Everett storms past Malden; hosts Prep Friday in playoffs
By Cary Shuman
The Everett High football completed its regular season with a 6-0 record after rolling to a 44-0 victory over Malden Friday night at Macdonald Stadium.
Everett will begin its quest for the Division 1 state championship with a home game against St. John’s Prep Friday at 7 p.m. at Everett Memorial Stadium.
Coach John DiBiaso’s potent contingent overwhelmed Malden, its former longtime Greater Boston League rival, with six first-half touchdowns.
Junior quarterback Jake Willcox had touchdown passes to Isaiah Likely (15 yards) and Anthony Norcia (66 yards). Jacob Miller, Mike Sainristil, and Monte Campbell rushed for TDs while Jason Maitre returned an interception 40 yards for a defensive score.
Everett has been the top ranked team in Massachusetts since Day 1 and has claimed its six wins with a high-powered offense under the leadership of Willcox, who has emerged as one of the state’s best quarterbacks, and a skilled defense led by linebacker Duane Binns, who picked up where he left off after an All-Scholastic junior season, and junior defensive back Lewis Cine, who has drawn considerable attention from Division 1 colleges.
Offensive line coach Mike Milo’s group up front, anchored by three-year starter Helber Fagundes, has provided excellent protection for Willcox and opened up the holes for Everett’s multi-weapon ground game.
Placekicker Ciao Costa, who had five PATs in the win over Malden, sets the foundation in what has been a stellar year for Everett’s special teams.
Everett, who is seeded No. 3 in the playoffs, drew a tough and familiar foe for the first round in St. John’s Prep of Danvers. Everett bested the Eagles, 42-28, in the third game of the season after racing to a 36-7 lead at the half.
“They’re a good team,” said DiBiaso. “They’re well coached. They have some good athletes. It’s going to be a challenge.”
While Everett is regarded as the state’s most successful program, DiBiaso recognizes that each team is presented with challenges from opponents and the playoffs are a new chapter.
“We’re only as good as our last game,” said DiBiaso.
It’s a point that Bill Belichick made after his team beat Atlanta Sunday in a rematch of last year’s NFL Super Bowl.
“Every team is different,” Bellichick said in a radio interview Monday.
Indeed the 2017 Everett High School football team will be looking to add the most coveted term in high school sports in front of its name: State Champion.
With good weather in the forecast, a huge crowd is expected for the playoff opener.
Boys soccer keeps tourney hopes alive
The Everett High boys soccer team kept alive its hopes for qualifying for the post-season state tourney with a pair of impressive shutout victories over Northeastern Conference rivals Lynn Classical and Beverly this past week.
In the contest at Classical’s Manning Field last Thursday, Juan Meza scored a goal at 10:00, assisted by Derlin Eldiou, to give the Crimson Tide a 1-0 lead that would hold up for the remaining 70 minutes. Bryan Hernandez added an insurance marker with 15 minutes to play with a hard strike that deflected off a Classical defender into the back of the net and Luis Avendano, assisted by Bryan Natal, applied the coup de grace with five minutes remaining for the 3-0 finale.
Two days later, the Crimson Tide entertained Beverly on the turf at the Stadium and sent the visiting Panthers home with a 2-0 defeat. Meza gave Everett a 1-0 advantage at 15:00, assisted by Avendano, who had chipped the ball past the Beverly defensive line, leaving his teammate with a clear path on the Beverly keeper.
The contest remained at 1-0 until the 75th minute when Hernandez potted an insurance marker, assisted by Eric DeSouza, who had delivered Hernandez a nice through-ball.
EHS keeper Mikerlenz Accilien recorded the twin shutout triumphs.
Earlier in the week, the Tide dropped a heartbreaking 2-1 decision to Gloucester last Tuesday. Everett controlled the play for almost the entire game, but Gloucester scored its goals in the opening five minutes and the closing two minutes to sneak home with the win. Meza scored the lone Everett goal.
Coach Oswaldo Constanza’s crew, who now stand at 5-8-2 on the season, must win all three of their remaining contests in order to achieve the .500 record that is needed to punch a ticket for a Journey to the Tourney. Their quest began yesterday (Tuesday) with Salem followed by a match with St. John’s Prep tomorrow (Thursday). Both of those contests are set to kick off at 7:00 under the lights at the Stadium.
The Tide will wrap up their season Saturday morning at 10:00 on the Stadium turf against Lowell in a contest that will be highlighted by Senior Day festivities.
EHS volleyball team moves within one win of qualifying for tourney
The Everett High volleyball team moved one step closer to punching its ticket for a Journey to the Tourney with a 3-1 triumph at Triton this past Friday. The Lady Crimson Tide now stand at 9-8 on the season and need a victory in their final three games in order to achieve the .500 record that is required for state-tourney qualification.
The Everett girls bounced back for the big win at Triton after two losses to Northeastern Conference foes Beverly and Somerville. The nine triumphs of this year’s squad already equal last season’s victory total.
“After a tough week, it felt good to get back on the winning track,” said head coach Mike Fineran. “We’ve been battling through some injuries and some unlucky bounces, but our girls kept fighting and pulled it out.”
Fineran cited the return of senior outside hitter Giana Escobar as one of the keys to the team’s success against Triton. Escobar, who had missed more than three weeks with a wrist injury, made her presence felt hitting, passing, and serving.
“Giana was awesome for us, and we needed her to be,” said Fineran. “She stepped back into the lineup without missing a beat.”
Escobar opened the match with five straight serves, and the combination of captain Yasmeen Guerrier’s sets and co-captain Isabella Lyles’ hits helped Everett build a 10-4 lead.
However, the Lady Crimson tide saw their advantage evaporate when they subsequently hit four out-of-five serves out. “We got up early pretty easily and we became complacent,” said Fineran. “Then we started playing too tight as the game got closer. We weren’t passing as well or hitting as confidently as we needed to.”
Everett dropped the first set 25-17 and found themselves looking up at Triton for much of the second set, until Lyles took over the serve with Everett down, 14-12. Two aces tied the game, and three more serves gave the Lady Crimson Tide the lead. Junior hitters Janeka Vilmont and Kayla Gomes combined for seven kills and Escobar and Guerrier added kills of their own.
Senior Gianna McDonald delivered two timely aces to put Everett up 22-18, and Vilmont served the final two points as Everett evened the match at 1-1 with a 25-20 win.
Senior Stephanie Ariste stepped up in the third set, serving five aces in a row to give Everett a 12-6 lead and McDonald followed with three more to extend the lead to 16-8. Gomes, Vilmont, and Escobar earned kills, as did defensive specialist Bianca May.
“Bianca has been our most consistent player,” said Fineran. “She does everything we ask, everything the team needs, and she does it well.” Lyles served the final four points of the set, which Everett won, 25-18.
Junior Anna Thomaz served Everett to an early 5-3 lead in set four, and Lyles had four kills, but the Lady Crimson Tide found themselves down 15-11, then 19-15.
“Our girls get all the credit. Things weren’t going our way. We had a lot of long rallies and we just couldn’t put the ball away. But we kept at it, kept chipping away,” said Fineran.
Thomaz had an ace and Lyles had two serves to pull to within 19-18. Down 20-19, Escobar served five in a row, three of them aces, to put Everett on the brink, 24-20. Vilmont earned a kill on the final play of the match, sealing the win for Everett, 25-21.
Fineran also cited the play of junior setter Ava Labella and sophomore Saunti Burton, both of whom made a number of key passes to her outside and middle hitters. “It was a total team effort, and we needed everybody. It wasn’t easy, but we got the win, and now we need one more to keep our season going,” said Fineran.
The Lady Crimson Tide held their Senior Night this past Monday with their match against Pope John. They will close out the regular season with back-to-back matches against NEC opponents Medford and Danvers.