Boston High School: Lincoln-Sudbury
After giving up a goal less than a minute in the Panthers rolled for the final 44 and beat Lincoln-Sudbury, 5-1, at the Chelmsford Forum in the second Division 2 North semifinal.
The win moves the Panthers into Monday's sectional final against Tewksbury at Tsongas Center.
“We talked about kids keeping their composure,” Beverly coach Bob Gilligan said. “You got plenty of hockey, you can the way these kids can skate, and once you hem them in forechecking-wise they were getting tired. You keep that kind of pressure on you start to wear these kids down.”
Myles Cohen roofed one over Beverly's Tim Birarelli to give the Warriors the first lead but that was as positive as the night would be for the MVC/DCL 2 champions.
Brendan Boyle answered four minutes later to tie the game for Beverly. Fifteen seconds later Kevin Lally knuckled a shot between the legs of Lincoln goalie Derek Ashe to put the Panthers ahead.
“We didn't panic at all,” Lally said. “We just kept playing our game and it worked out good for us.”
Despite not scoring a goal, junior defenseman Nick Albano stole the show offensively for the Panthers. Albano assisted on all five Beverly goals, including three primary assists, and played a key role in his own zone as well.
“I didn't think I had five,” Albano said. “Just trying to get the puck to the net and win this game [and] go play Tewksbury.”
Connor Irving netted Beverly's third and fourth goals as the Panthers' depth showed itself and worked the Warrior defense hard. Irving epitomized Beverly's speed as he pressed forward on the forecheck and backcheked with speed as well.
“He works, he angles well, he's got that stick on the ice,” Gilligan said. “He's tough to play against because that kid, transition wise, burns you. He takes away areas of the ice just with his skating ability and [keeping his] stick down. He knows how to angle and cut the center of the ice out.”
For L-S, the result was the end of a quality season that included a game at Fenway Park and winning its first outright league title in 22 years.
The future though is bright for coach Tom Pare and Co. The Warriors return Ashe as well as the entire top two lines.
“I couldn't be happier for the seniors,” Pare said. “I think they had a great career; they had a lot of success here. I wish we could have gone out in a more competitive game as far as the scoreboard is concerned. I couldn't thank the guys enough in my first year here.”
IN A PINCH, CALL LEATHERSICH: Midway through the first period Beverly's Jesse MacLaughlin lost a skate blade. The resulting fiasco in fixing the skate meant someone had to fill on the top line with Ryan Santo and Connor Irving.
Insert Ted Leathersich.
The junior stepped up the moment with a two-point game. Leathersich assisted on Irving's first goal and iced the game with a foal in the third period.
“We play a lot together in practice, we mix up lines a lot,” Leathersich said. “It's pretty easy to play with Connor and [Ryan] Santo because they tend to get the puck to you and get open. I guess it was little luck too and they were in the right spot.”
Gilligan said he was proud of Leathersich for stepping into the opportunity.
“Teddy filled a big void,” Gilligan said. “It's huge coming off the bench like that. He played a good game.”
FORECHECK & DEFENSE: The Panthers outshot L-S, 35-19, and gummed up the Warriors with a suffocating forecheck. Beverly's speed across all lines allowed the Panthers to drive the net hard, and with regularity.
“It's a large zone so we had Timmy direct the puck into the corner, and then we had our breakouts setup,” Albano said. “They were only doing a one-man [forecheck] so we're pretty good with that. Go d-to-d and go right up. It worked well for us.”
On the other end, Beverly made it a chore for the Warriors to push the puck up and establish a cycle on offense. When L-S was able to gain the blue line they were kept outside the dots and above the circles for the bulk of the game.
“I think our forecheck is definitely one of our biggest assets,” Leathersich said. “Teams can't keep up with it because defenses have no time to react.”
Pare said he's team poor performance on the offensive end was a combination of a lack of confidence and Beverly's never ending pressure.
“Against Winthrop, we had two goals that were just basically in the blue paint, being hungry,” Pare said. “Tonight it was a combination of them not letting us get to that area and us not crashing the net when we needed to.”
EXORCISING THE DEMON: After being bounced from the tournament in the first round the last two years this year's Beverly has put together two victorious, but very different performances to put themselves a game away from Causeway Street.
For several players, Friday's hair-raising shootout win over Danvers — the squad that eliminated them last year — was like getting the proverbial monkey off their back.
“After two years straight after losing in the first round I think we can now just play our game and put that stuff behind us, and just keep our fans on our side and keep playing the way we're playing,” Albano said. “I don't think any team can skate with us or shut us down offensively, and I know we have the goaltending and defense to shut any team down as well.”
The last time Beverly won a playoff game was in 2011, when the Panthers advanced to the North semifinals.
Who eliminated them? Tewksbury.
STONEHAM, Mass. -- It seemed half of the North Shore was at Stoneham Arena for last night's Division 2 North quarterfinal between Beverly and Danvers.
They got their money's worth as both goalies stole the show and Beverly squeaked out a 2-1 victory in a shootout to advance to the semifinals Monday against Lincoln-Sudbury.
The Panthers got goals from Nick Albano and Connor Irving in the shootout. Irving also had Beverly's goal in regulation. Danvers' Kyle Cahill scored the Falcons' lone goal in regulation and its only goal in the shootout.
“I never thought it'd end like this,” Beverly coach Bob Gilligan said. “We got some talented kids that can make some plays. We do the shootout at the end of practice the last few weeks, [and] there's a slew of them that can make some pretty good moves.”
The shootout ended the game, but it was the goalies who stepped into the spotlight and thrived. Danvers' Alex Taylor turned aside 41 shots, including 18 in the third period alone. Beverly's Tim Birarelli stopped 20 Danvers shots.
Taylor's third period was spectacular as Beverly's offense clicked on every cylinder but was unable to solve the junior.
“Obviously in the third period he was immense,” Danvers coach Kevin Brown said of Taylor. “In the second period he didn't see as many shots but third period he was there. I said last year the kid's a gamer. When there's a big game on the line the kid responds.”
Taylor was aided by a Danvers defense that played smart for the entire game. The Falcons kept their sticks low and forced Beverly into numerous low-percentage shots that Taylor was able to gobble up. When Taylor did have to stop one for the highlight reel he was able to.
Taylor stopped the last 39 shots he faced, excluding the shootout.
“No one gave us a shot coming into this, but we all knew we had a shot,” Taylor said. “I just didn't want to lose the game. There's such a huge rivalry, and I knew my team deserved more than that. It was just heartbreaking to go down like that.”
Gilligan said that the Falcons played his team smart on the defensive end.
“They're goaltending came up big,” Gilligan said. “They had a lot of blocks, we weren't getting the pucks through, but give them credit; they played well. I thought Taylor stood on his head at times. He had a lot of saves.”
Birarelli backstopped the Panthers and gave the offense the security it needed to press deeper into Danvers' zone throughout the game. Danvers used their offensive opportunities effectively but Birarelli was ready at every turn.
Birarelli was at his best during the shootout when he seemed to blanket the entire net. He turned aside four Danvers shooters who all threw something different at him but never made him commit first. His pad save on Kevin Hodgkins ended the game.
“Even in practice you can tell he locks down,” Irving said. “It's so hard to beat him side to side. He's such a good goalie; he's a big kid, he covers most of the net. He did an amazing job especially with all that pressure. He held the fort. He's the reason we won today. I love the kid.”
DEFENSE STALLS OFFENSE: Having already played each other twice this season very little was unknown between the two teams. The biggest battle going in was how the Falcon defense would gum up Beverly's high-octane attack that averaged 4.55 goals a game.
Danvers did it with an aggressive forecheck and funneling the Panthers to the boards through the neutral zone. It took Beverly a while to adjust and the Panthers never seemed to fully adjust.
“In the beginning they were sending a two-man, and then a one-man, forecheck to try to cut down the center of the ice,” Gilligan said. “Give Kevin credit; they played us pretty well. Our speed got sort of shut down.”
Last night was only the fifth time this season that Beverly failed to score three or more goals.
“We put ourselves in good spots on the ice,” Brown said. “Neutral zone, in the d zone shut down their speed early. We've seen them enough where we know what they do well; it comes down to effort. Our guys generally had the effort out there defensively.”
Less than 24 hours before the Warriors' Division 2 North quarterfinal contest against Winthrop, Pare let his intuition take over. He adhered to a belief that his junior goaltender Derek Ashe was the right man for the job to start, what L-S hopes will be a long and magical playoff ride.
As it turned out, Pare's presumption was right on. On Friday night, Ashe was marvelously between the pipes, stopping 25 of 26 shots to lift the Warriors to a 2-1 triumph over the Vikings at Ned O'Brien Ice Rink.
No. 4 L-S (13-3-5) moves into Monday's semifinal round against top seed Beverly (a 2-1 winner over Danvers) at Chelmsford Forum at a time yet to be determined.
The victory over the Vikings marks the second in as many years for L-S in the postseason. Last year, in quarterfinal action, the Warriors won in a shootout.
"The guys stepped up and that is what it really came down to," said Pare. "We came into this rink with an attitude and everyone was ready to go. The senior leadership really stood out tonight. One player in particular is Matt Barker. He was planting kids all over the ice. He's just a top, gritty leader for us. He's just one of those kids you love having on your team. If it wasn't for guys like him we don't win this game because Winthrop is physical and have some snipers on their team."
Trailing by a goal after two periods, No. 5 Winthrop (15-6) threw everything it could on Ashe over the final frame. The Vikings fired 13 shots his way in the period but failed to notch the equalizer. With just four seconds remaining and goalie Raymond Feeley (25 saves) pulled for the extra attacker, Winthrop made a final desperation attempt on net. Defenseman Stephen Goddard positioned himself inside the blue line. As the senior waiting for traffic to convert around the crease, he then unleashed a rocket through a plethora of legs, skates and sticks. Yet somehow Ashe was able to find the puck through all the chaos, snatching it in mid-air to preserve the victory.
"After I make one save it's all about making the next save," Ashe said. "That last one was more a reaction save for me. I knew he would shoot it high because most guys shoot the puck high in high school I just kept my position and was able to tie it up."
As this one played out, the Warriors needed every ounce of energy from Ashe to pull this one out. Winthrop started this game off extremely flat. Turnovers, several in fact, inside its own zone as well as the neutral zone had the Vikings playing back on their heels for a large portion of the opening period.
In addition, the Warriors came out of the blocks looking to be physical and bounce Winthrop off its anticipated lanes.
Adding to Winthrop's misery, the Warriors jumped ahead 1-0 at 4:30 of the first after sophomore Drew Baker put back his own rebound from the short side. A few minutes later, L-S was called for a couple of penalties. However, Winthrop could not convert on either man-advantage opportunity. The Vikings were handed another power play opportunity early in the third but could not capitalize.
"We talked about coming out the gate and having a fast start but I didn't think we did that," said Winthrop head coach Dale Dunbar. "But when we started getting our feet going then the body I felt things were going the other way for us. Our power play looked good but we just couldn't beat [Ashe]. Give him credit because he made some big-time saves. We had our chances but didn't capitalize and it's a tough one to swallow right now."
The Warriors went up by a pair at 3:57 of the middle period. Baker, standing inside the left circle, hoisted a shot which caromed off of Feeley's chest. The puck rolled out in front where defenseman Aiden Maron was waiting and the sophomore put his shot into the back of the net.
To the Vikings credit, the lackadaisical play witnessed early on was now behind them. Midway through the second, Winthrop was doing a much-better job getting to loose pucks, hitting their opponent back and effectively transitioning into the L-S zone. Things would finally pay off for them at 8:15 as junior Zach Deeb poked in a rebound glove-side bringing the Vikings to within a goal.
The intensity seen during the final minutes of the second by Winthrop carried into the third. Then, it was the Vikings playing the role of aggressor as they were finding open spaces to shoot the puck from. Meanwhile, L-S was playing not to lose as it tried to nurse its lead by tossing the puck into the Vikings zone on every opportunity.
With time winding down, Winthrop left nothing on the table in search for that elusive tying goal which never came.
"That was a great goaltending effort by him," Pare said. "Literally it came down to Thursday night after practice when I announced who would be the starter. Derek just mentally prepares for these type of games. We scrimmaged Wachusett Regional on Wednesday and then we had a great practice on Thursday and I just felt he earned the start tonight and I'm glad he did because he played great."
The Warriors scored twice in the opening minute and 12 seconds, making it look easy both times.
But someone forgot to remind L-S there was still 43:48 left to be played. During that time, the Warriors leveled out offensively and the Redmen turned up their play – enough so, to earn a 3-3 tie Wednesday night at New England Sports Center.
"Obviously we had a great start," L-S head coach Tom Pare said. "It goes to show you that if you don't play an entire 45 minutes it's not going to happen. Credit Tewksbury because they out-worked most of the second period and most of the third period. It's not a bad tie because Tewksbury is a good program that is well-coached. It's a team that we respect and we always seem to be battling them for the league title.
“We knew they were gunning for us because we beat them up at their place.”
The Redmen (10-2-2, 5-2-1), who lost to L-S, 3-1, on Jan. 15, returned to their form late in the opening period and maintained the rest of the way.
But it didn't start out that way. Eric Holden, off the opening face off, raced into Tewksbury's zone all alone and beat goaltender Kyle Paquette just 15 seconds in.
Perhaps a bit in shock over the early tally, the Redmen seemed a bit off-kilter. Less than a minute later, L-S stormed up ice on a odd-man rush. Myles Cohen drew the defense over to him and promptly delivered a cross-ice pass to Drew Baker. The sophomore forward, standing alone in front of Paquette, sent a shot just under the crossbar to give the Warriors a 2-0 advantage.
From there, however, Tewksbury started to work its patented in-your-face defensive style as they held the Warriors to just one more shot for the remainder of the period. At 6:44, after a few earlier attempts by the Redmen had just missed their mark, junior forward Colin Quinn, standing inside the blue line, rang a shot off the post and into the net, putting Tewksbury on the board.
"The first eight minutes for us were completely uncharacteristic," said Redmen head coach Derek Doherty. "In a big game like this it didn't seem like we were prepared. We were but we just didn't execute properly in those opening eight minutes. Early on we told our guys that they needed to play better defensively. Everyone is going forward and it left our goalie wide open. Kyle has done a great job for us in net all year long and plays very focused. But we cannot leave him out on an island by himself the way we did early on."
Following Quinn's marker, it appeared as though the Redmen had weathered the early onslaught and were now back to playing the style they are known for. Only 1:38 into the middle period, Tewksbury knotted things at 2-2. Jack Cash, a senior, broke free down along the right side and beat Derek Ashe (20 saves) with a hard wrist shot. But the Warriors (9-1-4, 7-1-1), whose offense was left vacant for nearly 14 minutes, found itself again. At 3:37 of the frame, Matt Jacobs gave L-S the lead back after grabbing a fat rebound in front and pushing it past Paquette (12 saves).
From that point moving forward, the Warriors were doing everything possible to shore up their defensive play and keep the Redmen from getting any quality looks at Ashe. For a while the strategy was working. Tewksbury had to scratch and claw to gain space inside the offensive zone. With less than five minutes to go in the period, the Warriors got careless with the puck inside their own zone. Tewksbury intercepted the puck which set up Quinn's second goal of the night, as he knocked home a rebound off of Ashe's chest following an initial shot by Ryan Petti.
"It would've been better had we won the game," said Quinn of his two goals and now has seven for the season. "I think we had a lot of chances on their goalie but just couldn't get the bounces. We hit a lot of posts and crossbars. We normally don't start well as a team and have to fight coming from behind. When we got behind tonight it was nothing really different for us. We just had to fight back like we normally do."
Tewksbury controlled much of the third period, by keeping the action inside the L-S end. The Warriors offense was struggling, helt do just one shot over the first 13 minutes in the frame. But they managed to initiate late flurry, putting three consecutive shots on Paquette within a span of 5 seconds. However, the junior netminder, who entered having posted three consecutive shutouts, was able to fend off the sudden offensive explosion and secure the tie.
"Our kids played well but we've got to learn to go for the jugular when it is there," Pare said. "It was one of those things where our kids got complacent after those first two goals. Needless to say we got woken up pretty quickly by them."
The Red Raiders are 3-0-2 to start the season against ranked competition within the Middlesex League, following their 2-1 win over No. 20 Reading last weekend.
For this week's complete poll, click HERE.
(Editor's note: Records are as of Tuesday, Jan. 21.)
Dragons catching fire: For the first time since our initial poll of the season, there is a public school that joined the ranks of the Top 10 this week.
Duxbury checks in at No. 10, after downing bitter South Shore rival Marshfield, 3-2, in a Martin Luther King Day holiday matinee. The Dragons have gone 6-1-0 in their last seven, following three straight ties to open the season.
Warriors' spirit: The other new addition to the poll this week was Lincoln-Sudbury at No. 25. The Warriors defeated Tewksbury, 3-1, in a battle of MVC/DCL Division 2 heavyweights last week.
It marks the first time the Warriors have been ranked since the midseason point of last year.
Ashe turned aside 25 shots to backstop the Warriors to a 3-1 win over Tewksbury in a battle of two of the top squads in Division 2.
“Derek held us in,” Lincoln-Sudbury head coach Tom Pare said of Ashe. “He knows the game, he has a high hockey IQ. His heart and his brain make up for anything you could do physically. I'm really proud of how he played. He's carried us.”
Ashe's shining moment came in the opening half of the second period when Tewksbury peppered the cage with 10 shots and at least a dozen more shot attempts. The Redmen were able to score one, but Ashe stood on his head to keep anymore from getting past.
Ashe's effort paid off when a defensive lapse by the Redmen sprang Lucas Morgan on a breakaway and he buried the shot midway through the second to put LS up 2-1.
“These guys played with confidence, that's what I was really excited about,” Pare said. “We came in, we were confident as a group, we were confident as a program.”
Offensively, the Warriors were led by Ryan Dale. The junior assistant captain scored the first goal of the game and capped the night with a 150-foot empty-net goal in the final minute to seal the win. Dale and the Warrior was able to establish its tempo for the bulk of the game.
“It was a very intense game,” Dale said. “I'm really glad we could pull out a W.”
Even in defeat, Tewksbury goalie Kyle Paquette had a solid game. The junior turned aside 20 shots in the loss.
Paquette's highlight came in the third period when he stopped a Drew Baker penalty shot.
“He kept us in there in the first period,” Tewksbury coach Derek Doherty said of Paquette. “He's been doing for us for three years, but we shouldn't have to rely on him like that.”
Brett Morris was Tewksbury's lone goal scorer, solving Ashe at 4:10 of the second period.
INCONSISTENCIES: Despite playing a physical, entertaining game, both teams left much to be desired in the neutral zone. Possessions were squandered away by both teams that forced a lot of transition hockey.
“That comes down to practice time,” Pare said. “When I'm jotting down notes in the game it comes down to preparation. We do a lot of those sort of things, a lot of individual skills, but it comes down to the mental aspect. It's overthinking and overanalyzing things.”
Both teams each committed five penalties, and Tewksbury clanged three shots off the bar.
“We're usually more disciplined and we weren't very disciplined tonight,” Doherty said. “I think we didn't play 45 minutes of hockey tonight and they did.
“We have some pretty good players in the locker room and they really didn't step up tonight and perform the way they should of. The better team won the game.”
Here's a look back at the day through fan photos, and that of my lens and correspondent Phil Garceau:
Lincoln-Sudbury goaltender Derek Ashe braved the cold temps with a Red Sox touque over his mask.
Shadow-play ... Jane Dudley celebrates her game-winning goal with her Dragon teammates ... pic.twitter.com/Qtq18vZBD2— Scott Barboza (@ESPNScottB) January 3, 2014
Duxbury D Ally Hammel was presented with the "Dragon" given to the Dragons' player of the game.
The sticks were stacked by the stockings with care ... pic.twitter.com/xjzw6MOR35— Scott Barboza (@ESPNScottB) January 3, 2014
And the jerseys hung in the Red Sox clubhouse as MC waited to take the ice ... pic.twitter.com/7pjtfDwCfd— Scott Barboza (@ESPNScottB) January 3, 2014
Lancers equipment manager Bob Reppucci made some last-minute stick adjustments ... pic.twitter.com/KE5uvntAk8— Scott Barboza (@ESPNScottB) January 3, 2014
WJC and Kendrick Lamar in the Red Sox, errr ... Malden Catholic "room" pic.twitter.com/4P7CR2tIM4— Scott Barboza (@ESPNScottB) December 31, 2013
As the Lancers warmed up outside the dugout ... pic.twitter.com/5mQfDbcMAg— Scott Barboza (@ESPNScottB) January 3, 2014
Then, it was game time ... pic.twitter.com/snDRVYPRYu— Scott Barboza (@ESPNScottB) January 3, 2014
1a. Springfield Central’s Valdamar Brower and Leominster’s Dave Palazzi were my two front-runners for Coach of the Year headed into Friday, but Barnstable’s Chris Whidden has to be firmly in any discussion from herein, following Friday’s impressive stifling of Natick. At the beginning of the year, Whidden righted the ship before it even began to sink, making conditioning a high point of emphasis following their season-opening 37-9 whupping at the hands of archrival Dennis-Yarmouth. The Red Raiders came out of their bye week and proceeded to take down two Catholic Conference teams, BC High and Xaverian, in back to back weeks.
Last week, Whidden installed a Cover 2 defense –- a look they’ve never run all season long –- in three days to combat the wizardry of Troy Flutie. In what some would consider a shrewd move, Whidden opted not to match up his top defensive back (Derek Estes) with Natick’s most dangerous target (Alex Hilger), instead sticking a linebacker on Hilger and sagging the corners into zones. Whidden is a smart, smart coach, who knows how to quickly evaluate his opponent’s strengths and weaknesses and devise a flexible gameplan to counter. This was a team that some thought would not compete as well as they did a year ago, when they reached the D1A Super Bowl, yet here they are, two wins away from a return to Gillette Stadium.
We’re three years into the Whidden era, and I’ve already lost count of how many wins the Raiders have had over Top 10 opponents. By now, this is no fluke. The guy can flat out coach.
1b. All that said, this Friday’s D2 South Final could be Whidden’s best challenge yet. Long-time Mansfield coach Mike Redding is a chess grand master, but he’s never had a king piece quite like Brendan Hill. The 6-foot-6 junior already holds a Division 1 FBS offer (UMass), leads the Hornets in receiving (43 catches, 631 yards, 7 TD) and lines up everywhere on the perimeter, from tight end to slot receiver to split end. Back in Week 6, King Philip held Hill to his lowest receiving total of the season (3 catches, 43 yards) in a 20-7 loss to the Hornets, and they mixed up their coverage quite a bit on him – rolling coverages, pressing, bumping and passing him along to another zone.
But here’s the thing. If they decide to deploy special coverage on Hill, I think the Hornets are that kind of team that would use him as a decoy to open up other parts of the field for two of their other most dangerous targets, Michael Hershman and Miguel Villar-Perez. Just a great matchup here between two of the best schemers across the state. Expect some funky stuff.
2. Crazy stat line of the week, singles division: In two playoff games, Doherty wide receiver Alfred Adarkwah has four catches for 122 yards and four touchdowns. That’s right, literally every touch this postseason for the lanky 6-foot-4 senior has been for a score.
During the summer, coaches and players over on Highland St. hinted that the Highlanders had been experimenting Boston College-bound athlete Isaac YIadom and Adarkwah on the same side of formations during passing leagues, to positive results. For the most part, that hasn’t been the case. Rather, leaving Adarkwah on an island opposite Yiadom’s side of the formation has yielded dramatic results (see: Quabbin, first round). And here’s the dilemma: the moment you shade off of Yiadom, the threat of him ripping off a big gain increases threefold.
Monday film sessions at Doherty are called “Moss Monday” for a reason. When talking about players who have elevated their stock for All-State consideration with their playoff performances, Adarkwah is certainly in the discussion.
3. Crazy stat line of the week, pairs division: In two playoff games, Plymouth South’s Dylan Oxsen and Plymouth North’s Christian Carr have combined for 1,128 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns. Apart, they are the state’s two top playoff rushing leaders, with both scoring seven times and Oxsen holding a 26-yard edge. That alone should be reason enough to go see these two teams square off. Now put the Division 3 Southeast title on the line, and factor in the intensity of his heated cross-town rivalry (Romano Field was over capacity in the first meeting in September, a 4 p.m. start), and this has the makings of something special.
4. Leominster is going for an unprecedented sixth straight win over rival St. John’s of Shrewsbury, dating back to the start of 2011, when the two teams meet on Friday at Doyle Field for the D2 Central title, but I don’t think this is such a shoe-in for the Blue Devils. How quickly people forget that, after a dismal first half, quarterback Andrew Smiley lit up the Leominster defense in the second half with a slew of screen passes, with Mike McGillicuddy the primary benefactor. If they get off to a good start in the screen game, and stay committed to it, I think an upset is in play here for the Pioneers.
5. Another reason to love the new playoff format: four teams from the Hockomock League and three from the Atlantic Coast Leagues are playing for district titles this weekend. Under the former system, Hockomock Kelley-Rex runner-up Attleboro would not be playing for a D1 South title on Friday night, nor would Davenport runner-up Stoughton (D3 Southwest), while Kelley-Rex champ Mansfield (D2 South) and Oliver Ames (D3 Southwest) would be still in play. Meanwhile, ACL champ Plymouth South (D3 Southeast) would be playing while Plymouth North (D3 Southeast) and Dennis-Yarmouth (D4 South) would be sitting at home. Up North, we have an All-DCL D2 Final (Lincoln-Sudbury vs. Waltham) and an All-Middlesex D3 Northwest Final (Woburn vs. Melrose). Honestly, what’s not to like about that?
6a. I’ve asked to several coaches playing non-playoff games about their approach, and whether they try to get underclassmen experience or let the seniors finish out their glory. Most of them said the same thing –- you have to balance the two. But the overarching theme I sensed with their talks was that, like a lower-tier college bowl game, there isn’t a lot of pressure so you might as well have some fun.
There’s still some interesting storylines to be played out there. For a football junkie like me, I actually look forward to some of these unique matchups, such as last weekend’s matchup between Somerset-Berkley’s “double wing” scheme and Nauset’s unique “Notre Dame Box” variation of the Single Wing, complete with spinning fullbacks. Elsewhere, Natick’s Troy Flutie needs one touchdown pass to tie the state’s all-time mark, and assuming he’s healthy enough to play, he could very well do it Friday against Needham.
6b. Which brings us to our final crazy stat line of the week, non-playoff division: In two post-qualification games, Pope John Paul II junior quarterback Ryan Barabe is completing 86 percent of his passes (31-of-36) for 488 yards and six touchdowns. That’s right, 86 percent, or 18 points higher than his regular season percentage. I’m on record saying the Lions were snubbed in D6 South, an unfair casualty of second league automatic qualifiers, and I’m wondering if this non-playoff run will help build a case for detractors.
The final score was comfortable for the Tigers (15-0-2), but the start of the game was anything but easy, as the visitors stormed out of the gates and put pressure on the Newton North back line. Forward Veronica Alois, in particular, caused problems for the Tigers and helped the Warriors (11-5-4) earn three corner kicks in the opening five minutes.
There is a cliché in soccer that goals change games. In the 20th minute, Newton North proved it right again.
A long ball forward by Fitzgerald caught Tigers forward Angela Ward one-on-one with Andover senior defender Sarah Van Antwerp. The two players came together and van Antwerp went to ground, but the official waved play on and Ward took advantage of the breakaway to score what turned out to be the game winner.
Andover head coach Meghan Matson commented, “It stinks because we were dominating to start the game possession-wise and just our opportunities on goal. I think we did a really good job stepping up and winning the 50/50s and being a real defensive presence on the field.”
She added, “It was a non-call that from our perspective should have been a call but it is what it is and you kind of have to move on from there.”
The Warriors had to move on without Van Antwerp, who pulled her hamstring in the collision with Ward. Four minutes after her injury, with Andover still reshuffling its back line, Newton North struck again. Fitzgerald this time was the scorer. With a deft touch to take the ball inside a defender on the edge of the 18, she struck a shot inside the post to make it 2-0.
Newton North head coach James Hamblin remarked, “The first five minutes, I think we were all over the place. They were nervous, excited…I don’t know and to be fair Andover came at us. The first five minutes we couldn’t get out of our own half.”
He continued, “That old cliché - the goal turned the game and they had to take her out and we got the second while they got organized.”
After halftime, Newton North took control of the game with Andover keeper Emily Masterson forced into strong, diving saves at her near post to stop both Ward and Fitzgerald from finding the third goal. Matson acknowledged the improvement in her senior goalkeeper this season.
“This season our starting keeper was out with a concussion and she stepped in and she’s been incredible for us. She’s made some really clutch saves and it’s amazing to see the transformation in her confidence.”
Bay State Conference MVP Christina Callahan and fellow midfielder Amelia Williams started to get control of the center of the pitch in the second half and the Tigers grew increasingly willing to hit long diagonals to the forwards, as the clock ran down.
“We definitely have good power, strength, and speed up top,” noted Hamblin. “The front two of Ang and Shannon are excellent and we’ve had a rotating system on the other forward. We used our pace and power to get in behind them and it worked at times.”
Andover did create a couple of chances in the dying minutes as it grew increasing desperate to find a goal.
Alois took advantage of a slip to break into the box and rounded Tigers keeper Maddie Bledsoe only for right back Maya King to come across the field and make a last-ditch block. A minute later, Alois’ footwork created space at the top of the 18 for Meredith Van Antwerp, but her shot was right at Bledsoe.
As the game entered the final 30 seconds, the Tigers had one more flurry on offense, but Masterson made two sliding blocks in the 18 and one slide tackle well outside of the box. Despite the keeper’s best efforts, the ball fell to Fitzgerald who fired home her second and clinched the game.
Hamblin remarked,” I said to the girls at halftime that the next goal is huge. I said that if we get it, it’s game over. I would have liked for it to come early, not with 10 seconds left, but I thought the more we defended well then the more frustrated that they got and started hitting longer balls that we soaked up.”
Matson was disappointed that the final score was not indicative of how well Andover played against the still unbeaten Tigers.
You look at the score and see 3-0 and think that’s kind of a rough game, but it was definitely not indicative of how the game went,” she said. “To go down 2-0 like we did and keep attacking says a lot about their heart.”
Newton North will advance to Tuesday night’s semifinal at Manning Field in Lynn to take on Masconomet.
- The No. 1 seed in D1 North also advanced on Sunday, as Central Catholic (the No. 1 team in the final regular season, ESPNBoston.com statewide rankings) defeated Lincoln-Sudbury, 4-2. It was the second game in a row that the Raiders have won by that score, after giving up only a single goal in the first 17 games of the season. Central Catholic will take on another DCL Large team in the semifinals – No. 5 Acton-Boxborough.
- On Sunday, several of the defending state champions advanced in the tournament: In D1, the Needham boys scored late to beat league rival Weymouth, 1-0, in a rematch of last year’s sectional final and the Franklin girls scored five goals to beat league rival Milford. In D2, the Medfield girls went on the road to beat Foxborough, 4-2. In D3 girls, Weston will take on Hamilton-Wenham on Monday.
- There is guaranteed to be a new champion in D2 and D3 for the boys, although each of the state champions from 2012 is still alive in the postseason. Groton-Dunstable was moved from D2 to D1 in the Central (D2 no longer exists outside of Eastern Mass.), and pulled off an upset of No. 2 seed Doherty on Sunday. Sutton was also moved during realignment, from D3 to the newly created D4 in Central, and will take on Maynard as the No. 2 seed on Monday.
- To this point (although to be fair not all of them have taken the pitch yet) each of the No. 1 seeds are still alive. The biggest upset to this point happened on Sunday evening as the Walpole girls, the No. 19 seed in D1 South, knocked off No. 3 seed Oliver Ames, the Hockomock’s Davenport division champ and 2012 sectional finalist, on penalties after 100 scoreless minutes. It was the second straight PK victory for the Rebels, who also beat No. 14 Plymouth South on Friday. Walpole advances to face No. 6 North Attleborough, which beat Whitman-Hanson, 3-2, in overtime on a goal by Hana Caster. The Rocketeers had their own penalty let off on Sunday when a Panthers PK struck the post in a tie game with fewer than 10 minutes remaining.
- The D1 South boys’ quarterfinals are set with four very intriguing match-ups. Top seed and top ranked Silver Lake crushed Milford on Sunday and will host another Hockomock League opponent, Mansfield, on Tuesday. The winner of that game will face the winner of New Bedford (beat Marshfield, 3-1), which spent several weeks ranked no. 1 this season, and Franklin (beat Taunton, 2-1), which took home a Kelley-Rex division title and has only lost once all season.* On the other side of the bracket, Needham will face Brockton (beat Bridgewater-Raynham, 2-0) in a rematch of last year’s first round meeting and the winner faces whichever team advances out of a Top 20 battle between Wellesley (beat Braintree, 4-0) and BC High (beat King Philip, 4-0).
- In D1 North, there were a pair of upsets on the boys’ side with No. 13 Malden beating No. 4 Peabody, 1-0, in overtime and No. 12 Lowell advancing past No. 5 East Boston, 3-2, on penalties. Those two will face off in the quarterfinals. Top seed Somerville moved on with a comfortable 4-0 win and will take on a talented Bay State team, Brookline, which beat Lincoln-Sudbury, 1-0). Second seed Madison Park beat Chelmsford, 1-0, and will next face perennial power Acton-Boxborough, which beat Framingham, 1-0, in overtime. St. John’s Prep (beat Andover, 2-0), the No. 3 seed, will play No. 11 Lexington (beat Revere, 5-0) in the final second round match — all to be played on Tuesday.
ESPN Boston High Schools Editor
Division 1 North: Everett
Plain and simple, I just don’t see John DiBiaso getting outcoached in this field.
Division 1 South: Attleboro
One of several surprise picks I’m going to lay down here. The Blue Bombardiers’ program has long been a sleeping giant, and they’ve finally awoken this fall with a slew of skilled athletes, including quarterback Tim Walsh, tight end Luke Morrison, receiver Brenden Massey and promising young two-way lineman Kyle Murphy. The key may be junior Damon Belin, a speedy pass-catching running back who is elusive in space.
Division 2 North: Haverhill
Hard to think just two years after an 0-11 campaign, the Hillies are the No. 1 seed in a playoff tournament. Sophomore running back Ian Kessel, one of the area’s leaders in yards from scrimmage, has been at the forefront of the renaissance, and I expect him to have a breakout campaign this next month.
Division 2 South: Natick
If there is one player capable of carrying his team on his back, it is quarterback Troy Flutie, who has put up video game numbers yet again (2,500-plus yards, 35 TD) with an assortment of supporting cast members.
Division 2 Central: Leominster
This is the most talented team of Dave Palazzi’s tenure, and it may be his best coaching job yet. They are not the most physically intimidating team, but they are one of the most disciplined, and they squeeze every inch out of their talents, led by dual threat QB Neil O’Connor. The Blue Devils brought the biggest crowd ever to Gillette Stadium two years ago. I can only imagine what kind of caravan from this football-mad city would show up this year.
Division 3 Northeast: Tewksbury
There may be some bumps in the road in this field, but at the end of the day there isn’t a team as deep as the Redmen in this field. They were the most dominant team in the MVC this season, and with a stable of running backs led by James Sullivan and Eddie Matovu, along with a scheme that draws formations from seemingly every family of offense throughout history, I just don’t see how anyone knocks these guys off.
Division 3 Northwest: Arlington
Two Dubzinskis are better than one, and the father-son duo of head coach John Jr. and his father John Sr. as defensive coordinator has taken the Middlesex by storm this fall after showing promise a year ago. I don’t know what direction this bracket is headed in, but the Spy Ponders are a safe pick.
Division 3 Southeast: Plymouth South
As long as Dylan Oxsen is carrying the rock, I don’t see anyone but the Panthers taking this bracket. It’s a different story after that, though.
Division 3 Southwest: Walpole
The Rebels’ ground game has come along well, after hitting a few bumps. As long as the defense can hold up, their multi-dimensional stable of backs can do the rest.
Division 4 North: Bedford
Another field that can go in an assortment of directions, the ground game dictated by Olan Abner could be the difference.
Division 4 South: Dennis-Yarmouth
The Dolphins typically hit their stride in the second half of the season, and the way this offense is clicking, it’s going to take a flawless defensive performance to shut down Spencer Tyler, Michael Dunn and company.
Division 4 Central: Doherty
Twitter follower and familiar 98.5 The Sports Hub caller “Aidan From Worcester” guarantees Shepherd Hill beats Doherty in this bracket. The Rams are a dangerous bunch, but the Highlanders have arguably the best grouping of pure athletes statewide across Division 4, so I'm sticking to my gut.
Division 5 North: Bishop Fenwick
Rufus Rushins gets much of the glory in this dominant run for the Crusaders, and deservedly so, but quarterback Nick Bona is the catalyst of this offense, and will be the difference in a close game somewhere down the line.
Division 5 South: Abington
The Green Wave lost some key bodies to start the year, but have been rolling ever since, capped with a convincing 36-7 rout of East Bridgewater. The versatile backfield of Al Freeman, Jason Halpin, quarterback Bryan Dwyer and promising sophomore Shawn Donovan will wear front sevens down.
Division 5 Central: Leicester
Tom Rodrick has been the driving force on both sides of the ball, but quarterback Drew Mazzeo puts the Wolverines over the top.
Division 6 North: Latin Academy
There are trendier picks in this field, such as Boston Cathedral, but the Dragons have one of the better overall athletes in this field in quarterback/safety Kyle Dance. He will be the difference.
Division 6 South: Upper Cape
Mike Hernon has done a fantastic job with this program, and while the Rams are a low seed headed into this wide-open field, Jon Dumont is a dangerous asset to this triple-option scheme who can take them deep.
Division 6 Central: Blackstone Valley Tech
Nic Wojnar is as elusive with his feet as he is throwing the ball in the Beavers’ read option scheme. Expect big numbers from the senior this postseason.
ESPN Boston High Schools Editor
DIVISION 1 NORTH: Lowell
I’ve gone on record since the summertime months saying the Red Raiders are making an appearance at Gillette Stadium this year. Lowell has a tough road there, staring with a first-round road game at St. John’s Prep in the No. 4 vs. No. 5 swing matchup, but I’ve like the strides this defense has made behind Alex Quintero and Shyheim Cullen.
DIVISION 2 NORTH: Haverhill
One of the tougher races to project in Eastern Mass., the Hillies enter as the No. 1 seed. Preseason favorite Reading, a buzz worthy Waltham team and old stalwarts Lincoln-Sudbury could all claim the prize, but I’m going with the upstart Hillies, vindication for the terrific job Tim O’Connor has done since taking over the program.
DIVISION 3 NORTHEAST: Tewksbury
Marblehead might have the best athlete in the field with two-sport standout Brooks Tyrrell, but Tewksbury proves too much to handle, with a three-headed rushing attack and a stout defense.
DIVISION 3 NORTHWEST: Melrose
The Red Raiders lone loss of the regular season came against Middlesex Freedom division rival Wakefield, coming on a late field goal, but I like Melrose the second time around. The teams couldn’t meet until the sectional final and who wouldn’t love ensuring a third meeting of the season by Thanksgiving rivals.
DIVISION 4 NORTH: Watertown
Perhaps a surprise pick coming out of the division, the Red Raiders have some athletes on the boundaries with T.J. Hairston. I think Bedford might be the team to watch here, but just playing a hunch.
DIVISION 5 NORTH: Bishop Fenwick
Pick the Crusaders to go all the way, on a tear through Gillette. They haven’t just beaten teams, they’ve annihilated the CCL’s best, including St. Mary’s (first-round opponent) and Austin Prep, which they both will/can see down the road.
DIVISION 6 NORTH: Cathedral
Another North-based team I have running the field. As I mentioned earlier in the state championship Roundtable, I think the Panthers are just hitting their stride now. This could be the second championship of more to come.
DIVISION 1 SOUTH: Xaverian
Almost wanted to pull the trigger and go with Bridgewater-Raynham here, but I think the Hawks’ defense, which has carried them through the regular season, continues to be the story in the postseason, leading them to Gillette.
DIVISION 2 SOUTH: Mansfield
If this were the World Cup, this would be referred to as the “Group of Death.” Seriously, whichever team survives this gauntlet will be battle-tested. Ever since Week 1, it seems as though Mansfield’s been a team of destiny; they follow through.
DIVISION 3 SOUTHEAST: Plymouth South
An intriguing bracket, littered with some of the Atlantic Coast League’s finest, so look no further than the Panthers, the league’s playoff representative from last season. Nauset and Plymouth North are lurking, but also don’t look past an underrated rivalry game between Somerset-Berkley and Dighton-Rehoboth as a first-round appetizer.
DIVISION 3 SOUTHWEST: Oliver Ames
Another division strongly influenced by the presence of one particular league, in this case the Hockomock. OA and Stoughton drew the top two seeds, but let’s not sleep on No. 4 seed North Attleborough, which plays up in the Kelley-Rex division. Whichever team emerges from the Red Rocketeers’ first-round duel with Walpole could be a dark horse for the sectional title.
DIVISION 4 SOUTH: Westwood
Tons of Tri-Valley League talent to go around here, but I’m sticking with the regular-season champion. It wouldn’t shock me in the slightest if Dennis-Yarmouth wears the sectional crown, but the Wolverines are a team that simply seems to get it done when the chips are on the table, led by dynamic senior quarterback Bo Berluti.
DIVISION 5 SOUTH: Cardinal Spellman
Old Rochester Regional enters the tournament with the No. 1 seeding, having posted some gaudy offensive numbers throughout the year behind running back Richie Phillips. I picked the Cardinals to win the state title from the start of the season, and while I like Fenwick a little more in terms of the state championship, I still envision Spellman returning to Gillette.
DIVISION 6 SOUTH: Millis/Hopedale
Perhaps no injury will have a greater impact on the outlook of the division than that of the Mohawks and lineman Jon Baker. Granted, I still like M/H’s chances emerging from a wide-open field, thanks to running back Chris Ahl. That being said, the Mohawks’ first-round date with Mashpee could determine the sectional champion.
DIVISION 2 CENTRAL: Leominster
I like the Blue Devils to advance to Gillette, but the sectional field is fraught with peril, too. Marlborough and St. John’s (Shrewsbury) can score with the best of them, but I don’t think anything short of an act of god slows down the Leominster caravan.
DIVISION 4 CENTRAL: Doherty
From season’s start, I’ve tabbed the Highlanders as my statewide Division 4 championship favorite. However, the toughest matchup in the path might very well in their first-round test against No. 6 seed Quabbin.
DIVISION 5 CENTRAL: Leicester
Coming into the season, it would have been easy to project Auburn running away with another championship of sorts, but I’m going with the No. 1-seeded Wolverines, led by linebacker Tom Rodrick – a strong Defensive Player of the Year candidate.
DIVISION 6 CENTRAL: West Boylston
This is a case of what have you done for me lately? While No. 1 seed Littleton rolled through its Mid-Wach schedule undefeated, scoring at a clip of nearly 43 points per game, West Boylston notched a thorough win over previously mentioned Leicester two weeks ago. Granted, the Lions’ lone loss of the season came at the hands of Littleton, but after a one-possession loss in Week 1, I’m banking on the second meeting having a different outcome.
Oliver Ames and Scituate have both moved into the Top 10 after strong weeks and inconsistent play by Lincoln-Sudbury and Beverly. Algonquin was another big mover, as it jumps up four spots after handing Westborough its first loss of the season.
Whitman-Hanson will be a team to watch for the playoffs, but the Panthers dropped out of the rankings after a tough few weeks. They are replaced by Wilmington, which is cruising in the Middlesex League and has won 12 games in row.
Minnechaug and Needham also moved back into the Last 10 Out as teams position themselves ahead of the tournament.
There's only a few games left in the regular season and then it will be time to throw the records out the window once the playoffs get going.
For this week's full poll, click HERE.
There was a lot of shake-up in the rankings this week after several big games between ranked teams on Saturday.
In one marquee match, Newton North shockingly beat up on Beverly and jumps into the No. 2 spot because of it. The 5-0 win was enough to allow the Tigers to move ahead of a Belchertown team that's similarly dominant out west. Nashoba also added a big victory over Lincoln-Sudbury, and the Chieftains, a perennial power in D1, move up into the Top 5.
Also jumping up into the Top 5 is Duxbury, which swept the season series with Whitman-Hanson and clinched its first Patriot League title since 2007. The Dragons beat Scituate, Whitman-Hanson, and Quincy in the past week and all without injured striker Emily Weimer, who has nearly 20 goals on the season.
Two teams dropped out of the rankings this week: Medfield and Needham. Both will be considered teams that no one wants to play in the tournament, but both have struggled to get victories in the last week.
Jumping into the Top 20 are Medway, which is near the top of the TVL, and Algonquin, which tied Nashoba on Tuesday.
The parity in the girls' game is impressive as a number of teams could be considered Top 20-caliber (i.e., Canton or North Attleborough from the Hockomock or Wilmington and Winchester of the Middlesex) and this should lead to a lot of excitement and more than a few upsets come tourney time.
For this week's complete Top 20 poll, click HERE.
CONCORD, Mass. – Seven years ago, the Concord-Carlisle soccer team staged a single game to help raise money for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in honor of assistant coach Steve Wells’ mother Lois. The annual Kicks for Cancer was so well received that in 2011 it had grown to six games and twelve teams. In the past seven years, the event has raised more than $100,000 for cancer research.
On Saturday afternoon, the event reached another milestone, as the Lady Patriots donned blue t-shirts for the first time and took the field against league rival Lincoln-Sudbury. It was the first time that the girls’ programs had taken part in the event and it was announced that all the proceeds for this year would support women’s cancer research.
“It’s nice to get them involved, particularly since all the money being raised is earmarked for women’s cancers,” said Concord-Carlisle boys’ head coach Ray Pavlik after his team’s game in the nightcap. “It was something that they’ve wanted to do and we just finally said it’s time to go.”
According to Lincoln-Sudbury head coach Kate Berry, the process started before last year’s event when former Patriots coach Nancy Slocum started lobbying Pavlik to have the girls join in the event. Although there was no room in 2012, and Slocum stepped down as coach following the season, she continued to push for the girls to be included.
“[Nancy Slocum] and I talked about doing it last year and Ray just didn’t have a spot for us…kudos to her for getting us the opportunity,” said Berry. “I’m so thankful that we got the chance to do that. It’s so great for the girls and I think it’s a really wonderful opportunity.”
When asked if L-S would like to be part of next year’s event, she responded, “I guess it’s up to C-C, but we’d love to take part if we can.”
First-year head coach Peter Fischelis was thrilled for his team to be able to experience Kicks for Cancer. He remarked, “It’s great for the kids, it’s great for the families, it’s great for the crowds and it’s just great to have such a nice day. They loved it; they really had a ball. It’s just a superb event all-around.”
Senior captain and goalkeeper Angela DeBruzzi admitted that the girls had heard the boys talking about the event for years and had always wanted to be part of the day. She said, “It was our first time getting to play in this, which is awesome and to come out here and to support breast cancer awareness.”
She added, “It’s really nice to finally be part of it.”
During Kicks for Cancer, teams do not wear their traditional school colors and uniforms. The players don t-shirts that are adorned with the name of someone that they know (i.e., family member, friend, or coach) that has battled cancer. Lincoln-Sudbury boys’ coach David Hosford talked about how the experience teaches the players to understand the importance of things beyond the field of play.
He also added, “One of the things that is really cool is that we had 15 or 20 of our former players back. They all want to come back and see the moment. It’s not a home game, but in a lot of ways it’s their homecoming.”
DeBruzzi was playing for her grandmother and it was her name that was on the back of her black goalie shirt. She may have been the star of the game and earned her a team a draw (more below), but it was the mention of her grandmother that finally brought a smile to her face.
She said, “I took a picture of the shirt and sent it to her just to make sure that she knew I was thinking of her.”
29th minute honored in boys’ game: As the clock ticked past 29:00 in the first half of the game between the Concord-Carlisle and Lincoln-Sudbury boys, the officials blew their whistle to stop play. Both teams went to the sideline and joined the large crowd lining Doug White Memorial Field for a minute of applause.
The planned stoppage paid tribute to Bridget Spence, the wife of Concord-Carlisle High English teacher Alex Spence, who passed away this year at the age of 29. The 2013 event was dedicated to her memory. Spence was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 22, according to Pavlik, and she battled cancer for seven years, while also working diligently to raise money for Dana Farber.
Pavlik, wearing a t-shirt that said Spence on the back with the number 29, explained, “If there is anyone that is a testament to what Dana-Farber can do…she worked up to the last few weeks of her life raising money for Dana-Farber. She was a pretty special woman.”
The idea for the minute of applause came from one of the players and both coaches agreed to the plan.
Pavlik reflected, “That was cool. It was a nice moment to stop…it was a nice touch to do a moment applause.”
No. 4 Lincoln-Sudbury girls 0, No. 16 Concord-Carlisle 0
Maybe it was wearing her grandmother’s name on the back of her jersey, but Angela DeBruzzi was in inspired form for Concord-Carlisle (5-0-2) when they took on Lincoln-Sudbury (4-0-2) in the 3:30 kickoff. Thanks to DeBruzzi’s heroics, which included five incredible saves in the second half alone, the No. 16 Patriots held the No. 4 Warriors to a 0-0 draw.
“Their goalie was lights out; I think that’s the whole story,” raved Berry. “She played a phenomenal game. I don’t even think we were kicking it right at her; I think she played a really good game in goal. She was awesome.”
Three times in the second half DeBruzzi made a spectacular stop to rob junior forward Hannah Rosenblatt of a goal. She also made a diving save on freshman Jenna Barnes and another on a cross by Caroline Kessler. It was a great performance and helped C-C keep its sixth clean sheet in seven games.
“Having a goalie like that gives you a lot of confidence in the back. She was incredible,” said Fischelis. He added, “She’s an incredible athlete. She has an unbelievable sense about where to be and when to go out and when not to. Some of those things you just can’t teach someone; it’s instinct.”
DeBruzzi deflected the praise on her teammates. She said, “I think we’ve exceeded everybody’s expectations and that comes from playing as a team and everybody working their hardest every game. It’s not me that’s having the shutouts; it’s the whole team.”
Lincoln-Sudbury dominated possession and created the lion’s share of the chances, although the best scoring opportunity of the first half fell to the Patriots. Senior captain Allie Barrett had a low shot just tipped wide of the post.
No. 8 Concord-Carlisle boys 1, Lincoln-Sudbury 1
Sophomore goalie Bobby Hurstak saved the game for the Warriors after the teams traded first half goals. Lincoln-Sudbury (3-0-3) held on to salvage a 1-1 draw with No. 8 Concord-Carlisle, who rued missed opportunities throughout the game.
“We had plenty of chances in the first half, plenty of chances in the second half, but their goalie was awesome. He was a huge equalizer tonight,” said Pavlik.
The visitors took the lead in the 25th minute on a short free kick on the edge of the box. Nathan Cohen caught the Patriots unaware by playing a pass on the ground to captain William Hutchinson, who coolly slotted it home.
The hosts kept up high tempo and pressure throughout the first half and hit the crossbar with a header before junior Mitchell Palmer rose highest to nod home a cross by Leo Fondreist with just more than a minute left in the first half.
Concord-Carlisle (6-1-1) would dominate the opening stages of the second half and Hurstak was forced into a brilliant diving save to rob Fondresit from inside the 6-yard box. The home fans were on their feet cheering again with 13 minutes left, but Garrett Leahy’s shot was inches over the bar.
“It was really won or lost in the midfield and I think we dodged some bullets with some of the chances they had,” said Hosford. “They’re a very good team.”
In other action:
Reading 1, Woburn 0 – Dave Sullivan scored the lone goal for the Rockets. Woburn also had a late penalty saved.
Lexington 3, Wakefield 1 – Lewis Mustoe, the son of NBC soccer broadcaster Robbie Mustoe, scored a brace and Caleb Stipple added the third for Lexington. Antonio Parrinello had the Wakefield goal.
Brookline 2, Newton North 0 – Ari Karchmer and Toma Beit-Arie scored the goals for Brookline in a battle of Bay State Conference teams.
Acton-Boxborough 1, Wayland 0 – The Colonials earned their first win at Kicks for Cancer on a goal from Julian Stewart.
The Fenway Sports Group unveiled a MIAA tripleheader for New Year's Eve that will kick off with Boston Latin boys' hockey playing DCL/MVC rival Lincoln-Sudbury at 10:15 a.m. South Shore girls' hockey rivals Duxbury and Hingham will square off at 12:15 p.m.
That all leads to the premiere matchup in which three-time defending Super 8 champion Malden Catholic will tangle with Catholic Conference rival St. John's Prep at 2:30 p.m.
On Jan. 8, the focus shifts to ISL hockey with a full slate of four games.
St. Paul's and Governor's Academy girls will skate at 1:30 p.m. followed by three boys' games.
Brooks School and BB&N face off at 3:15 p.m., followed by Groton School and St. Mark's at 5:30 before Belmont Hill and St. Sebastian's close out the night at 7:45.
However, Lincoln-Sudbury and Franklin were on the move, each moving up a spot in the Top 10 after Duxbury slipped up.
There was also a new team welcomed in, with Concord-Carlisle making its debut at No. 16.
For the full poll, click HERE.
In This Week: No. 16 Concord-Carlisle (5-0-0).
Out This Week: No. 20 Algonquin (2-1-1).