Boys soccer team reaches state tourney; meet Somerville
The Everett High boys soccer team, facing a do-or-die situation in their quest to reach the state tournament as they entered the final week of the season, won two of their last three games to qualify for a spot in the Division 1 North Sectional of the MIAA boys state soccer tourney.
The Crimson Tide (8-8-2) rank in the D-1 North as the 17th seed of the 18 teams in the sectional and will face 16th seed Somerville (9-8-1) this evening (Wednesday) at Dilboy Field. Kick-off is set for 7:30.
The Crimson Tide entered the week with a record of 6-7-2 and needed four points (either two wins or a win and two ties) in their three remaining contests in order to punch their ticket for a Journey to the Tourney.
Things began bleakly for Everett in its initial contest of the final stretch, as they fell behind early by a score of 3-0 to non-league foe Watertown.
However, coach Oswaldo Constanza’s veteran squad reached deep and soon mounted what undoubtedly rates as one of the biggest comebacks in the history of the EHS soccer program.
A goal by Diego Battista put Everett on the board before the half ended, an important tally that gave the Crimson Tide some momentum going into the intermission.
“We had by far the better of the play and possession in the first half, but we were unable to finish our opportunities,” said Constanza. “On the other hand, Watertown made the most of their chances.”
Everett continued to apply the pressure and found their scoring touch, with goals by Cayo Morare and Battista finally bringing Everett back to level at 3-3.
Then, with about five minutes to go, senior captain Eric Senibaldi scored the biggest goal of the year to break the deadlock and give Everett the all-important win.
“We really played like our entire season was on the line,” say Constanza, “Everybody contributed to our rally in the second half and our keeper, David Rosa, made some incredible saves to keep Watertown from pulling away.”
With Wednesday’s scheduled match with Malden postponed until Thursday because of rain, the Crimson Tide faced the prospect of playing two games in a row — the second being against New Mission Friday — and needing to win one of them (or tie both) to reach the tourney.
Constanza wisely gave his starters some breaks in the Malden tilt, which not only rested them, but provided valuable playing time for the EHS reserves. Though the Crimson Tide fell 3-0, they were physically and emotionally ready for the New Mission contest, which now was a “must win” match.
Senibaldi fittingly launched Everett on the path to the tourney, taking on, and beating, a New Mission defender before blasting a powerful shot from the top of the box that cleanly beat the New Mission keeper.
The 1-0 Everett lead stood through the first half, but the Crimson Tide came out after the intermission and soon took control of the contest. Jason Castro delivered a beautiful strike on a free kick from 30 yards out that reached the back of the New Mission net, opening the floodgates for a tidal wave of Everett offensive firepower.
Heitor DaSilva made it a 3-0 affair, John Carlos Ruiz upped the count to 4-0, DaSilva struck again, and Ludnerson Morat put the frosting on the EHS victory cake for a 6-0 bulge.
“We knew what we needed to do and the team really responded,” said Constanza. “We’re looking forward to the tournament. We know that we can play with anybody if we play our game.”
If Everett is successful tonight against Somerville, a GBL rival with whom Everett split their two encounters this season, the Crimson Tide will advance to face top-seeded East Boston Friday at Eastie’s home field.
EHS volleyball team wraps up 2015 season
The Everett High volleyball team honored its four seniors in their final home game of the season this past week against Malden. The Senior Night festivities celebrated the contributions to the volleyball program of Jasmine Harding, Sabrina Augustin, Destiny Phaire and Jocelyn Portillo, all of whom played for the Crimson Tide for three years, the last two on the varsity squad.
After receiving flowers from the underclassmen and the coaches, the girls took to the court and battled hard against the Lady Golden Tornadoes, the champion of the Greater Boston League. EHS co-captain Phaire opened the match with an ace and had two in the set.
“Our serving was tremendous, especially early on,” said EHS head coach Mike Fineran. “We had 11 aces in the first set, and hit only three out. In fact, only five of the serves in the set were put in play by Malden.”
Every server on Everett’s side had at least one ace in the set, while junior captain Sabrina Moreta and junior setter Naomi Dottin had a pair each and co-captain Portillo had three in a string of five points that gave the Tide a 15-14 lead.
“Jocelyn Portillo was awesome for us,” said Fineran. “She’s probably been our most consistent player in the second half of the season.” Phaire’s second ace gave Everett a 19-18 lead, but Malden’s defense asserted itself as Malden took the first set, 25-20.
Everett was only able to earn two aces in the second set, both by Portillo, but Everett’s offense got more involved, as Moreta, Augustin, Portillo, and Dottin each netted a pair of kills. Harding added a block, but it would not be enough to stop the Tornadoes, who built a 2-0 set lead with a 25-16 win.
The Lady Crimson Tide fought harder in the third set, and four aces in a row by Moreta turned a 15-13 deficit into a 17-15 lead. Dottin got the serve with Everett clinging to an 18-17 lead and served out the set, including two aces on the final two points as Everett got on the board with a 25-17 win.
“I am proud of the girls for coming back and continuing to fight,” said Fineran. However, the Everett rally would not be enough to overtake the 15-4 Tornadoes, who used their height to their advantage in the fourth set, overpowering Everett’s defenders and stifling their attack on their way to a 25-9 victory. Fineran applauded the seniors for their efforts and thanked them for their contributions to the program.
“As I said, Jocelyn has been one of our most consistent players in the second half, and Jasmine Harding was moving as fast and as hard as anybody on the court this last week. We’re going to miss her power,” said Fineran. “Sabrina Augustin is a difference maker on the court, and when she’s on, she’s hard to stop. And Destiny is one of the best leaders a coach could ask for. She’s always energetic and positive and keeps things light at practice.”
Fineran said that the team should have a bright future, with seven returning varsity players, all of whom made strong cases throughout the season for a spot in the starting rotation. “We know what we need to work on, collectively and individually. It will take hard work and serious commitment, but I know the character of the girls coming back, and I like our chances,” said the coach.