Boys GBL soccer title is on the line today vs. Somerville
The Everett High boys soccer team will be shooting to clinch the Greater Boston League championship when they travel to Somerville today (Wednesday). Coach Fred Jannino’s squad stands at 4-2 in the GBL (7-3 overall), while the Highlanders are 4-2-1 in the league.
A win by either team will give that team an outright title. A tie will mean that Everett will have to defeat Medford on Friday in order to claim a share of the GBL crown.
The Crimson Tide had hoped to clinch the top spot in the GBL when they took on Malden and Cambridge last week. However, Malden, whom Everett had handled easily in their first meeting, surprised the Crimson Tide with a 3-1 victory. David Lima scored the lone goal for Everett.
“It was one of those frustrating kinds of soccer games where we had a lot of chances and controlled the field of play, but we couldn’t capitalize on our opportunities, whereas Malden made the most of theirs, “ said Jannino.
However, as they have done all season, the Everett boys bounced back from the defeat to record a solid 2-1 win over Cambridge two days later. Felix DeBona and Shelton Lucas scored the goals for the Crimson Tide, with Diego Pena and DeBona earning assists.
“Our defense turned in a really solid game,” said Jannino, who noted in particular the play of defender Eric Chajon. Everett led the whole way and was not seriously threatened until Cambridge scored with about 10 minutes left in the second half. However, the Everett defense clamped down the rest of the way to preserve the win.
The contest with Somerville should be a classic battle. The Highlanders edged the Tide 1-0 in their previous meeting two weeks ago. While Somerville may have picked up some confidence from that win, Everett no doubt will be out for revenge.
Girls soccer team knocks off Malden
Coach DeAnn Larrabee’s Lady Crimson Tide soccer team continues to set new milestones. Three weeks ago, the Everett girls won their first game in three years. Two weeks ago they doubled that feat.
And last week they claimed their first victory over a Greater Boston League rival in many years with a 1-0 triumph over Malden.
Eighth grade forward Kamilla Fernandes gobbled up a rebound off the Malden goalie and converted the loose ball for a goal less than four minutes into the contest. That would prove to be the difference, as the teams battled to a scoreless conclusion over the final 76 minutes of play that saw Everett stay on top by a 1-0 margin.
As might be expected, the Lady Crimson Tide players celebrated triumphantly when the final whistle sounded.
“It was an awesome win for us,” said Larrabee. “The team has been working so hard. They really deserved this.” The coach added that the defense played outstandingly, anchored by Zoulikha Madkour in goal and sweeper and senior captain Tracey Nicholson. Donna DiBattista also was lauded by Larrabee for a solid effort.
“Zoulikha was really aggressive and came out to beat the Malden players to the ball,” said Larrabee. “Tracey and Donna simply were superb.”
Although Everett dropped contests of 4-1 to Medford and 3-1 to Cambridge, the Lady Crimson Tide continued to play strong two way soccer. Sophomore Katelyn Steeves, assisted by Fernandes, scored in the former contest and Fernandes found the back of the net on a header against Cambridge.
The girls hosted Randolph on Monday and entertain Somerville today (Wednesday). Larrabee and crew will travel to Medford on Friday before returning home for a match with Quincy on Monday at a time to be determined on the holiday.
Volleyball team defeats Malden and Somerville
The improving Everett High volleyball team turned in its most impressive performances of the season to rack up back to back victories over Greater Boston League rivals Malden and Somerville last week. The twin wins not only propelled the Crimson Tide back into the thick of the battle for the GBL title, but they also set the standard for Coach Mike Fineran’s charges as they seek to post a successful second half of the season.
Although Everett opened the week with a straight set loss to perennial Merrimack Valley power Methuen last Monday, the loss proved enlightening for the Crimson Tide.
“Methuen is a very strong team with powerful hitters and no real weaknesses,” said Fineran. “But playing against a team of that caliber both was a learning experience for us and it gave us the confidence to know that we can handle a team with big hitters.”
Two days later, that added experience and confidence level was evident in a 3-1 triumph over Malden. Although the Crimson Tide dropped the first set, 17-25, they stormed back to take the next three sets, 25-22, 25-23, and 25-16 and claim the match.
Senior Ingrid Serafim was a standout for Everett, as she turned in a solid game with consistent sets to her middle and outside hitters, as well as exhibiting a strong service game. Senior teammate Melvina Nadeau came through with a stellar effort in the final set, getting the Crimson Tide off to a fast 9-0 start with her serves, and then taking charge once again when the rotation came back to her. With the score at 17-15, Melvina served seven winning points to all but seal the match at 24-15.
“It was really nice to see our seniors step up and play so well,” said Fineran, who noted that Nadeau’s 16 service points also included a number of aces. The coach also lauded the play of Amanda Souza and Taciane Santos for their strong efforts up front.
However, if there is any contest that may have signaled a turning point for the Crimson Tide this season, it was Friday’s 3-1 triumph over Somerville. The contest was a rematch of the team’s meeting in the first week of the season which saw Somerville come away with a 3-1 win.
However, the Crimson Tide reversed the outcome the second time around, taking charge at the outset with a 25-21 in the opening set (marking the first time this season that Everett has taken the first set).
Although Somerville took the second set in extra points, 28-26, the Crimson Tide regained control of the match with a 25-15 win in the third set and then closed out the match with a 25-17 triumph in the fourth set.
Fineran was high in his praise of all of his players, but singled out senior co-captain Eni Bashlarri, who accounted for 14 service points, nine of which were aces.
“Eni has a hard, low serve that has a lot of movement on it, almost like a knuckleball,” noted Fineran, who also pointed out that Bashlarri had five kills in the match.
“These wins were very significant for us, because I think we have figured out what it takes to win,” said the coach. “We played hard on every point throughout the matches. We set up our offense and played solid defense. We certainly are on the right track and hopefully we can continue to improve in the second half of the season.”
Fineran and his squad were set to host Lowell in a non league contest Monday and then will host Medford today and Cambridge on Friday. The girls will travel to Bishop Fenwick on Monday for a holiday contest at 11:00 a.m.
Golfers playing well, showing improvement
Although the Everett high golf team came out on the short end of both of its matches last week with Saugus and Cambridge, Coach Iggy Giangregorio said he has been pleased with his team’s effort.
“Everybody is playing good golf,” said Giangregorio, who noted that most of his players are shooting at or below the low 40s for their nine hole matches. “We scored more points in both of our matches last week than we did in our first meetings with Saugus and Cambridge.”
The Crimson Tide mustered 27.5 points on Saugus’ home course at Cedar Glen, compared to just 21.5 the previous week. Matt Huse led the way at No. 1, shooting a round of 39 and halving his match with his Saugus opponent, 4.5-4.5.
Eric Russo, playing at No. 2, shot a 42, good for 3.5 points; Mike Russo shot a 41 at No. 3 to bring in three points; and Dan Concannon shot a 40 to earn 3.5 points at No. 4.
Freshman Mike Vitukevich added 3.5 point to the Revere scoresheet at No. 5; Mike Yebba took three points at No. 6; Michelle Zullo scored 3.5 points at No. 7; and No. 8 Stephanie Chaves took three points from her Saugus rival.
A few days later against Cambridge at Mt. Hood, Everett scored 28 points. Huse shot another fine round of 39 and brought in three points against the No. 1 Cambridge player. Vitukevich was the lone victor, defeating his Cambridge rival at No. 5, 5-4. Chris Mini halved his match at No. 7, shooting a fine round of 40.
Also noteworthy was the fine play of freshman Jaffer Shiek, playing at No. 8 in his first varsity match, who won three points.
The GBL Open was set for Monday at the Indian Ridge Country Club in Andover. Three golfers will represent the Crimson Tide, Huse, Concannon, and Mike Russo. “It was a very close call,” said Giangregorio, who noted that just .5 points proved to be the difference in determining who went to the Open. The coach also noted that two golfers formerly went from each school, “But with the GBL down to five teams, it made sense for everyone to send another person.”
The full team was set to be back in action yesterday (Tuesday) at Mt. Hood against Malden and then all will go up to Indian Ridge to play Somerville tomorrow. The Crimson Tide then will take on Malden Catholic next Tuesday in the regular season finale.
Cross country teams improving their times
The Everett High cross country teams, missing their top runners on both the male and female sides, ran into perennial power Somerville at McDonald Park last week.
The top female finisher was sophomore Jessica Mangan. “Jessica ran very well in our first race on our home course this season,” said RHS head coach Shelanda Irish. “Looking at her time in comparison to last year around the same time of the year on our course, Jessica ran about five minutes faster which is a huge improvement for her.
“I was very pleased with her aggressiveness,” added Irish. “She was right behind Somerville the entire race.”
Irish also noted that Angele Louis Jean ran well. “Angele had a Somerville girl with her the entire race and I knew it was going to be a race to the finish the last 800 meters of the race, but Angele pulled away from her,” said Irish.
Teammates Sarah Fischer and Melissa Michel had a race to the finish line, with Sarah just edging out Melissa. “I tell the girls even though they are teammates, they are racing against one another and at that part of the race where they are running up a hill, it’s all about toughing it out,” said Irish. “Sarah started training with the team about a month after we began practicing this year and she has been able to keep up with the rest of the girls in our workouts. She is doing a nice job and I think she will continue to improve.
“Although it wasn’t a win for us, our team had a solid performance,” concluded Irish. “We’ve spent a lot of time traveling to our course this season and really getting the kids familiar with the areas on the course that they need to take advantage of and where they can catch their competitors off guard.”
Unfortunately for the Lady Crimson Tide, junior Captain Delmis Urquiza will not run for the rest of the season because of an injury
The boys also have had some tough luck to overcome, as senior Captain Braythener Machado, the boys’ top runner, also has been out for the season with an injury.
Stepping up for the Crimson Tide against Somerville was sophomore Ricky Perez, who has been the top finisher for the boys in Braythener’s absence.
` With the season winding, the cross country teams have meets with Medford (which was set for yesterday, Tuesday, as the Independent was going to press) and at Malden next Wednesday before the GBL Meet at the end of the month.
“Somerville had a very strong team for both boys and girls, as they always do,” noted Irish. “Medford has a strong team as well this year, but I’ll be looking for some improved times on our home course.”
Field hockey team in action
The Everett High field hockey team will make the long journey to Gloucester tomorrow (Thursday) and then play at Malden for a noontime battle on the holiday on Monday.