Boston High School: New Bedford

Player of the Week: Auburn RB Mark Wright

September, 8, 2014
Sep 8
10:20
PM ET
AUBURN, Mass. -- Preseason ESPN Boston Mr. Football candidate Mark Wright kicked off his season in fine fashion, lifting No. 21 Auburn to a 16-14 win over Chicopee Comprehensive on Friday.

Wright, behind the Rockets' offensive line, blasted off for 304 yards on 34 carries with two touchdowns in the victory and, as a result, was named our Player of the Week for Week 1. ESPN Boston High Schools editor Brendan Hall caught up with Wright on Monday for this interview:

(Video by Scott Barboza)



*****

TOP 5 PERFORMANCES FROM WEEK 1:

Mark Wright, Sr. RB, Auburn – 34 carries, 304 yds, 2 TD, in 16-14 win over Chicopee Comp.

Dan Cacciola, Sr. RB, Saugus – 20 carries, 375 yds, 4 TD, in 44-41 win over Winthrop.

Brendan Smith, Jr. QB, Seekonk – 20 for 26, 365 yards, 6 TD, in 48-27 win over Case.

Will Millett, Sr. TE, Marblehead – 6 receptions, 167 yds, 3 TD, in 25-12 win over Danvers.

Chandler DeBrosse, Sr. QB, New Bedford – 12 of 13, 307 yds, 3 TD; 117 rush yds, TD, in 43-36 win over Franklin.

Roundball: No. 7 Cambridge 74, New Bedford 46

February, 16, 2014
Feb 16
8:39
PM ET
LAWRENCE, Mass. -– Cambridge outscored New Bedford by 21 in the second half to cruise to a 74-46 win in the first semifinal at the Roundball Classic at Central Catholic.

“I didn't think we did a great job of rebounding or defending in the first half,” Cambridge coach Lance Dottin said. “I wanted to make sure we emphasized that coming out of the locker room in the second half, and then we were able to get some fast break opportunities against their press.”

The Falcons shut down the Whalers early in the second half, blowing a nine-point halftime lead out to 13 quick and putting the pedal down.

Junior center Fredens Deneus (17 points, 13 rebounds) crushed on both ends of the floor, while Demetrius Woodson buried four 3-pointers en route to 17 points from the guard spot. Junior shooting guard Isaiah McLeod added 10 points.

“I just thought that the kids did a good job of executing,” Dottin said. “We were able to get the ball inside a little late with Eric [Smith-Sokol] and Fredens which was nice. It was nice to see those guys get those opportunities.”

The Whalers were unable to deal with the Falcons size. Cambridge held double-digit rebound advantage for the bulk of the game. On the defensive end, Falcon rebounds opened up the transition game and allowed the guards to flourish.

“It improves the team's chemistry even more,” Woodson said. “We can keep focusing and get everybody touches. In practice we try to keep spacing the defense out, get better shots, and create post plays.”

The Whalers offensive rolled as junior guard Quincy Pope did. Pope pumped in 16 points and pulled down six rebounds, but he didn't get much help around him. Dillon Kuehne had eight points for the Whalers, and Jaleal Massey added six points of his own.

While New Bedford's guards did damage, Woodson and McLeod always had an answer. The duo combined for six three-point baskets and moved the ball quickly with ease.

“I've played with him my whole life,” McLeod said. “We started [in] AAU together. It's pretty easy; we got good chemistry.”

DURABLE DIANDRE
Sometimes the most important parts of an engine are the parts you can't see. While Deneus was dominating the lane and Woodson was raining baskets, Diandre Shouder-Williams kept the motor running.

Shouder-Williams played for most of the game and put up 10 points and nine rebounds.

“Diandre is sort of our Mr. consistency,” Dottin said. “The other night he had 17 and 13. He's a guy that comes in and plays every single night. He's a very good basketball player.”

Having another big body in the paint will certainly help the Falcons as it goes for the tournament title today against Central Catholic.

“I love playing with Diandre,” Deneus said. “He grabs rebounds with me, he's got a pull-up game; he's the whole package. If he keeps working he could be something special.”

MONDAY NIGHT MAYHEM
To say that Division 1 North is a mess would be an understatement. Central, Cambridge, St. John's Prep, Everett, and others will be in the hunt for the top seed in a crowded tournament.

Tonight's final will go a long way in terms of seeding for the North section as well as potentially provide a boost for the Falcons.

“Tomorrow night is certainly a big challenge,” Dottin said. “It's not like we don't know both of them; I've seen both of them over the course of the year. It's good for us. We need this challenge going into the tournament.”

Against New Bedford, the Falcons came out flat but were able to rebound. Another early stumble like that will be punished by Central's speed and athleticism.

“We got to play better than today,” Woodson said. “We had a few errors that we could have did better, especially defensively.”

Presidents Day Roundball Classic set

February, 11, 2014
Feb 11
1:24
AM ET
Central Catholic High is presenting its inaugural Presidents Day Roundball Classic, presented by ESPNBoston.com, this weekend.

The boys' basketball teams from BC High, Cambridge, NewBedford and the host Raiders will compete in a two-day tournament.

Here's a look at this weekend's event, and, of course, stayed tuned this weekend for tournament coverage:

Sunday, Feb. 16:
3:00 - Cambridge Rindge & Latin vs New Bedford
5:00 - BC High vs Central Catholic

Monday, Feb. 17:
5:30 - consolation game
7:00 - Championship Game

Tournament Features:
- $1,000 scholarship awarded to 1 member of each team
- Nike tourney sweatshirt and backpack for all players
- college officials will work all the games
- $500 half court shot will be attempted by a student fan in each of the 4 games.

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.

Soccer Tourney Roundup: Needham gets revenge

November, 6, 2013
11/06/13
12:17
AM ET
NATICK, Mass. – The only blemish on Needham girls’ soccer’s regular season schedule was back in the second game of the season in a defeat to its Division 1 South quarterfinals opponent, Natick. The Rockets are much healthier at this point in the season and, on Tuesday night, turned the tables to reach the sectional semifinal.

Kira Oberle scored the winner and Rachel Kingston added a late goal on the break, as No. 5 seed Needham pulled out a 2-0 victory over No. 4 seed Natick on a cold evening at Natick High.

Needham head coach Carl Tarabelli praised the depth on his squad as crucial to the Rockets (12-1-7) having the energy to stay with the Herget division champions, especially coming off an overtime win in the first round and with one day less rest than the Redhawks.

He explained, “I went 18 deep into my bench today and it was a team effort; it was a complete team effort. Although I have some very, very talented players, our strength is our depth and we had to use it tonight.”

Natick head coach Lisa Wilkins admitted that there were no secrets between league rivals and it was clear from the start that Needham had a specific game plan to attack the Redhawks (12-3-4). The Rockets used width, especially down the Needham right, to avoid Herget MVP Carly Wilkins at the heart of the Natick defense.

In the opening three minutes, Kingston sped down the far side line and cut the ball back to the edge of the 18 for Oberle, who set herself but struck the post going for the bottom corner. A few minutes later, it was Alanna Bollas getting down the right side for the Rockets and she picked out Kingston, but the sophomore struck a shot just wide.

Defensively, Needham pinpointed Herget division leading scorer Haley Reddish as the person that spearheads the Redhawks attack and had Natalie Wong shadow her throughout the game. Just four minutes in, Natick had a big chance, but midfielder Danielle Ranucci’s shot from close range was closed down and blocked by Rockets keeper Emily Bowers.

Natick keeper Devan Malcolm was called into action 12 minutes before halftime. She dove low to her right to palm aside a shot from Kyra White. Wong also headed a chance narrowly wide off of a late free kick. Tarabelli was concerned with all the missed opportunities.

“I was a little nervous,” he said. “We hit the post and then we had a sitter that went wide. I was just thinking that this can’t be a re-creation of the game against Bridgewater-Raynham.”

Needham stormed out of the gates in the second half with Kingston getting several chances in the first 10 minutes out of the break. Natick turned up the pressure on the Rockets, especially after a cramp forced Wong to the bench for a few minutes midway through the second half.

With her marker on the bench, Reddish finally found a little room and sent in a corner that tipped off the bar, before a corner from the other side found her on the edge of the box and she again struck the woodwork. Ranucci also had a chance that went narrowly wide for the Redhawks.

“I thought we played outstanding in the second half,” said Wilkins. “The first half we were a little disorganized, but in the second half I thought we had equal opportunities for each team and they just capitalized and we didn’t.”

Not long after having its cross bar rung twice, Needham took the lead. Again pressure down the right touchline caused problems for the Natick defense and gave the Rockets a dangerous free kick. Kayla Steeves, who became increasingly dominant in midfield over the course of the game, found the head of Oberle and she placed into the corner to make it 1-0.

Wilkins noted, “I basically knew when we got into the second half that whoever gets the goal was going to win; that it was going to be 1-0. Their second goal was because we were pushing for the tying goal.”

With only three minutes remaining, and Natick becoming increasingly desperate to find an equalizer, Needham struck again. Sophomore Emma Spector picked out her classmate with a through ball and Kingston made no mistake with a shot across the keeper to wrap up the victory.

Kingston, who missed a large portion of the regular season with an injury, scored the overtime winner in the first round and was a consistent threat to the Natick back four. Tarabelli would not single her out after the game; he said that all of his forwards are a threat in every game and that is what makes Needham tough to defend.

“She’s just one piece,” he said. “They all bring something different. I go six deep up top. She’s fast and she’s talented, but I got six strikers and you can’t pick one because if you do then one of the others will get you.”

Statewide tournament notes from Tuesday:
  • Needham will advance to play the top seed in D1 South, Franklin, on Thursday in Medway. The other side of the bracket includes No. 2 Bishop Feehan and the Cinderella story of the tournament thus far, No. 19 Walpole. The Rebels advanced to the quarterfinals with a pair of penalty kick victories, both after scoreless games, but on Tuesday afternoon beat No. 6 North Attleborough, 2-0, on the road. Steph Lund and Lauren Regan had the goals for Walpole, which needed to win on the final day of the regular season just to qualify.
  • While Walpole’s win was impressive, it was not the biggest upset of the day. The top-ranked team in the ESPNBoston.com state wide girls’ soccer rankings was beaten in the D1 North semifinals. A lone first half goal by Acton-Boxborough’s Alex Spangler, which was described on Twitter as a bicycle kick, was enough for the Colonials to beat undefeated Central Catholic. It was the fifth goal allowed in the last three games for the Raiders, after allowing only one in their first 17 games. The win by Acton-Boxborough also denied a No. 1 versus No. 2 matchup in the sectional finals against Newton North, which eased past Masconomet, 5-0, in the early game on Tuesday.
  • On the boys’ side of D1 North, Acton-Boxborough was unable to reach the sectional semifinal after a 1-0 overtime defeat to No. 2 seed Madison Park. The Boston City League team advances to the semifinals to take on last year’s D1 North finalist, St. John’s Prep. A rematch of last year’s final is still in the cards after top seed Somerville continued its stellar play with a 4-0 win over a talented Brookline team thanks to a Thayrone Miranda hat trick. The Highlanders will need to go through No. 13 Malden in their quest to repeat as sectional champs, after Malden beat No. 12 Lowell, 3-2, in overtime.
  • D1 South has a pair of marquee matchups in the semifinals with Top 10 opponents squaring off on both sides of the brackets, although in the case of New Bedford just barely. The Whalers, the No. 4 seed and fifth-ranked team in the Top 25, needed a goal by Klisman Sousa in the final three minutes to cancel out a goal by Franklin’s Joe Kalil and send the game to overtime. After a nerve-wracking 20 minutes of sudden death and another six rounds of penalty kicks, New Bedford advanced to face top seed and No. 1-ranked Silver Lake, which has outscored teams 11-2 to get this far. On the opposite side, Needham and BC High will get a rematch of their meeting during the Bay State Conference/Catholic Conference tournament, which ended in a 1-1 tie.
  • Several marquee teams are still alive in Division 2 as well. Caitlin Harty continued to build her resume for Player of the Year with a hat trick to lead Beverly over Woburn and into a semifinal against Concord-Carlisle. Masconomet, which dropped down to D2 this year, also won 3-0 to advance to the semifinals. Both were teams that exceled in D1 last season and will be hoping to make similar waves in D2.
  • The first of the 2012 state champions to be knocked out was the Medfield girls. The Warriors scored the opening two goals of the game against top seed Scituate, but the Sailors stormed back with four goals to advance in the D2 South sectional. In fact, there will be a completely new D2 South final this year after Dartmouth defeated Duxbury, which was ranked in the Top 5, 1-0. Scituate will face No. 5 Sandwich in the semifinal and the Indians will take on No. 2 seed Notre Dame (Hingham), which survived overtime against Holliston on Tuesday.
  • Shocking news came today for the Palmer boys’ team in D3 West after it was determined that the team had accumulated five cards during its first round game with Hampshire. Palmer had won the game 2-0, but because of an MIAA rule that limits the amount of cards a team can get in a single game, it will forfeit the victory. Hampshire advances to the sectional semifinal and will take on top seed Belchertown. MassLive.com had the initial report.

Soccer tourney roundup: Newton North girls advance

November, 3, 2013
11/03/13
10:57
PM ET
NEWTON, Mass. – Shannon Fitzgerald scored a brace and tacked on an assist as the No. 2 seed in Division 1 North (and No. 2 ranked team in the ESPNBoston.com statewide rankings) Newton North moved into the sectional semifinals with a 3-0 victory over No. 10 seed Andover on Sunday afternoon.

The final score was comfortable for the Tigers (15-0-2), but the start of the game was anything but easy, as the visitors stormed out of the gates and put pressure on the Newton North back line. Forward Veronica Alois, in particular, caused problems for the Tigers and helped the Warriors (11-5-4) earn three corner kicks in the opening five minutes.

There is a cliché in soccer that goals change games. In the 20th minute, Newton North proved it right again.

A long ball forward by Fitzgerald caught Tigers forward Angela Ward one-on-one with Andover senior defender Sarah Van Antwerp. The two players came together and van Antwerp went to ground, but the official waved play on and Ward took advantage of the breakaway to score what turned out to be the game winner.

Andover head coach Meghan Matson commented, “It stinks because we were dominating to start the game possession-wise and just our opportunities on goal. I think we did a really good job stepping up and winning the 50/50s and being a real defensive presence on the field.”

She added, “It was a non-call that from our perspective should have been a call but it is what it is and you kind of have to move on from there.”

The Warriors had to move on without Van Antwerp, who pulled her hamstring in the collision with Ward. Four minutes after her injury, with Andover still reshuffling its back line, Newton North struck again. Fitzgerald this time was the scorer. With a deft touch to take the ball inside a defender on the edge of the 18, she struck a shot inside the post to make it 2-0.

Newton North head coach James Hamblin remarked, “The first five minutes, I think we were all over the place. They were nervous, excited…I don’t know and to be fair Andover came at us. The first five minutes we couldn’t get out of our own half.”

He continued, “That old cliché - the goal turned the game and they had to take her out and we got the second while they got organized.”

After halftime, Newton North took control of the game with Andover keeper Emily Masterson forced into strong, diving saves at her near post to stop both Ward and Fitzgerald from finding the third goal. Matson acknowledged the improvement in her senior goalkeeper this season.

“This season our starting keeper was out with a concussion and she stepped in and she’s been incredible for us. She’s made some really clutch saves and it’s amazing to see the transformation in her confidence.”

Bay State Conference MVP Christina Callahan and fellow midfielder Amelia Williams started to get control of the center of the pitch in the second half and the Tigers grew increasingly willing to hit long diagonals to the forwards, as the clock ran down.

“We definitely have good power, strength, and speed up top,” noted Hamblin. “The front two of Ang and Shannon are excellent and we’ve had a rotating system on the other forward. We used our pace and power to get in behind them and it worked at times.”

Andover did create a couple of chances in the dying minutes as it grew increasing desperate to find a goal.

Alois took advantage of a slip to break into the box and rounded Tigers keeper Maddie Bledsoe only for right back Maya King to come across the field and make a last-ditch block. A minute later, Alois’ footwork created space at the top of the 18 for Meredith Van Antwerp, but her shot was right at Bledsoe.

As the game entered the final 30 seconds, the Tigers had one more flurry on offense, but Masterson made two sliding blocks in the 18 and one slide tackle well outside of the box. Despite the keeper’s best efforts, the ball fell to Fitzgerald who fired home her second and clinched the game.

Hamblin remarked,” I said to the girls at halftime that the next goal is huge. I said that if we get it, it’s game over. I would have liked for it to come early, not with 10 seconds left, but I thought the more we defended well then the more frustrated that they got and started hitting longer balls that we soaked up.”

Matson was disappointed that the final score was not indicative of how well Andover played against the still unbeaten Tigers.

You look at the score and see 3-0 and think that’s kind of a rough game, but it was definitely not indicative of how the game went,” she said. “To go down 2-0 like we did and keep attacking says a lot about their heart.”

Newton North will advance to Tuesday night’s semifinal at Manning Field in Lynn to take on Masconomet.

Tournament Notes:
  • The No. 1 seed in D1 North also advanced on Sunday, as Central Catholic (the No. 1 team in the final regular season, ESPNBoston.com statewide rankings) defeated Lincoln-Sudbury, 4-2. It was the second game in a row that the Raiders have won by that score, after giving up only a single goal in the first 17 games of the season. Central Catholic will take on another DCL Large team in the semifinals – No. 5 Acton-Boxborough.
  • On Sunday, several of the defending state champions advanced in the tournament: In D1, the Needham boys scored late to beat league rival Weymouth, 1-0, in a rematch of last year’s sectional final and the Franklin girls scored five goals to beat league rival Milford. In D2, the Medfield girls went on the road to beat Foxborough, 4-2. In D3 girls, Weston will take on Hamilton-Wenham on Monday.
  • There is guaranteed to be a new champion in D2 and D3 for the boys, although each of the state champions from 2012 is still alive in the postseason. Groton-Dunstable was moved from D2 to D1 in the Central (D2 no longer exists outside of Eastern Mass.), and pulled off an upset of No. 2 seed Doherty on Sunday. Sutton was also moved during realignment, from D3 to the newly created D4 in Central, and will take on Maynard as the No. 2 seed on Monday.
  • To this point (although to be fair not all of them have taken the pitch yet) each of the No. 1 seeds are still alive. The biggest upset to this point happened on Sunday evening as the Walpole girls, the No. 19 seed in D1 South, knocked off No. 3 seed Oliver Ames, the Hockomock’s Davenport division champ and 2012 sectional finalist, on penalties after 100 scoreless minutes. It was the second straight PK victory for the Rebels, who also beat No. 14 Plymouth South on Friday. Walpole advances to face No. 6 North Attleborough, which beat Whitman-Hanson, 3-2, in overtime on a goal by Hana Caster. The Rocketeers had their own penalty let off on Sunday when a Panthers PK struck the post in a tie game with fewer than 10 minutes remaining.
  • The D1 South boys’ quarterfinals are set with four very intriguing match-ups. Top seed and top ranked Silver Lake crushed Milford on Sunday and will host another Hockomock League opponent, Mansfield, on Tuesday. The winner of that game will face the winner of New Bedford (beat Marshfield, 3-1), which spent several weeks ranked no. 1 this season, and Franklin (beat Taunton, 2-1), which took home a Kelley-Rex division title and has only lost once all season.* On the other side of the bracket, Needham will face Brockton (beat Bridgewater-Raynham, 2-0) in a rematch of last year’s first round meeting and the winner faces whichever team advances out of a Top 20 battle between Wellesley (beat Braintree, 4-0) and BC High (beat King Philip, 4-0).
  • In D1 North, there were a pair of upsets on the boys’ side with No. 13 Malden beating No. 4 Peabody, 1-0, in overtime and No. 12 Lowell advancing past No. 5 East Boston, 3-2, on penalties. Those two will face off in the quarterfinals. Top seed Somerville moved on with a comfortable 4-0 win and will take on a talented Bay State team, Brookline, which beat Lincoln-Sudbury, 1-0). Second seed Madison Park beat Chelmsford, 1-0, and will next face perennial power Acton-Boxborough, which beat Framingham, 1-0, in overtime. St. John’s Prep (beat Andover, 2-0), the No. 3 seed, will play No. 11 Lexington (beat Revere, 5-0) in the final second round match — all to be played on Tuesday.
*Franklin also lost, 2-0, to Attleboro, but the game was officially changed to a 1-0 win after Attleboro was forced to vacate its wins.

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

Silver Lake to No. 3 in boys' soccer poll

October, 22, 2013
10/22/13
5:58
PM ET
New Bedford retains the top spot in our MIAA boys' soccer Top 20 poll this week ahead of Tuesday's clash with Big Three rival Brockton, which tied the Whalers in the first meeting. A pair of scoreless draws last week drops Needham down a couple of spots to No. 4 and Somerville moves back up to the two spot.

Silver Lake's impressive 5-1 win over St. John's Prep jumps them above Needham, while Masconomet moves to No. 3, but even with the loss, the Eagles stay in the Top 10 just ahead of their Catholic Conference rivals BC High (who Prep has beaten twice this season).

The Division 1 West sectional should be a battle with three teams in the Top 20, which based on the number of qualifiers from last season, means almost 40 percent of the sectional is ranked. Ludlow has been inconsistent but remains in the Top 10 closely followed by Belchertown with Amherst at No. 19. Central also has three teams, two from D1 and Sutton from D3,

Oliver Ames drops into the Last 10 Out after another draw in the Hockomock League, but watch out for the Tigers in D2 South. OA is replaced by Westborough, which enters the rankings for the second time this season at No. 18. The Rangers were the first team to beat Ludlow this season (at the time the Lions were no. 1) and are the only team to beat Wachusett this year.

There are two undefeated teams in the Last 10 Out, newly dropped Oliver Ames and EAC champion Martha's Vineyard.

This demonstrates how much parity exists as soccer continues to become more popular and the level of play increases across the state.

Just one more week until we're looking at playoff brackets and the excitement (and mohawks) are already growing.

For this week's full poll, click HERE.
Newton North girls' soccer is the latest local squad breaking the National Soccer Coaches Association of America Top 25 polls this week.

The Tigers made their debut at No. 20 in the girls' poll this week. Exeter (N.H.) remained in the top spot for the third straight week, while ESPN Boston MIAA No. 1 Central Catholic moved up a spot to No. 7 this week.

On the boys' side, ESPN Boston No. 1 New Bedford slipped to No. 12 this week, down four spots from last week.

New England is well represented as well with Greenwich (Conn.) checking at No. 8 this week and Joel Barlow (Conn.) joining the poll at No. 24, representing the Nutmeg State.

Here's are this week's full rankings:

GIRLS' NATIONAL TOP 25

1 Exeter (Exeter, N.H.) 1 12-0-0
2 Northport (Northport, N.Y.) 2 9-0-0
2 Houston (Germantown, Tenn.) 5 16-0-1
4 Maria Carillo (Santa Rosa, Calif.) 3 12-0-1
5 Northern Highlands (Allendale, N.J.) 3 10-0-0
6 Rocky River (Rocky River, Ohio) 6 15-0-1
7 Central Catholic (Lawrence, Mass.) 8 12-0-0
8 Cumberland Valley (Mechanicsburg, Pa.) 7 17-0-0
9 Monroe Woodbury (Woodbury, N.Y.) 13 14-0-0
10 Sacred Heart Academy (Louisville, Ky.) 15 15-0-3
11 Twinsburg (Twinsburg, Ohio) 10 15-0-1
12 Neshaminy (Langhorne, Pa.) 13 14-0-0
13 Champlain Valley Union (Hinesburg, Vt.) 19 12-0-0
14 Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.) NR 7-0-0
15 McDonogh School (Owings Mills, Md.) 20 9-1-2
16 St. John the Baptist (West Islip, N.Y.) NR 8-0-2
17 Tigard (Tigard, Ore.) NR 8-0-1
18 Our Lady of Good Counsel (Olney, Md.) 9 9-0-4
19 Honeoye Falls Lima (Honeoye Falls, N.Y) 22 13-0-0
20 Newton North (Newton, Mass.) NR 10-0-1
21 Fishers (Fishers, Ind.) NR 15-0-1
22 Skyline (Sammamish, Wash.) NR 8-1-1
23 Central Bucks East (Doylestown, Pa.) NR 13-0-3
24 Winfield (Winfield, W.Va.) 25 16-1-1
25 Jesuit (Portland, Ore.) 11 8-0-2

BOYS' NATIONAL TOP 25

1 St. Benedict's Prep (Newark, N.J.) 1 14-0-0
2 Mason (Mason, Ohio) 3 15-0-1
3 Jesuit (Carmichael, Calif.) 4 17-0-3
4 Arlington (LaGrangeville, N.Y.) 2 12-0-1
5 Hinsdale Central (Hinsdale, Ill.) 7 16-0-2
6 Troy Athens (Troy, Mich.) 13 19-0-0
7 Salesianum School (Wilmington, Del.) 5 10-0-1
8 Greenwich (Greenwich, Conn.) 21 11-0-1
9 Upper St. Clair (Pittsburgh, Pa.) 10 15-0-1
10 McDonogh School (Owings Mills, Md.) 11 13-0-0
11 Columbus North (Columbus, Ind.) 12 17-0-1
12 New Bedford (New Bedford, Mass.) 8 10-0-2
13 St. Dominic (O'Fallon, Mo.) NR 16-0-0
14 Jesuit (Portland, Ore.) 15 8-1-1
15 Brookfield East (Brookfield, Wis.) NR 14-3-3
16 St. Anthony's (Melville, N.Y.) 22 13-1-1
17 Martin Luther King, Jr. (New York, N.Y.) 9 10-0-1
18 Avon (Avon, Ind.) 18 18-0-1
19 Cumberland Valley (Mechanicsburg, Pa.) 17 16-0-1
20 Analy (Sebastopol, Calif.) 20 15-0-1
21 Providence Day School (Charlotte, N.C.) RV 17-0-0
22 Marquette University High (Milwaukee, Wis.) 6 13-1-2
23 St. Charles East (St. Charles, Ill.) 14 14-0-4
24 Joel Barlow (Redding, Conn.) NR 12-0-0
25 Father Judge (Philadelphia, Pa.) 25 15-0-0

Needham on rise in boys' soccer Top 20

October, 15, 2013
10/15/13
7:10
PM ET
New Bedford holds on to the top spot in the boys' soccer Top 20 again this week after a draw against South Coast rival Dartmouth and a tough road win at Agawam.

Right behind the Whalers in second is Needham. Everyone keeps saying that the defending state champs are not as good as last year, but nobody has been able to beat the Rockets yet this season. Head coach Don Brock has his team heading towards another possible Bay State Conference title.

North Andover jumped up a couple of spots after extending its perfect start to 13-0. But the big move was former No. 1 Ludlow dropping from third to ninth after a loss to Chicopee and another draw with rival Amherst. The Lions have lost two and drawn two over the last two weeks.

Nauset continues to move up after clinching its third consecutive Atlantic Coast League title. The Warriors have improved throughout the season and are living up to the preseason hype.

A pair of unbeatens make their way into the Last 10 Out, as Martha's Vineyard improved to 12-0-2 and Norton sits at 9-0-4.At 9-1-3, Belmont also moved back into the Last 10 Out.

For this week's complete poll, click HERE.

The Road Ahead: Keep an eye on several huge games this week, including a Catholic Conference (and Top 10) showdown between St. John's Prep and BC High on Wednesday as well as a huge Bay State Conference clash between Needham and Framingham on Thursday. Prep also has another Top 10 matchup next Monday against Silver Lake.

Recap: No. 1 New Bedford 2, Dartmouth 2

October, 10, 2013
10/10/13
10:09
PM ET


NEW BEDFORD, Mass. – The contrasting reactions of the teams at the final whistle told its own story.

One set of players left the field with arms raised, smiles on their faces, while the other players were left shaking their heads and thinking about missed opportunities.

The scoreboard may have read 2-2, but anything less than victory, especially against a rival, feels like a defeat for New Bedford. That’s how fine the line is when you are the top-ranked soccer team in the state.

The No. 1 Whalers jumped out to a 2-0 lead within the first four minutes of Thursday evening’s game with Dartmouth, but the Indians battled back with a goal either side of halftime to earn a draw and a crucial point in their push for tournament qualification.

“I told my guys before the game that this is the big stage; this is why we play soccer,” said Dartmouth head coach Josh Silva, who pumped his fist to celebrate as the game came to a close. “Just a heck of a game, two heavyweights going at it, and I’m pleased with the result after going down 2-0.”

For the Whalers (10-0-2), who sit atop the ESPNBoston.com statewide rankings and were this week ranked No. 8 in the country by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA), it was only the second dropped point of the season.

But head coach John Macaraco still saw plenty of room for improvement ahead of the state tournament.

“This is what I hopefully can anticipate going forth - what we saw in the first 10 minutes,” he remarked. “We have the talent and, once we start playing more as a team, we’re going to be tough to beat. We’re very talented with the ball at our feet, but we’re having an issue with some physicality.”

Junior forward Edmilson Andrade got New Bedford off to a perfect start on a blustery night in front of a typically partisan crowd. Just 30 seconds into the game, he received a pass in the middle of the attacking half and drove beyond the last Dartmouth defender. Andrade had the presence of mind to slip his shot under the onrushing keeper to make it 1-0.

Just three minutes later, he had his second. This was the type of free-flowing soccer that New Bedford is known for, as the Whalers cruised through the midfield with one-touch passing. Senior Klisman Sousa sent in a cross to the back post that was headed down by Felipe Ponte into the path of Andrade, who smashed into the net.

Dartmouth (6-4-3) was reeling, but after a timeout and reorganization seemed to settle down and, as the half wore on, started creating chances for senior forward Noah Martins and midfielder Ben Silvia. The Indians surrounded Sousa in the midfield and used their strength to frustrate the Whalers.

Macaraco admitted that it took New Bedford out of its game plan.

He said, “I think the word is out - this is how teams have been playing us lately. Dartmouth is a quality team and we couldn’t adjust as fast as we should have.”

On the fifth corner of the first half, Dartmouth finally had its reward. The ball bounced around the box and the Whalers were unable to clear it before Silvia stepped up to poke it home and make it 2-1 with 14 minutes left before halftime. His coach spoke after the game about the importance of getting on the board before the break.

“It was huge. That goal definitely gave us momentum going into the second half and brought us some confidence,” said Silva.

The second half began with more space for both teams. Sousa drew a yellow card on defender Pat Thornton for a foul on the edge of the 18-yard-box, but on the free kick his shot sailed high. Almost immediately after, Martins had a chance on the other end but that too sailed over. The Indians also forced a great save out of Austin Eugenio on a fierce shot by Josh Sousa and on the ensuing corner Nick Paine rattled the crossbar of the football uprights just a foot over the goal.

At the midway point of the second half, Dartmouth equalized. A cross from the near side could not be handled by Eugenio, who spilled it at the feet of Martins. The Indians striker made no mistake with his finish and set off celebrations on the visitor’s bench.

Silva praised his senior’s work rate after the game.

He noted, “Noah is just that type of kid that any coach would want. He brings it every day…he leads with his play. He definitely gave our guys the edge today. His leadership brought us to the next level today.”

Macaraco was left wondering what happened to his team’s defense, which had been strong all season long.

“I think we gave up two soft goals today, which is something that we’ve been good at this year. I mean, this is the first time we’ve given up two goals in a game the whole season.”

New Bedford had a pair of chances to find the winner. First, Sousa found space in the box with a terrific change of pace and dip of the shoulder, but his cross was just behind fellow forward Deivys D’Almeida. In the final minute, Andrade had a chance for his hat trick, but his sharp strike from the left was well-saved and held by sophomore Nathan Morgado with Sousa lurking to pounce on any rebound.

“They’ve got some guys that can kill you in a lot of ways, but we prepared for them and I thought we had a good game plan going in,” said Silva, who called the Whalers’ midfield one of the best in the state.

He added, “Any time that you can go into a hostile environment and get a point, especially at New Bedford High, it’s good.”

New Bedford regains top spot in boys' soccer

October, 8, 2013
10/08/13
4:18
PM ET
New Bedford takes over the top spot again in our MIAA boys' soccer Top 20 poll this week, after Ludlow was stunned by Westborough last week.

Somerville moves up into the No. 2 spot (or, more appropriately, No. 1A), as it continues unbeaten as well. Last year's defending state champs are still undefeated as well and hold on to the No. 3 spot.

The biggest moves were the drop of Medway from No. 11 to 19 after a defeat to unranked (but unbeaten) Norton and draw against Holliston. The Mustangs are still a solid team and the drop was more about the strength of the teams around them than there own weaknesses.

Oliver Ames also dropped eight spots, from No. 12 to 20, after four straight draws. The Tigers have looked good in all four games, but have struggled to finish against the strong defenses in the Hockomock League.

Brockton dropped out of the rankings after debuting at no. 20. The Boxers were crushed 7-2 at Xaverian and were replaced by Wilmington (at no. 18), which has won 11 games in a row and picked up a win against no. 7 St. John's Prep.

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

Ludlow new No. 1 in boys' soccer Top 20

October, 1, 2013
10/01/13
5:45
PM ET
There are a lot more changes to our statewide MIAA boys' soccer Top 20 poll this week as some of the teams hit rough spots.

At the top is Ludlow, after the Lions made it a perfect 10-0 to start the season. The next three teams are all 8-0-1 and each could be considered the top team as well. Needham moves up a spot to No. 5, while Silver Lake continues to make its way up the rankings to No. 7.

Four teams were dropped from the rankings this week. Dartmouth lost to Brockton for the second time this season and fell below .500 for the year. Worcester North also lost again and fell from the final spot at 3-3-3 for the season. Westborough and Bedford only lasted one week in the Top 20 before tough losses knocked them back into the Last 10 Out.

Nauset is back in the rankings, where they started the season, after the Warriors made it eight games unbeaten. This is the Nauset team that we expected in the preseason. Wachusett and Framingham each enter the rankings for the first time after strong starts to the season. The No. 20 spot is held by Brockton, which has played a very difficult schedule. Its losses came to No. 3 Somerville and No. 13 BC High and the Boxers pulled out a tie against No. 2 New Bedford last week.

For the full poll, click HERE.

In This Week: No. 16 Nauset (7-2-2), No. 18 Wachusett (6-1-0), No. 19 Framingham (7-1-0), No. 20 Brockton (6-2-1)

Out This Week: Dartmouth (3-4-1), Westborough (6-1-1), Bedford (5-2-0), Worcester North (3-3-3).

New Bedford bolts to boys' soccer No. 1

September, 24, 2013
9/24/13
6:43
PM ET
There is a new No. 1 team in the state this week.

New Bedford controls the top spot in this week's edition of the ESPN Boston MIAA boys' soccer Top 20 poll.

Somerville had a minor stumble on the road against Lexington and had to settle for a draw. It may have only been a minor blip, but New Bedford and Ludlow have been perfect, so each moved up one place. The Whalers beat Top 20 team and South Coast rival Dartmouth last week and will have a tough week with a pair of Big 3 games, while the Lions are looking ahead to a Top 10 showdown with Amherst on Oct. 5.

The Highlanders only drop down to No. 3 after the draw and will take on No. 4 Masconomet in the top match-up of the week.

Groton-Dunstable lost a pair of games last week and dropped out of the Top 20, while Worcester North dropped from the Top 10 to No. 20 after a tough start. The other team to drop out of the poll was Acton-Boxborough, which was beaten 3-0 by No. 8 Concord-Carlisle over the weekend.

Westborough moved into the poll for the first time after it beat Wachusett and Groton-Dunstable to improve to 6-0. The Rangers take over at No. 18.

Bedford also moves into the poll at No. 19 behind All-New England midfielder Michael Dushman. The Bucs take on Concord-Carlisle on Wednesday, so they will have the opportunity to prove that they belong right away.

In This Week: No. 18 Westborough (6-0-0); No. 19 Bedford (5-1-0).

Out This Week: Groton-Dunstable (2-2-2); Acton-Boxborough (1-1-2).

Somerville remains atop boys' soccer Top 20

September, 11, 2013
9/11/13
11:29
AM ET
No. 1 Somerville boys' soccer opened the season with a 3-1 win over Brockton and stays atop the ESPN Boston MIAA Top 20 poll for the second week in a row.

New Bedford is close behind after a perfect 3-0 start. This week also featured the first Top 10 match-up as Masconomet and St. John's Prep drew, 1-1, in Danvers. Max Craig had the equalizer for Masco; he is a former Prep player, who transferred back for his junior year.

There were a few upsets of note in the opening week as No. 7 Concord-Carlisle drops six places after a loss to Cambridge and Nauset drops out of the Top 20 after defeats to Martha's Vineyard and No. 2 New Bedford. Dartmouth also suffered a tough loss to unranked Brockton in a rivalry game, but rebounded with a big victory over Falmouth.

Belchertown, which moved to Division 1 in the West sectional this year, beat No. 5 Amherst in the season opener and moves into the top 20 for the first time in the history of the poll. The win over the Hurricanes was the marquee victory that the Orioles needed to show that they are ready to make the jump from D3 to D1. Belchertown joins the Hurricanes and perennial power Ludlow to make it three teams from the West in our top 12.

There is a lot of parity around the state and many teams have only played one or two games, so there will most likely be a lot of movement in the rankings as teams manage difficult league campaigns. As the first week has shown, this is going to be a very interesting season.

In This Week: No. 12 Belchertown (3-0), first time in the rankings.

Out This Week: No. 14 Nauset (1-2), in Last 10 Out.

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