Boston High School: Needham

Concord-Carlisle takes over boys' soccer No. 1

October, 22, 2014
Oct 22
2:01
PM ET
There is a new No. 1 in our MIAA boys' soccer Top 20 poll with just one update remaining before the start of the playoffs. Concord-Carlisle, which has been less No. 2 than No. 1A in recent weeks, jumps up one spot after another comprehensive victory on Tuesday over Cambridge. The Patriots have now recorded 13 clean sheets in 14 games and have only allowed two goals all season. The perennial Division 2 power has dominated like the best team in the state should over the course of the season and, thanks to a small slip by Needham, takes the top spot.

The drop is slightly unfair to Needham, which also is less of a No. 2 than a No. 1A, because of the Rockets' overall strength of schedule in the deep Bay State Conference. Two draws against Top 20 squad Framingham and a draw with Top 10 BC High are the only blemishes on the record, but with Concord-Carlisle continuing to stay perfect the Rockets take a tiny drop.

There were several losses in the middle of the rankings, but not a lot of movement. Sutton fell to Algonquin but stayed at No. 11 then the Tomahawks lost the next day to Wachusett, which enters the rankings at No. 17, but remained at No. 9. Despite a second defeat to New Bedford, Brockton stayed put at No. 10 ahead its second meeting with BC High on Thursday.

There were three additions to the rankings this week. Wachusett's aforementioned win over Algonquin earns it a spot along with reigning Division 3 champion Belchertown, which enters at No. 19, and No. 20. Wellesley, which has taken the lead in the Bay State's Herget division. Duxbury moves into the Last 10 Out after three straight losses, as does Minnechaug after a loss to Ludlow, and Lexington after a slip-up on Tuesday.

For this week's complete poll, click HERE.

(Editor's note: Records are as of Tuesday, Oct. 21.)

Conference Breakdown:
Bay State - 3
Big Three - 2
Catholic Conference - 2
DCL - 2
Midland - 2
Patriot - 2
ACL - 1
Cape Ann - 1
Churchill - 1
Dual Valley - 1
Hockomock - 1
Smith - 1
TVL - 1
Last year, Needham's Cliff Kurker became a national phenomenon with his zig-zagging 70-yard punt return, which was featured as the No. 1 play on SportsCenter's Top 10 Plays.

Well, Kurker's done it again.

Check out this video of the Needham senior's latest epic punt return, this time from 64 yards out, for a score from the Rockets' 42-7 win over Brookline on Friday night:

(Video courtesy of Will Sumner, Steve Schernecker and Hudl)



In case you needed a refresher, here's a look at Kurker's epic 70-yard return from a year ago:

(Video courtesy of The Needham Channel)

Franklin on the move in girls' soccer poll

October, 16, 2014
Oct 16
11:54
PM ET
Franklin jumps back into the top two of our MIAA girls' soccer Top 20 poll this week after a 3-2 win over then No. 7 Central Catholic. Needham drops one spot to three after a pair of draws, including an imporessive scoreless tie with No. 1 Acton-Boxborough on Saturday. With Bishop Feehan sliding into the No. 4 spot, three of the top four teams in the state are from Division 1 South.

West Springfield moved up four spots this week and is the top team in the West and only team from the West in the top 20, although Belchertown and Minnechaug are both in the Last 10 Out. Minnechaug could jump into the rankings next week if it gets a positive result against West Springfield on Monday.

Central Catholic has had a rough couple of weeks. The No. 14 Raiders lost for the first time in the regular season since 2011 and then followed it up with draws against Haverhill and Chelmsford and the aforementioned loss to Franklin. Central Catholic is young, with a number of freshmen playing key roles, but there is plenty of talent led by senior forward Ali Wiggins, so the Raiders remain a threat in D1 North.

Mansfield and Newburyport dropped into the last 10 out this week and were replaced by Nashoba at No. 18 and Medfield at No. 20. Both are perennial powers in their respective divisions and have shown great improvement over the course of the season. Both also have top 10 opponents coming up with Nashoba traveling to No. 1 A-B this weekend and Medfield facing No. 7 Medway on Thursday.

For this week's complete poll, click HERE.

(Editor's note: Records are as of Wednesday, Oct. 15.)

Conference Breakdown:
DCL - 3
Patriot - 3
Bay State - 2
Hockomock - 2
Midland - 2
TVL - 2
Coombs - 1
Dual Valley - 1
EAC - 1
Middlesex - 1
MVC - 1
NEC - 1

Lexington enters boys' soccer Top 20 poll

October, 15, 2014
Oct 15
2:28
PM ET
There is only one addition to the our statewide MIAA boys' soccer Top 20 rankings this week, as Lexington enters at No. 20.

As teams consolidate their positions within their respective leagues and the cream continues to rise to the top. There could be more movement in the final two weeks of the regular season with Top 20 matchups between Needham and Framingham, Brockton and New Bedford, Algonquin and Sutton, and Duxbury and Silver Lake among the great games that are coming up before the playoffs get underway.

The biggest news of the past week came from the West, where perennial power Ludlow was forced to forfeit 11 games for use of an academically ineligible player. At the time of the forfeiture, Ludlow was 8-2-2 and in the top 10. Since the the decision was handed down, the Lions have welcomed back star striker Mike Goncalves from injury and tied, 1-1, with No. 7 Amherst, but with only three official wins this season had to drop out of the Top 20 for the first time.

There is still an outside possibility that the Lions could be in the postseason. Last year, Attleboro High was forced to forfeit games for an ineligible player (in that case it was an overage player without an MIAA waiver) but still reached the postseason through appeal. If Ludlow's appeal goes through, the Lions could still make a deep tournament run, but it seems like a long shot at the moment.

For this week's complete poll, click HERE.

(Editor's note: Records are as of Tuesday, Oct. 14.)

Conference Breakdown:
Patriot - 3
Bay State - 2
Big Three - 2
Catholic - 2
DCL - 2
Smith - 2
ACL - 1
Cape Ann - 1
Dual Valley - 1
Hockomock - 1
Midland - 1
Middlesex - 1
TVL -1

Player of the Week: W-H's Nick Smith

October, 14, 2014
Oct 14
10:50
AM ET
WHITMAN, Mass. -- As Whitman-Hanson has battled a plethora of injuries in the first half of the season, Panthers junior quarterback Nick Smith has continued to shoulder the load.

There has been no finer example of Smith's ability to keep the Panthers on track in both the passing game and on the ground than Friday's 42-33 win over Silver Lake. Smith threw for 309 yards and three touchdowns while adding another 206 yards on 21 carries.

ESPN Boston High Schools editor Brendan C. Hall caught up with Smith on Monday as our Player of the Week, presented by New England Dairy:

*****
TOP 5 PERFORMERS FOR WEEK6:

Joe Bellomo, Sr. DE, Holliston – Tallied four sacks and 10 total tackles (5 solo, 5 assists) in a 42-7 win over Medway.

Oliver Eberth, Sr. QB, St. John’s Prep – Threw for 305 yards on 18 of 22 passing and six touchdowns in a 58-31 win over Catholic Memorial.

Cliff Kurker, Sr. WR/DB, Needham – All three of his receptions went for touchdowns while racking up 210 receiving yards and adding a fourth score on an 80-yard punt return in a 25-23 win over Braintree.

Nick Smith, Jr. QB, Whitman-Hanson – Threw for 309 yards on 14 of 20 passing and three touchdowns while running for 206 yards on 21 carries in a 42-33 win over Silver Lake.

Brooks Tyrrell, Sr. RB, Marblehead -- Rushed for 273 yards and two touchdowns while adding two receiving touchdowns on four catches for 118 yards in a 48-22 win over Beverly.

A-B holds steady atop girls' soccer poll

October, 9, 2014
Oct 9
6:33
PM ET
This is a big weekend for the top 10 teams with No. 1 Acton-Boxborough traveling to take on No. 2 Needham, which is banged up at the moment but Rockets coach Carl Tarabelli is hopeful to have star Kayla Steeves back for the match, and No. 3 Franklin playing host to No. 7 Central Catholic, which is a meeting of the top two teams in the first rankings of the season. There could be a lot of shake ups in the rankings after Saturday.

Central Catholic dropped a couple of spots down to No. 7 after its first loss in the regular season since 2011. The Raiders lost to Notre Dame (Hingham), which is unranked but still a strong team.

The lone team to drop out of the Top 20 this week was Dover-Sherborn after its loss to Hopkinton on Wednesday. The Raiders were replaced by Mansfield, which became the third Hockomock team in the rankings. The Hockomock joins the Patriot and the Dual County as the leagues with three teams in the Top 20.

For this week's complete poll, click HERE.

(Editor's note: Poll records are as of Wednesday.)

Conference Breakdown:
DCL - 3
Hockomock - 3
Patriot - 3
Bay State - 2
Cape Ann - 1
Coombs - 1
Dual Valley -1
EAC - 1
Middlesex - 1
Midland - 1
MVC - 1
Northeastern - 1
TVL - 1

Needham retains boys' soccer No. 1 spot

October, 2, 2014
Oct 2
10:36
PM ET
This weekend's battle of No. 1 versus No. 2 lived up to the billing with Needham nearly putting the game away in the first half only for BC High to assert itself in the second and earn a late penalty to pull out a 1-1 draw. The Eagles slip a couple of spots because of their previous result (a 2-1 loss to Brockton), but they are expecting starting striker Emmett O'Callaghan back soon to make a push in the final part of the regular season.

Concord-Carlisle, which is now No. 16 in the latest NSCAA national rankings, moves up into the second spot behind Needham and remarkably the Patriots have yet to give up a goal in eight games this season. St. John's Prep also gave up a late goal on Saturday that forced a draw, but will move into third with Masconomet taking fourth and New Bedford in fifth.

Duxbury (7-0-1) has been the team on the move in recent weeks with the Dragons win over Silver Lake propelling them all the way to No. 13, which is the highest Duxbury has ever been in the rankings. The Lakers, on the other hand, have lost back-to-back games and that drops them down to No. 16,

Three teams have been added to the top 20 this week. Minnechaug tied Amherst on Tuesday night and at 7-1-1 jumps from last 10 out to No. 17. Joining the Falcons in the rankings for the first time this season are Pembroke, which also beat Silver Lake this week, and last year's Division 2 finalist Walpole. North Andover, Braintree, and Dartmouth are the three teams that moved out of the rankings.

For this week's complete statewide MIAA Top 20 poll, click HERE.

Conference Breakdown:
Bay State - 3
Patriot - 3
Smith - 3
Big Three - 2
Catholic - 2
DCL - 2
ACL - 1
Cape Ann - 1
Dual Valley - 1
Midland - 1
TVL - 1

Recap: No. 1 Needham 1, No. 2 BC High 1

September, 27, 2014
Sep 27
10:03
PM ET
NEEDHAM, Mass. - The BC High soccer team was down to its third string goalkeeper and missing its starting forward, but the Eagles turned the tables on top-ranked Needham and dominated the second half to pull out a 1-1 draw on Saturday afternoon at DeFazio Park in the annual Bay State Conference/Catholic Conference Challenge.

“They don’t quit,” said BC High coach Billy Ryan, whose team was missing senior captain Emmett O’Callaghan for the third straight game. “I think that’s the fourth time this year that we’ve been behind 1-0 and kept on pushing for the tie and some of the games we’ve come out with the win. That’s a very hardworking team and it’s a tribute to the seniors and the captains.”

Trailing 1-0 late in the second half, senior midfielder Anthony DoCanto, who was a constant menace when running at the defense, took on a pair of Needham defenders in the box and was tripped as he attempted to split them.

Junior defender Christian Labeck stepped up to take the penalty, but Needham keeper Alex Raskind made a diving stop to his right. The rebound fell to the feet of the penalty taker and this time Labeck made no mistake to equalize for the Eagles.

Needham coach Don Brock said of his keeper, “He made some nice saves. We should’ve gotten the rebound but we weren’t ready for it.”

“They were being very aggressive,” Brock added. “It was two different halves, but they wanted it and they had a lot to fight back after their loss the last game they had against Brockton [on Thursday].”

BC High entered the second half down a goal, but stormed out of the break and immediately created chances. Pat Juffre and Docanto each had shots on goal in the opening few minutes of the second half only to hit them right at Raskind (six saves). Senior defender Ryan Tropenao also had a chance on a corner but his header was narrowly wide.

Following the tying goal, the Eagles continued to push in search of the winner. Juffre had a chance charged down by Aaron Maslow and the rebound fell to Labeck who forced a save out of Raskind.

“We made a few adjustments for the second half and I thought we were very aggressive on the ball and I thought we wanted it a little more,” said Ryan. “Our depth and our balance -- we can run at people in the second half and sometimes it pays off for us and today we didn’t get the victory, but I really liked the way the kids performed today.”

Both teams lost important pieces early in the first half. On a high ball into the box, BC High keeper Chris Phillips came to claim it and was hit by Needham midfielder Paul Kondratyev, who had his eyes on the ball the whole way. Both players had to be removed from the game, which left the Eagles with only sophomore Mike Ball to play goalie -- his first career appearance.

Ryan said, “What a game for him tonight his first varsity start is against a great soccer team like Needham High, but he did outstanding. I thought the second half he kept his composure and made some key saves and he came out to help us out.”

The loss of Kondratyev was also critical for the Rockets as it forced senior midfielder Aram Ouligian to play deeper and opened up a bigger gap between the midfield and forward Donald Igo.

“He’s a huge loss,” said Brock about Kondratyev. “We had to bring Aram back to fill in the midfield and that hurt us a little bit up top.”

It did not stop Needham from gaining a foothold in the game in the first half. Ouligian played midfielder Jason Miller into the box but his left-footed shot went just wide. On a corner, Ouligian rose highest to knock his header down for Eric O’Brien but his shot was blocked by Evan Jansen and it was scrambled away.

In the 16th minute, Needham took the lead. Another corner found Ouligian in the box but it was blocked off the crossbar by Tropenao and then O’Brien flicked the ball back across goal to Miller who finished at the far post to make it 1-0.

With a few minutes to go before halftime, Ouligian nearly doubled the lead, which may have just put away the Eagles. Miller was again the outlet down the left and he found Ouligian who was making a late run into the box but his shot caromed off the post and out.

After the break, things changed and BC High took the initiative and pulled out the road draw just as it did in this same fixture last season.

“They’re a dangerous team,” said Ryan. “We came out with a game plan and, like I said, we had one untimely mistake, but I thought our boys fought hard all day and we got a tie and hopefully we can build on this.”

Brock added, “We knew it was going to be a war. We played last year and tied 1-1 and then met again in the tournament, so I have a funny feeling that we’re going to meet again.”

All steady atop boys' soccer Top 20 poll

September, 24, 2014
Sep 24
1:08
PM ET
The top eight teams have stayed the same for the second week in a row, which sets up a No. 1 vs. No. 2 showdown between Needham and BC High at Saturday's Bay State Conference/Catholic Conference Challenge. Prior to that game, BC High will take on No. 12 Brockton on Thursday.

Brockton and Dartmouth are the two teams that dropped out of the top 10 this week after both teams lost to New Bedford in the past week. The Indians nearly dropped out of the top 20 after Tuesday's loss to Barnstable, but Dartmouth stays in the rankings at No. 18. Last year's state seimfinalist Silver Lake has moved up to No. 9 and 2012 finalist Amherst has taken over the No. 10 spot.

Two teams have moved into the rankings. Duxbury makes its first appearance in the Top 20 after a 6-0-1 start, while Nauset returns to the rankings after a three-game win streak over the past week. Milford, which has struggled over its past three games, and Wachusett, which fell to Algonquin on Tuesday, were the two teams to drop out, although the Mountaineers stayed in the last 10 out.

For this week's complete poll, click HERE.

Conference Breakdown:
Bay State - 3
Big Three - 2
Catholic - 2
DCL - 2
Patriot - 2
Smith - 2
ACL - 1
Cape Ann - 1
Dual Valley - 1
Midland A - 1
MVC - 1
OCL - 1
TVL - 1

Recap: No. 13 Walpole 33, Needham 0

September, 19, 2014
Sep 19
11:40
PM ET
WALPOLE, Mass. -- Walpole coach Barry Greener doesn’t exactly ask his players to step into several phone booths and emerge the way Clark Kent does as Superman.

Instead, his “demands” are much more modest.

“We don’t have any great superstars,” Greener said after the No. 13 Rebels demolished Needham, 33-0, in a Bay State Conference game on Friday night. “But everybody chips in. They know their roles and they play them.

“All we ask them to do is play hard, play fast, play smart. A lineman assignment –play fast.”

Suffice to say the Rebels did all of the above and then some in a game that, at least in a figurative sense, was over midway through the third quarter.

Among other things, Walpole:

* Outgained Needham 294 to 69 in total yardage.

* Forced two turnovers (a pass interception by Jack Lavanchy and a fumble recovery by Nolan Hardiman).

* Didn’t allow the Rockets to advance past Walpole’s 40-yard line.

* Recovered an onside kick (by D.J. Villa).

* Returned a punt for a touchdown (Andrew Papirio who dashed 42 yards late in the first half to give Walpole a 13-0 lead).

Greener singled out a host of Rebels who played key roles in defusing the Rockets. Among those was Lavanchy, a defensive back, defensive end Chris Bender, who recorded two sacks, and Papirio who contributed “lockdown corner” for the Rebels.

“Our defense played great,” said Greener. “We’ve got a lot of guys returning from the defense that we thought was a little suspect last year. And we’re playing better. We’re playing fast. We’re playing really fast.”

Besides solid defense, the Rebels also displayed a balanced offense.

Steve Cuqua, for example, gained 108 yards and scored three touchdowns on 21 carries. Overall, Walpole rushed for 137 yards.

Junior quarterback Tyler Berkland completed 12 of 19 passes for 157 yards replete with zero interceptions.

“I think around here we’ve always been balanced,” Greener said while referring to Walpole’s preferred offense. “Way back years ago in the ‘70s, everybody thought we were a passing team. But if you broke the stats down at the end of the year, we were pretty much a 50-50 team.

“You have to show balance. But you’ve got to have talent to have balance. You’ve got to have the talent to do it.”

Ironically Greener felt Berkland and Cuqua didn’t exactly bring their “A” games on Friday.

“Cuqua is Cuqua,” he said. “He’s a good running back. ‘Berky’ is a solid quarterback.

“They’ve played better. They can play better. They will play better. Last week against Foxborough, Berkland put on a clinic.”

Granted, Walpole did get off to a slow start as the first quarter ended scoreless. But in the waning minutes, the Rebels commenced a nine-play, 90-yard drive which culminated with Cuqua bursting around left end from the five.

Then, with 5:57 left in the first half, Papirio broke off his punt return.

Walpole started to break the game open when it received the second half kickoff and marched 95 yards in 12 plays (Berkland passed for 79 yards) with Cuqua again scoring from the 5 for a 19-0 lead. Villa recovered the ensuing onside kick and that set up a 23-yard touchdown run by Cuqua.

After Hardiman recovered a Sam Foley fumble, Ferry Armand added the exclamation point by diving over from the 1.

“Our defense came to play today,” said Lavanchy. “What more can we say? They filled the holes and the D-backs covered well.

“We’re taking one game at a time. You never can get too confident.”

WALPOLE 33, NEEDHAM 0
NE (0-1, 0-2) 0-0-0-0 - 0
WA (1-0, 2-0) 0-13-13-7 - 33

Second quarter
N – Steve Cuqua 5 run (Jack Lavanchy kick)
W – Andrew Papirio 42 punt return (kick failed)

Third quarter
W – Cuqua 5 run (run failed)
W – Cuqua 23 run (Lavanchy kick)

Fourth quarter
W – Ferry Armand 1 run (Alex Koskie kick)

Needham ascends to No. 1 in boys' soccer poll

September, 18, 2014
Sep 18
4:32
PM ET
Ludlow drops from the top spot in the ESPN Boston MIAA boys' soccer Top 20 poll this week after being beaten by unranked and defensing state champ Belchertown. In the Lions place is Needham, which was held to a scoreless draw against top 10 rival Framingham on Tuesday and faces No. 2 BC High this weekend. Concord-Carlisle stays at No. 3 with St. John's Prep and Masconomet rounding out the top five.

Attleboro's inconsistent form has dropped the Bombardiers out of the top 20 along with Nauset, Somerville, and Westborough. Amherst, which is now 5-0 on the season, has moved into the No. 13 spot, while Milford, Braintree, and Wachusett have all earned spots in the Top 20.

There is a very close race for the final few spots in the top 20 with unbeaten teams like Duxbury and Boston Latin sitting in the last 10 out and several teams, such as the four that moved out of the rankings this week, that have the potential to make a charge up the standings if they can find a run of good results.

For this week's complete poll, click HERE.

This week's poll by conference:
Bay State - 3
Big Three - 2
Catholic Conference - 2
DCL - 2
Midland - 2
Smith - 2
Cape Ann - 1
Dual Valley - 1
Hockomock - 1
MVC - 1
Old Colony - 1
Patriot - 1
TVL - 1

Ludlow, Franklin are preseason soccer Nos. 1

September, 3, 2014
Sep 3
6:15
PM ET
The new soccer season gets started this week and with its beginning comes our preseason statewide MIAA Top 20 polls.

Perennial power Ludlow takes the top spot for the boys, as the Lions try to end a two-year drought without a West sectional title. The Lions are followed by 2012 state champions Needham, which returns almost all of its starters from the team that was a minute away from winning its second straight D1 South title.

Last year’s No. 1, Somerville, drops down to No. 10 after the loss of All-American Thayrone Miranda, but the Highlanders are a strong program that, due to injuries, showed its depth in 2013 and could be back among the contenders this fall. The team that beat Somerville in the 2013 final is also back in the top 20, but will have the challenge of replacing star goalie Alex Kraver (and an early season meeting with Ludlow).

One of the strongest brackets should be D2 North, which has three teams in the top 10, including No. 3 Concord-Carlisle, which looks poised to return to the sectional final with a heavily recruited back line and talented roster from back to front. Last season’s champion Masconomet and finalist North Andover are also in the top 10 teams.

On the girls’ side, 2012 champion Franklin is the top team with 10 returning starters from last year’s state semifinalists. With a roster led by Hockomock League MVP Taylor Cogliano and Eastern Mass. All-Star Nicole Ellin, the Panthers are a favorite to bring home a league title. They are followed by last year’s regular season No. 1 Central Catholic. The two juggernauts meet on Oct. 11, which already looks like one of the games of the season.

Division 2 seems to be one of the most competitive brackets on the girls’ side as well with four teams from D2 in the top 13 to start the season. All four of those teams were sectional finalists in 2013. In addition, Sandwich and Dartmouth are both in the “Last 10 Out” and reached the semifinals of D2 South last season.

For the complete boys' poll, click HERE.

For the complete girls' poll, click HERE.

Players to Watch:

Boys: Edmilson Andrade, Sr. F (New Bedford); Nicholas Drost, Sr. F (Belchertown); Mike Goncalves, Sr. F (Ludlow); Robert Hurstak, Jr. GK (Lincoln-Sudbury); Noah Martins, Sr. F (Dartmouth); Tyler Morin, Sr. M (Algonquin); Lewis Mustoe, Jr. F (Lexington); Aram Ouligian, Sr. M (Needham); Mitchell Palmer, Sr. F (Concord-Carlisle); Matt Rodrigues, Sr. M (Attleboro).

Girls: Francesca Calabraro, So. M/F (Oliver Ames); Abby Clapp, Sr. F (Marshfield); Taylor Cogliano, Sr. M/F (Franklin); Eve Goulet, Sr. D (Sutton); Maddie Jolin, Sr. F (Bishop Feehan); Alexandra Spangler, Sr. M (Acton-Boxborough); Kayla Steeves, Sr. M (Needham); Hannah Volpe, Jr. M/F (Notre Dame Academy - Hingham); Ali Wiggins, Sr. F (Central Catholic).

Conference poll breakdown:

Boys
Bay State - 2
Catholic - 2
DCL - 2
Midland -2
ACC - 1
Big 3 - 1
Cape Ann - 1
Churchill - 1
Dual Valley - 1
GBL - 1
Hockomock - 1
MVC - 1
OCL - 1
Patriot - 1
Smith - 1
TVL - 1

Girls
DCL - 3
Patriot - 3
Bay State - 2
Hockomock - 2
Midland - 2
Cape Ann - 1
Catholic - 1
Dual Valley - 1
EAC - 1
Middlesex - 1
MVC - 1
Smith - 1
TVL - 1

South Hadley's Fitzell takes MVP in All-American game

June, 17, 2014
Jun 17
2:35
AM ET
BOSTON – Two days after the best teams in the state took to Boston University’s Nickerson Field, the best individuals took to the same field in the second annual Bostonlax.net All-American game.

Behind T.J. Fitzell’s (South Hadley) MVP performance (two goals, assist) and four goals a piece from Hunter Arnold (Acton-Boxborough) and Jay Drapeau (Westford Academy), Team Under Armour shook off the early rust and cruised to a 20-14 win over Team Cascade.

But when the final horn sounded, it wasn’t about the final score or the individual performances, but rather soaking in the environment and partaking in a great cause.

All proceeds generated from admission were donated to the Wounded Warrior project.

“It’s for a great cause, it was a great thing to be a apart of and it was at a great venue like BU,” Fitzell said. “To be able to come out and perform it’s quite exciting.”

“It’s a lot of fun, I met a lot of guys, I only knew three or four guys coming down here so I met a lot of guys from the area that have been playing lacrosse so it was a good time, I had a lot of fun.”

Team Cascade jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the first quarter behind a pair of goals from James Burr (Middlesex) to go along with tallies from Danny Seibel (Belmont Hill) and Needham’s Mike Panepinto.

With 31 seconds remaining in the opening quarter, Kevin Bletzer (Catholic Memorial) scored the second Team Under Armour goal that was the front end of a 7-0 run, keeping Team Cascade off the scoreboard for nearly 12 minutes.

Bridgewater-Raynham’s Travis Reid scored back-to-back goals to end the drought and Team Cascade went into the half trailing by three.

Team Cascade cut the lead down to one with a 3-0 run on goals from Morgan Cheek (Nobles), Seibel and Panepinto but pulled away throughout the second half, and igniting an all-star game feel.

With time winding down, Drapeau scored the goal of the night going behind the back to beat Tyler Blaisdell (Thayer Academy) over his right shoulder for the score.

Arnold’s monster weekend: Hunter Arnold was one of three members of the Div. 1 Champion Acton-Boxborough Div. 1 championship team that took to the field Monday night, joining LSM Austin Wolf (Team Under Armour) and midfielder J.T. Kelly.

Arnold scored a goal in the Colonials’ 5-4 double overtime win over Duxbury and went off for another four goals Monday night on the same field.

“Overall the weekend was awesome,” Arnold recalled. “First the state championship game, there is nothing better, nothing better than beating Duxbury. Double-overtime and then today it was fun a lot of great guys out here.”

Arnold wasn’t the only one who took to the Nickerson Field again, as did Division 2 champion Medfield’s John MacLean, Brian Bissell, Blake Frasca, Matt Crowell and goalie Robert Treiber and Division 3 champion Cohasset’s LSM Tim Gillis.

Jelling together: It was the first time that many of these players had met, let alone played on the same team together. Before the game the players got a 20-minute warm-up to find their rhythm.

It didn’t take Team Cascade long to find their offensive stroke scoring four of the first five goals.

“We gelled together pretty quick after passing and catching drills we all came together,” B-R’s Reid said.

It took Team Under Armour a little longer to figure it out, but once they did, they were too much to handle.

“Well we were a little sloppy on offense so we slowed it down a little but got better shots and pumped in some goals,” Fitzell said.

Arnold added: “It was pretty easy to get along with these guys out here everyone knows how to play. We all know how to move the ball well, it was just a bit rusty to begin.”

D1 South: Xaverian 12, Needham 9

June, 7, 2014
Jun 7
2:01
AM ET
NEEDHAM, Mass. – Nick Shaw finished what Lukas Buckley started.

Buckley, a junior attack for Xaverian lacrosse, started Friday night’s Division 1 South sectional semifinal with points on each of the Hawks’ first three goals against Needham. But after Buckley was forced out of the game with a second-quarter injury, it was left to Shaw, a sophomore, to make the move from the midfield to attack.

It was a seemless transition.

Shaw scored four goals, including what would prove to be the game-winning goal in the defending Division 1 state champions’ 12-9 win over the Rockets. With the win, the Hawks advance to play Duxbury in the sectional title game, Tuesday at Harvard Stadium.

“Lukas is such a big possession kid for us, and a set-up man, and a quarterback,” Xaverian head coach Tim Gardner said, “him going down was something we had to adjust to.”

Buckley was a major presence in the early going, scoring two goals and doling out an assist on the Hawks’ first three goals of the game.

Xaverian (18-3) took a 5-3 lead into halftime, with Shaw playing a prominent role. He assisted on Dan Grant’s first of two goals, providing the Hawks with a 4-3 lead midway through the second quarter. Shaw then netted his first goal of the game with 2:22 remaining in the half.

It was at that time that Shaw went about trying to fill Buckley’s shoes.

“Our main X dodger wasn’t there, obviously, and probably our best goal-scorer, too,” Shaw said. “So I had to move down to attack from middie. It was a big loss, but I guess we got around it pretty well.”

The Hawks didn’t lose stride, as they scored twice within the first minute of the third quarter with Jack Wheeler and Sean Sperzel goals.

Wheeler scored his second of the game minutes later on a magisterial goal, collecting a ground ball in the defensive half before motoring through midfield, changing hands and letting it rip from 20 yards out.

Something inside the Rockets woke up at that point, however, as they responded to score the next four goals to tie it, 8-8, early in the fourth quarter.

“It just goes to show that our boys don’t have a quit in them,” Needham head coach Dave Wainwright said. “I’m very proud of just overall effort was, no matter what the score was in that situation.”

Aaron Maslow, Cody Mosgrove, Tim Peterson and Danny Jacobs scored goals in succession to knot the score.

But less than a minute after Needham had drawn even, Xaverian reclaimed the lead from an unsuspecting offensive source. Hawks pole Chris Ciolfi went the distance and then some, turning transition into the go-ahead goal with 7:42 to play.

“I was thinking about taking a timeout,” Gardner said of the play. “I’m glad I didn’t. Obviously, our long poles practice shooting and we know that Chris is a good shooter and he’s a transition threat. I think he was huge all night. That was just a great individual effort.”

From there, Shaw took control, capping the game with three of his game-high four goals in the final quarter. He notched the eventual game-winner with 6:10 to play before Cam Wolfe (2 G) added the Rockets’ ninth goal.

Toomey time: Hawks sophomore goaltender Mike Toomey provided the backdrop for the Hawks’ win, making 14 saves on the evening. The first-year starter has come into his own during the second half of the season, gaining confidence in his game and that of Xaverian’s coaching staff.

“He was seeing the ball really well tonight,” Gardner said. “He stopped some pretty point blank shots that you don’t really expect a kid to save. It was huge, a huge turn in momentum.”
Needham has named Jamie O’Leary its new boys’ hockey head coach. A Needham native and grandson of former Rockets coach John Chambers, O’Leary takes over for Mike Bertoni, who resigned from the position in April.

O’Leary, a former Boston College standout, most recently held the head coaching position at Walpole for three seasons, ending in 2012.

Here are a few takeaways from O’Leary, after a telephone interview with ESPN Boston today:

On taking over Needham’s program: “Growing up in Needham with my grandfather being the coach there for so many years (1961-77) and idolizing those guys that played there, it’s really special for me. When I went over his house, he had pictures of [Robbie] Ftorek on the walls, Cap Raeder, all those guys. So now to be able to live that dream, growing up, of always wanting to be a part of Needham High School hockey, it’s really special to me.”

On returning Needham to being a state/Super 8 power: “Obviously Bill [Guisti] had good success, they had some great teams going there. And I think the expectation is to get the team back there and I’m looking forward to being a part of that. They’ve done a good job of bringing kids up who want to stay in Needham and want to play, so hopefully, with some stability in the coaching ranks at this point, those kids will trust and know that I’m not wanting to stay there for a year or two. I want to build something there like my grandfather had and I hope that kids will want to be a part of that rebuilding process. There’s a good foundation in Needham where kids want to play hockey because of the success that they’ve had and the ability to play at high level.”

On what he learned about coaching from his grandfather: “My grandfather taught me to play hockey and I was fortunate to have a pretty good run myself. A lot of the things he taught me are the things I preach. Hockey can be broken down into a simple game with basic skills, being aware on the ice, and that’s how I like to coach. You take kid’s strengths and try to teach them how to be a pure hockey player – to move the puck, and skate, and the fundamentals of the game. It’s a huge honor for me to be able to take what my grandfather taught me and pass that on to the next generation of Needham hockey players.”

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