Boston High School: Lauren Berman

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).

MIAA Soccer: Needham boys blank Dartmouth

November, 10, 2012
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).

Analysis: Breaking down the state soccer tournaments

November, 1, 2012
The MIAA released the brackets for boys’ and girls’ soccer on Wednesday afternoon and there was instant reaction from fans, players, and coaches as everyone scrambled to see who stood in the way for a possible state title run.

The competition in each bracket is incredibly deep. Teams that are ranked in the ESPN Boston Top 20 polls are seeded as low as the teens because records are so close. There are teams that have been forced into play-in games that will pose serious threats to the sectional favorites.

There is little doubt that the girls’ Division 1 North and the boys’ D1 South brackets are the hardest and deepest sectionals in the tournament this season. Each game will be a battle and top-to-bottom there are no easy games in either sectional.

That contrasts the sectionals in the Central and West, which are also competitive, but feature far fewer teams and thus far fewer games to reach the state semifinals.

The first round of the girls’ D1 North sectional could feature a rematch of No. 2 Peabody against the only team to get the better of it this season, Acton-Boxborough. Meanwhile, Central Catholic could also face a very tough Andover team, which has sat just outside the rankings for much of the year.

The boys’ D1 South bracket has the potential for a number of exciting early-round matches that feature ranked teams such as New Bedford against Oliver Ames, Weymouth against BC High, and Dartmouth versus Nauset.

The D1 state semifinals and finals could be especially interesting this year with possible battles between nationally ranked girls’ teams in Franklin and Peabody and a potential rematch of last year’s state semifinal that ended with Ludlow and Worcester North players and fans fighting on the pitch.

Each bracket also has its fill of dark horses.

Watch out for the unranked Franklin boys, who play a solid defensive game and can surprise a higher ranked team. On the girls’ side, Bishop Feehan and Concord-Carlisle, a pair of No. 5 seeds, will be worth watching to see if they can shock the top seeds in the sectional semifinals.

Of course, it is star players that draw all the headlines and, especially in the girls’ brackets, there are plenty of big names.

Peabody’s Hayley Dowd, Franklin’s Kristi Kirshe and Canton’s Lauren Berman are the key cogs for potential state championship squads. Needham’s Mac Steeves set a new career scoring record for the Rockets and, of his coach’s opinion, could be an All-American this year.

My (sure to be wrong) predictions are:
  • Franklin and Peabody will make it to face each other in a titanic girls’ Division 1 state semifinal.
  • Ludlow falls short of a third straight state title in another contentious battle with Worcester North.
  • Canton girls knock off Medfield again this year and go on to win the state title.
  • Somewhere along the way a team no one had ranked catches fire and makes a run to the finals (like the Masconomet boys did last year).

Judging by the excitement on Twitter and the nervous energy that everyone had while waiting for the brackets, this could be one of the best tournaments in years.

Buckle up, it's going to be fun.

Girls' soccer Top 20 poll: Week 4

September, 27, 2012
The MIAA girls' soccer Top 20 poll has been updated for this week.

Congratulations are in order for Canton’s Lauren Berman who scored her 100th career goal last week in a win over Oliver Ames. Berman, a senior, was the 2011 ESPN HS Girls' Soccer Player of the Year for Massachusetts and is a two-time Hockomock MVP. She will attend the University of Maryland next fall. Her Lady Bulldogs made a big move this week, jumping from No.16 to No. 8.

Falling this week is Dover-Sherbourn, which is winless in its last three and Oliver Ames after their crushing loss to Canton (7-0 loss). The Tigers can get a measure of revenge, however, as the teams are set to meet again Oct. 16.

D2 Girls Soccer: Auburn 1, Canton 0

November, 19, 2011

WORCESTER, Mass. -- The first goal the Canton Bulldogs surrendered in the playoffs was a costly one.

Saturday, the team lost 1-0 to Auburn in the Division 2 State Girls Soccer Championship. With 28 minutes left in the game, Auburn’s Jenna Scanlon received a pass in the right corner. Before she could be buried in the corner by the Canton defense, she sent a crossing pass to the front of the net.

The Canton (19-2-2) goaltender hit the ball up in the air, and Alysha Brunelle crashed the net to put home the rebound for the score.

“It looked like the goalie was coming out, but Jenna and I had been practicing that for a long time,” Brunelle said. “I finally got a foot on it and it went straight in.”

It was the first goal Canton gave up in the past five games.

Canton dominated the possession battle in the first half, spending most of it in its offensive zone. Its best opportunities came from two corner kicks, but the team was unable to convert them.

After going into the half scoreless, the Rockets came out in the second with a renewed energy. They put Canton back on its heels early and often, which lead to the eventual goal.

There was no stirring halftime speech or schematic adjustment that helped propel Auburn (22-0-1), though. Team execution was the difference.

“It was the passing game,” said coach Paul Turner. “I was just trying, as desperately as possible to have them keep the ball on the ground, which created a ton of stuff. It always did all season long. It just created opportunity after opportunity.”

“Canton is a great team,” he added. “We knew we could possess the ball and when we did, that’s basically what happened.”

Canton did not go away quietly however. Six minutes later, the team set up a corner kick to the left of Auburn goalkeeper Jordan Hauge (16 saves). After a short pass, Lauren Berman fired a shot at Hauge, but it went a foot wide of the goal.

Minutes later, Meg Lannon’s shot hit the crossbar, inches away from tying the game.

In the final two minutes, Brianna Duserick lead a late charge from midfield. She sent a crossing pass to Lennon, whose shot missed the far post by a few feet. Hauge sent the free kick down the other end of the field and the horn blew, putting an exclamation point on the Auburn Rockets’ season.

“This feels awesome, this is what we’ve been working for the longest time,” said Scanlon. “We are definitely high on life right now.”

She added, “Our freshman year we got knocked off right away and then in our sophomore year, we got knocked off in the district finals. We wanted to come back and win districts, which we did, and then we made it all the way here and lost in a heartbreaker to Medfield.

"This year, we knew as seniors we were going to give everything we had. We’re seniors now, so there’s nothing left to give. We gave it our all and it finally happened.”

Soccer: Canton 3, Newburyport 0

November, 17, 2011

LYNN, Mass. -- Canton's Lady Bulldogs were a little unsettled about playing in Wednesday's Eastern Massachusetts state semifinal.

But junior midfielder Lauren Berman put those nerves to rest with a well-placed shot three minutes into the match, and the Lady Bulldogs never looked back, winning comfortably 3-0 over Newburyport.

“The girls on the bus were more nervous than I’d ever seen them,” Canton head coach Paul Turner said. “The first goal really settled us down, and then we started playing.”

Canton got on the score sheet inside the first three minutes thanks to a lovely shot from Berman. She curled a left footed shot from the top of the box into the top right hand corner for the opening score.

"We were nervous coming into the team room today, we were all jittery and didn’t know what to expect,” admitted Berman after the victory.

Her goal gave Canton the confidence to play their game, and they doubled their lead in the 27th minute. Meg Lennon powered her way through the Newburyport box and had a few kind deflections but made sure with the finish, low far post, for a 2-nil lead.

Canton (19-1-2) almost finished the game off before halftime, but Kenseny Waterman's free kick from 23 yards out rattled off the crossbar and the Lady Bulldogs took a 2-0 lead into halftime.

Waterman controlled the midfield in the second half second for Canton, stuffing out any attack the Newburyport Clippers were building.

“What we try not to do is get into a ping pong game, we try to put the ball down and I though Kensey did that really well,” said Turner of his defensive midfielder. “Kensey put her foot on the ball and got our outside backs playing, and the best way to defend is to keep the ball.”

Newburyport (17-3-3) did have a chance to pull one back with under ten minutes to go, but Liza Twomey’s shot hit the post. Berman, who is committed to Maryland, added her second of the match in the 76th minute, and the Bulldogs rolled on for a 3-0 victory.

Canton will travel to Worcester on Saturday to play Auburn (20-0-1) for the division two State Championship.

Top Drawer Soccer rankings released

May, 5, 2011
Top Drawer Soccer has released its rankings of its top individual prospects, broken down nationally and regionally. Below are the Massachusetts natives cracking the Top 20 Northeast lists, with their national rankings in parentheses where applicable.

2012 BOYS
1. Felix DeBona, Everett (31)
2. Devin Devoy, Bishop Feehan (45)
4. Jack Hilger, Hopkinton (87)
5. Chandler Burnham, Rockport
7. Forest Sisk, Lincoln-Sudbury
10. Andrew Burnham, Rockport
12. Jay Marchand, North Andover
15. Daniel Tchen, Concord-Carlisle
16. Derrick Boateng, Worcester South

2012 GIRLS
2. Mikayla Williams, Stoughton (30)
3. Kayla Shea, Shrewsbury
7. Colby Woeltz, Noble & Greenough
8. Corey Persson, Danvers
12. Becky Litwin, Westborough
13. Mai Mitsuyama, Natick
15. Emily Nasuti, Millbury
19. Hayley Katkowski, Westford

2013 BOYS
1. Diego Fagundez, New England Revolution Academy (3)
3. Dominik Machado, Attleboro (64)
5. Andrew Wheeler-Omiunu, Roxbury Latin
6. Aidan Browne, Boston Latin
7. Matt Nyeayea, Worcester South
9. Marc Greenblatt, Winchester
12. Federico Ferre, Waltham
13. Matthew Callahan, Newton North
15. David Hepp, Natick

2013 GIRLS
2. Hayley Dowd, Peabody (6)
3. Lauren Berman, Canton (10)
7. Jillian Clapp, Marshfield
11. Kim Slade, Wachusett
12. Maddie Brosler, Millis
16. Kendall Andrew, Oliver Ames
17. Samm Alves, Sharon
18. Meg James, Sharon
20. Andrea O’Brien, Concord-Carlisle