Boston High School: Rachel Kingston

Soccer Tourney Roundup: Needham gets revenge

November, 6, 2013
11/06/13
12:17
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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.

Needham girls' soccer making strides against cancer

October, 25, 2013
10/25/13
12:22
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NEEDHAM, Mass. – At halftime of Thursday night’s Needham High girls’ soccer match with Bay State Conference rival Braintree at Memorial Field, the Rockets were honored for their contributions to the American Cancer Society. By the end of Thursday’s game, Needham had raised more than $25,000 for breast cancer research.

Head coach Carl Tarabelli and his captains Kyra White, Alanna Bollas, and Kira Oberle, were joined on the field by members of the junior varsity and freshman teams, each wearing a pink American Cancer Society t-shirt. All told, 62 girls across all three levels of the program garnered more than 600 sponsors that gave money for each shutout by the Rockets and for each Needham goal.

Tarabelli explained, “We thought about doing a ‘Pink Night’ and they just wanted to do something more than a ‘Pink Night.’ It started out with let’s do something for the entire season and then it was let’s include the whole program. It’s incredible and I’m really proud of them.”

Kiera Evans of the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk, a program of the American Cancer Society, praised the Needham High program and the community for its support of breast cancer research. She was thrilled to be able to publicly thank the Rockets for their efforts.

“We wanted to make sure everybody understood that we are so proud of what they’re doing in the community and just the support that they are giving to us,” said Evans. “Especially since this is a great recognition night for the seniors, since those seniors have led them in fundraising this season.”

She continued, “Through the success of their season, they are just under $25,000, which is one of our most successful high schools this year. So, we wanted to make sure that the girls knew how much we appreciated what they have done for us this season.”

Needham scored three times and held a clean sheet on Thursday to bring the total over the $25,000 mark and Tarabelli noted that the team still has three games on Monday against Newton North and a potential long tournament run that could add to that total.

He remarked, “The meter is running every time that we score a goal or get a shutout. In my wildest dreams, I never thought that we would get to $25,000. I’m really proud of the girls and I’m really proud of the captains for thinking of it.”

“It’s what these kids are all about. They do this all the time; they’re a good group.”

According to Evans, the dollars raised by Needham girls’ soccer will benefit several programs that are run by the American Cancer Society. The examples that she gave included Road to Recovery, which provides free transportation for cancer patients to their treatments, the Hope Lodge of Boston, which provides housing for patients that travel more than 50 miles to receive treatment, as well as several grants and research.

Evans hopes to see this become an example for other teams. She said with a laugh, “Hopefully they continue to grow and make a little competition between teams next year.”

Oberle leads Rockets to Senior Night victory

In the game, Needham (10-1-6) got two goals from Oberle and one from sophomore Kathleen Rizzo to win 3-0. The result was Needham’s fourth win in a row and ran the Rockets unbeaten streak to 14 games.

Rizzo opened the scoring inside the opening 10 minutes of the second half. The sophomore collected the ball about 25 yards from goal, sidestepped a defender and unleashed an unstoppable shot into the top corner. It was the type of goal that the Rockets needed against the stout back line of the Wamps (6-7-4).

Oberle doubled the lead on a shot from inside the box before just minutes later making it 3-0. The second came after a good move down the Needham left by sophomore Rachel Kingston, who only recently returned from injury. Her pass into the middle was only half-cleared by the Braintree central defender and Oberle hit the shot first time into the side-netting, giving the keeper no chance.

Tarabelli was impressed by the offensive production that his team has finally found. That is 14 goals in the past three games for Needham, after scoring only 17 through the opening 12 matches.

“They don’t give up goals, so for us to get three…with all our injuries to our key strikers we were playing with people that weren’t scoring. It’s coming on at the right time.”

Needham finishes the regular season on Monday against Newton North, which is currently No. 2 in the ESPNBoston.com statewide rankings.

Somerville, Franklin claim preseason poll No. 1s

September, 3, 2013
9/03/13
4:50
PM ET
Somerville takes over the No. 1 spot in the first ESPNBoston.com boys’ soccer Top 20 poll of the 2013 season (CLICK HERE).

The Highlanders were ranked No. 2 at the end of last season, after losing to state champion Needham in the semifinal, and bring back senior forward Thayrone Miranda, one of the most dynamic players in the state.

The defending champion Rockets drop down to no. 9 in the poll after losing 9 of 11 starters from last year’s team, including the program’s all-time leading scorer and ESPNBoston.com Mr. Soccer Mac Steeves. As many coaches have pointed out this preseason, with legendary head coach Don Brock prowling the sidelines it is impossible to count out Needham.

New Bedford and star midfielder Klisman Souza jump into the No. 2 slot on the advice of just about every coach and player that was spoken to this preseason. The Whalers have the potential and depth to be a great team, as long as they stay focused and avoid getting frustrated against teams that are going to be physical and try to kick them out of games.

FRANKLIN STILL ON TOP
On the girls’ side, defending D1 champion Franklin holds on to the No. 1 ranking that it claimed at the end of 2012 (CLICK HERE FOR POLL). Although the Panthers will not have prolific, All-American forward Kristi Kirshe, Franklin brings back 8 of 11 starters and will expect junior Taylor Cogliano to provide the team with offensive punch.

As one coach put it, “The road to the D1 title still runs through Franklin.”

A number of the teams that held on to top spots last year have dropped because of the graduation of superstars (more on that below), including No. 9 Medfield, which went unbeaten in winning the D2 title. The Warriors could very well be at the top of the poll at the end of the year but, with five freshmen on the roster and a host of players taking on more responsibility, it may be a while before Medfield reaches its potential.

Needham is a team to watch out for this season with junior midfielder Kayla Steeves and sophomore forward Rachel Kingston, among others. The Rockets could make a run similar to the one that the Needham boys went on last season. Other teams making preseason noise are Winchester and North Andover, which each drew praise from opposing coaches over the past two weeks.

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