Glastonbury, was ejected after confronting an official after his son, Tucker, was hit by a Glastonbury player.

Ecke, a sergeant in the Cheshire Police Department, had been Cheshire's coach since 1995. The Rams won the Class L title in 1995, and earned the Class LL title in 1996 and 1997.

“I am passionate about our program and our players, and I am most passionate about my family,” Ecke said.

Offensive coordinator Don Drust has been named the school's interim head coach. Drust has been with the Cheshire program since 2007.

"Prince Tech-Hartford football coach Robert McNamara will leave his current position to teach at Abbott Tech-Danbury after the current school year. It's uncertain if McNamara will be part of the Abbott Tech coaching staff.

Prince Tech had a 24-28 record during McNamara's six-year tenure.

"East Catholic-Manchester has hired Steven Calande to replace Bill Baccaro as its football coach. Calande coached at Old Town (Maine) last season. Baccaro resigned as East Catholic's head coach in April.

IN THE CARDS
The Greenwich golf team punctuated an 18-0 regular season by winning the FCIAC championship at Fairfield Wheeler Golf Club on Thursday.

The Cardinals won the event by posting a 290 team score. Staples finished second (311) and Fairfield Warde was third (316).

Junior Danny Guise, the FCIAC Player of the Year, led the way by shooting a 2-under-par 69. J.P. Rafferty (72), Paul Pastore (73) and Chris Pavelic (76) also scored for the Cardinals, who finished as the FCIAC runner-up in each of the last two seasons.

LAX POWERS
Darien and New Canaan were the two Connecticut teams ranked in the latest ESPNHS FAB 50 boys lacrosse rankings.

Darien dropped 11 spots to No. 22 following a loss to Ridgefield. New Canaan entered the poll at No. 48 after it defeated Ridgefield in the FCIAC tournament's championship game.

Darien and New Canaan could meet in the Class M state tournament.

Roger Brown is a staff writer for the New Hampshire Union Leader, and publishes the New Hampshire Football Report (www.nhfootballreport.com). He has reported on high school sports throughout New England since 1992.

New England Roundup: Connecticut

May, 16, 2012
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Has Mark Ecke's tenure as Cheshire High School's varsity football coach come to an end?

ConnecticutRight now that's a question Ecke can't answer.

Ecke was suspended following an incident during a junior varsity lacrosse game between Cheshire and Glastonbury on May 3. According to published reports, Ecke berated officials after his son Tucker, a freshman who plays for Cheshire, was hit by a Glastonbury player. Ecke apparently felt the hit was illegal and was upset that no penalty was called.

“Whatever happen with my future as a coach at Cheshire High, it doesn't matter,” Ecke told the Connecticut Post. “For me, my family is first priority. This was about my son and I'm very protective of him. That's what this was about.”

Ecke was reportedly escorted from the field by three police officers. According to the incident report, police were summoned to deal with “unruly behavior.”

Ecke, who is employed as a Cheshire police officer, is awaiting a personnel hearing with the Cheshire Board of Education. He was reportedly asked to resign, but refused.

“It was among one of the worst hits I've ever seen in lacrosse,” Ecke told the Post. “I've been involved in lacrosse for 15 years. I've been a player. I've been a coach. I've taken officiating courses. The official didn't call a blatant illegal hit.

“That's what got me. That's what brought this all about. And as a father, watching this happen, I got upset. I probably yelled more than I should have and I regret that it went down the way it did.”

Ecke has guided Cheshire to four state titles in his 17 years as the program's head coach. He coached under current Temple coach Steve Addazio on the Cheshire staff, and was promoted to head coach after the 1994 season.

Cheshire had a 49-game winning streak, which ended in 1996.

Ecke's overall record is 118-64-3.

SOFTBALL STREAK ENDS
When the St. Joseph softball team defeated Westhill 10-6 on May 7 it ended the Vikings' 54-game winning streak in FCIAC games.

Westhill grabbed a two-run lead by scoring three runs in the sixth, but the Cadets responded with a six-run seventh. Taryn Figmic collected the game's big hit, a three-run double with two outs in the seventh and the score tied, 6-6. Figmic had two hits and five RBIs in the victory.

It was Westhill's first regular-season FCIAC loss since a 3-2 setback against Darien in 2009. The program's only other conference loss since then came against Fairfield Ludlowe in the opening round of last year's playoffs.

RALLY KILLER
The Simsbury baseball team was in position to hand Northwest Catholic-West Hartford its first loss of the season. Trailing 7-5, Simsbury loaded the bases with no outs in the seventh, but Northwest Catholic-West Hartford erased the threat by turning a game-ending triple play.

Second baseman Ryan Coursey fielded a soft liner for the first out. The runners were moving on the pitch, so Coursey stepped on second for the second out and then threw to to first for the game's final out.

KINGS OF THE HILL
The first victory of Noah Hahn's varsity pitching career was a memorable one. Hahn, a sophomore, pitched a no-hitter to lead the Avon baseball team to a 12-0 victory over Windsor on April 30.

Hahn, who plays shortstop when he's not pitching, struck out 12 and walked three.

Three other no-hitters have been thrown since that contest. Bristol Central's Matt Blandino didn't allow a hit during a 7-0 triumph over Maloney on May 7, Hamden Hall's T.J. Linta tossed a no-hitter in a 4-0 victory over Greens Farms Academy on May 8 and John Amoroso tossed a no-hitter to help St. Joseph defeat McMahon on May 12.

Blandino struck out 16 and walked one. Linta, a sophomore, struck out six. Amoroso struck out seven and walked two, but wasn't in position to collect the win until Mark Hirschbeck singled in the go-ahead run in the seventh.

LAX POWERS
Henry West and Peter Lindley each scored four goals and Case Matheis collected five assists as the Darien boys lacrosse team defeated Ridgefield 14-11 on May 8 in a matchup between teams that entered the contest undefeated in the FCIAC.

Roger Brown is a freelance writer who has been reporting on high school sports in New England since 1992.

New England Roundup: Connecticut

March, 22, 2012
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Recappping last weekend's CIAC state championship games in boys and girls basketball:

ConnecticutCLASS LL BOYS: Top-seeded St. Joseph used an 18-0 run in the second half to knock off second-seeded Hillhouse 62-54.

St. Joseph (27-1) received a game-high 26 points from James Jennings, and 18 from Timajh Parker. Parker made 14 of his 15 free throw attempts.

St. Joseph didn't make a field goal in the second quarter, and Hillhouse (24-2) led by 13 in the third. It was the 11th state title for St. Joseph coach Vito Montelli, who has won a state-record 880 games (all at St. Joseph). Montelli guided St. Joseph to victory over Fairfield Prep in last year's Class LL championship game.

CLASS LL GIRLS: A Jessica Lynch layup with 21 seconds to play gave ninth-seeded Newtown the lead for good in its 44-42 triumph over 10-seeded Mercy.

Mercy (21-6) overcame a 13-point deficit in the third quarter to take a 42-41 lead with 29 seconds to play, but Lynch's basket came on the ensuing possession. Riley Wurtz tossed in a team-high 18 points for Newtown (22-4).

Mercy has lost the Class LL championship game in each of the last three seasons.

CLASS L BOYS: Treyvon Moore scored a game-high 25 points to help second-seeded Career, Magnet defeat top-seeded Northwest Catholic 51-49.

The victory handed Career Magnet (27-2) the program's first state title.

Northwest Catholic (23-4) missed 17 of its 20 field goal attempts in the first half and trailed 29-13 entering the third. Kuran Iverson scored 20 points, grabbed 17 rebounds and blocked four shots in the loss.

CLASS L GIRLS: A strong finish handed third-seeded Bacon Academy a 38-34 victory over top-seeded E.O. Smith.

Bacon (22-3) closed the game with a 12-0 run. E.O. Smith (25-2) failed to score in the final 5:49 and made one field goal in the fourth quarter.

Taylor McLaughlin led Bacon Academy with 13 points.

CLASS M BOYS: Senior Nolan Long, a 6-foot-9 center, scored 21 points and pulled down 11 rebounds as second-seeded Waterford collected the program's first state championship by beating fourth-seeded Watertown 71-57.

Senior guard Geary McLeon added 18 points, seven assists and five steals for the Lancers (25-2). It was the fourth loss for Watertown (24-4).

CLASS M GIRLS: Guard Fifi Walcott scored 16 points as top-seeded Weaver won its first state championship with a 55-47 triumph over second-seeded Tolland.

The Beavers (25-2) set a school record for victories en route to the title.

Kristin Schatzlein, Connecticut's Gatorade Player of the Year, scored a game-high 32 points in the loss. Tolland (24-4) committed 32 turnovers.

CLASS S BOYS: Vitor Melo collected 14 points and 13 rebounds to help top-seeded Immaculate defeat third-seeded Capital Prep 67-53.

Capital Prep (23-4) entered the game averaging 85.9 points per game, but was held to its lowest point total of the season. Immaculate (26-1) outrebounded Capital Prep, 49-30.

CLASS S GIRLS: Three players scored in double figures for top-seeded Coginchaug, which won its first state championship by beating second-seeded Capital Prep 58-48.

Lauren Esposito scored 18 points and grabbed nine rebounds for Coginchaug (25-2). Audrey Biesak scored 11 and Jessica Solomon added 10 for Coginchaug.

DeJane James tossed in 19 for Capital Prep (23-4).

HOCKEY: VIZZO PROPELS NOTRE DAME-WEST HAVEN

Billy Vizzo scored three goals as second-seeded Notre Dame-West Haven (20-3-1) defeated fourth-seeded Glastonbury (20-5-0) 5-0 in the Division I championship game.

It was the only time Glastonbury has been shut out this season.

In last weekend's other championship games, fifth-seeded Trumbull scored five third-period goals during a 5-3 triumph over seventh-seeded Branford in the Division II championship game; and Drew O'Leary made 18 saves to help top-seeded Newington/Berlin beat third-seeded Northwest Catholic 2-1 in the Division III championship game.

Sophomore Brendan Strobel scored twice for Trumbull (17-9-0). His second goal gave Trumbull a 4-3 lead with 1:35 to play.

Brandon Ralph and Brendon Richard scored in Newington/Berlin's victory.

Roger Brown is a freelance writer who has been reporting on high school sports in New England since 1992.

New England Roundup: Connecticut

March, 12, 2012
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Tolland High School's Kristin Schatzlein was named Connecticut's top girls high school basketball player last week. She's hoping to make even bigger news this weekend.

ConnecticutThree days after Schatzlein became the first Tolland player to be selected as Connecticut's Gatorade Player of the Year, second-seeded Tolland advanced to the Class M championship game by defeating third-seeded Ellington 60-38 in Friday's Class M semifinals.

Tolland (22-2) will meet top-seeded Weaver (23-1) for the title. Weaver advanced with a 48-39 victory over fifth-seeded Cromwell.

“Schatzlein never gets rattled on the floor and always wants the ball when the game is on the line," Bloomfield coach Dan Matthews said. "She shoots the ball extremely well from beyond the arc, but she also handles the ball well."

Schatzlein scored 15 points in the semifinal win against Ellington. She entered that game averaging 20.3 points, 9.9 rebounds, 6.3 assists, 5.5 steals and 2.1 blocks per game. The Eagles had lost in the semifinals in each of the past two years.

The Gatorade Player of the Year Award recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the court.

Schatzlein has signed a national letter of intent to play basketball at Fairfield next season.

Recent winners of the Gatorade Player of the Year Award include Katie Mahoney (2010-11, Bacon Academy), Kastine Evans (2009-10, Norwich Free Academy), Symone Roberts (2008-09, New Britain), Heather Buck (2007-08 and 2006-07, Stonington), Shamika Jackson (2003-04, East Catholic), and Amanda Pape (2002-03, Trinity Catholic).

WHITE WASHING
It's probably safe to say the Hamden boys' hockey team has seen enough of Fairfield Prep forward David White.

White scored eight goals in three victories over Hamden this season. Two of those goals came during Saturday's 2-0 victory over eighth-seeded Hamden in the Division I quarterfinals.

Top-seeded Fairfield Prep (19-3-0) will face fourth-seeded Glastonbury (18-4-0) in Wednesday's Division I semifinals. No. 2 Notre Dame-West Haven (18-3-1) will meet No. 6 West Haven (15-7-0) in the other semifinal.

The Division II semifinals will be played Monday, and the Division III semifinals will be held Tuesday.

Division II: No. 1 Guilford (12-7-2) vs No. 5 Trumbull (13-9-0); No. 7 Branford (13-9-0) vs. No. 3 North Branford (13-8-1).

Division III: No. 1 Newington-Berlin (19-2-0) vs. No. 4 NFA-St. Bernard-Bacon (12-9-0) vs. No. 3 Northwest Catholic (17-4-0).

GRAPPLING WITH SUCCESS
Five Connecticut wrestlers won individual titles at the 48th New England Interscholastic Wrestling Championships held March 3 in Providence, R.I.

Sean Marinan, who helped Xavier win the 2012 State Open championship, prevailed at the 220-pound weight class. Marinan defeated Masuk's Eric Tucker to win the title.

Marinan will join the University of Connecticut football program as a preferred walk-on next season.

Middletown's Devon Carrillo (182), Newington's Chris Chorzepa (170), Hand's Will Crisco (120) and Westhill's Pascal Medor (106) also won New England titles in their respective weight class.

Timberlane (Plaistow, N.H.) won the team title. Hand-Madison was the runner-up.

RUNNERS GET HOLMES-SCHOOLED
Hillhouse junior Precious Holmes didn't disappoint her followers at the 25th New England Indoor Track Championship earlier this month.

Holmes set meet records by prevailing in the 300-meter run (:38.22 seconds) and the 600 (1:30.79). Her time in the 600 also established a New England record.

In addition, Holmes ran a leg on Hillhouse's 4x400 relay team, which finished first in 3:56.84. Johnesse Peterson, Jayvona McDaniel and Lanja Carr were the other members of the 4x400 team.

Roger Brown publishes the New Hampshire Football Report. He has been covering high school sports in New England since 1992.

Peabody's Rocha is Gatorade X-C Runner of the Year

January, 12, 2012
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In its 27th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with ESPN HS, today announced Catarina Rocha of Peabody High School as its 2011-12 Gatorade Massachusetts Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year. Rocha is the first Gatorade Massachusetts Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year to be chosen from Peabody High School.

The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the racecourse, distinguishes Rocha as Massachusetts’s best high school girls cross country runner. Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year award to be announced in January.

The 5-foot-4 junior captured third place at the Foot Locker Northeast Regional championships this past season with a time of 18:19.9. Rocha also qualified for the national Foot Locker Cross Country Championships where she finished in seventh place, crossing the line in 17:38. The 2011-12 Boston Globe All-Scholastic co-Runner of the Year, she won the Division I individual state championship with a time of 18:12.

Rocha has maintained an A average in the classroom. An officer in her school’s student council, she has volunteered locally as a peer tutor on behalf of Challenger Sports, an area physical activity program for children with special needs.

“Catarina Rocha is a leader on her team and in the classroom,” said Peabody athletic director Phil Sheridan. “I have had the opportunity to watch her in all facets of life and she is very serious about her training, her studies and her commitment to helping others.”

Other New England recipients:
CONNECTICUT - REID WATSON, GLASTONBURY
The 5-foot-4 senior raced to the State Open individual championship this past season with a time of 18:35. Watson also won the Class LL state title, breaking the tape in 19:03, and took first at the Hartford Riverfront Invitational, the Stratton Brook Invitational and the Central Connecticut Conference Championships. Watson finished 15th at the New England Cross Country Championships and earned 25th at the Nike Cross Nationals Northeast Regional championships.

Watson has maintained a 3.64 GPA in the classroom. A peer tutor in her school, she has volunteered locally on behalf of youth sports programs and Big Brothers Big Sisters of America in addition to fundraising to benefit the American Cancer Society.

“Having Reid on the team is like having another coach,” said Glastonbury head coach Brian Collins. “She’s been a great inspiration to all levels of runners. She took over a young and inexperienced team and helped guide them to a very successful season.”

Watson remains undecided upon a collegiate destination.

MAINE - ABBEY LEONARDI, KENNEBUNK
The 5-foot-1 senior raced to a fourth consecutive Class A individual state championship this past season with a time of 18:27.19. The state’s three-time returning Gatorade Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year, Leonardi placed second at the Foot Locker Northeast Regional championships in 18:05.7 in addition to finishing fourth at the national Foot Locker Cross Country Championships in 17:35.3. Also the four-time Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year as named by the Maine Sunday Telegram, she captured first place at the Maine Cross Country Festival of Champions and Western Maine Class A Regional Cross Country Championship Meet this past fall. With her three Gatorade State Track & Field Athlete of the Year trophies, Leonardi becomes the first athlete from any state to win Gatorade honors seven times in the award program’s 27-year history.

Leonardi has maintained an A average in the classroom. In addition to donating her time as a member of her school’s Captain’s Club to promote healthy lifestyle choices among her peers and area youth student-athletes, she has volunteered as part of fundraising efforts on behalf of displaced civilians in Sudan’s western region of Darfur.

“Abbey is the most focused athlete I have seen through my many years in this profession,” said Kennebunk High head coach Mike Dinehart. “Her practice regimen is a model for any athlete who wants to succeed. Not only does she challenge herself to garner the requisite hours to perform at such a high level, she is also able to apply that same work ethic to academics.”

Leonardi has verbally committed to an athletic scholarship at the University of Oregon beginning this fall.

NEW HAMPSHIRE - COURTNEY HAWKINS, MILFORD
The 5-foot-1 junior raced to the Meet of Champions individual state championship this past season with a time of 18:34.1. The Runner of the Year as named by the Nashua Telegraph, Hawkins placed 13th at the New England Cross Country Championships in 18:52 in addition to finishing 30th at the Foot Locker Northeast Regional championships in 19:35.8. Hawkins captured first place at the Manchester Invitational large school race. She finished 21st at the 2010 Meet of Champions as a sophomore.

Hawkins has maintained a 3.71 GPA in the classroom. A member of the National Honor Society and National Art Honor Society, she has volunteered locally at a summer day camp, as part of a holiday gift-giving campaign and on behalf of the St. Joseph Hospital Breast Care Center. Hawkins has also donated her time in association with conservation land cleanup efforts, with Project Linus to benefit needy children and as a youth athletic instructor. She has served as a fundraiser for the Gate City Striders track program, New England Pediatric Care and the American Cancer Society.

“Courtney is a true gem,” said Milford High head coach Mike Wright. “Not only is she a great athlete, but she is extremely coachable, dedicated, and loved by her opponents.”

RHODE ISLAND - MOLLY KEATING, LA SALLE ACADEMY
The 5-foot-4 senior raced to a third consecutive All-State Meet individual championship this past season with a time of 18:25, leading the Rams to second place as a team. A three-time First Team All-State selection as named by the Providence Journal, Keating placed second at the New England Cross Country Championships in 18:11 in addition to finishing 10th at the Nike Cross Nationals Northeast Regional in 19:09.9. She also captured first place at the 2009 and 2010 Class A meet as a sophomore and junior.

Keating has maintained an A average in the classroom. She has volunteered locally on behalf of her church, her school’s peer-mentoring program and multiple charity-fundraiser road races.

“One of the things I can easily say about her is that throughout her entire career, she’s had a tremendous, tremendous work ethic,” said Jim Doyle, head boys cross country coach at Bishop Hendricken High. “At one point, she had a terrible setback when she suffered a stress fracture, but she overcame that, rebounded again this year and was outstanding all year long. That’s the way she’s been for four years. I’ve always been impressed with her.”

Keating remains undecided upon a collegiate destination.

VERMONT- ELLE PURRIER, RICHFORD
The 5-foot-3 junior raced to her second straight Division 3 individual state championship this past season, breaking the tape in 19:11.9. The state’s returning Gatorade Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year, Purrier won the New England Cross Country Championships with a time of 18:01 and the Nike Cross Nationals Northeast Regional championship in 18:30.6. She also earned titles at the Essex Invitational, the Harwood Invitational, the Burlington Invitational and the Northern Vermont Athletic Conference Championships.

Purrier has maintained a 3.93 GPA in the classroom. She has volunteered locally on behalf of youth track programs and has delivered care baskets to elderly residents of the community.

“Elle is able to push herself unlike any student-athlete I’ve ever met,” said Richford head coach Andrew Hathaway. “The push comes from within, whether or not there’s a watch on her.”

New England Roundup: Connecticut

November, 28, 2011
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Until this year, the Glastonbury High School girls' soccer program had always lacked a finishing kick.

ConnecticutGlastonbury had reached the Class LL championship game six times since 1983, and came away second best each time. That all changed when top-seeded Glastonbury defeated 18th-seeded Trumbull 2-1 Friday to win this year's Class LL title.

“I was doing this for all the [Glastonbury] girls who have been here before us,” Glastonbury senior midfielder Liz Otto said. “I'm just so excited we finally got it done.”

Otto gave Glastonbury a 1-0 lead when she headed Kayla Orozco's corner kick into the Trumbull goal with 19:45 to play. The Tomahawks doubled their lead when junior Kristen Dragotta scored with 2:41 left.

Trumbull made things interesting by scoring with 2:23 to play, but the Tomahawks hung on to finish the season with a 17-0-2 record.

In last weekend's other girls soccer championship games No. 2 Avon defeated No. 8 Farmington 2-1 to win the Class L title; No. 1 Northwest Catholic beat No. 2 Granby Memorial 4-0 in the Class M championship game; and No. 5 Immaculate defeated No. 7 Litchfield 3-0 to win the Class S title.

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New England Roundup: Connecticut

November, 10, 2011
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One interesting subplot that's developed during the Connecticut high school football season is the competition for the state's Gatorade Player of the Year.

ConnecticutThrough eight weeks the prime contenders are a pair of senior quarterbacks: Masuk's Casey Cochran and Cromwell's Anthony Morales.

Cochran, who won the award last year, has directed Masuk to 21 consecutive victories and may play for the best team in the state. He's completed 88 of 111 passes for 2,123 yards this season. Cochran has thrown 27 touchdown passes and has been intercepted three times.

Despite Cochran's gaudy numbers, it's Morales who leads the state in touchdown passes (30) and passing yardage (2,376). Morales, who is playing for his third coach in as many years, has completed 105 of 147 passes and has been intercepted four times. He has thrown for at least four touchdowns in five of Cromwell's eight games.

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New England Roundup: Connecticut

October, 14, 2011
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Things couldn't be going any better for senior quarterback Casey Cochran and his Masuk High School football team.

ConnecticutMasuk is 4-0 and considered by many to be the best team in the state. Cochran, meanwhile, has been busy breaking records in the process.

Two weeks ago Cochran set the state record for career touchdown passes (86) in a 56-0 victory over Stratford. St. Joseph's Joe Della Vecchia set the previous record of 85 career touchdown passes last season.

Cochran extended that record when he completed 13 of 17 passes for 310 yards and four touchdowns in a 55-12 triumph over Barlow last Friday. The four TD passes gave him 15 this season and 90 in his career.

Cochran, who has committed to play at the University of Connecticut, has completed 50 of 63 passes for 1,221 yards this season. He's been intercepted twice.

Earlier this year he became Connecticut's all-time leader in career passing yardage when he completed 15 passes for 327 yards in a 49-14 victory over Oxford. That total gave him 8,027 career passing yards and allowed him to surpass Della Vecchia (7,710). Cochran has passed for 8,337 yards in his career.

“It's a great honor, but it's something I'd rather acknowledge after the season,” Cochran said following the Oxford game. “i want to keep my head clear.”

When the season began Cochran already held the state record for career completions (485).

It's unlikely Masuk will meet any serious resistance anytime soon since its next two opponents – Notre Dame-Fairfield and Immaculate – are 0-8 and have been outscored 112-349 this season.

Cochran is scheduled to graduate in December and enroll in college in January.

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New England Roundup: Connecticut

July, 5, 2011
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At halftime of Saturday’s Governor’s Cup All-Star football game there were those who probably thought Connecticut’s eight-game winning streak against Rhode Island was in jeopardy. If so, those thoughts disappeared early in the second half.

ConnecticutConnecticut, which led by four points at halftime, scored three touchdowns in the first 7:18 of the third quarter and cruised to a 37-6 triumph over Rhode Island at Southington High School.

It was Connecticut’s 10th victory in the 13-year history of the event.

Things began to turn sour for Rhode Island when Montrell Dobbs (Ansonia) scored on a 77-yard run to help Connecticut increase its lead to 17-6.

Dobbs, who was held to two yards on five carries in the first half, finished the game with 96 yards on 10 carries. He was selected as Connecticut’s offensive MVP.

“At halftime we talked about taking care of business in our house, and that’s what we did in the second half,” Dobbs said.

Rhode Island fumbled the ball away on the next play from scrimmage. Two plays later Connecticut’s Max Delorenzo scored on a 15-yard run to help made it a 24-6 contest.

Jack DeBiase intercepted a pass on Rhode Island’s next possession, and Connecticut cashed in when Joe DellaVecchia tossed a 20-yard touchdown pass to Brian Kelly.

Kelly also caught a 13-yard TD pass from Kyle Nolan. He had three receptions for 69 yards in the victory.

“We just had to fix some problems,” Kelly said. “Our coach [Masuk’s John Murphy] told us that if we fix our mistakes we’d win.”

Connecticut’s only TD in the first half came on a 59-yard TD catch by Temple-bound wide receiver Nainy Bah.

Matt Cassidy’s fourth point-after kick followed Kelly’s second TD reception and capped the scoring. Cassidy also made a 33-yard field goal in the first half.

The Connecticut defense set a Governor’s Cup record by holding Rhode Island to six points. It was also the first time a team didn’t score a touchdown in the contest. Rhode Island scored on two Chad Bacon field goals.

Defensive lineman Wille Maxen (Pomperaug) was named Connecticut’s defensive MVP. Maxen, who will play at Central Connecticut State next season, made three tackles behind the line of scrimmage.

Murphy said although his team had a slim lead at halftime, he had plenty of confidence entering the third quarter.

“I watched this defense for two weeks so I knew how good we were,” he said. “I knew they weren’t going to score a lot of points on that defense.”

(Read full post)

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New England Roundup: Connecticut

May, 4, 2011
5/04/11
6:12
PM ET
It took Bob DeMayo 53 years to record 799 victories as North Haven High School’s varsity baseball coach. The wait for victory No. 800 may have felt just as long.

ConnecticutAfter DeMayo collected his 799th victory when North Haven beat Wilbur Cross 14-0, DeMayo had to endure one-run losses to Branford (4-3) and Foran (4-3). Foran pulled out its victory by scoring three runs in the bottom of the seventh.

Then North Haven made DeMayo wait until the 12th inning of Monday’s game against Xavier before it pulled out a 6-5 win and handed DeMayo victory No. 800.

“I know it’s a milestone and I know I’m close to the end of my career probably, so it’s certainly nice,” DeMayo told the Post-Chronicle. “To see a lot of my former players this week and all the letters I’ve gotten, it’s just been really nice. It does mean something. I’m just surprised it meant so much to other people. That’s the nicest thing.”

North Haven prevailed when Kevin Erbe walked with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 12th. Mike Acampora pitched five innings to collect his first varsity victory in the milestone win.

The game was played on North Haven’s home field, which was named in DeMayo’s honor in 2009.

DeMayo began coaching at North Haven in 1959. His teams have won four state championships.

According to the National High School Sports Record Book, Gene Schultz of Kee High School in Lansing, Iowa, has collected more wins than any other high school baseball coach. Schultz began the 2011 season with 1,636 victories.

TARPEY SELECTS WILLIAM & MARY
Fairfield Prep’s Terry Tarpey, a 6-foot-5 guard/forward, gave a verbal commitment to play basketball at William & Mary on Tuesday.

Tarpey, a junior, averaged 17 points per game last season, when Fairfield Prep finished with a 21-7 record following a loss to St. Joseph in the Class LL championship game.

William & Mary competes in the Colonial Athletic Association.

STAPLES GETS SECOND CHANCE
The Westhill softball team defeated Staples 5-3 on April 18, but Staples protested the game and had the protest upheld by the Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference.

The game will be replayed from the point of contention May 15.

The controversy occurred with no outs in the first inning and Westhill’s Allie Souza on third base. Staples pitcher Sam Saccomano dropped the ball during her windup and was called for making an illegal pitch.

Souza was allowed to score on the play, which caused Staples coach Mark Giordano to protest the game. He claimed the pitch should have been ruled a ball, and the runner should not have been allowed to advance.

The FCIAC ruled that Giordano’s interpretation of the rule was correct.

PASQUALONI WILL SPEAK AT FOOTBALL DINNER
Connecticut’s northern chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame will hold its scholar-athlete award dinner May 15 (1 p.m.) at the Aqua Turf in Southington.

University of Connecticut coach Paul Pasqualoni will be the event’s featured speaker, and Kent’s Todd Marble will be honored as the Coach of the Year. The following players will also be recognized: Jason Barnes (Kent), Marcus Biggins (Farmington), Kyle Decker (Simsbury), Joe Dellaquila (Berlin), Nicholas DeNardo (Rocky Hill), Seth DeValve (Manchester), Henry Downes (East Catholic), Jonathan Esposito (Conard), Reid Gustafson (Conard), Josh Helmkamp (Simsbury), Thomas Higgins (Rockville), Steven Hild (Kingswood-Oxford), Alex Kaczmarek (South Windsor), Zachary Lombard (Manchester), Colin Pavano (Avon), Greg Pendergast (South Windsor), Ryan Peloquin (St. Paul), Cody Pudzinski (Torrington), Nick Quattro (Canton), Franco Serrao (Wethersfield) and David Shainess (Glastonbury).

CROSS COUNTRY COACH ON THE MOVE
Xavier cross country coach Dave Kraszewski will leave his current coaching position at the end of the 2011 school year to coach the men’s and women’s cross country teams at Salve Regina, a Division III school in Newport, R.I.

Kraszewski left Portland and began coaching at Xavier in 2009. Xavier won the Class LL and State Open championships that year. Xavier finished fourth in the State Open meet last season.

The Portland girls won 52 consecutive dual meets and three consecutive Class S championships during Kraszewski’s tenure there.

ST. JOSEPH STAYS PERFECT
The St. Joseph baseball team trailed by three runs entering the bottom of the seventh inning, but rallied for a 6-5 victory Tuesday.

Tyler Matakevich scored the game-winning run on an error with one out in the inning. The Cadets raised their record to 12-0 overall and 10-0 in the FCIAC.

DARIEN MAINTAINS POLL POSITION
The Darien boys' lacrosse team, which improved its record to 9-2 by beating Fairfield-Ludlowe 17-4 Tuesday, is ranked No. 14 in the latest LaxPower national rankings.

Roger Brown has covered high school sports in New England since 1992. He currently covers high school and college football in the Northeast for ESPN/Scouts Inc.

New England Roundup: Connecticut

October, 27, 2010
10/27/10
8:56
AM ET
Last Friday night was like most others for Greg Volpe. Settling into bed, the East Haven football coach lay there for some time, his eyes locked on the ceiling and his mind racing from the game that evening.

“But I was thinking about a win,” he said, “instead of the reasons why we lost.”

ConnecticutWeighed down by months of missed tackles, headaches and losses, Volpe sounded like a man not relieved, but satisfied this week. That all the work was paying off. That the plan was starting to bare fruit. That, for his seniors, they could return to school Monday awaiting praise for the first time as high school football players.

With a 42-14 victory over Platt Tech last weekend, the Easties ended the state’s longest active losing streak and fourth-longest all-time, which on the books will number 36 games but featured far more setbacks than a scoreboard can show.

Not since Thanksgiving Day 2006, when it beat rival Branford, had East Haven (1-5) enjoyed a victory. In the time since, it’s endured three winless seasons, plummeting numbers and nearly two coaching changes. Volpe — also the coach of the semi-pro New England Knights and an American Football Hall of Fame member — entered the fray mid-skid, assuming command before last season when a new regime was expected to breathe life into the slumping program.

Instead, East Haven hit what Volpe called the lowest point before his tenure even began. A week before the season-opener against Jonathan Law — and after three promising preseason games — four to five players were disciplined for having alcohol, Volpe said. Unclear of what their punishment would be, Volpe wasn’t told of their suspensions until roughly two hours before kick-off.

“So I had to walk into the locker room and tell the team that,” Volpe said. “There was a lot of shock, a lot of tears. Of course, they were three or four of the better players, and we just stumbled out of the gate and never recovered.”

Until Friday, when, on Law’s campus coincidently, East Haven put together its first turnover-free game of the season and followed its defense, led by Niko Fiorillo, who returned two interceptions for touchdowns.

All said, the result was expected — by most at least. East Haven enjoyed mismatches in talent and size against Platt Tech (0-6), a member of the Constitution State Conference, whose best teams are regularly blown out in non-league and postseason games.

Only three teams had lost more consecutive games than East Haven, headed by Bassick, which lost 62 straight from 2001-07. Bullard-Havens (1996-2001) and East Catholic (1992-97) each lost 53 straight.

For most of the last decade, East Haven was largely a .500 team or worse, failing to win a game in 2004 and last seriously vying for a playoff berth in 2000. But its lopsided losses were among some of the worst in the state in recent seasons, and the significant drop in numbers (17 to begin this season) was startling.

“The hardest times was seeing (teammates) get down on themselves and stop trying,” Joe Costanzo said. “I don’t mind losing, but it’s the fact when they don’t try as hard as they can. That’s what killed me, that’s what killed a lot of the team.

“It was a bond that the team didn’t have.”

Naturally, interest within the school dropped as quickly as the misplayed hand-offs. The lack of appeal could also be rooted to the offseason, when Volpe waited out a bizarre episode in which he was told by the Board of Education that he wasn’t returning when in fact no official decision had been made.

“That was a nightmare,” said Volpe, who was publicly supported by his team throughout.

“They had no reason at all behind (firing him),” Costanzo said. “And we fought for him, just like Coach Volpe would fight for us.”

Volpe returned, and even after opening the season with too few varsity players to field separate offensive and defensive units, East Haven forged on. The players went into what Volpe called “24-hour recruit mode,” raking the hallways for available athletes. It entered Friday’s game with 45 varsity players on its sideline and 24 in its freshman program.

Those first-year players may be the best example of East Haven’s progress. Turning the freshman team into an “instructional program,” Volpe runs it through skill and fundamental work throughout the week, leaving only the day before a game for working on plays.

The change has worked. The freshmen are 3-2 this season.

“The program has had roadblocks not just on the field but off of it, too,” Volpe said. “And when it’s like that, it got to the point where the kids just expected bad things to happen. That’s where this year has been different.”

It may continue to be. East Haven’s remaining schedule includes Sheehan (1-5), Law (0-5) and Branford (1-5). Hand-Madison (5-1), which has been ranked this season, visits on Nov. 5.

The Tigers will likely see an East Haven team that has never been more confident.

(Read full post)

Connecticut football Week 4 roundup

October, 11, 2010
10/11/10
10:06
AM ET
Connecticut’s best high school football teams cruised in Week 4, with the top four teams in the New Haven Register top 10 poll outscoring their opponents, 162-27, over the weekend.

Some of their counterparts could have used the extra points.

Five of the state’s ranked teams fell over the weekend, likely making for a revamped look of the polls when they are released Monday.

Notre Dame-West Haven (28-27 to West Haven), Cheshire (14-13 to Hand-Madison) and Windsor (20-17) — three teams ranked in at least one statewide poll since the start of the season — are in danger of falling out, with Notre Dame and Cheshire each suffering their second loss.

The Green Knights — ranked No. 6 in the state and seventh in the ESPNBoston.com New England top 10 — have to endure losing city bragging rights to the Westies (4-0). Notre Dame hosts Hand this weekend, just another possible knockout blow in the uber-competitive Southern Connecticut Conference.

Cheshire, meanwhile, has a matchup with Wilbur Cross — ranked No. 10 but likely not after a 21-12 loss to Ridgefield — awaiting it on Friday.

Windsor threw three interceptions in a 20-17 CCC loss to Glastonbury, and No. 5 Bridgeport Central fell, 34-12, to Trumbull.

In other games:
  • Pat D’Amato got the passing games going for top-ranked Xavier — ranked No. 3 in the ESPNBoston.com New England poll — tossing two touchdown passes to Ryan Murphy in a 41-7 victory over Amity on Friday.
  • Masuk-Monroe’s offense continued rolling in a 49-7 rout of Brookfield on Friday, with Casey Cochran throwing four touchdown passes. But its defense is starting to get noticed, too. The Panthers (4-0 and No. 7 in the ESPNBoston.com New England rankings) have outscored opponents, 187-14, and haven’t allowed more than a single score in any game.
    “In all honesty, I’ve seen a lot of good defenses and I’ve had a lot of good defenses,” Brookfield coach Rich Angarano told the Connecticut Post. “That Masuk defense is one of the best defenses I’ve ever seen around here.”
  • Joe Della Vecchia ignited the St. Joseph offense and the once-ranked team finally got another win in a 55-50 shootout victory over Trinity Catholic. Della Vecchia had a hand in six touchdowns, throwing four and running two in, to stop a two-game slide.
  • And he wasn’t the only one. Ansonia’s (4-0) Arkeel Newsome scored six times on his own and rushed for 268 yards in a 46-6 blowout of Wilby.

Weekend roundup: Connecticut

September, 26, 2010
9/26/10
6:44
PM ET
Don’t feel bad for Notre Dame-West Haven. Branford certainly doesn’t.

Notre Dame bounced back in a big way following last week’s loss to Xavier-Middletown, slamming the Hornets, 52-20, Friday. The Green Knights led, 52-7, in the fourth quarter thanks to touchdowns by Tirell Young-Williams, one through the air and another on a punt return.

Notre Dame -- the No. 3 team in the ESPNBoston.com New England top 10 poll and preseason No. 1 team in the New Haven Register’s state top 10 poll -- plummeted to No. 7 in both rankings following its 22-15, season-opening loss to Xavier. It responded against Branford, which is now 0-2 after having hopes of being one of the SCC’s top teams this season.

In other games:

-- Max Slade threw for a touchdown, rushed for a touchdown and returned a punt for a score to lead Cheshire past Hillhouse, 29-6, on Friday. The Rams will be part of the game to watch Friday when they host Xavier (No. 3 in the ESPNBoston.com New England poll), which scored all its points in the first half in cruising by Foran, 37-0, Friday.

-- No. 6 Masuk-Monroe avenged its loss to Pomperaug in last year’s SWC championship game by thumping the Panthers, 42-0. Junior quarterback Casey Cochran, who has a scholarship offer from Boston College, threw for 292 yards and five touchdowns, and connected with seven different receivers.

-- Quarterback Alton Smith and receiver Aaron Berardino hooked up for three touchdowns in Windsor’s 33-0 rout of New Britain, continuing the Warriors’ emergence as one of the state’s top teams. Windsor largely flew under the radar entering this year despite sneaking into the last spot of The (New London) Day’s first state coaches’ poll. Smith and Berardino, both juniors, are gaining their share of attention now.

-- Southington made former UConn star D.J. Hernandez 2-0 as a high school football coach after rallying past CCC power Glastonbury, 33-14, on Friday. Joe Pesce had three rushing touchdowns.

-- A week after completing just one pass, Norwich Free Academy quarterback Erik Washburn threw for two touchdowns and 205 yards on all of five completions in the Wildcats’ 34-20 victory over Ledyard, easily the upset of the week in Eastern Connecticut. Washburn also rushed for two scores for NFA, one of the state’s largest schools but also one that hasn’t been to the state playoffs since 2002.

-- As for the biggest upset around the state, Wilton surprised defending Class SS champ St. Joseph, 27-14. St. Joseph again played without running back Tyler Matakevich (out indefinitely, foot), but was done in mostly by an array of mistakes and turnovers, two of which led directly to Wilton scores.

-- Jonathan Esposito became Conard High’s all-time leading rusher with 133 yards in a 36-0 victory over Farmington on Saturday. The senior now has 3,024 yards, according to the Hartford Courant.

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