Boston High School: Jesse Samek

Recap: No. 14 Winchester 7, Woburn 5

May, 15, 2012
WOBURN, Mass. -- After Tuesday’s game, Winchester head coach John Pirani and Woburn's Ken Blaszka each said they know what their respective teams need to work on: starting with fire.

No. 14 Winchester ultimately beat Woburn, 7-5, on the road, but both teams stumbled out of the gate with some sloppy passing in the first two quarters.

“I think we have a lot of talent, but I think we’re still growing in terms of maturing and … we’re feeling our way through to get to the point where we’re comfortable with what we’re doing and that’s exactly how I felt,” Pirani said. “I think we were very tentative for maybe 10 or 12 minutes and then we got to the second period and all of a sudden we’re playing. We did a lot and that’s something we’ll have to overcome in the next couple of weeks.”

Blaszka said the same about his Tanners (13-5) and their momentum – or lack thereof.

“We got to come out the first half a little more fired up than we are offensively.”

Come the start of the third quarter, it didn’t take long for Winchester (12-2) to start feeling the heat as the Tanners scored less than one minute into play to tie it 3-all.

Then Winchester started throwing shots at the cage and, as the rain gained momentum, so did the squads. At 6:53 Winchester regained their edge, 4-3. Woburn then fought back for the 4-all tie at 6:30 with a quick snapshot from the left wing. Winchester then responded with three consecutive goals. At 4:40, the Sachems scored with a clean look at the net, at 3:11 with a wrap-around from the left and at 9:30 in the fourth.

Woburn’s Eddie Insognia netted the team’s final goal at 8:17 from the right wing, but Winchester’s battling defense kept the remaining attempts away.

In the final two minutes, Winchester maintained possession, leaving Woburn with time only for a last-second heave.

“The defense, that’s what our bread and butter is,” Pirani said. “We frustrated [Woburn]. You could tell they were taking some shots that weren’t particularly well conceived.

“[Woburn] got that goal right at the beginning of the half and then we pretty much shut them down after that. So we were pretty pleased with our defensive effort.”

Blaszka said he thought his Tanners played well defensively, too – pressuring the ball, grabbing turnovers and clearing well – especially Michael Tedesco, who also scored. But, offensively, Woburn didn’t find its stride.

“Offensively, I thought we had our looks, we just didn’t hit the cage, you know?” Blaszka said. “We put five goals in, the goalie had six saves; we've got to dial in the shots on the cage.”

For Winchester, Chris O’Connell and Jesse Samek had two goals, while Pat Gill, Tim Mangano and Brendan Kelley each had one. For Woburn, Brendan Gilgun had a hat trick and Casey Shea assisted twice.

“Gilgun’s been good for us,” Blaszka said. “He’s been stepping up as of late. Beginning of the year he had a dislocated shoulder that he played through and that’s three to four weeks of rehab and he just played. He’s a tough player, he’s been coming through for us a lot lately and I’m glad he had three. I wish we had three and he won the game.”

Andover thriller highlights Coaches Cup 1st round

April, 20, 2011
SUDBURY, Mass. -- It was a flurry at the beginning and a breathless save at the end that delivered a riveting 12-11 victory for 20th-ranked Andover over No. 15 Lincoln-Sudbury in the first game of the first day of the Coaches Challenge Cup on Monday.

The Golden Warriors defeated the host Warriors by running out to a blazing start. However, L-S didn’t go quietly and kept spectators in suspense right up till the final horn.

After cashing in on their first four shot opportunities of the game, Andover (6-0) threatened to rout the Warriors. But L-S recovered to draw within a goal, 8-7, at halftime.

There were four lead changes in the second half, but the Golden Warriors stayed ahead for good on David Belluche’s goal with 6:12 to play, thanks to the defensive effort led by senior goalkeeper Crosby Nicholson and senior long-stick Ben Cook.

“That’s Crosby Nicholson,” Andover head coach Wayne Puglisi said. “He makes those types of saves. I don’t know how many one-on-one chances there were today.”

Nicholson saved the game from heading into overtime by stoning L-S midfielder Reed Spencer at point-blank range with 15 seconds to play.

“Lincoln-Sudbury made us play smarter and stronger today,” Puglisi said. “They’re a team that did things that we hadn’t seen all year long.”

Meanwhile, for L-S, which fell to 3-3 on the heels of a three-game losing streak, it’s all about getting a young group of players on the same page in light of some notable absences on the field. Top attack Marc Pace is out for the season with an Achilles injury and top D-man Paul Tocci has also been on the shelf, not to mention a freak accident to midfielder Dan Delaney that occurred last week.

“We’re young, but we’ve just got to get it done,” L-S head coach Brian Vona said. “That’s our issue, we don’t understand how to compete at a high level yet.”

C-C’s on a roll

The thumping sixth-ranked Hingham administered on Concord-Carlisle during last year’s Coaches Cup was not lost on the Patriots. And they used that unpleasant memory as cause to start this year’s first-round matchup with the Harbormen.

“We were pretty ready to play today,” Patriots senior attack Seth Bird said. “Hingham crushed us in the second round of the Coaches Cup last year in the second round, so we were pretty ready to go.”

Bird and his teammates took flight in the second quarter when they scored five goals to run out to a 7-1 halftime lead. Despite a second-half run from the Harbormen, No. 2 C-C held on to return the favor, beating Hingham 11-6.

“I think Seth Bird just really had a good game,” C-C head coach Tom Dalicandro said. “He was able to get by his man and I think they’re a little young on defense, so that allowed us to get some opportunities and Ben Lesser was able to cash in.”

Bird tallied a four-point game while notching a hat trick for the Patriots (6-0) while Lesser chipped in a three-point game (2G, 1A). Chris Walker-Jacks also added a goal and an assist.

Reed McLeod and David Freitas tallied two goals each in the second half to lead the comeback attempt for Hingham (5-1)

“We’ve got a lot of chemistry going this year,” Bird said of C-C’s offense. “We’ve got an attitude that this is our last chance this year to make a real run in the tournament.”

Wellesley doubles up Winchester
No. 3 Wellesley (5-0) remained undefeated on the early season as they defeated Winchester 8-4 in their first game of the 2011 Coaches Challenge Cup.

Wellesley led 2-1 after the first quarter but extended the lead to 6-2 at the half behind three goals from senior midfielder Sam Lawrence.

“Sam is always one of the best athletes on the field and when he gets in the open field he can really do some nice things,” said Wellesley head coach Rocky Batty. “The last five minutes of the second quarter we really pushed transition like we like to as a team.”

Winchester junior goalie Alex Sharp was exceptional in net all day for the Sachems, turning away 18 shots and making countless highlight film saves, to keep Winchester in the game.

“Winchester really played well,” said Batty. “A good goalie makes those saves and I think he (Sharp) was the player of the game out there today.”

Wellesley junior attack Peter Crane (3 goals, assist) scored the lone goal in the third quarter on a dish from junior midfielder Paul Vasko (1G, 1A) eight minutes in to the second half.

Winchester (2-3) kept fighting the entire way as junior midfielder Brendan Kelley and junior attack Jesse Samek (2G) would score the first two goals in the fourth to cut the lead to 7-4 midway through the final quarter.

Crane would put the game away in the final minutes for Wellesley as he scored his third goal on a pass from senior midfielder Charlie Jennings (2A).

Junior midfielder Oliver Saffrey (1G, 2A) and junior goalie Connor Darcey (10 saves) also played well for Wellesley in the win.

D-S dominant
No. 11 Dover-Sherborn (6-0) got out to a 3-1 lead after the first quarter and never looked back as they controlled North Andover (3-2) to win the final game on the opening day of the 2011 Coaches Challenge Cup, 11-2.

After a slow start by both teams D-S really turned it on and were sparked by the electric play of junior midfielder Billy Polk (3 goals, assist) and senior attack P.J. Copponi (3 goals).

“I thought we played well after we started being patient against their zone,” D-S head coach Brian McLaughlin said.

The third quarter proved to be the deciding quarter for D-S as they outscored North Andover 4-1 to extend the lead to 8-2 at the end of the third.

“We moved the ball well and got a couple goals in transition that proved to be the difference in the third.” said McLaughlin.

D-S also received strong performances from senior goalie Jeff Williams, who did a great job clearing the ball all day, and senior midfielder Robbie Simms (1G, 2A). D-S will now play Wellesley on Thursday at 4 p.m. at Hingham in the next round of the Coaches Challenge Cup.

“We know each other well,” said McLaughlin. “We played here last year (Wellesley won 6-5). Coach and I are good friends and the kids know each other from playing summer ball. It will be a match-up of the Raiders, red versus blue.”