Boston High School: Jillian Cavanaugh

Mr. and Miss Soccer finalists announced

November, 20, 2012
For the first time in site history, we're pleased to announce that ESPN Boston will honor the top boys' and girls' MIAA soccer player with its first-ever Mr. and Miss Soccer Awards this year.

The winners will be announced on Monday, Dec. 3, but we've whittled down our lists to a final five candidates today.

Without further ado:

Felix DeBona, Sr. F, Somerville
- The D1 North champions were led by DeBona's 29 goals, including the lone goal against St. John's Prep that clinched the sectional title. DeBona's scoring propelled the Highlanders to 15th in the NSCAA national rankings, a Greater Boston League title, and an undefeated regular season.

Dave MacKinnon, Sr. GK, Oliver Ames - MacKinnon was named an All-American for his commanding play in net for the Davenport division champions. He gave up only four goals during the regular season with 13 shutouts and was named the Hockomock League MVP. In the playoffs, MacKinnon's save during the shootout helped the Tigers beat league rival Franklin in the opening round.

Nate Pomeroy, Sr. F, Groton-Dunstable - Pomeroy, who is bound for Brown University next season, notched two goals in the D2 state finals to clinch back-to-back titles for the Crusaders. Pomeroy was named to the All-New England team and named Mid-Wach B MVP this season. He had eight goals in the 2012 postseason run.

Cody Savonen, Sr. F, Nauset - Savonen led Nauset to the D1 South sectional quarterfinals and eclipsed the 20-goal mark for the season. He had a hat trick in a 3-0 win over Plymouth South that wrapped up the third Atlantic Coast League title of his career and scored the winner in the opening playoff game against Wellesley.

[+] EnlargeMac Steeve
Courtesy of Josh PerryNeedham senior captain Mac Steeve led the Rockets to a Division I state title and is a finalist for our inaugural Mr. Soccer Award.
Mac Steeves, Sr. F, Needham - The Rockets all-time leading scorer was named an All-American this season and led Needham to the Division 1 state title. Steeves also showed his ability to step up in big games. He scored both goals (and drew the penalty for the second) against Somerville in the state semifinals and scored the winning goal in the state finals against Amherst.

Honorable Mentions: Osla DeBrito (New Bedford), Mike Lynch (Weymouth), Thayrone Miranda (Somerville), Brandon Miskin (Needham), Ryan Rose (Acton-Boxborough), Justin Rothemich (Sutton), Zach Scafati (Franklin), Stowe Simonton (Concord-Carlisle), Dave Stapleton (Oliver Ames), Brandon Vazquez (Amherst).

Lauren Berman, Sr. F, Canton - With over 40 goals this season, Berman was the standout player for the Davenport division champions and a Hockomock League All-Star. Berman's accomplishments earned her All-American status and she will be playing in the ACC for the University of Maryland next season. She finished her career with over 130 goals.

Kristi Kirshe Sr. F, Franklin - Kirshe eclipsed the 100-goal plateau for her career during the D1 playoffs. She scored in the state semifinal and scored both goals to lead the Panthers to the program's first-ever state title.She is an All-American as well as the state MVP. Compiling more than 30 goals this season, Kirshe helped a young Franklin team to an undefeated season.

Jen Narlee, Sr. M, Medfield - Narlee is the leader of a very strong defensive unit for the D2 state champions. A physical presence in the center of the field, Narlee does many of the little things that do not get on the scoresheet. Many of the Warriors' opponents saw their attacks snuffed out by Narlee's positional play. That strong defense has helped Medfield win two of the past three state titles.

Andrea O'Brien, Sr. F, Concord-Carlisle - O'Brien finished her career with over 100 goals and will take her talents to Boston College next year. An All-New England selection and submitted for All-American consideration, O'Brien helped lead the Patriots to a Dual County League title and to the second round of the tournament.

Kimberly Slade, Sr. F, Nashoba - Slade is one of the brightest stars in the Central region. The senior forward was an All-New England selection and her playmaking ability helped lead the Chieftains to a sectional title and trip to the state championship game, where she scored the team's only goal.

Honorable Mentions: Kendall Andrew (Oliver Ames), Mimi Borkan (Medfield), Jillian Cavanaugh (Belchertown), Taylor Cogliano (Franklin), Laura Courtney (Nashoba), Hayley Dowd (Peabody), Caitlin Harty (Beverly), Maddie Jolin (Bishop Feehan), Alexa Poulin (Central Catholic), Kayla Steeves (Needham).

D2 girls soccer: Medfield 3, Belchertown 1

November, 17, 2012
Medfields, Cami McCurdyBrendan Hall/ESPNBoston.comCami McCurdy capped a fine postseason with two goals in the Medfield Warriors' state final win over Belchertown.
WORCESTER, Mass. -- Following the loss to Canton in the 2011 South sectional semifinals, Medfield head coach Mike La Francesca and the Class of 2013 made a commitment to get the program back to the state championship.

Lots of teams make similar pledges; few have the talent to make it a reality.

On Saturday afternoon at Worcester State, the Warriors (21-0-3) fulfilled their pledge with a 3-1 victory over the Belchertown Orioles (20-1-2) to win their second Division 2 state title in three years.

“I’m just so proud of them, there are no words," La Francesca said. "They set the goals a year ago that they wanted to be here tonight on November 17th and that’s what they did. This team believed in themselves and they believed in their team.”

Senior midfielder Jen Narlee was thrilled at the opportunity to fulfill the team’s preseason expectations and to finish her career with a victory.

“We’ve been waiting for it since last year when we didn’t get it and we were so disappointed," she said. "We have the most heart that I’ve ever seen a team have and that made the difference. I’m going to miss this program so much.”

Junior forward Cami McCurdy wrapped up a stellar playoff run with a brace in the finals.

The opening goal came in the 15th minute, against the run of play, as McCurdy took a pass from Krista Pinciaro, touched it onto her right foot, and slotted it home at the far post. McCurdy’s second goal came in the dying minutes and clinched the title for Medfield.

According to the striker, who was only a spectator at the 2010 finals, the only thing on her mind as she rounded the keeper was winning the championship for the seniors.

“I thought about the seniors on my team and I realized that if I made that goal that meant it was over and I had to play for them, not me," she said. "In the back of my mind, I knew I had to stay composed and play for them.”

The game-winning goal was scored by Pinciaro, who scored directly from an in-swinging corner kick in the 26th minute. The defense has been the story for Medfield all season, but with eight goals in the final two rounds La Francesca was able to count on a powerful attack as well.

“Cami has, I believe she had five goals in the playoffs, and then you have Katelyn Murray who has not only been distributing but putting the ball into the net," he said. "And Pinciaro today with the goal and the assist, I mean, a great forward line up there.”
This was by no means a blowout.

Although trailing 2-0 at halftime, the Orioles were the team that controlled possession and continually pressured the Medfield without creating clear-cut chances. Belchertown got on the board seven minutes after the break on a powerful header by Jillian Cavanaugh on a long free kick by defender Jillian Lund.

The combination nearly hooked up again just moments later, but Cavanaugh’s header flashed inches wide of the far post. Despite continuing to pressure, the Orioles could not find an equalizer.

Then, on a quick counter, McCurdy finished on the break to ensure that the state title belonged to the Warriors.

“I think in the last few games it comes down to a mental thing more than if you have skill,” explained Narlee. “That’s what we prepare for. We just were ready; we were ready to win this.”

La Francesca noted that many teams are ready to win, but the players have to get on the pitch and perform. The Warriors did exactly that.

“We did expect to win, but, at the end of the day, you have to play the game, you have to win the game, and you have to make it happen," he said. "And they did.”