Boston High School: Medway

L-S on the move in girls' soccer Top 20

September, 18, 2014
Sep 18
4:27
PM ET
Lincoln-Sudbury was on the move in this week's statewide MIAA girls' soccer Top 20 poll.

The top four stayed the same again this week. Wilmington dropped out of the top five after a pair of draws and was replaced by Bishop Feehan. Lincoln-Sudbury, Concord-Carlisle, and Medway join Wachusett as the big movers in the past two weeks with L-S and C-C getting ready to square off next weekend at Kicks for Cancer.

North Attleborough's impressive start to the season sees the Rocketeers jump into the rankings for the first time along with the West sectional's only representative, West Springfield. Hingham is the other team to jump from unranked into the top 20 after the Harbormen beat Whitman-Hanson.

Newburyport held on to the No. 20 spot after losing to Hamilton-Wenham on Wednesday. It was the team's first loss since 2012 after finishing undefeated and winning the state title last fall.

D2 girls quarter: Sandwich 3 Medway/Ashland 2 (OT)

March, 9, 2014
Mar 9
12:46
AM ET
BUZZARDS BAY, Mass. – To anyone outside of the Sandwich locker room, it may come as a surprise that the No. 17 Blue Knights are in the semifinals.

But for Sandwich, it doesn’t come as much of a shocker.

“I think we are surprising all the folks outside of our league,” Sandwich head coach Steve Noll said. “Our league knows how we play.”

The Blue Knights have been tested all year long, so when Medway/Ashland scored the game-tying goal with 3:07 on the clock, no one panicked.

Less than two minutes into the overtime period, Katie Lowry and Maggie Layo turned a 2-on-2 counter-rush into a Layo breakaway, who went on to score the game-winning goal for a 3-2 Sandwich win.

“We saw the Falmouth game go into overtime and we didn’t want any of that at all, it was so much stress,” Layo said. “So going into it we knew we had to get it quick. We put on the boosters and got the goal.”

The Medway/Ashland team did a great job of neutralizing the Blue Knights attack all game aided by solid play from Kathryn Hamer and her 21 saves in net.

But with the season on the line, the last player that the Mustangs wanted to get loose on a breakaway was Layo and her 200-plus career points.

Upon entering the offensive zone, Lowry took the puck to the far right side, drawing both defenders to her. Lowry looked up, saw Layo all alone on the opposite end and fed her the puck. Hamer got a stick on Layo’s shot, but the puck had enough to crawl over the goal line.

“Honestly all I said was don’t freak out,” Noll told his team before the overtime period. “We got this. You guys came way too far to give it up in the last five minutes. This is our game, our rink and they aren’t going to take it away.”

After turning in one of their best defensive efforts of the season, Sandwich surrendered the game-tying goal to defensemen Rae Lambert with just over three minutes to play. From the left point, Lambert threw a puck on net that made its way through traffic and past goalie Allison Hir.

That goal gave momentum to the Mustangs heading into the extra period as they erased a two-goal third period deficit.

Defensive statement: It has been a week since the Blue Knights played their last game, knocking off top-seeded Tewksbury/Methuen in the first round of the Div. 2 tournament.

During that week, the Blue Knights focused soley on their defensive game and it showed on Saturday night, holding the Mustangs to just 15 shots and scoreless through the first 33 minutes.

“We spent seven days working on playing layers in our zone,” Noll said. “We tried to eliminate all the chasing and they scored the second goal because we were chasing but overall they executed 95% of the time.”

Equally impressive was Hir, who came out with big saves in the second period. Hir was plucked off the field hockey roster by Noll this past season and is playing her first year between the pipes.

“Look where she is today versus 10, 12 weeks ago,” said Noll. “She played outstanding and made the saves she needed to.”

Bouncing back: The first shot of the game is one that the Mustangs and Hamer would like to forget. Sandwich’s Nicole Martin took a soft shot from the left point 3:15 into the game that somehow managed to get under Hamer’s stick.

But from there she rebounded well, stopping the next 14 shots until Layo scored early in the third period on a breakaway.

“I think it caught her off guard,” Mustang coach Kurt Carter said of the early goal. “I think they took it to us in the first period and Catherine settled in. I don’t know how I would have reacted after letting up a fluke goal, I think I would have melted.”

The Sandwich top-line of Layo, Lowry and Claire Gauthier showed off some phenomenal passing in the early going, but Hamer quickly put the fluke goal behind her and turned in an excellent game.

Recap: Medfield 2, Medway 2

February, 7, 2014
Feb 7
3:11
AM ET
FRANKLIN, Mass. – Whenever Medfield and Medway share the same sheet of ice, the intensity follows.

In front of a raucous crowd at Pirelli Veterans Rink on Thursday, the Warriors and Mustangs again turned in a riveting 45 minutes of play. But in a 2-2 tie full of gasps, near-misses and spellbinding play, nothing compared to its final 10 seconds.

With Medfield (11-2-2, 8-1-1 Tri-Valley League) humming in the Mustangs’ zone, the Warriors had the advantage of a delayed penalty coming against Medway (10-3-2, 8-2-2). The Warriors’ bench gave the signal to goaltender Dan Graham to leave the net with possession in Medway’s end.

However, as Graham reached the bench, an intended pass from one of Medfield’s forwards broke through center ice and back toward the Warriors’ vacated net.

Medfield defenseman Matt Crowell chased in vain as the puck continued on between the faceoff dots.

“He’s one of our fastest skaters trying to catch it and it was just moving way too fast … That’s the kind of stuff that will kill you,” Medfield head coach Toby Carlow said.

As improbable as the scenario leading up to it, the only fitting conclusion for the two evenly-matched teams is where the loose puck ended up – bouncing harmlessly off the left side post.

Crowell, in hot pursuit, then cleanly played the puck off the goal line.

Time expired. All remained even.

“When I saw it hit the post, I actually laughed,” Mustangs head coach Chris Ross said. “I’ve personally never seen that happen as a coach.”

For the Warriors, who dropped their lone league game to Medway (a 3-2 loss on Jan. 11), the draw enables them to win the league title outright with a victory against Hopkinton on Saturday.

League title implications aside, Medway hit its stride first, claiming a 1-0 lead at 3:33 on Josh O’Toole’s goal assisted by Cam Fisher and Mike Boldy.

The Warriors tied the score before intermission, with Matt Dressens’ seventh goal of the year. Ben Ruzzo and John MacLean contributed assists.

Ruzzo picked up his second point of the game, knocking home a rebound for the go-ahead goal at 7:05 of the second period.

“They made adjustments to our breakout, they figured some stuff out when they made changes and it bottled us up some for sure,” Carlow said. “We fully expected that, if we expected any other kind of game today, you haven’t seen us play each other.”

The Warriors took a one-goal lead to the room between periods, but just 47 seconds into the third the Mustangs found the equalizer on a booming slap shot by senior defenseman Andrew Karlin from the right point.

Recap: Medway 3, Medfield 2

January, 12, 2014
Jan 12
1:57
AM ET


FRANKLIN, Mass. – Sophomore goaltender Mike Purnell made 31 saves to help Medway beat Medfield, 3-2, on Saturday afternoon at Pirelli Veterans Skating Arena and, in the process, ended its Tri-Valley League rival’s unbeaten start to the season.

Medway head coach Chris Ross was full of praise for his young goalie, who made 11 saves in a hectic first period and went on to stop 13 in the third, as the Mustangs were clinging to a one-goal lead.

He commented, “One of my favorite hockey quotes by Jack Parker, he said, ‘They should rename the game goalie.’ I fell very blessed that we have a good goalie.”

Purnell gave much of the credit to his communication with his defensemen, as Medfield controlled most of the possession in the attacking zone and outshot the Mustangs 33-15.

“There was a lot of talk from the goaltender to the defense to the wings,” Purnell said. “That’s a big part of hockey. If you can communicate it makes the play flow better and we were able to do that. It’s a good win.”

The Mustangs (5-2-1, 3-1-1) jumped out to a 1-0 lead just 39 seconds into the game. Josh O’Toole, shooting from the right circle, had his shot slip past Medfield’s sophomore goalie Matt Malvese.

Medfield head coach Toby Carlow admitted that an early goal like that can change a team’s whole approach to the game.

“The first period was a terrible period,” he said. “It’s tough because these guys are young kids and they sometimes get off their game plan really easy, especially when that happens, and then it struggles to get back on track and that’s exactly what happened.”

Medfield (6-1-1, 5-1-0) responded a little more than two minutes after the opening goal. Justin Hirschfeld knocked in a loose puck just two seconds after a Mustangs penalty ended. The Warriors gained momentum from the goal and controlled play, but with 3:53 left in the period Medway struck again when Mark Bittrolff’s shot from the point somehow found the top corner for a shorthanded goal to make it 2-1.

The Medway penalty kill would get plenty of work in the opening period. Although it went down as just two power play opportunities for the Warriors, Medway took four penalties in the first period and, at one point, were on the kill for a stretch of more than three minutes that included a pair of 5-on-3 situations.

“We had two 5-on-3’s in a row and those guys just did a great job,” said Ross. “We dedicate a lot of time in practice to special teams because these things pop up all the time in high school hockey. Those guys just executed perfectly tonight.”

Regarding his team’s power play, Carlow noted, “We just didn’t shoot. We didn’t do enough to get the puck to the net. Their guys did a good job keeping the puck outside, but we didn’t make them make mistakes, which you have to do on a power play.”

The Mustangs extended their lead four minutes into the second period. After a Medfield turnover in the defensive zone, Jared Reynolds slipped a pass across the crease to freshman Adam Dwyer, who knocked it past Dan Graham (who had taken over in goal for the Warriors) for what turned out to be the game-winner.

Medfield cut the lead to one with 9:18 left in the second. As a Medway power play ended, a loose puck found sophomore Matt Treiber charging up ice and Patrick Lawler came out of the penalty box to make it a 2-on-1. Treiber did not need his teammate but instead ripped a wrist shot into the roof of the net to make it 3-2.

In the final 10 seconds of the second period, Medway nearly doubled the lead, but Mike Boldy could not finish a breakaway chance and Graham smothered a pair of shots from close range.

In the third period, Medfield was desperate to find a game-tying goal and put 13 shots on Purnell, but the sophomore held firm and the Mustangs continually cleared the puck from the front of the net.

The win was clearly important to Medway, as the players stormed the ice on the final whistle and surrounded Purnell behind his net.

The goalie remarked, “It’s a confidence boost, you know. We weren’t playing that well in the past couple of games, but we stepped our game up here and hopefully we can just move on from here.”

Ross added, “I told the boys in there that this is one of my proudest moments as a coach…I thought it was a whole team effort. I’m beyond thrilled right now.”

Recap: Westwood 2, Medway 1

December, 18, 2013
12/18/13
9:27
PM ET
FRANKLIN, Mass. -- Westwood knows it caught a break. But in the world of competitive sports, no one is about to complain, especially if you happen to be on the winning side.

In tonight's Tri-Valley League early-season showdown, it appeared as though the Wolverines would have to settle for a tie against rival Medway at the Staff Sgt. Pirelli Veterans Memorial Rink. Westwood was nursing a one goal lead through much of the final period until Mustang junior Kevin Kaufman ripped a shot from the left circle that eluded all-everything goaltender Will Ribas to knot things up.

As the clock ticked down to a few precious seconds, the Wolverines made one final rush into the Medway zone. Junior captain Ken Mackin let go of a shot from about 20 feet out. The puck hit the stick of Mustang goalie Mike Purnell and soared into the air. Kaufman, standing alongside Purnell, tried to swat the puck mid-air away from the net but instead, the puck deflected off his stick and went backwards into the net with 16 seconds remaining giving the Wolverines an unexpected 2-1 triumph.

"We kept skating but I don't think this was our best game and it wasn't Medway's best game either," Wolverines head coach Mike Welby said. "We tried to keep skating with those guys and put pucks deep and tried to work the puck to the net. We knew their goalie was good so we knew a second goal would be tough to come by. It's tough to see a game end like that where it goes off their own player's stick but that's the way it goes sometimes."

With the victory, Westwood improves to 2-0-0 while Medway drops to 0-1-0.

The Mustangs controlled most of the action. The Wolverines had trouble containing the puck at both ends of the ice due in large part to a solid mix of fore and back checking by the Medway defense. That, in turn, led to some quality chances offensively.

However, in spite of holding a 24-13 advantage in shots through two periods, the Mustangs trailed 1-0. At 12:50 of the middle frame, Wolverine forward Mike Riley gained possession of the puck after it caromed off the back dasher and onto his stick. The junior, left all alone in front, slipped a shot by Purnell.

"We tell our kids all the time to get the puck to the net and get bodies to the net," Welby said. "Good things will happen. Fortunately, tonight something good happened for us."

Throughout this contest, Medway was left wondering if it would catch a break as easily as Westwood did. For the first time all game, the Wolverines opened the third period the aggressor. Looking to add to its lead, Westwood put up a couple of quality chances on Purnell (18 saves) but came away with nothing to show for it.

With just under nine minutes remaining, Medway freshman Andrew Diebus had his team's best chance of the evening after rifling a hard wrist shot at Ribas.

But the netminder reacted quickly by sticking his left pad out and turning the shot aside. Ribas, who last year maintained a productive 1.50 goals-against-average, looks to be on track for another stellar season between the pipes.

"A lot of our success has to do with the way our defense plays," said Ribas, finishing with 31 stops. "If I do let up a rebound it's always going in the corners. I think our team is extremely deep this year and I think we're going to give everyone we play a good run. We hadn't beaten Medway in five years so it feels pretty good. I felt we all played very well tonight."

With the clock showing less than six minutes to play, the Mustangs finally caught a break after Medway defenseman Joe Reissfelder was sent to the penalty box for interference -- the first and only penalty charged to the Wolverines all night. It took but eight seconds for Medway to capitalize on the man-advantage thanks to Kaufman's tally coming at 9:12.

During the final four minutes, both teams worked feverishly in their attempts to score the go-ahead goal only to come away empty. That is until the fluke score in the waning seconds which left the Mustangs a bit stunned.

"I told our kids how proud I was in the way they fought back," Medway head coach Chris Ross said. "Westwood has a very good goaltender and we knew we had to throw a lot of pucks toward the net and jump on rebounds. We just couldn't bury our chances when we had them. We weren't getting there for any loose rebounds. We were getting some good first shots but not getting good second opportunities off the rebounds.”

Ross continued, “In the third period we started doing that a little more and were able to tie things up. But sometimes when you put yourself in a situation late where anything can happen, sometimes anything does happen."

Hockey teams kick off season at Regan Summitt

December, 9, 2013
12/09/13
1:42
AM ET
MARLBOROUGH, Mass. -- It is never easy replacing a legend, but that is the task which has been handed down to first-year St. John's (Shrewsbury) coach Mike Mead.

Mead's Pioneers, along with many of the state's other top-echelon programs, took part in Sunday's Fifth Annual Garrett Regan Hockey Summit at New England Sports Center. The event is named after the former 26-year Hingham High coach and Massachusetts State Hockey Coaches Hall of Fame inductee who passed away in June 2008.

Mead, who was appointed to the position last September, takes over for Brian Murphy, who stood behind the St. John's bench for 29 seasons, posting an overall record of 392-217-63, including a pair of Division 1 state titles (1999, 2004) and a handful of Super 8 appearances.

Mead is no stranger to St. John's. He served as an assistant under Murphy for 16 years, leaving in 2007 to spend more time with his family. He is also head of the Math Department at the school.

"Brian is a great friend and was a great mentor," said Mead. "He kind of broke me in. When this opportunity happened I jumped at it. My kids are little older now so everything sort fell into the right place at the right time for me."

Mead exudes the fact that the Pioneers have a plethora of depth, including a freshman team with 25 members. "We have a lot of kids who came back and tried out," he said. "We have good numbers and good depth. I don't really know the kids yet so with our tryouts I did things by grade. I didn't do it with returning players. We did juniors and seniors one day and freshman and sophomores the next. What I have seen so far I have been pleasantly surprised."

St. John's will, again, be paced by senior defensemen Bryan Nelson (23 points last season), Connor McCann, senior forward Kevin Butler and senior goaltender Mario Pizzeri.

Mead is also counting on senior forward Chris Adams and junior forward Dan Barlock to make their presence felt.

"We'll try to be aggressive on the forecheck and having two men on the puck," Mead said. "The biggest thing for us will be on offense. I feel we are a strong defensive team. I'm going to need some of our seniors to put the puck into the net."

Lancers quest for four: Malden Catholic began its quest for a fourth consecutive Super 8 crown, taking on Springfield Cathedral, another Super 8 qualifier from a year ago.

The Lancers controlled the opening frame, building a 4-1 lead before the Panthers rallied for three unanswered tallies to earn a 4-4 tie in the 2-period scrimmage.

By most people's observations, MC is the prohibitive favorite to claim another Super 8 crown again this season.

Despite the losses of two of their most prolific players (Casey Fitzgerald and Mike Iovanna, who combined for 56 points a year ago), there is still plenty of talent to carry the Lancers again this season. Junior forward Ara Nazarian (26 goals, 24 assists) leads the way. Senior forward Tyler Sifferlen, junior forward Austin Goldstein, sophomore forwards Matt Filipe and Jake Witkowski along with defensemen John McLean, Nick Rolli are solid. As of now, Alex Reissis appears to be the front-runner between the pipes replacing departed Connor Maloney.

"We lost some major contributors but we have a good bunch of younger kids who have come in that should fill those spots fine," MC head coach John McLean said. "The issue is you cannot replace a Casey Fitzgerald (who joined the United States National Team Development Program). He was a special player but the guys that are going to play need to step up.

“As far as our expectations I just worry about the next game. We don't think about the Super 8. Right now we're rolling everyone and everyone is getting to play. When we work we're good and when we don't want to work then we're just average. All that matters is winning the last game of the year. Last year was a long learning curve for us. Hopefully our leaders this year will step it up and take us to the Garden again. We have a lot of good, young strong players. It's just a matter of them gaining the confidence to play at this level."

Against Springfield Cathedral, Sifferlen netted a pair of goals, with Goldstein and Rolli accounting for one apiece.

"I think we have a good group of young core guys on this team," said Nazarian, a UNH commit. "We have good leadership from our older guys. It's a good mix of young and older guys. I think things are looking good so far. There is one goal here and that's to win the whole thing. That is our mindset. We won last year so we know every team we play is going to give us their best so we need to give it our best every game. This is a whole new season so we're just focusing on winning it again and not look back on last year."

Raiders on the rebound: Having reached the third round of last year's Super 8 before falling to St. John's Prep, Central Catholic remains hopeful for another stab at the big dance. Raiders head coach Mike Jankowski is a main reason as to why this program has emerged as a driving force statewide.

With Central everything begins from the net outward. Senior goaltender Colin Soucy, arguably the best high school netminder in the state, will be relied on heavily to get the Raiders back into Super 8 contention.

"We've had a lot of success of late," Jankowski said. "The culture has changed here and we are getting kids coming back from juniors and prep schools and believing in this program and high school. We want kids to enjoy their high school experience here. The schedule we play keeps is very competitive and it keeps our kids engaged and maintains them playing at a high-level. There's nothing like high school hockey in terms of the relationships and friendships the kids build. It's an awesome brotherhood that all teams should experience."

For years, Central often flew under the radar, constantly being overshadowed by other programs. But due to their recent success, that is no longer the case. Jankowski wishes it was not like that but when you win consistently, you now have a target on your back.

"Now, instead of coming in as a dark horse which we like to ride, there is a new expectation level which has been set here but I think we're ready for it," he said. "Colin is back and what he did for us, especially at the end of last year, was remarkable. For the kids to have that confidence in him at his position just gives us that added advantage. The goalie position where it makes a difference in a team's won-loss record. Colin is just a great example of being a great character kid."

Panthers on the prowl: With the loss of two key contributors last year, Springfield Cathedral will be looking to its youthfulness to help them make a return visit to the Super 8. Gone are defenseman Matt Foley and forwards Artie Potter and Dominic Blad. But who returns should play a key role in the Panthers postseason hopes. It all starts with goalie John Liquori. The team's lone senior, Liquori played himself into a top-level talent a year ago. Forwards Peter Crinella (a Holy Cross commit), Johnny Leonard, D.J. Petruzzelli, Cole Foster, Zac Prattson and Riley Prattson will give Cathedral the ammo it needs on offense.

Defense will be a work in progress, but Bryce Peritz, Jordan Tetreault and Cam Griffin return.

Also make note on freshman goaltender Keith Petruzzelli over the next couple of years.

"We've got babies but they're all good," Panthers coach Brian Foley said. "Our first two lines are going to score goals. We had a great first week of practice and you noticed how much they improved in just one week. It'll be fun over time to see how these guys mature this year. I think this will be our most-offensive team that we've had ever. All of those kids did a lot of work on their strength and speed during the off-season. I also think our defense and goaltending will be outstanding as well."

BC High movin’ on: With the loss of all-everything goaltender Peter Cronin, all is not lost at BC High. Brandon Payzant, a sophomore, was Cronin's understudy a year ago and by the looks of things, he appears to be a quick learner after playing solid between the pipes today against St. Mary's of Lynn.

"Brandon was with us last year as a freshman," Eagles coach John Flaherty said. "Obviously he had a great kid to watch and learn from. Peter was great working with Brandon so he now has a year of experience under his belt in practice and being around these guys. Now he is able to get some game experience. He's a good athlete and someone who will be able to step in and carry the load for us. We are also carrying eight defense (spearheaded by Sam Topham) where we hope to find the right combinations in order to keep the puck out of our zone."

On offense, BC High will count on Patrick Kramer (25 points), Steve DeForge, Chris LaLiberte, Tim Larocque, Jake Lemanski and Connor Noonan to work the puck into opposing team's defensive zones.

"We have a lot of experience back," Flaherty added. "It is just now we need guys to play bigger roles for us. Overall we are returning seven defensemen, 11 forwards and one goaltender and most of them have been around for a few years and it is our hope this is the year they blossom."

Hawks a sleeper?: Don't rule out Xaverian as a potential candidate to do some big things this season. Reaching the Division 1 South quarterfinals last season, the Hawks should be a better unit this year in spite of the departures of Eddie Pratt (17 goals last year) and defenseman Mike Brennan. They are led by forwards Antonio Marini (35 points last year), Tim Sweeney (24 points) and Jake Farrell (14). Defensively, Rick Smith and Ryan Walsh will be keys in shutting down opposing offenses.

Shot in the arm for SMH: After spending last season at Brewster Academy, St. Mary's of Lynn head coach Mark Lee was overjoyed learning that goalie Bailey MacBurnie was returning for his senior year.

Two years ago, as a sophomore, MacBurnie secured a 1.38 goals-against-average in helping the Spartans earn a No. 2 seeding in the Super 8 Tournament. With him back in the crease, expect St. Mary's to make another solid postseason run.

"Bailey can certainly be a difference maker for us," Lee said. "I think with this team we are putting a lot of kids in a position to allow them to gain great experience because overall we are a young team. I think we'll get better as the season goes."

With another year under their respective belts, you can look for forwards Jordan Manthorne and Jon Powers, the only two players to reach double digits in scoring last season, to lead to carry this club offensively.

Burlington moves on from repeat: Defending back-to-back Division 1 state champion Burlington will count on its defense to help the Red Devils in their quest for a third state title.

"So far I'm happy with our progress even though it has only been a couple of days," said Burlington head coach and recently-inducted Mass. State Coaches Association Hall of Famer Bob Conceison. "We have a strong defense and some forward that are young so it will be a work in progress to get our offense going. This is kind of a similar team to last year in that our offense started to come together at the end of the year. It's going to take a while for our offense to gel. We lost some firepower on offense last year (losing C.J. Grinnell and Joe Bernardi) but our defense is back."

The Red Devils also lost goalie Derek DeCastro to graduation and hope to fill the void with senior Mike Guleserian.

The Hall calls: Longtime Hudson head coach Mike Nanartowich will be inducted into the Mass. State Coaches Hall of Fame in May, along with Murphy, Waltham head coach John Maguire and Stoughton front man Dan Mark. Two years removed from his Division 3 state championship triumph over Medway, Nanartowich, now in his 24th season, regards Shrewsbury as the favorite in Central Mass. this year.

The Colonials return a front line of Dan and Jack Quinlivan along with David Belbin. Last season the trio combined to score 125 points. However, never never rule out the possibility for the Hawks at making a serious charge by season's end.

"You still have to go out and show up for every single game," Nanartowich said. "Right now you have to give the edge to Shrewsbury because of the people that they are returning as well as Wachusett and its depth. But at this point, I just think Belbin and the Quinlivan brothers can be the most-dominant line in all of Central Mass. this year. How you take care of their speed and skill requires a lot of game planning. As for us, we will still go out and play everyone straight up like we always do."

In regards to going into the Hall of Fame, Nanartowich remains humble over the selection. He passes the credit over to the players and coaches he has worked with over the years as the reason for the honor.

"I'm going in with a bunch of great guys and guys who have won at a good level," he said. "For me, all that hard work of watching tape, going to various rinks to scout and those commitments you make in the off-season with your team has paid off in winning a state championship and now it has paid off in terms of being recognized by your peers."

Hawks longtime assistant coach Mike Correa added that the honor bestowed on Nanartowich is certainly well-deserved.

"There is probably no one who does more for his players or works harder at preparing kids, not only for the game but life lessons as well, than him," Correa said. "Winning the 2012 state championship is not the reason why he should be in the hall. It is all the dedication he has brought to all the kids who have played in this program over the years which stands out to me."

TVL Large football All-Stars announced

November, 20, 2013
11/20/13
2:10
PM ET
The Tri-Valley League Large division today announced its All-Stars and postseason award winners for the football season.

Thanks to Medfield head coach Erik Ormberg for the email sent to local media today.

Coaches or league representatives, across all fall sports, are encouraged send their league All-Star lists to editors Scott Barboza (sbarboza@espnboston.com) and Brendan Hall (bhall@espnboston.com):

TVL MVP – Bo Berluti, Westwood
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR – Matt Jeye, Holliston
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR – Paul Beling, Holliston
LINEMAN OF THE YEAR – Kevin Sheehan, Medway
COACH OF THE YEAR – Dave McSweeney, Medway

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ALL-STARS

O-LINE
Austin Barrett #52-Holliston
Jon doCarmo #55-Holliston
Callan Berry #51-Hopkinton
Joey Sears #55-Medfield
Chris Eldridge #52-Westwood

RECEIVERS
Zach Elkinson #3-Holliston
Chris Hanley #24-Westwood

RUNNING BACKS
Anthony Parchesky #23-Medway
Dan Roache #28-Westwood

TIGHT ENDS
Brendan Patterson #44-Westwood

QUARTERBACK
Stephen Ledogar #7-Medfield

D-LINE
Cam Smith #77-Medway
Joe Belomo #30-Holliston
Ryan Demaranis #75-Westwood

LINEBACKER
Tim Huffam #1-Medway
Jordan Jacobs #34-Hopkinton
Scott McManus #56-Westwood
Tom Radonich #53-Westwood

DEFENSIVE BACK
Nick Athy #12-Holliston
Nick D’Aloia #7-Hopkinton
Tommy Sears #5-Medfield
Matt Patry #25-Medfield

ALL-PURPOSE
Jeff Greenberg #17-Medway
Drew Donahue #22-Hopkinton

D3 Soccer: Belchertown, Newburyport win states

November, 16, 2013
11/16/13
10:42
PM ET
WORCESTER, Mass. -– Most former high school soccer players have long forgotten the final kick of their careers. Belchertown senior midfielder Cameron Messier will remember his for the rest of his life.

Messier scored his fourth, and most important, goal of the season six minutes into the first overtime to lift the Orioles to a 2-1 victory over Medway in the Division 3 state title game at Foley Stadium in Worcester. Saturday night’s dramatic win earned the program its first ever state championship.

“As soon as I scored, it was just a huge rush of adrenaline and I ran to the fans,” described Messier. “It feels like a dream right now. As soon as it hit his hands and I put it in, I just immediately [thought] ‘Oh my god, that’s the game!” It was incredible.”

[+] EnlargeBelchertown soccer
Josh Perry for ESPNBoston.comBelchertown grabbed the D3 state title in dramatic fashion over Medway, scoring six minutes into overtime.
The overtime began with Medway trying to create havoc and pushing numbers forward, but in the sixth minute Belchertown found space to cross from the right. The ball eluded junior Billy Aldrich and fell to midfielder John Ingram, who flashed a shot across the face of goal. The shot was saved by a diving Michael Bagdon, but the rebound fell to the foot of Messier, who made no mistake with the finish.

Medway head coach Jeff Hallenbeck was disappointed that his team was not able to bring home the title for the second straight season (the Mustangs fell to Groton-Dunstable in the D2 state title game in 2012), but could only shrug at how the final goal was scored.

He noted, “We started letting down in the midfield, so we started making adjustments on the fly. Once the overtime came along we decided to put immediate pressure on them. We got a couple of opportunities, but then gave up a bobbling ball in the middle.”

The Orioles jumped out quickly in the opening minutes of the game to earn three corners in the first four minutes, but it would be Medway that would get the scoring started. Six minutes into the game, sophomore Jacob Warren was played to the edge of the 18 by Justin Kaplan and then unleashed an unstoppable left-foot shot into the bottom corner.

It was a great start for the Mustangs, but Hallenbeck admitted that the team could not sustain that energy and allowed Belchertown to play their game.

“I don’t know if the guys got a little excited when we scored so early...I did,” he remarked. “They [Belchertown] play a very aggressive style; they were moving the ball quickly. We got into a little game of kickball. So they kind of threw us off our game.”

The Orioles got their footing as the half wore on and fully dominated possession after the break. In the final 10 minutes of regulation, Belchertown was pushing Medway back and had several chances at a winner. Alex DeSantis had the best opportunity with a brilliant turn and shot on the edge of the box that came back off the crossbar. The rebound was headed home by Aldrich, but he was ruled offside.

“We never lost confidence,” said Belchertown head coach Tony Almeida. “These kids are good and they’ve been working hard all season long and they knew they could recoup from this. It certainly wasn’t our best game but it was good enough today.”

Despite Belchertown having momentum, Hallenbeck insisted his team was confident heading into overtime. The Mustangs stormed out of the gate in search of an early goal, but did not get the bounce they needed and then watched the Orioles put away their chance at the other end.

“We went four attackers up top and only two central defenders; that’s it,” he explained. “We went with our defenders to just chip it over the top to our forwards, but unfortunately it didn’t fall to feet. It was a good goal for them. It should’ve been cleared, but it wasn’t; these things happen unfortunately.”

After back-to-back seasons of reaching the state semifinals in Division 2, Belchertown made it to the finals in its first year in D3 (its first finals appearance since 2005) and the Orioles took home the trophy for the first time.

The goal-scoring hero Messier marveled, “First time in history that we’ve ever won States at Belchertown High, so it’s just incredible, honestly.”

“I love it for the kids because I know that they really wanted it,” said Almeida. “It’s great for the program. The kids have been at it for a long, long time. We’ve been working hard for the past 10 years and it’s finally nice to get here and win one.”

D3 Girls Final: Newburyport 1, Granby 0
Newburyport (20-0-2) completed an undefeated season with a commanding performance in Saturday afternoon’s Division 3 final at Foley Stadium in Worcester. The Clippers scored the lone goal and controlled possession in a 1-0 victory over Granby (18-3-1).

Senior Jaycie Triandafilou scored the game’s only goal seven minutes into the first half when a corner from Amy Sullivan took a deflection off her thigh and slipped inside the post. As it turns out, it was the only goal that the Clippers would need.

“I don’t really know what to say; it was amazing,” reflected Triandafilou about the game-winning goal. “It’s my last game and it felt right to get it. I couldn’t have done it without my teammates.”

The shutout was Newburyport’s 18th of the season and the Clippers only allowed five goals all season. Senior defender Alyssa Leahy is the lynchpin for the Clippers in the heart of the defense and was named the program’s first All-New England player. Co-head coach Kevin Sheridan credited the strong back line as the key to the state title.

“In the second half we started to control the game a little bit and that’s the way you want to win a championship,” said Sheridan.

Co-head coach Robb Gonnam, who also coaches many of the players during the club season, remarked, “Clearly, she dictates what happens back there. She makes [keeper] Lily [Donovan’s] job easier back there and she makes the fullbacks’ job much easier. She barks at them a lot, but it’s a lot better when you have someone directing traffic.”

Granby pushed forward at the end of the game, but it was Newburyport that had the best chances in the final minutes. Sullivan and Trianafilou both had chances to wrap up the victory with breakaways only to shoot straight at Granby keeper Brittany Hauschild.

After the game, Triandafilou was not concerned about the missed chances as she clutched the D3 state championship trophy.

“Our coach said last year when we lost in the North sectionals that we would be undefeated this season and it came true. That was fitting also.”

Soccer Roundup: Silver Lake routs New Bedford

November, 8, 2013
11/08/13
1:05
AM ET
WEYMOUTH, Mass. -– Paul Beatty scored a second half hat trick to break open Thursday night’s Division 1 South sectional semifinal at Weymouth High. Beatty’s goals helped No. 1 seed (and No. 1 ranked) Silver Lake cruise to a 5-0 victory over No. 4 seed New Bedford.

Despite the final score, it was New Bedford that looked stronger at the start with star midfielder Klisman Sousa combining well with forward Edmilson Andrade and winger Felipe Ponte to put Silver Lake under pressure. The Whalers had the best chances of the first half and both came off of Sousa’s boot.

First, the Whalers senior played an in-swinging free kick that picked out defender Shawn Dias flying in at the far post, but he was unable to put the header on target. Just a minute later, New Bedford came forward again and Sousa worked the slightest sight of goal and let loose a left-foot rocket that Silver Lake keeper Stephen McSwain punched away.

Beatty had very little service in the first half with New Bedford putting a defender in front and behind him. The complexion of the game changed with just four minutes before the break. A long throw was barely touched past the post by Whalers keeper Austin Eugenio. On the resulting corner, New Bedford failed to clear and the ball bounced into the path of Tim Barrow, who ripped smashed it home to open the scoring.

Down by a goal, New Bedford started the second half by pushing numbers forward. That left room at the back for the speed of Beatty to have effect.

Lakers head coach Dan Correia explained, “They had all the momentum at that point, so for us to be able to be scrappy in the box and tuck one away...I mean those are the goals you need to get in these games. That opened things up a little bit in the second half because they had to change things defensively and freed Paul up.”

Beatty admitted that he was frustrated by the way the first half had gone, but he did not let it get to him. Instead, with his first real look at goal the striker was able to hit a shot that was deflected up over Eugenio to make it 2-0 just three minutes after halftime.

Beatty noted, “You just have to keep knowing that you’re doing the right thing and getting to places where you can get the ball and it will come eventually. I needed that to put me in the right state of mind.”

New Bedford tried to get back into the game through its star player, but Sousa was denied by McSwain again. The keeper was somehow able to get two hands to punch away a swerving shot and then also got down well to palm away the follow-up rebound by Andrade when it seemed destined for the net.

New Bedford head coach John Macaraco remarked that his team was unlucky not to have been on the board and that a goal at that moment would have changed the game.

He said, “The score doesn’t indicate how close this game was; every chance they got, they finished. Their keeper came up with some good saves. If we make it 2-1 then it’s a different game.”

From that point on, New Bedford struggled to get into the possession game that defines its style. Macaraco added, “We never settled down and got into our rhythm. I always say we need to play 'Calma' and I think we played 'calma' and go into our rhythm and if we did, I think the outcome would’ve been different.”

The Whalers were also facing a striker that suddenly felt momentum on his side. Beatty started to find a lot of space to turn and run at defenders. Fifteen minutes into the second half he went one-on-one with Ty Catunto and blew past him to finish from just inside the box to make it 3-0. A few minutes later he tapped in his hat trick when Sean Hurlburt’s long throw was allowed to bounce to him in the middle of the box.

Correia was aksed if this was a typical game for his center forward and he replied simply, “Yeah.”

He elaborated, “I think that’s 35 goals this season. He just has that extra gear that guys don’t have.”

Macaraco pointed to the goal as changing the way his team approached defending Beatty. He remarked, “Once we got down, you know, we had to push some numbers up top. We made a few mental mistakes and, with his blistering speed, he’s able to finish most of his chances.”

Silver Lake added a fifth in the final minutes when Brendan Nemes found space on the edge of the 18 and curled his shot into the top corner. It was an emphatic exclamation point on a dominating win for the Lakers.

It was also the final game in the New Bedford career of the talented Sousa, who drew praise from both coaches after the game. Macaraco reflected, “He’s a special player and he needs just an inch of space and with his ability he can get that inch and get that shot off. It’s been a pleasure being part of his four years at the high school.”

Silver Lake advances to the sectional final on Sunday at Taunton High at 5:30 p.m. to play the defending state champion Needham, which beat BC High 3-0 in the other semifinal.

TOURNAMENT NOTES:
  • While the Needham boys advanced to the sectional final with a solid win in a rematch with the Eagles, the Needham girls could not match the feat in the nightcap at Medway High. The Rockets were beaten 2-0 by defending champ Franklin, which returns to the sectional final. The Panthers got goals from Alexis Stowell and Taylor Cogliano in the first half to earn the victory. The D1 South final will feature the top two seeds, as Bishop Feehan scored in double overtime to end the amazing tournament run of Walpole. It was the first goal that the Rebels had given up in four playoff games.
  • In the D2 South boys’ semifinals, No. 2 seed Oliver Ames allowed a goal within the opening three minutes but then stormed back on a Dave Stapleton free kick and second half header by Gaston Cetrangolo to reach its first ever South final with a 2-1 win over Hingham. The Tigers will face No.13 seed Walpole, which beat Pembroke 2-0. Both of these teams competed in D1 last season. The girls’ final In D2, as it does in D1, will feature the top two seeds with No. 1 Scituate beating Sandwich 1-0 and No. 2 Notre Dame (Hingham) beating Dartmouth 3-2. Those finals will be played on Veterans Day at Braintree High.
  • There was another big upset on the girls’ side on Thursday. The top team in the state, Central Catholic, and the No. 4 team, Duxbury, were already eliminated and now the No. 3 team, Belchertown, is out as well. The Orioles were stunned in the D1 West sectional 1-0 by Pittsfield. The loss ends the remarkable careers of all-state twins Brittany and Breanne Moreau and puts Pittsfield back into the West sectional final for the second year in a row. Minnechaug will be the opponent after it beat East Longmeadow 2-1. There was also an upset on the boys’ side of D1 West with No. 2 seed Amherst beaten on penalties by West Springfield in the semifinal.
  • There will be a rematch in the D1 North boys’ final, as No. 1 seed Somerville beat Malden 3-0 and No. 3 seed St. John’s Prep knocked off Madison Park in double overtime. The Highlanders, led by forward Thayrone Miranda (you know, the guy who did this), will be looking to repeat as sectional champions. On the girls’ side, Newton North will face Acton-Boxborough. The North finals will be on Saturday at Manning Field in Lynn. Also on Saturday at Manning Field will be a top 10 showdown against unbeaten North Andover and perennial D2 power Concord-Carlisle, which will be one of the top games of the tournament. Not to be outdone, the D2 girls will feature a match-up of Beverly and ESPNBoston.com Miss Soccer candidate Caitlin Harty against Concord-Carlisle. Amazingly, those are not even the sectional finals; those are just the semis.
  • In the Central, the defending D1 champion Nashoba girls were eliminated by rival Algonuin. Last year, the Tomahawks lost only three games in the season, each of them against the Chieftains. Algonuin will face top seed Westborough in the final to be held at Wachusett. Westborough also has the top seed on the boys’ side and the Rangers advanced to the sectional final to face Wachusett, which knocked off two-time D2 state champion Groton-Dunstable (moved into D1 after the Central lost a Division 2). Wachusett will host the boys’ final. Like Westborough in D1, Sutton will have both the boys and girls in the finals in D4 after both were dropped down from D3.

Silver Lake claims boys' soccer No. 1

October, 29, 2013
10/29/13
7:55
PM ET
Silver Lake takes over the top spot in the statewide ESPN Boston boys' soccer Top 20 poll after winning its 17th straight game last week.

The Lakers have outscored opponents 78-9 this season and showed their state title aspirations with a convincing win over No. 8 St. John's Prep last week.

Somerville keeps hold of the No. 2 spot and New Bedford drops from the top spot to No. 5 after losing to Brockton.

There was a lot of movement in the bottom half of the rankings this week as some of the teams struggled in the final games of the regular season, which is to be expected when other teams are desperately fighting for points to qualify for the playoffs.

Holliston enters the rankings for the first time after beating Medway and claiming the title in the competitive Tri-Valley League.

Oliver Ames jumps back into the rankings after winning the Davenport title and starting to show some of the firepower that helped it reach the D1 South semis last season. Meanwhile, unbeaten Martha's Vineyard also enters the rankings at No. 18, but the EAC champs will still have something to prove in the tourney, as some question just how good the team from the island is this season.

Medway, Wachusett, and Framingham each dropped into the Last 10 Out after tough losses over the past week, but all three will be looking forward to a potentially long run through the postseason.

Brockton was right on the edge of the rankings after beating former No. 1 New Bedford, but the Boxers followed with a 2-0 loss to BC High and stay just out of the Top 20.

State tournament brackets will be released on Wednesday.

For this week's full Top 20 poll, click HERE.

In This Week: No. 15 Holliston, No. 16 Oliver Ames, No. 18 Martha's Vineyard

Out This Week: Medway, Framingham, Wachusett

Newton North makes jump in girls' soccer poll

October, 17, 2013
10/17/13
12:00
PM ET
Central Catholic continues its run at the top of our statewide MIAA girls' soccer Top 20 poll after extending its perfect run to 12-0. The Raiders have allowed a preposterous one goal in 12 games this season, and that was way back on Sept. 9.

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.

Roundtable: Best players, breakout stars, sleepers

August, 21, 2013
8/21/13
6:03
PM ET
Brendan Hall
ESPN Boston High Schools editor


Best QB: Cody Williams, Springfield Central
Best RB: Johnathan Thomas, St. John's Prep
Best WR: Brian Dunlap, Natick
Best TE: Brendan Hill, Mansfield
Best OL: Jon Baker, Millis/Hopedale
Best DL: Jon Baker, Millis/Hopedale
Best LB: C.J. Parvelus, Everett
Best DB: Lubern Figaro, Everett
Best passing offense: Natick
Best rushing offense: St. John's Prep
Best offensive line: St. John's Prep
Best defensive line: Reading
Best linebackers: Reading
Best secondary: Everett

THREE TEAMS THAT WILL SURPRISE

Medway
Coach Dave McSweeney's affinity for power football isn't a secret, and this season he'll have two road-graders to run behind in Kevin Sheehan (6-4, 285) and Cam Smith (6-5, 290, Lafayette commit). If there's any exhibit for why we needed to change the postseason format, the most glaring sample might be the Mustangs, who went 19-3 from 2009-10 with no playoff berth. In this new playoff system, a gameplan like the Mustangs' is built for the long haul.

Lynn English
Perhaps this isn't a surprise pick so much as an affirmation. In a Division 2 North that is perceived to be wide open after heavy favorite Reading, the Bulldogs have enough talent to make a deep run. There has always been elite talent at the skill positions, but Preseason All-State selection Chris Tinkham gives them a presence in the trenches they've lacked the last few years, a rare "war daddy" type who overpowers the interior gaps. The biggest question will be where the Bulldogs put junior Jordan Javier, a 6-foot-4 transfer from Haverhill who is a matchup problem at his natural split end position but also throws one of the prettiest balls you'll see on the North Shore.

Quabbin
The Panthers struggled to a 4-7 tune last season in a weak league, but there is some promise. Quarterback Dylan Kierman is an underappreciated talent, who should get a boost from the return of slippery receiver Nick Thyden. The Panthers run a unique "Air Raid" scheme, and another year of experience with it could surprised teams in Division 4 Central.

THREE BREAKOUT ATHLETES TO WATCH

Lukas Denis, Jr. ATH, Everett
After an injury-shortened 2012 season in which he was the assumed successor to record-setting quarterback Jonathan DiBiaso, but barely saw the field, Denis is moving to the perimeter, where he will take a role similar to the hybrid slot-back role that Manny Asprilla made legendary in 2010. Defensively, he should serve as a terrific compliment in the secondary to highly-touted safety/cornerback Lubern Figaro, and has already begun to pick up some Division 1 FBS interest.

Alfred Adarkwah, Sr. WR, Doherty
Standing a long 6-foot-4 with a 6-foot-7 wingspan, Adarkwah has an unusually large catching radius for a high school receiver. This summer in passing leagues, the Highlanders toyed with Adarkwah and Boston College-bound receiver Isaac Yiadom on the same side of 2x2 formations. Head coach Sean Mulcahy has to be excited with the possibilities that opens up -- just imagine sending those two on a post-wheel combo route. Or better yet, imagine running them on a bubble screen, taking advantage of both Yiadom's elite speed and Adarkwah's great downfield blocking skills.

Taj-Amir Torres, Jr. ATH, Amherst
Already a household name in track and field, where he was named the state's Gatorade Player of the Year last spring as a sophomore after winning New Englands in the 100-meter dash, he's about to get a whole lot more attention. Boston College, UConn and UMass have already offered Torres, who made just 24 catches last season but made some incredible feats of athleticism. Hurricanes head coach David Thompson told us earlier this month "[We're] trying to get the ball in his hands every opportunity we get", so expect bigger numbers in 2013.

WAY TOO EARLY STATE CHAMPION PICKS

Div. 1 - Everett
Div. 2 - Springfield Central
Div. 3 - Walpole
Div. 4 - Doherty
Div. 5 - Auburn
Div. 6 - Millis/Hopedale

***

Scott Barboza
ESPN Boston High Schools Editor

Best QB - Drew Belcher - Sr. Reading
Best RB - Johnny Thomas - Sr. St. John’s Prep
Best WR - Brian Dunlap - Jr. Natick
Best TE - Rory Donovan - Sr. Cardinal Spellman
Best OL - Jon Baker – Sr., Millis/Hopedale
Best DL – Joe Gaziano – Jr., Xaverian
Best LB – Eddie Motavu – Sr., Tewksbury
Best DB - Lubern Figaro - Sr. Everett
Best passing offense - Natick
Best rushing offense - St. John's Prep
Best offensive line – Bridgewater-Raynham
Best defensive line - Reading
Best linebackers - Leominster
Best secondary - Everett

THREE SURPRISE TEAMS

St. Mary’s (Lynn)
OK, so a team coming off an 11-2 season and a Super Bowl appearance might not exactly be a surprise, but with a couple of other Catholic Central teams garnering the buzz in the preseason, let's not forget the Spartans have another season with Jordan Collier (1,495 yards, 18 TD).

Hingham

We've heard them knocking, but can they come in? The Harbormen have whittled the gap in recent years, particularly against Patriot League nemesis Duxbury, but they're still waiting to break through. They could have an in-road in Division 3 Southwest. An early non-leaguer against Oliver Ames should be a bellweather for things to come, but the real proof will come Oct. 5, against those aforementioned Dragons.

Wakefield
The Warriors fell short of their goal of winning the Middlesex League's Freedom division last year, but should be in the mix in a wide open Division 3 Northwest race. We'll have a better impression after a visit from Lynn English in Week 2.

THREE BREAKTHROUGH ATHLETES

Joe Johnston, Sr. RB/S, King Philip
Anybody who saw Johnston's hard-nosed 157-yard, 2-touchdown performance against North Attleborough last year knows Johnston's style. He's a burden for would-be tacklers inside the box, and once he kicks it outside, he's also very hard to catch.

Grant Kramer, Sr. OT, Duxbury
The younger brother of Boston College tackle Aaron Kramer, Grant is now ready to assume the role as the next great lineman on the Dragons' line (and there have been some very good ones in recent memory). He currently holds offers from Coastal Carolina and Villanova but has also expressed interest in attending West Point.

Connor Moriarty, Sr. RB, Walpole
When Rebels starter Mike Rando went out with an ankle injury near the midway point of the regular season last year, it was Moriarty who carried the load down the stretch. Expect even bigger numbers this year.

WAY TOO EARLY CHAMPIONSHIP PREDICTIONS:

D1 – St. John’s Prep
D2 – Springfield Central
D3 – Walpole
D4 – Doherty
D5 – Auburn
D6 – Millis/Hopedale

***

Josh Perry
ESPN Boston correspondent


Best QB - Drew Belcher, Reading
Best RB - Jonathan Thomas, St. John’s Prep
Best WR – Brian Dunlap, Natick
Best TE – Brendan Hill, Mansfield
Best OL – Jon Baker, Millis-Hopedale
Best DL – Andrew Bourque, Reading
Best LB – Kevin Bletzer, Catholic Memorial
Best DB – Lubern Figaro, Everett
Best passing offense - Natick
Best rushing offense – St. John’s Prep
Best offensive line – St. John’s Prep
Best defensive line - Reading
Best linebackers – Catholic Memorial
Best secondary - Everett

THREE TEAMS THAT WILL SURPRISE:

Attleboro
A new coaching staff, the energy of a new field complex, and a strong crop of returning seniors could make the Bombardiers the surprise team of the Hockomock League. Attleboro has always been a sleeping giant and the program continues to find solid athletes, it’s now up to the new staff to build a system that fits the talent on the roster. With a couple of league rivals dealing with injuries and suspensions, Attleboro could sneak up on people.

Barnstable
Everyone assumes that there will be a significant drop off for the Red Raiders due to a big graduating class, but there is still potential to be a solid team in D2 and in the OCL. This may not be a another season with Barnstable holding the top spot in the poll, but it shouldn’t be written off either.

Stoughton
The Knights are expected to finish behind Oliver Ames in the Davenport, but don’t be surprised if they pull an upset or two and give the Tigers a run at the title. Watch out for running back Malachi Baugh, who will be getting the majority of the carries this season and is a beast to try and bring down.

THREE BREAKTHROUGH ATHLETES TO WATCH

Luke Morrison, Sr. TE/DE, Attleboro
Attleboro’s giant tight end/defensive end is a monster match-up on both sides of the ball and could be a real threat as Tim Walsh’s favorite target in the Bombardiers passing attack.

Ryan Charter, Sr. QB, Needham
Mike Panepinto has deservedly drawn praise as the star man on the Needham offense, but the senior quarterback, who has been under center for 1-1/2 seasons already, will have high expectations as the Rockets try to get back on top in the Bay State.

Kyle Wisnieski, Sr. QB, Mansfield
With the graduation of running backs Robbie Rapoza and Kevin Makie and the continued injury problems for wide receiver Michael Hershman the key cog for the Hornets offense will be its senior quarterback. Wisnieski’s ability to spread the ball around and pick the right options out of a still talented receiving corps that includes Brendan Hill is going to be the key for Mansfield’s run at a Hockomock title.

WAY TOO EARLY STATE CHAMPION PICKS:

Div. 1 – St. John’s Prep
Div. 2 - Nashoba
Div. 3 – Bishop Feehan
Div. 4 - Doherty
Div. 5 - Auburn
Div. 6 – Millis-Hopedale

***

Ryan Kilian
Founder and Editor-in-Chief, Massachusetts Prep Stars


Best QB - Drew Belcher, Reading
Best RB - Johnathan Thomas, St. John's Prep
Best WR - Brian Dunlap, Natick
Best TE - Rory Donovan, Cardinal Spellman
Best OL - Jon Baker, Millis/Hopedale
Best DL - Alex Quintero, Lowell
Best LB - C.J. Parvelus, Defense
Best DB - Lubern Figaro, Everett
Best passing offense - St. John's (Shrewsbury)
Best rushing offense - St. John's Prep
Best offensive line - St. John's Prep
Best defensive line - Reading
Best linebackers - Duxbury
Best secondary - Everett

THREE TEAMS THAT WILL SURPRISE

Bedford
While Wayland and Concord-Casrlisle have earned the DCL Small Championship the past few years do not sleep on Bedford in 2013. The Bucs play one of the toughest schedules in Division 4 and the return All-DCL running back Olan Abner.

Chelmsford
While Lowell, Central and Andover are getting most of the early press in the MVC Large, the Chelmsford Lions return one of the State's top running backs in Jeff D'Auria, a seasoned young quarterback in Jack Campsmith and a nice nucleus of tough experienced defenders.

Archbishop Williams
If Archies can find early offensive balance to take some of the work load off the shoulders of star senior back Kylan Philbert-Richardson, they could make some noise in the D5 playoff hunt.

THREE BREAKOUT ATHLETES TO WATCH

Ian Kessel, Soph. RB, Haverhill
The St. John's Prep transfer saw late game carries last season as a freshman for Prep's Super Bowl Champion squad. The speedy halfback is now back home in the MVC Small, and with the graduation of work horse, All-State RB Chance Brady (Tufts), there should be plenty carries to go around.

Devin Lekan, Sr. DE/TE, Chelmsford
D'Auria and Campsmith return to lead the offense for Chelmsford's but it is the Lion defense could be the story if they stay healthy. The Lions feature the 2nd team all-MVC performer was the most impressive player in the games I saw last season.

Nick Orekoya, Jr. DB/RB Billerica
Orekoya saw a lot of playing time as a two-way starter for Billerica last season. With another year under his belt Orekoya should thrive in coach Rich McKenna's high octane offense.

WAY TOO EARLY STATE CHAMPION PICKS

Div. 1 - Everett
Div. 2 - Reading
Div. 3 - Tewksbury
Div. 4 - Dennis-Yarmouth
Div. 5 - Auburn
Div. 6 - Boston Cathedral

***

John Botelho
Editor-in-Chief, South Shore Sports Journal


Best QB - Troy Flutie, Natick
Best RB - Dylan Oxsen, Plymouth South
Best WR - Brian Dunlap, Natick
Best TE - Rory Donovan, Cardinal Spellman
Best OL - Jon Baker, Millis/Hopedale
Best DL - Steve Manning, Abington
Best LB - Kervin Jean-Claude, Brockton
Best DB - Lubern Figaro, Everett
Best passing offense - Natick
Best rushing offense - St. John's Prep
Best offensive line - St. John's Prep
Best defensive line - Auburn
Best linebackers - Brockton
Best secondary - Everett

THREE TEAMS THAT WILL SURPRISE

Brockton
They're ranked pretty high in any poll you look at because people have just come to accept the fact that Brockton generally reloads. They graduated 18 starters from last season's Super Bowl team, including quarterback Austin Roberts, who was one of the best in school history. Roberts, Micah Morel and Joe Previte are all playing ball at prep schools this year, and Anthony Davis has moved on to Div. 1 Central Connecticut. Still, the Boxers will very solid again. They have a number of athletes and playmakers, including returning do-it-all Aaron Leclair. Transfer Jamal Williams is going to compliment him well, and sophomore Kerry Raymond is physically imposing at 6-foot-1 and 205. Aaron Monteiro's 6-foot-5, 295-pound frame gives Brockton an anchor on the offensive line. They have plenty of guys ready to step forward on the other side of the ball as well, led by Kervin Jean-Claude, Justin Ahanon and Leclair.

Abington
The Green Wave went unbeaten in their march toward a Super Bowl crown last year, but saw a slew of stars graduate. QB Brandon Cawley, TE/DE Pat Dwyer, FB Jack Malafronte, RB Babila Fonkem, DB Mike Walsh, OL Tyler Perakslis and OL Matt Diver are just some of the elite players Abington graduated. These guys won't miss a beat though, as they have a ton of talent back. Matt Kilmain broke out for more than 400 yards on 27 carries in two postseason wins last year, and he might not even be the best player back this season. Abington returns its top three tacklers from a year ago and has most of their front seven back on defense. Jim Kelliher has one of the best coaching staffs going at this point, and these guys look like they're headed back to the playoffs. (For bold prediction purposes, I'm also going to go ahead and say I think they beat Duxbury on opening night, because that's how good I think this team can be).

Stoughton
The Black Knights missed the playoffs last year because of the wrong day for a let down game, taking a tough defeat to eventual Super Bowl champ Sharon. The Knights lost some very good players, but leading running back Malachi Baugh is back in the fold and they return four starting offensive lineman, so there's no reason to think the offense won't be up to par again. The Hockomock League has proven in recent years to be one of the toughest to win, but a second guaranteed playoff berth can only help a team like Stoughton.

THREE BREAKTHROUGH ATHLETES TO WATCH

Aaron Monteiro, Jr. OL, Brockton
Monteiro has something that can't be learned, or even worked toward. His 6-foot-5, 295-pound frame is one that will draw the interest of coaches at the next level. Coach Peter Colombo is very excited about plugging the junior into his offensive line, and it's not just because of the size. Monteiro worked during the off-season to get himself stronger and is primed to be one of the best lineman in the state. He plays basketball in the winter, something that has helped him develop quick and agile feet for a guy his size.

Sam Malafronte, Jr. LB, Abington
Started at linebacker a year ago as a sophomore for the Div. 4 Super Bowl champs, and finished second on the team in tackles. A very good athlete who is a work-out warrior, Malafronte will team with Matt Whelan to lead a solid corps in the middle of the field for the Green Wave.

James Shea, Sr. WR, East Bridgewater
The Vikings have benefited from having tremendous athletes in the backfield the last few years (think Casey DeAndrade, Tim O'Brien, Andrew Benson and Kevin Lynch), but in 2013 their most dangerous player will be splitting out wide. Shea can run with just about anyone -- he finished sixth in the 100-meter dash in the South Shore League last spring -- and is going to wreak havoc pulling in passes all year.

WAY TOO EARLY STATE CHAMPION PICKS

Div. 1 - Everett
Div. 2 - Natick
Div. 3 - Plymouth South
Div. 4 - Doherty
Div. 5 - Abington
Div. 6 - Millis/Hopedale

ESPN Boston Preseason MIAA All-State Team

August, 19, 2013
8/19/13
8:17
AM ET
The MIAA football season officially kicks off today with the first sanctioned team practices. Below is our fourth annual ESPN Boston Preseason MIAA All-State Football Team, as well as our expansive "Watch List".

*Indicates returning All-State

OFFENSE

QB – Drew Belcher, Sr., Reading*
QB – Troy Flutie, Sr., Natick*
QB – Andrew Smiley, Sr., St. John’s (Shrewsbury)*
QB – Cody Williams, Sr., Springfield Central
RB – Johnathan Thomas, Sr., St. John’s Prep*
RB – Dylan Oxsen, Sr., Plymouth South*
RB – Mike Panepinto, Sr., Needham
RB – Brandon Gallagher, Jr., Bridgewater-Raynham
WR – Brian Dunlap, Jr., Natick*
WR – Isaac Yiadom, Sr., Doherty
WR – Jack Galvin, Sr., Lowell
WR – Ju’uan Williams, Sr., Springfield Central
TE – Rory Donovan, Sr., Cardinal Spellman
TE – Brendan Hill, Jr., Mansfield
OL – Jon Baker, Sr., Millis/Hopedale*
OL – Kent Blaeser, Sr., St. John’s Prep
OL – Shawn Whitaker, Sr., Bridgewater-Raynham
OL – Cam Smith, Sr., Medway
OL – Sean Lee, Sr., Springfield Central
ATH – Dave Harrison, Sr., Weymouth
ATH – Neil O’Connor, Sr., Leominster

DEFENSE

DL – Andrew Bourque, Sr., Reading
DL – Will Greelish, Sr., Auburn
DL – Alex Quintero, Sr., Lowell
DL – Chris Tinkham, Sr., Lynn English
LB – C.J. Parvelus, Sr., Everett
LB – Sean Smerczynski, Sr., St. John’s Prep*
LB – Brett McEvoy, Sr., King Philip
LB – Liam Kenneally, Sr., Reading
LB – Shayne Kaminski, Sr., Xaverian
LB – Tom Rodrick, Sr., Leicester
DB – Lubern Figaro, Sr., Everett
DB – Davon Jones, Jr., St. John’s (Shrewsbury)
DB – D’Andre Drummond-Mayrie, Sr., Central Catholic
DB – Jarell Addo, Sr., Leominster
D-ATH – Kevin Bletzer, Sr., Catholic Memorial

***

WATCH LIST

Olan Abner, Sr. RB, Bedford
Mike Abruzzese, Sr. DB, Natick
Justin Ahanon, Sr. ATH, Brockton
Shaquille Anderson, Sr. RB, Cambridge
Nick Andreas, Jr. QB, Danvers
Charlie Aylward, Sr. LB, Catholic Memorial
Jordan Balarinho, Sr. QB, Billerica
Michael Balsamo, Jr. DB, Central Catholic
Malachi Baugh, Sr. RB, Stoughton
Joe Bellomo, Jr. RB, Holliston
Aidan Beresford, Sr. OL, Marshfield
Will Blumenberg, Jr. QB, Concord-Carlisle
Will Bolster, Sr. QB, Walpole
Ommel Bonilla, Jr. DL, Andover
Ryan Boucher, Sr. OL, North Reading
Andrew Boynton, Sr. WR, Natick
Luke Brennan, Sr. QB, Doherty
Joe Brown, Sr. OL, Central Catholic
Jake Burt, Jr. TE, St. John’s Prep
Ryan Charter, Sr. QB, Needham
Max Chipouras, Sr. RB, Longmeadow
Jordan Collier, Sr. RB, St. Mary’s (Lynn)
Nick Cordopatri, Sr. OL, Walpole
Nicolau Coury, Jr. LB, Lowell
Shyheim Cullen, Jr. LB, Lowell
Jeff D’Auria, Sr. RB, Chelmsford
Kyle Dance, Sr. QB, Latin Academy
Lukas Denis, Jr. DB, Everett
Joe DeNucci, Sr. ATH, Newton North
Kevin DiBona, Sr. LB, Duxbury
Steve DiCienzo, Sr. LB, BC High
Rob DiLoreto, Sr. WR, Reading
Brian Dolan, Sr. QB, Lowell
John Donnellan, Sr. DL, Reading
Isaiah Douglas, Sr. DB, Bishop Feehan
Angel Duarte, Sr. LB, Everett
Michael Dunn, Jr. ATH, Dennis-Yarmouth
Markus Edmonds, Jr. LB, Central Catholic
Derek Estes, Sr. DB, Barnstable
Michael Fawhemini, Sr. DB, St. John’s Prep
Joey Fitton, Sr. OL/DL, Holy Name
Connor Gatto, Sr. OL, Northbridge
Joe Gaziano, Jr. DL, Xaverian
Micah Gregory, Sr. DB, Barnstable
T.J. Hairston, Jr. WR, Watertown
Jack Herlihy, Sr. OL, Duxbury
Michael Hershman, Sr. WR, Mansfield
Kejonte Hickman, Jr. QB, Boston Cathedral
Alex Hilger, Sr. WR, Natick
Sean Hoey, Sr. OL, St. John’s Prep
Jon Holdgate, Sr. LB, Nantucket
Jeff Holland, Sr. ATH, Holy Name
Dom Hooven, Sr. OL, St. John’s Prep
Jack Hubley, Sr. LB, Lincoln-Sudbury
Phoenix Huerta, Sr. QB, Somerville
Jordan Javier, Jr. ATH, Lynn English
Kervin Jean-Claude, Sr. LB, Brockton
Domingo Jenkins, Sr. RB, Taunton
Austin Jones, Sr. OL, Shepherd Hill
Anderson Jupiter, Sr. RB, Somerville
Brandon Kahari, Soph. DB, St. John’s Prep
Devon Kellner, Sr. LB, Taunton
Rory Keohane, Sr. DL, BC High
Chris Kennedy, Sr. LB, Barnstable
Dylan Kierman, Sr. QB, Quabbin
A.J. King, Sr. ATH, Xaverian
Jimmy King, Sr. DL, Reading
Grant Kramer, Sr. OL, Duxbury
Fodee Kromah, Sr. DB, Holy Name
Noah Kung, Sr. OL, Walpole
Michael Kwegyir-Attah, Sr. LB, Haverhill
Jaleel Kyles, Sr. DB, Springfield Putnam
Mitch Laferriere, Sr. LB, BC High
Keagan Latta, Sr. WR, Lowell
Aaron LeClair, Sr. RB, Brockton
Matt Long, Soph. RB, Weymouth
Wayne Lowery, Sr. DB, Springfield Putnam
Steve Manning, Sr. DL, Abington
Kenneth Marshall, Sr. LB, Springfield Central
Ryan Martin, Sr. WR, Bridgewater-Raynham
Ngaiiva Mason, Sr. RB, Lowell
Liam Matheson, Sr. RB, Dennis-Yarmouth
Eddie Matovu, Sr. LB, Tewksbury
Sean McCarthy, Sr. QB, Duxbury
Eric Mercer, Sr. LB, Melrose
Kens Morantus, Sr. LB, Waltham
Connor Moriarty, Sr. ATH, Walpole
Luke Morrison, Sr. TE, Attleboro
Hayden Murphy, Sr. ATH, Barnstable
Kevin Nunes, Sr. WR, New Bedford
Nick Orekoya, Jr. DB, Billerica
Luis Ortiz, Sr. TE/LB, Springfield Central
Derek Pacheco, Sr. DL, Barnstable
Connor Peck, Sr. OL, Catholic Memorial
Khai Perry, Sr. RB, Duxbury
Kylan Philbert-Richardson, Sr. RB, Archbishop Williams
Wes Quinzani, Sr. DB, Duxbury
Aaron Rabb, Sr. DL, Whitman-Hanson
Deion Raper, Sr. DB, Brockton
Kerry Raymond, Soph. RB, Brockton
Eddie Rivera, Jr. RB, Leominster
Justin Robinson, Sr. WR, Natick
Owen Rocket, Jr. WR, St. John’s Prep
Sergio Rodriguez, Sr. OL, Somerville
Rufus Rushins, Jr. RB/LB, Bishop Fenwick
D’Vante Sewell, Sr. DB, Springfield Commerce
Ben Sheehan, Jr. RB, Minnechaug
Tim Smith, Sr. RB, Dartmouth
Joel Sodeinde, Sr. OL, Dartmouth
Jimmy Sullivan, Sr. QB, Nauset
Jack Sylvester, Sr. RB, Andover
Thomas Tabur, Sr. OL, Northbridge
Tyrone Thornton, Sr. DB, Newton South
Nick Thyden, Sr. WR, Quabbin
Griffin Tighe, Sr. DL, Franklin
Coby Tippett, Soph. ATH, Xaverian
Taj-Amir Torres, Jr. WR/DB, Amherst
Spencer Tyler, Sr. QB, Dennis-Yarmouth
Luc Valenza, Sr. LB, Foxborough
Jason Valera, Sr. LB, Leominster
Alex Valles, Sr. DB, Danvers
Kahlil Walker, Sr. DL, Springfield Central
Casey Walsh, Sr. QB, North Andover
Isaiah White, Sr. RB, Beverly
Jamal Williams, Sr. RB, Brockton
Mayson Williams, Sr. ATH, Leominster
Raheem Wingard, Sr. QB, Everett
Kyle Wisnieski, Sr. QB, Mansfield
Four Massachusetts soccer players are part of an elite group of 64 soccer players, aged 15 to 17 years old, being called into U.S. Soccer's National Combine this week.

Goalkeeper Austin Aviza (Medway), forward Mohamed Kenawy (Boston), Rivers midfielder Declan McCabe (Weston) and defender Miles Robinson (Arlington) will attend the camp held Aug. 9-13 at Nike's World Headquarters in Oregon.

Aviza and McCabe both play for the New England Revolution's youth academy.

Here's more on the event from today's release from the Revolution communication staff:
As part of U.S. Soccer’s expanded Training Center program – launched in partnership with Nike in 2013 – the five-day camp is designed to evaluate and build the core for the U.S. Under-18 Men’s National Team pool. Youth National Team staff will run the sessions under guidance of U.S. Soccer Director of Scouting Tony Lepore.

The player pool was selected by U.S. Soccer scouts through assessment at Training Centers and Local Combines, Development Academy events and other youth soccer programs over the past year. This National Combine is a premier opportunity for the nation's top high school-aged boys to be evaluated by National Team staff and scouts from around the country.

Aviza earned his first call-up to U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team camp in March, training with the squad from March 23-31 in Carson, Calif. The Medway resident had previously participated in four U.S. Soccer Training Centers, held locally in January 2012, June 2012, November 2012 and January 2013.

McCabe was previously enrolled in U.S. Soccer’s Under-17 Residency Program in Bradenton, Fla., and was named to Under-17 squad for the 2011 Albir Garden Sports Cup, held in L’Aflas Del Pi, Spain from Oct. 15-20. The midfielder attended a U.S. Soccer Under-14 National Team camp in 2009 and Under-15 National Team camps in 2010 and 2011, held in Carson, Calif. McCabe also participated in U.S. Club Soccer’s ID2 program in 2007, 2008 and 2009, and was selected for a trip to Germany and the Netherlands in 2010.

Medway OL/DL Cam Smith commits to Lafayette

July, 28, 2013
7/28/13
2:13
AM ET
Medway High Class of 2014 two-way lineman Cam Smith has verbally committed to Lafayette College, his head coach Dave McSweeney told ESPNBoston.com today.

The 6-foot-5, 292-pound Smith attended camp at Lafayette on July 7 and received a scholarship offer afterwards, according to McSweeney. Smith made a commitment to the Leopards a week and a half later. Smith had also gone to one-day camps at Harvard, Brown, UMass, UConn and New Hampshire.

"I'm very happy for Cam and his family," McSweeney said. "He is a hard working young man who I believe will fit in well at Lafayette. I am looking for big things from him in the upcoming season."

Smith was somewhat under the radar until this offseason, having not been named a Tri-Valley League All-Star in his career, but he is an intriguing prospect for a multitude of reasons, primarily his size. He wears his 290-pound frame fairly lean, with long arms, and has yet to fill out. He demonstrates good athleticism for a player of his girth; at the Massachusetts High School Football Coaches Association (MHSFCA) combine at Gillette Stadium last May, he broad jumped 7-feet-11 and recorded a 28-inch vertical leap.

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