Sports 09-18-2014

WHS golf team stays perfect with 8-0 mark

The Winthrop High golf team remained unbeaten with four more victories this past week to raise its record to a perfect 8-0.

“This is the best start we’ve had in recent memory, if not ever,” said WHS head coach Peter Lyons. “The boys are improving every week. Everyone in the lineup, from top to bottom, is contributing in every match and if someone is a little bit off his game, his teammates are there to pick up the slack.”

Perhaps the biggest win of the week for the Vikings came Tuesday against traditional Northeastern Conference rival Swampscott. Although Winthrop typically comes up on the short end of its matches with the Big Blue, this year’s Viking squad had little trouble in dispatching with their rivals from the north by a wide margin,  43.5-28.5.

Brandon McDonald brought home the biggest winning margin of the day, swamping his Big Blue opponent by an 8-1 score. Brandon shot an impressive 38 on the par-35 Winthrop Golf Club course, a round that is remarkable for a player in the No. 6 spot in the lineup. “Brandon’s performance is indicative of the depth on our team,” noted Lyons.

WHS captain Mike Rich, playing at No. 1, was a 6-3 winner and shot the best round of the day, a par-35 for the nine holes. Sean McDonald at No. 5 also triumphed over his Swampscott foe, 6-3. Jack Wallace at No. 2, Cody Boudrow at No. 3, and Ryan Duyon at No. 8 were winners by scores of 5.5-3.5. Harry Floyd topped his Swamspcott counterpart in the No. 5 slot, 5-4, and Mike St. Jean contributed two points to the Winthrop cause at No. 7.

The day before on Monday, Winthrop defeated another NEC rival, Salem, 43-29, in a match that also was played on the local links. Wallace shot par to win his match, 8-1, at No. 2. Boudrow also added significantly to the Viking victory margin with an 8-1 win at No. 3. Brandon McDonald was an impressive winner at No. 6, 7.5-1.5.

Last week saw the Vikings defeat non-league rival Wakefield in the closest contest of the past week, 37.5-34.5, at the WGC.

Rich and Boudrow both shot rounds of 36 and won their matches 6-3 and 5-4 respectively. Wallace at No. 2 had the biggest victory margin of the day over his Wakefield counterpart, 6.5-2.5, while Duyon at No. 8 also was a handy victor, 6-3.

Last Thursday the Vikings made the long ride to Bass Rocks in Gloucester a worthwhile one with a 46-26 victory over the Fishermen. Floyd was an 8-1 winner; Duyon triumphed 7.5-1.5; and Rich and Wallace delivered 7-2 victories to pace the Viking win. Boudrow shot the best round of the day, a 37 on the par 35 course, to claim a 6-3 triumph over his Gloucester foe.

Lyons and his crew will face their sternest test of the season when Danvers, the perennial power in the NEC, comes to town today (Thursday). The outcome of the contest will have big implications for the NEC South Division title picture. The Vikings will host non-league foe Malden Catholic Monday and entertain Revere Wednesday.

WHS volleyball team splits first four matches

The Winthrop High volleyball team, which is in only its second year as a varsity program, has split its first four games this season, serving notice on its Northeastern Conference opponents that the Lady Vikings will be a team to contend with in 2014.

“We’re still a young team, but the girls are improving and becoming more competitive with every match,” said WHS had coach Christy Scott, who has been at the helm of the program since its inception.

Winthrop dropped its opening contest of the season, 3-0 to Marblehead, in which the Lady Vikings battled fiercely through the first set (falling by a slim 25-23 margin), but then could not sustain their momentum, dropping the next two sets, 25-16 and 25-10.

“We were unsure of ourselves and after losing the first set by such a close score, we played hesitantly thereafter,” said Scott of the Marblehead match. Junior Nina Bartlett was named Winthrop’s Player of the Match for her five solo blocks. “Nina is a huge force at the net for us,” noted Scott.

The scenario of the Marblehead match threatened to repeat itself in the Lady Vikings’ next contest at Swampscott. The Winthrop girls similarly lost a tightly-contested first set, 25-23, but this time around, they came out with confidence and power after the brief break and carried the next three sets, 25-14, 25-17, and 25-20, to come away with a 3-1 victory.

“I told the girls to remember what happened in the Marblehead match and not to let that happen again,” said Scott. “The team came out on fire to start the next game and we established the tone of the match thereafter.”

Sophomore Allie Love earned Player of the Match honors for her fine effort that included nine digs, three kills, and two service aces.

The Lady Vikings dropped their home opener last week to Danvers, a team that ranks among the strongest in the NEC this season, but bounced back to defeat Saugus, 3-1, 25-13, 25-12, 23-25, and 25-16. Players of the Match for Winthrop in those two contests were senior Vanessa Dale vs. Danvers (seven digs and six kills) and junior Nicole Pucillo vs. Saugus (eight aces, four digs, and three kills).

“Vanessa has switched positions this year from middle blocker to an outside hitter and opposite hitter and she’s doing a great job,” said Scott. “Nicole hustles as much as anyone on the team and has been a big factor in our early success.”

A number of the Lady Vikings are among the statistical leaders thus far in the NEC. Lacey Scott ranks fourth in the league in service aces with 16 and third in assists with 62. Bartlett ranks second in blocks with 15 and second in hitting percentage at .130. Maddie Faingaa rates fifth in the NEC in digs.

“We were 0-4 last year at this time, so it’s been nice to see how far we’ve come after just one season,” said Scott, whose 2014 squad is captained by senior Abby Love. “We’re shooting to qualify for a state tourney spot, which would be awesome.”

Scott and her crew were set to meet two-time defending NEC champ Peabody yesterday (Wednesday) and will host Lynn Classical tomorrow (Friday). They travel to Beverly Tuesday and will entertain St. Mary’s of Lynn next Thursday.

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