HS volleyball team wins pair, now 7-5
The Everett High volleyball team took a big step — two steps, actually — toward earning a spot in the post-season state tournament with a pair of convincing victories over Northeastern Conference rivals Lynn Classical and Lynn English last week.
The twin wins improved the Lady Crimson Tide’s record to 6-3 in the NEC and 7-5 overall. Everett needs three victories in its remaining eight games to assure a .500 record that is necessary to clinch a state tourney berth.
“We need 10 wins,” said EHS head coach Mike Fineran. “We don’t want to look too far ahead. But if we take advantage of the opportunities that we have, we’ll be playing in November. We fell short by one game last year, and we don’t to miss out again. If we continue to play like we can, we’ll be in good shape.”
Everett started the week playing host to non-league opponent Lowell in their first rematch of the season. Everett jumped out to an early lead behind senior co-captain Isabella Lyles’s three blocks and two kills and senior outside hitter Stephanie Ariste’s block and two kills, giving Everett a 12-5 advantage.
However, the Lady Crimson Tide could not hold the lead, as Lowell rallied for a 25-17 win in set one. In the second set, junior middle hitter Janeka Vilmont had two kills, Lyles had three, and sophomore standout Bianca May served three aces to keep it close, but Lowell edged out Everett 25-23.
Lowell then took the third set, 25-16, to claim the match.
“We kept it closer than we did the first time we played them,” said Fineran. “But we could have played them even tougher. Our defense was good, particularly the back-row passers, Anna Thomaz and Gianna McDonald. We just couldn’t sustain enough pressure on offense.”
Everett would not have the same problem the next day, as the offense came alive in a home contest against Lynn Classical. Ariste had two kills and a block to go with eight service points in the first set. Junior Camila Morare had three aces and May served five in a row to put Everett ahead 17-14.
Lyles added two kills, as did senior Chrystel Fortunat, in a 25-18 win to start the match.
May was a difference-maker in the second set too, as she rattled off five aces in a string of eight straight service points to turn a 7-9 deficit into a 14-8 Everett lead.
Senior captain Yasmeen Guerrier was outstanding, setting up Lyles for four kills and Morare for two. Morare closed the set with an ace as Everett won 25-19.
The combo of Guerrier and Lyles led to seven kills and two blocks in the third set. Vilmont and Morare combined for three kills and May’s serves broke open what had been an 8-8 deadlock into a commanding 20-8 advantage.
Everett then finished off Classical in the third set, 25-12, for the straight-sets win.
“We got better as the game went on,” said Fineran. “Bella (Lyles) in particular found her stroke, and she kept pounding away at the defense. When she hits like that, there’s not much the other team can do. But it starts with our back row. If we don’t pass well, we can’t set it, which means we can’t get good swings.”
Two days later the Lady Crimson Tide trekked to Lynn English and parlayed solid defense and dominating offense for their second straight shutout victory.
In the first set, Guerrier served 10 in a row to build a 14-3 lead. Lyles had four kills and Ariste added another two as Everett cruised to a 25-14 win.
In the second set, it was Morare who served 10 winning points in a row. Junior Ava Labella, making her first varsity start, set up Lyles three times and Morare and Ariste once each in a 25-12 win.
Vilmont opened the third set with three aces and five points and added three kills, while Lyles served 11 in a row, including five aces, in a 25-8 triumph.
“That was a total team win,” noted Fineran. “Everyone chipped in. Ava Labella set up a kill with a great pass, Fernanda Aiala had the dig of the game, and Kayla Gomes earned two points by outhustling everyone and chasing down the ball.
“We have eight games left and we have more work to do to get where we want to go,” added Fineran. “Seven wins is nice, but we have to want more and dig deeper to earn our spot in the tournament.”
Everett was set to host Triton yesterday (Tuesday) and will entertain Marblehead tomorrow (Thursday) before traveling to Beverly on Monday.
Boys soccer team ready for home stretch
The Everett High boys soccer team will play six of its last seven games at home, starting this evening (Wednesday) when the Crimson Tide hosts Lynn English at Everett Stadium.
Coach Oswaldo’s Constanza’s road warriors have endured a bit off a rough patch in recent weeks. In a 3-2 loss at Winthrop, whose field is much smaller than what the Tide are accustomed to, Everett fell behind early, 2-0, and battled back to pull within a goal when Derlin Eldieu headed a pass from Ulises Vacquerano into the back of the Winthrop net.
Winthrop scored the next marker, but the Crimson Tide pulled within a goal again when Bryan Matal found the range. However, despite numerous opportunities, which included a shot that struck the cross-bar, the Crimson Tide were unable to get back to level before the final whistles were sounded by the ref.
In a 3-1 loss to Salem last Tuesday, Ken Harchdy scored the lone Everett goal.
“We have a young team and we’ve been making some costly mistakes that have resulted in free kicks and opportunities for the other team,” said Constanza, whose squad stands at 2-7-2 on the season. “However, the players are eager to learn and they are working hard. Hopefully, with most of our remaining games on our home turf, we’ll be able to achieve a degree of consistency in the final third of the season.”
After the Crimson Tide entertain Lynn English this evening (Wednesday), they will host Gloucester this coming Tuesday evening. Kick-off time for all home games is 7:00 p.m.