Monthly Archives: November 2012

Immaculate defeats Portland 5-0 to win Class S girls soccer title fifth straight time

2012 Class S champions – Immaculate High School

Immaculate captains Lindsay Jossick (3 goals) and Sierra Stein (1 goal) head out for championship award.

(Waterbury) That’s five straight Class S girls soccer titles for the Immaculate Mustangs.

The ten-time champs from Danbury overwhelmed Portland, 5-0, on Friday afternoon at Waterbury Stadium.

The Mustangs (17-1-2) had great chance after great chance in the first half but their only score was a Natalia Diaz penalty kick with 3:49 left.

During the second half those great chances, that missed in the first half, turned into four Immaculate goals in the first 12 ½ minutes.

Up 5-0, Mustang coach Nelson Mingachos began pulling starters with twenty-five minutes left.  Good move on his part because the Highlanders could not defend the straight ahead attack of Immaculate.  Things could have become more embarrassing then they had already become for Portland.

Lindsay Jossick takes PK

Senior Lindsay Jossick had a second-half hat trick and was named tourney MVP.  Coach Mingachos probably sealed the award for her when he let her take the penalty kick that gave her the hat trick.

The number of clean-look opportunities the Mustangs had in the first half was mind-boggling.  And we’re not talking long shots either.  Sierra Stein, Lindsay Jossick, Hailey Davis, Caitlyn Linden, Madeline Horosky, and Natalia Diaz all were in position at one time or another to notch Immaculate’s first tally.  But credit the Mustangs they never seemed too bothered when they didn’t score……they just kept coming back into the Highlanders end for more.

Portland goalie Marisa DiMare was huge in the first half positioning herself perfectly for several of the point-blank attempts.  A couple of the other threatening shots were either wide or high.

Natalia Diaz prepares to take a first-half penalty kick that produced the first Mustang goal.

However, when Emilie Hernandez got called for a handball at 3:49 the string of missed opportunities came to an end.  Natalia Diaz took the shot and hit the net to Marisa’s right to give Immaculate a 1-0 advantage.

Portland (16-3-1) probably had their best scoring chance of the game before the half ended.  Nicole Caruso got in close on Mustang goalkeeper Ashley Houghton’s right but her shot went just wide.

In the second half, Immaculate capitalized early and often.

The dangerous Natalia Diaz reached the end line and gave teammate Lindsay Jossick a glorious setup in the middle.  Lindsay put a foot on the aerial pass and Immaculate was up 2-0 with less than two minutes gone by.

Senior Sierra Stein set up the third goal.  She took one direct kick from close to the right sidelines which reached PHS goalie Marisa DiMare on the fly.

Sierra Stein direct kick gets by Jackie Otake (18) and Hailey Davis (99).

Sierra’s next direct kick, from almost the same spot, curled across in front.  Hailey Davis took a wild kick at the ball and missed so the ball kept going and Lindsay Jossick was all alone at the far post for an easy tap in.  That gave the Mustangs a 3-0 lead.

The 4th Immaculate score was nicely arranged by freshman Caitlyn Linden.  Caitlyn dribbled in from the wing past two Portland defenders and passed into the middle to Sierra Stein.  Sierra drilled a rocket to the left corner that GK Marisa DiMare never had a chance on at 28:36.

The last Mustang goal came at 27:25.  Lindsay Jossick  broke into the box and Emilie Hernandez kept her from scoring but drew a penalty.  Lindsay Jossick took the PK and her shot to her left broke through Marisa’s hands into the net.

Marisa DiMare makes a save in traffic for Portland

Shortly after that fifth score the serious substituting started off the Immaculate bench.  Didn’t see many changes on the Portland side.  Natalia and Lindsay were back in the last five minutes and I assumed that they might combine for a sixth goal.  Credit the Highlanders defense for preventing it.

This may not be the last trip for either of these teams to a big Class S soccer game.  I could find only two seniors on each team.

I was impressed with the all-around play of Portland’s McKenzie Riemondo and Amanda Ghent.

The big excitement at the game was actually outside the park.  About fifteen minutes into play there was a tremendous bang up on the nearby roadway.  I never saw the vehicles involved but police cars and an ambulance were soon on the scene.  Kind of puts real life into perspective when you’re enjoying a soccer game and something like that happens.

I didn’t see a lot of tears from the Portland side with the loss.  It helps when there aren’t many seniors I suspect.  I did hear the girls laughingly chanting on the way to the bus, “We’re #2, we’re #2.”

The only game Immaculate lost was 1-0 to Weston on September 12th.

Waterbury Stadium was built in 1930 as a dog track.  The original bleachers were off in the distance.  Eastern League baseball (AA) teams played there until 1986.

I don’t know if Neil Cavuto (Fox Business News) was in the house but he is an Immaculate graduate.

(All of the pictures above and below enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Natalia Diaz (72) threatens in the first half

Caitlyn Linden (18) and Natalia Diaz (72) threaten early in the first half

Sierra Stein (00) about to drill home Goal Four with a nice assist from Caitlyn Linden

Emilie Hernandez (14) trips Lindsay Jossick in the penalty area

Immaculate keeper Ashley Houghton

Portland coach Sandy Booth accepts runner-up award

Emma Ruppert (2) and Natalia Diaz (72)

Portland goalkeeper Marisa DiMare

Caitlyn Linden (18) gets a good look in the first half.

Natalia Diaz (72) is about to set up teammate Lindsay Jossick for the second Mustang goal

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Newtown stuns Masuk 21-14 to take SWC football championship

Cooper Gold of Newtown scores the eventual game-winner through the tackle of Fabio Romano (23).

Cooper Gold (222 yards) holds his MVP plaque.

(Newtown) It would have taken a pretty significant dose of optimism to favor Newtown in a football game with powerhouse Masuk.

But there was Newtown (10-0) defeating the Panthers, 21-14, before a huge crowd (3000) at Blue and Gold Stadium on Wednesday night.  The victory gave the Hawks the SWC championship.

Newtown pulled this off with Dan Hebert (arguably the Hawks best player) on the sidelines out of uniform wearing a cast.

I’ll admit I was leery of Newtown’s chances after absorbing some of the Newtown hype before last year’s 46-7 blowout.

But this time around the Hawks (9-1) weren’t the defensive sieves Masuk, led by QB Casey Cochran, made them look like in 2011.  In fact, they shut out the Panthers (#1 in the state in total offense) in a second half in which they would rally from a 14-7 halftime deficit and get two touchdowns of their own. Masuk averaged 49 points per game during their first nine games.

Game MVP Cooper Gold (222 yards) ran around and over people all night and tallied two touchdowns including the game winner early in the final quarter.

Hawk QB Drew Tarantino tossed his 20th touchdown pass of the season (to Julian Dunn) and had no interceptions.

Thomas Milone (22) follows blocker Frank Bacarella for a thirty yard touchdown late in the first half.

Thomas Milone (165 yards) surely scared the Newtown faithful half to death every time the ball was in his hands.  The talented senior raced in for two first-half scores and was a threat to do almost anything when he lined up to punt.

Thomas has committed to Uconn for a baseball scholarship.

I was impressed with the execution of Newtown on the touchdown pass to Julian Dunn.  The Hawks had run the play earlier with the pass going high.  On the one that connected, the ball was in the air from QB Drew Tarantino long before Julian reached the end zone.  Julian made a leaping catch over Kyle Fontneau and landed on his back.

Masuk QB Malik Cunnings suffered two interceptions in the second half.  He had only two interceptions during the first nine games.

This was a battle for the SWC title.

Terrific field with wonderful lighting.  That still doesn’t explain why there were no programs available but maybe everybody knows everybody?

The halftime show put on by Newtown was simply awesome.

This was the first time Newtown entered the final game of the season undefeated since 1996.

Both football teams are in the playoffs and should be hosting quarterfinal games.

(The pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Dan Hebert

Chris Devaney (3) goes high for a pass

loose ball

Julian Dunn still has the ball in the end zone after colliding with Kyle Fontneau (21)

Jack Kearney (31) prepares to intercept a pass intended for Thomas Milone (22).

Justin Devellis of Newtown closes out Masuk with this interception in the last minute.

Bryan Monaco

Newtown QB Drew Tarantino chases a bad snap.

Thomas Milone (22) plows in for the first Masuk touchdown.

Cooper Gold gets outside Masuk defender Brad Swain on his way to a 9-yard touchdown run

Cooper Gold runs free

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Darius Watson (30 points) carries Albertus Magnus past Western Connecticut in men’s basketball

Darius Watson (25) powered Albertus Magnus past Western Connecticut.

Darius had fifteen points in each half and added six rebounds and five blocks.

(Danbury)  Both teams had graduated All-Time scorers so there was no certainty about where the points would come from.

However, while Western Connecticut State returned four players from a 21-7 team, Albertus Magnus returned four starters from a 29-2 team.

And it was returning starter Darius Watson (30 points) who  carried Albertus Magnus (1-0) to a 85-79 nonleague win on Tuesday night at Feldman Arena.

The 6-5 junior played the entire game.  He had fifteen points in each half and added six rebounds and five blocks.

The home Colonels (0-3) went behind early but came back to catch the Falcons and lead at halftime, 38-37.  The Colonels shot nearly 50% (15-31) and had nine different players contribute points.

You sensed that if the Colonels could slow down Darius Watson (he already had fifteen points) in the second half the visitors might be in trouble.

James Jennings (20), shooting above the foul line, finished with thirteen points.

But they couldn’t slow Darius down (he got fifteen more points) and teammate James Jennings (13 points) put up eleven points in the second half to help the Falcon cause.

Western’s last lead was 56-55 with 11:38 left.  Over the next 7+ minutes Albertus outscored the Falcons, 22-9, to grab a 77-65 advantage with four minutes left and put this one in the win column.

During the winning run, Darius had two baskets, two rebounds, a steal and a block.  He was the difference maker all game long.

The graduated All-Timers were Ray Askew for team from New Haven and DaQuan Brooks for the team from Danbury.

Ray averaged 24.2 points per game in 2011-12.  The 6-6 graduate also holds the Falcons school record in rebounds.

DaQuan totaled 2269 points during his career with Western.  He is also the all-time assist leader at WCSU.

Ryan Pelletier (4) fires a three over James Jennings (20).

On a first look it seemed apparent to me that Western is still trying to sort out who will be carrying the scoring load.  Colonel coach Bob Campbell had eleven players score but Ryan Pelletier’s fourteen points was high for the game.

Albertus, on the other hand, seemed quite certain about where the production would come from.  Five player played twenty minutes or more and three players (Jefferson Lora, James Jennings, and Mike Sweeney) also reached double figures.  Mike Sweeney (6-6) was the big surprise getting eleven points in seventeen minutes.

Albertus Magnus is from the Great Northeast Athletic Conference.  They dominated that league last year (18-0) and are favored by the ten other coaches in that league, in a preseason poll, to dominate again.

The Falcons finished the 2011-12 season ranked 20th in D3 Hoops national poll.

Western will next host Trinity on November 28th at 7PM.

box score

(All of the pictures above and below enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

WSCU coach Bob Campbell afterwards

Russell Payton (12) looks for an opening.

Phil Starks (3) looks to the basket

Ryan Pelletier

James Economopoulos

Russell Payton (12) tries to stop Julian Sanders (22)

Luis Bridtter (0) shoots over Lemar Larsen (30)

Leroy Mayers under heavy Falcon defensive pressure.

Julian Sanders gets medical attention.

Lemar Larsen (30) flies in for two.

Joseph Groski (left) and Jefferson Lora (right)

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Franklin reaches state Division 1 girls soccer finals with 2-0 win over Beverly

Kristi Kirshe (12) nets her 100th goal on this first-half direct kick.

Kristi is all smiles afterwards

(Lynn) Undefeated Franklin moves on to the Division 1 state girls soccer finals after defeating Beverly, 2-0, on Wednesday night at Manning Field.

(Both teams are the Panthers so I will avoid the nickname.)

Franklin (21-0-1) will now face Nashoba Valley (18-0-4) on Friday night at Worcester State University at 5PM.  NV has only lost once in two years.  What a great matchup!

Franklin senior Kristi Kirshe got the, “will she get her 100th goal,” suspense behind her in the first half on a direct kick.

In the second half, sophomore Taylor Cogliano broke past Beverly goalie Rachel Kenney for a Franklin insurance goal.

The South champs had the better of the midfield play most of the game.  I could hear Beverly coach Kristin Simpson yelling to her team that Franklin, “was winning all of the 50/50 balls.”  Kristi Kirshe had plenty to do with that domination.

Franklin GK Dani Lonati deflects a corner kick over the net as Caitlin Harty (6) lurks nearby.

Beverly (18-4-0) had several good chances by their 50-goal scorer Caitlin Harty but for the most part Caitlin had trouble getting any operating room.  Julia Bireley shadowed Caitlin throughout the game.

Much of the Beverly offense was setup by the individual skills of sophomore Eva Gourdeau.

Franklin (21-0-1) was able to get deep on Beverly numerous times off of the dribbling and passing of Kristi Kirshe and Taylor Cogliano.

Kristi hit the crossbar near the end of the first half while Taylor had shots go wide on either side of the Beverly net in the second half.

Kristi’s milestone goal was off a direct kick at 33:54 in the first half.  Kristi’s dribbling set up the direct kick as she was dropped by Beverly’s Kristen O’Connor.

Kristi faced a wall of Beverly defenders but her hard shot hit the left goalpost and caromed to the right into the net behind Beverly GK Casey Cook.

Eighteen minutes after Kristi’s goal in the first half, Beverly had two back-to-back corner kicks from both sides.  Caitlin Harty came close to getting a head on the first while Eva Gourdeau did get a head on the second.  Neither resulted in a goal but Franklin coach Tom Geysen called a timeout right after that to settle things down.

I happened to catch some of Coach Geysen’s halftime talk and believe me he wasn’t handing out accolades.  The memory of a 3-0 halftime lead against Oliver Ames in the South finals, turning into a 3-2 nail biter, was probably still fresh in his mind.

About ten minutes into the second half the Beverly coach moved Kristen O’Connor further up the field to be part of the attack hoping that a tying goal would result.  Kristen was already taking all the Beverly corner kicks and direct kicks.

That player switch led to a goal at 11:33 after Taylor Cogliano broke open down the middle.  The tricky sophomore had time to fake past the Beverly goalie, dribble a couple more times, and then casually tap the ball into an open net.  

Now up, 2-0, the Franklin defense and offense never let up, avoiding another Oliver Ames type late-game scare.

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Franklin tied Walpole, 2-2, in the last game of the regular season.

Franklin has never won a girls soccer state title.  They reached the state semifinals in 2010 losing to Central Catholic in overtime.

That Beverly reached the state semifinals was a surprise to many.  During the regular season the Panthers lost twice to Peabody and once to Danvers.

Caitlin Harty

Junior Caitlin Harty scored twenty-seven goals in 2011 and twenty-three this year.  Teammate Eva Gourdeau tallied twenty-five in 2011 and fourteen this season.

Caitlin is the top student in Beverly’s junior class with a GPA of 4.7348.  She is taking all honors classes.

Nice late fall night at Manning Field.  It was cold but there wasn’t any wind.

(All of the pictures above and below enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Taylor Cogliano sails in for a shot

Rose Terner

Bailey Knous collides with the BHS goalie

Kristen OConnor lines up a shot

Franklin coach Tom Geysen afterwards

Eva Gourdeau (16) tries to get by Nicole Ellin (11)

Grace Conley (23) guards the post during a corner kick.

Kristen OConnor (10) chases Kristi Kirshe (12)

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Weston ousts Ipswich in Division 3 North finals, 2-0, in girls soccer

Weston – Division 3 North girls soccer champs

(Lynn) Same teams.  Same field.  Same weather.  Same tournament.  Same results.

What can you say?  There was Weston defeating Ipswich in girls soccer, 2-0, at Manning Field to capture the Division 3 North finals in beautiful weather.  Two years ago (November 14th) exactly the same thing happened.

Juicy rebound early led to first Weston goal by Katie Marlow-Benedick

In this Monday morning event, the Wildcats stunned the Tigers with a goal in the first thirty seconds (Katie Marlow-Benedick) of the game.  The insurance for Weston kicked in during the second half on a goal by Maddie Linde.

Weston (11-7-4) moves on to the D3 state semifinals against South champs Norwell at 5:30PM at Veterans Stadium in Quincy on Wednesday.  The D3 state finals are at Worcester State College on Saturday (10AM) morning.

Ipswich (11-5-7) had enough defense, led by Courtney Long, to keep the Wildcats from adding more goals in the first half after the depressing start.

The Weston defense, led by Sarah Peters, gave the Tigers few instances of control deep in their territory.  Ipswich had several corner kicks but was unable to turn up threats on WHS goalie Alissa Duffey.

The Tigers best chance was on direct kick from straight away by Courtney Long late in the first half.  Katie Monahan was bearing down on Alissa as she made the catch.  Any sort of bobble there could have been a Tiger goal.

Weston’s first goal happened so fast!

The Wildcats started with the ball. Freshman Emma Marlow-Benedick broke past the Tiger defense in front of the Weston sidelines and dribbled in on the right.  Instead of taking a long shot at GK Molly Markos, Emma sent a pass into the middle to senior Maddie Linde. Maddie had time to drill a shot that Molly got a piece of but couldn’t control.  The result was a juicy rebound for Emma’s twin sister Katie to tap into the open net.

Down 1-0 in a game not even thirty seconds old was not what the Tigers needed.  However, the Wildcats were kept from threatening the rest of the half.  Ipswich had several corner kicks but didn’t endanger the Weston shutout.

The Wildcats turned up the pressure in the first fifteen minutes of the second half.  They had four dangerous corner kicks before capitalizing.

Maddie Linde (20) about to head home the second Weston goal.

The goal came when senior Hannah Graves sent a corner kick over the reach of goalie Molly Markos. Teammate Maddie Linde was perfectly positioned and headed home Weston’s second goal, fifteen minutes into the second half.  Maddie’s height gave her an advantage and Hannah’s kick was right where Maddie could convert.

The Wildcats had several dangerous shots the rest of the way, a couple by Lane Cronin, and one by Jackie Foody.

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Ipswich knocked Weston out of the tournament (1-0) last year at Ipswich on a Hannah Weagle score.

Maddie Linde had both goals in the Wildcat win two years ago at Manning Field.

Kudos to Weston’s Jackie Foody.  Her collision with Tiger Lia Ziegler sent the Ipswich senior to the turf but after the Tiger medical staff took care of Lia, Jackie came over to make sure her opponent was okay.  Classy move!

Lane Cronin (17) gets a yellow card.

I also congratulate WHS coach Rich Daestrela.  When one of his players (Lane Cronin) drew a yellow card for angrily kicking a ball out of play, she had to leave the game.  I have seen other coaches immediately put the carded player back in the game.  Not Coach Daestrela.  He kept the offending party off the field for the last nineteen minutes of the first half.  A teachable moment?

Weston can certainly be thankful for the Sullivan Rule.  That unique Massachusetts rule allowed the Wildcats to qualify for the MIAA tourney despite a 6-7-4 record.  Winning 50% of games against same-division opponents qualifies a team for the tournament……and that’s how Weston got in.

Weston competes in the very tough Dual County League.  The beatings they absorbed from D1 powerhouses like Acton-Boxborough, Concord-Carlisle, and Lincoln-Sudbury obviously toughened them up for the Division 3 tournament.  The only disadvantage was that Weston got a low seed (#17) and had to win early-round games on the road to get to the finals.

Coach Daestrela commended the Cape Ann League afterwards.  He faced Georgetown first and needed penalty kicks to win.  He said that the games in between Georgetown and Ipswich were not very competitive and allowed him to use substitutes for most of the second halves.

Maria Balzer (5) and Katie Marlow-Benedick (7)

Coach Daestrela on the undersized freshmen Marlow-Benedick twins: “I don’t care what size they are, they can play, and will play.”

This was Courtney Long’s last soccer game for Ipswich.  What a defender she was with a strong leg.  She took care of all the goal kicks and direct kicks.  I wonder what she would have done on corner kicks?

Some doctors do house calls.  Dr. Hugh O’Flynn does field calls!  The Ipswich surgeon helped tend to several injured Tigers in the first half.

Good Ipswich sports trivia question: Name the first Ipswich girls soccer coach  –  Doug Woodworth.

(All of the pictures above and below enlarge if you click on them.)

Ipswich captains with D3 North finalist trophy

celebrating begins

Weston coach Rich Daestrela

Lia Ziegler chases loose ball

Tally Shea (22) and Julia Davis (23)

Maddie Linde shoots as Emily Brengle (11) defends

Emma Marlow-Benedick (67) lines up a shot

Courtney Long (24) protects GK Molly Markos

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Belmont defeats Newburyport in overtime 1-0 to gain Division 2 North girls soccer finals

Julia Russo lines up this overtime corner kick that led to the game winner

The collision in front that produced the game winner by Olivia Lyons

(Lynn) It was sweet revenge for the Belmont Marauders girls soccer team.

Just over a year ago, Belmont was knocked out in the Division 2 North quarterfinals by Newburyport at Newburyport.

This time it was the Marauders getting a 1-0 overtime win over the Clippers to move on to the D2 North finals on Monday afternoon (3PM) back at Manning Field in Lynn.

Senior Olivia Lyons kicked in the winner late in the first overtime off of a well-placed corner kick by Julia Russo.  Julia’s corner kick and about seven or eight players ended up at the same spot at the same time. The heavy traffic gave  Clipper goalie Lilly Donovan no chance to get to the ball.

Katie Gorenflo (24) goes over Marauder goalie Maria-Alice Menatas

The Saturday morning game featured sunny skies and quite a few chances for either team to score.  Sometimes in games where goals aren’t scored for all of regulation, the play is in the middle of the field.  Not this one.  There were frequent “ooh’s” and “ah’s” as either great last-ditch defense or a late misconnection kept both nets clean through 80+ minutes.

#8 seed Belmont (13-3-3) has now won six straight.

#4 seed Newburyport (15-3-2) will lose two seniors, Katie Gorenflo and Jackie Krusemark.  Both girls were 2012 Cape Ann League All-Stars.  However, there is plenty of Clipper talent coming back, including Carly Brand.  Carly was injured in the off-season and didn’t play all season.  She was one of the top players in the CAL as a sophomore in 2011.

Belmont senior Olivia Lyons scored the winning goal in overtime

One thing I have noticed about tournament play is that by-and-large the referees allow more physical contact.  That seemed to help Belmont.  They were much more aggressive.

The key player in the Belmont win was Julia Russo.  The senior midfielder was very much the dominating player in the middle of the field.  Her main contribution, however, was on direct kicks and corner kicks.  Julia often kicked the ball with force and put it in an area where scoring chances might evolve.  That was indeed what happened in the overtime goal.

The Clippers could only wish that midfielder Hannah Martin hadn’t graduated in June.  Hannah had the same knack, as Julia, to make every direct kick dangerous.  Hannah, in fact, scored on a direct kick in the Clippers 2-1 win over Belmont on November 8th of 2011 in the quarterfinals game.

Gabby Joyal picked up a yellow card in overtime.

Aly Leahy went out with an injury with nine minutes left in regulation but returned five minutes later after getting her ankle wrapped.

The 10AM start didn’t discourage the public address announcer from reminding us that pizza and nachos were available at the concession stand.  Doughnuts and coffee might have had a better chance!

I did appreciate the PA announcer telling who the goal scorer was in overtime.  With the number of players milling around in front it would have been anyone’s guess otherwise.

(The pictures above and below enlarge if you click on them.)

Jaycie Triandafilou (19) with Olivia Lyons in pursuit.

Delaney Bartol (20) and Gabby Joyal (10)

Jaycie Triandafilou looks for a shot in front

traffic in the Newburyport end

Jackie Krusemark

Belmont celebration

Olivia Lyons (22) and Maryam Moshrefi (21) eye the ball

Alexandra Cellucci (15) and Amy Sullivan close on a ball

Julia Russo

BHS goalie Maria-Alice Menatas makes a save in traffic

Clipper bench wear

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Late goal gets St. John’s Prep past Masconomet 2-1 in Division 1 North boys soccer semifinals

Eagles rush to celebrate D1 North semifinals win over top-seed Masconomet.

Keyon Olia (10) and Mike Ennis (8) make a late run

(Lynn) St. John’s Prep scored with just over four minutes left in regulation and defeated Masconomet, 2-1, in Division 1 North boys semifinals soccer on Friday afternoon/evening at Manning Field in Lynn.

Senior Bruce Ocko tallied the game-winner converting a loose ball in front of the Masco net assisted by Lev Kazelyan.

The Eagles will now face Somerville (19-0-2) at Manning Field on Sunday at noon for the D1 North title.

Top-seed Masco (18-1-2) had not lost a game since last November’s, 2-1, D1 state title setback to Ludlow.

#4 seed St. John’s (17-1-2) had the speed to match Masco and the upper hand in total corner kicks, direct kicks, and offensive end throw-ins.  (I don’t believe that the Cape Ann League champs had seen the kind of pressure the Eagles put on during their twenty-game unbeaten streak.)

Adam Grammer (7) shoots over Eagle GK Ben Alpern

The Chieftains came close to getting more goals a couple of times: Jack Heintzelman hit the crossbar near the end of the first half and Adam Grammer sped in on the left and narrowly missed wide right halfway into the second half.

Junior Matt Chilton set up teammate Nate Schmidt for the first Eagle score at 20:44.  Matt broke open down the left sidelines and had time to look up, sight Nate surging down the middle, and get a pass to Nate that he could head into the net to GK Derek Grammer’s left.

It wasn’t a minute later that Masco responded with a goal to tie the game.  The goal was off of a Chip Sherman corner kick. Chip’s kick resulted in a loose ball in front and Jack Heintzelman drove it home.

As the rest of the half was played out and much of the second half went by, I suspected that this game would require overtime.  But St. John’s had the better chances and made one pay off avoiding overtime.

Very impressed with senior Bruce Ocko.  Not just because he scored the winning goal.  Most of the game he was part of the last line of Eagle defense.  He also launched several direct kicks and throw-ins into the scoring area in front of the Masco net.

Chip Sherman goes down but does not draw a penalty.

Last look at Masco’s Chip Sherman.  The senior has been recruited by division one Sienna.  Last year I saw Chip draw a penalty in a tourney game at Manning Field and then collect the PK for the game winner.  Chip tried to draw a penalty kick late in this game but the referee treated Chip’s effort as a dive and ignored it.

Tough loss for the Chieftains who surely hoped for another chance at a D1 state title.  With eleven prominent seniors on the 2012 squad, it may be a while before they’ll challenge again.  But we shall see on that one.

Masco had given up just four goals all season.  To see them give up two in one game was a big surprise.

St. John’s Prep has won the Catholic Conference three straight years.

Manning Field is a terrific venue for soccer.  Plenty of seats and parking.  Great sightlines.  Nice turf surface.

(All of the pictures above and below enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Eagle goalie Ben Alpern

Bruce Ocko (2) gets congratulated on game winner

Nate Schmidt (17) and Alex Gikas (14) chase a loose ball in front of the Masco net

Matt Chilton (14) prepares to set up teammate Nate Schmidt for the first Eagle goal.

Jack Heintzelmans shot rolls into Eagle net

Masco GK Derek Grammer saves

Brooks Clark lines up a shot

Eagle GK Ben Alpern jumps to make a save.

Bruce Ocko (2) cuts off Mike Ennis (8)

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