Sports 09-24-2015

WHS sports roundup

WHS volleyball team opens with 3-1 mark

The Winthrop High volleyball team has opened its 2015 campaign in impressive fashion with three victories in four contests in the first two weeks of the season.

The Lady Vikings rolled to a 3-0 win over Mt. Alvernia, 25-11, 25-11, 25-14 in a non-league contest in their first tilt. Senior Nina Bartlette smacked seven kills and served three aces at the Mt. Alvernians to pace the Winthrop attack. Sophomore Lacey Scott served eight aces and delivered 15 assists to lead the Lady Vikings in both of those categories. Junior Haley Holden (five kills), junior Allie Love (three aces), and junior Maddie Fainga’a (five digs) also made significant contributions to the Winthrop triumph.

Winthrop opened its Northeastern Conference League schedule with a 3-1 victory over Swampscott, 25-16, 24-26, 25-18, 25-14. Bartlette was a force at the net with five kills and four blocks, as were Holden (seven kills, four assists), Love (five kills, four aces, 10 digs), and Nicole Pucillo (five kills).

Fainga’s accounted for 12 digs, while Scott served four aces and assisted on 22 Winthrop points.

This past week the Lady Vikings took the measure of another NEC foe, Salem, by a score of 3-1 (25-12, 16-25, 25-18, 25-14). The trio of Holden (11 kills), Bartlette (seven kills), and Love (six kills) — who are teammates on the WHS girls basketball team — overpowered their Salem rivals at the net, while Scott served 10 aces and set the table for 27 Winthrop points.

The lone setback for coach Christy Scott’s squad was a tight 3-2 loss to Marblehead. After dropping the first two sets, 23-25 and 21-25, the Lady Vikings got back into the match by taking the next two sets, 25-19 and 25-23, thus setting the stage for a dramatic fifth and final game. Although Marblehead prevailed, 15-10, the Winthrop girls had demonstrated a “never say die” attitude that bodes well for the coming season.

Bartlette was immense at the net, smacking 11 kills and blocking nine Marblehead volleys. Holden likewise account for 11 kills, while Love turned in a superb, all-around effort with seven kills and 30 digs.

Scott likewise was all over the floor, setting the table with 33 assists and digging out 17 balls. Fainga’a accounted for 14 digs and senior Meg Dolan made a stellar contribution with 10 digs.

Scott and her crew were set to host Saugus yesterday (Wednesday) and will entertain Lynn tomorrow (Friday). Danvers comes to the WHS gym Tuesday and Winthrop travels to Peabody next Thursday. All matches start at 4:15.

WHS girls drop two close contests

The Winthrop High girls soccer team played well in its two contests this past week, but came out on the short end of decisions to Salem and Saugus.

In a 5-2 loss at Salem last Thursday, the Lady Vikings battled to a 2-2 tie at the half, outshooting the Lady Witches in the opening 40 minutes by a wide margin, 35-11. Holly Benson, assisted by Francesca Capone, scored the first goal, and the duo traded roles for the second WHS tally.

The Lady Vikings had an opportunity early in the second half to take the lead, but were unable to connect. Salem bounced back to score the next tally and then struck for two quick scores to claim the victory.

Tuesday evening coach Stacey Martucci and her crew hosted Saugus. In that contest the Lady Vikings — who were playing without the services of Holly Benson, who was out with an injury — likewise went into the half deadlocked at 1-1.

Julia Barachinni, assisted by Capone, reached the back of the Saugus net for the Winthrop goal prior to the intermission. After Saugus scored the next two tallies to start the second half, the latter coming on a nice strike from just outside the 18, Barachinni notched her second goal of the contest with a perfect strike from near the 18 to draw the Lady Vikings within 3-2. However, Winthrop was unable to convert a penalty kick opportunity in the closing minutes that would have tied the game.

“This was another great game that went back and forth,” said Martucci. “We were missing one of our key players in Holly Benson and her presence on the field was surely missed.”

Martucci had words of praise for her keeper, Kaitlin Singerella, “who has really stepped up for us and made some great saves.”

The coach also lauded the play of newcomer Barachinni. “Julia has been an amazing asset to our team this year, coming in from Brazil as an international student.  She is a very hard worker and never gives up.

“Heidi Benson also had a great game for us, creating a lot of opportunities,” added the coach.

 “Our biggest task for the rest of the season is going to be becoming a full game team,” said Martucci. “We seem to be coming out strong and not being able to put the games away in the second half. But overall, I am very proud of these girls and how hard they work.”

Martucci and her crew have a busy stretch ahead with four gams in the next eight days, starting this evening (Thursday) when host Lynn Classical at 6:30 under the lights at Miller Field.

The Lady Vikings entertain Cristo Rey Monday and Danvers Tuesday before trekking to Peabody next Thursday.

Tough stretch for

WHS golf team

The Winthrop High golf team ran into a rough patch this week, dropping their four contests, two of which came against non-league foes.

In a match at Natick last Wednesday, which was scored on a point system in the players earned a point for a bogey, two for a par, and three for a birdie, the top golfers for the Vikings were Harry Floyd, who shot a one-over par round and earned 16 points. Teammate Jack Wallace accounted for 15 points for Winthrop.

In a 40-32 loss to Gloucester the next day on the local course, Wallace, playing at No. 1, defeated his Gloucester counterpart, 6-3. Sean MacDonald at No. 4 also was a winner, 5-4. Nathan Rich at No. 7 and Brandon Creador at No. 2 halved their matches with their Gloucester rivals. Colby Dassau at No. 8 earned four points for Winthrop. Pat Stafford added 3.5 points at No. 5, Drew DiMento contributed three points at No. 6, and Floyd chipped in 1.5 points at No. 3.

In a 41.5-29.5 loss to Swampscott Monday, Floyd triumphed 6-3 at No. 3 and Wallace, who shot a one-over 36, prevailed at No. 1, 5-4. In a non-league encounter with Malden Catholic Tuesday, Colby Dassau was a winner at No. 7, 5.5-3.5, and Floyd defeated his MC opponent 5-4.

“We have a number of young players this season who are playing at the high school level for the first time,” said WHS head coach Peter Lyons. “The entire team is working hard and we’re giving it our best in every match.”

Lyons and his crew have a busy stretch ahead, hosting Wakefield yesterday (Wednesday), traveling to Marblehead today to play at Tedesco, and then taking on Salem in home-and-home matches Monday (at Salem) and Tuesday (at the Winthrop Golf Club).

Key game on tap

for boys soccer team

Although the WHS boys soccer team dropped its two contests this past week to Marblehead and Salem, the Vikings have a big game on tap Saturday when they make the trek to the other side of Boston Harbor to face Hull, the only Division 4 team on the Winthrop schedule.

The significance of the encounter is that if the Vikings win, they will qualify for the post-season state tourney under the rule that requires a .500 mark against teams in a school’s own division. Winthrop will face Hull again at home later in the year, giving the Vikings another crack at a tourney spot if they are unsuccessful Saturday.

In a 5-1 loss to Salem this past week, Winthrop took an early lead on a goal by Giacopo Velesi, who is an exchange student from Italy. Matt Sennott earned an assist on the tally.

The Vikings travel to Lynn Classical tomorrow (Friday) before journeying to Hull Saturday. They will play at Danvers Tuesday and return home to entertain Peabody next Thursday.

The trials of Viking travels

By Stephen Skobeleff

As discussions over a school stadium overhaul heated up this week in Winthrop, the varsity football team that calls the current Miller Field gridiron home took to the road for their first away game of the season. The Vikings traveled down south last Friday night to take on the Medfield Warriors in a non-conference game.

Medfield?  It’s a town larger in size but smaller in population than Winthrop. It’s approximately nine miles south of Natick. Drew Bledsoe lived in Medfield while he played for the New England Patriots as did Ted Johnson, Randy Moss, and Darrelle Revis.

I’ve met one person from Medfield in my entire life. We called him “Baseball Dave.” He lived on my dormitory floor at UNH along with approximately seventeen other Daves… or maybe it was three. Anyway we designated each Dave with a nickname. Baseball Dave, well, played baseball.

The point is that Medfield is a small town. As far as anyone could tell, this past Friday night was the first time the two towns crossed paths for some varsity pigskin action. How was it determined that our little town would end up playing Dave’s little town in this football game? What’s was the process there?

“The process is fairly simple,” communicated Winthrop Athletic Director, Matthew Serino. “Usually the coaches will select their non-conference games … Once the coaches agree to play, the athletic directors along with the coaches will then secure time and location.”

Head coach, Sean Driscoll, was asked how he ended up selecting Medfield. In response, he revealed the basic logic being that Winthrop needed the game within that division. He made the choice sound like a no-brainer pointing out that Medfield had a good year last year and the two schools are comparable in size.

As for distance, Medfield is 33.2 miles (or approximately 40 minutes) away. The guess here is that the ride down in that Viking Pride blue bus donated by Viking Pride was a little longer once the typical Friday night rush hour in and around the city was factored in.

Distance is admittedly one of Driscoll’s main concerns when the team hits the road. Staying with the travel theme, Driscoll was asked what his biggest apprehensions were when playing at an opposing field. The longer the ride the easier it is for the team to lose focus is his feeling. It makes sense then that the coach would list Manning Field as “a great place to play in Lynn.” That’s a proximity that works. My “biggest concern is staying focused on the game. We do have some long rides so keeping focus is really important. The traffic is always a concern as well.”

Such thoughts from the coach squelched any notion I had that these road commutes were some sort of moving party. Co-captain, Matt Feeley, confirmed Driscoll’s sentiments, and set the ride record straight. “Only starters and upperclassmen ride on the blue bus. Freshman and sophomores ride on the yellow bus behind us. On the way to the game it is very serious and quiet. There’s no talking or music.”

The only time there could be a break from the serious silence on these treks is on the way home after a win. According to Feeley, that is only time there is a tendency to loosen up. “After a win, the bus has music and everyone is excited.” Feeley was asked to think back to last year as the 2015 version of the team has yet to break the win column on this young season. “Last year, with all the wins, bus rides home were very fun, blasting music and celebrating.” There certainly weren’t any biases toward any stadiums last year as Winthrop won at every road venue they played.

Co-captain Dan Dellanno still has no preference. He wouldn’t divulge any favorite stadiums away from Winthrop when prompted, commenting only on matchups at Miller Field. “It’s always great to play on you home field in front of a home crowd.”

He and the rest of Vikings are back at home at magnanimous Miller Field for two weeks, including a tilt this Friday, Sept. 25th versus Lynn English. The Bulldogs of English are 1-1 on this young season. So cue your favorite travelling song, whether it be Travelin’ Man, Travelin’ Band, something by the Travelling Wilburys, or Una Paloma Blanca, get out of the house and on down to that field and cheer on your home team while they’re home.

Come to think of it, Baseball Dave lived in MedWAY. I don’t know anyone whose lived in Medfield.

From the Press Box sponsored by JW’s

Viking fall to Medfield Warriors, 33-12

By Jim Lederman

The Winthrop Vikings two-hour trip to Medfield resulted in a 33-12 loss to the Medfield Warriors.

Medfield (2-0) scored five first half touchdowns to record their second non-league victory. The Warriors play in Division 3, in the strong Tri-Valley league. Holliston won the Division 4 super bowl title in 2014 and Medfield travels to Holliston Friday night.

The Warriors scored the first three possessions. Mason Giunta sprinted 6-yards at 6:97 and Jake Dubbs split the uprights for a (7-0) Medfield advantage. George Sawann rushed five yards for the second Warrior touchdown. Quarterback Tim Warren scored the first of his two touchdowns from the 10-yard line.

Sophomore Jaidon Brown combined with quarterback Chris Zuffante on a 5-yard touchdown pass to cut the margin to (14-6).

Warren scored the third Medfield touchdown, recovering a Viking fumble and racing 35-yards to pay dirt.

The Warrior field general, Tim Warren hooked up with John Williams on a 25-yard touchdown pass and the Warriors led (33-6) at the half.

The Vikings scored on their first second half possession. Viking quarterback Chris Zuffante. Zuff found a streaking Jaidon Brown down the middle on a 43-yard strike and the speedy sophomore was off to the races.

The Vikings defense played an inspired second half shutting down the talented Warrior eleven.

“WE had three turnovers that led to three Medfield touchdowns”, said coach Sean Driscoll. We hope to have Jon Gonzales in the line-up for the Lynn English game. We hope to win our first game on Friday night,” said coach Driscoll.

Extra Points

Junior fullback Matt Tarantino was the leading runner. Matt had a 28-yard run and he had 65-yards on 13 carries. Quarterback Chris Zuffante was 8 for 22 – 97 yards and two touchdowns.

Jaidon Brown had 30 yards rushing and he had six tackles on defense.

Skimming the Sidelines

The Vikings play host to The Lynn English Bulldogs Friday night (7 p.m.) at Miller Field. Lynn English (101) was shutout by cross town rival St. Mary’s (30-0) Lynn English defeated Swampscott (20-14) in their first game.

Revere improved to (2-0) with a 41-0 victory over Chelsea. Victor Rivera ran for 185 yards, scoring three touchdowns for the Patriots. The Old Greater Boston League rivals have gone in two directions. Revere has 1,700 students and are in Division 3. Chelsea is in Division 6. The Patriots play Lynn Classical at Manning Field on Friday night.

Danvers defeated Lynnfield (22-15) Saturday night at Bishop Fenwick. The Falcons (2-0) play their first NEC large game at Marblehead on Friday night.

The Beverly Panthers (2-0) served notice in the NEC with a (35-0) shellacking of the Gloucester Fishermen. Beverly will travel to play Peabody (1-) Friday night. The Panthers will play all their games on the road with Hurd Stadium under construction. Peabody defeated Somerville (35-0). Doug Santos scored four touchdowns for the Tanners.

The Swampscott Big Blue won an exciting double overtime game (30-28) victory over Lynn Classical. The Big Blue play host to Gloucester in the first big NEC south battle on Saturday at Blocksidge Field.

Saugus defeated Northeast Regional (22-20) to improve to (1-1). The Sachems travel to Bertram Field in Salem to battle the winless Salem Witches.

The stadium

By: Jim Lederman

The 2015 football season is only three weeks old and I have watched the Vikings play on five turf fields.

The first Saturday morning the Vikings scrimmaged Beverly on the beautiful turf practice field behind Beverly High School.

The Vikings and East Boston Jets scrimmaged at the new turf field at East Boston Stadium.

The Vikings and Malden Tornadoes played in the GLB-NEC Jamboree at Everett Memorial Stadium.

On Labor Day the Vikings and St. Mary’s Spartans scrimmaged at Manning Field in Lynn.

Friday night the Vikings traveled to play Medfield. The Warriors have another beautiful stadium with a new track and large press box.

The Vikings and Gloucester Fishermen will renew their rivalry at the sparkling new New Balance Track and Field at Newell Stadium.

The Medfield Complex was filled to capacity; the Warriors have a large band and a team with sixty players.

The Vikings will play Revere at the new Harry Della Russo Stadium on Thanksgiving.

Winthrop needs a new Miller Field with a new track and the entire community will utilize the new ‘stadium.” The high school will attract many more student athletes and we will finally have a solid track program.

Faces in the Crowd

A large group of Viking fans traveled to Route 109 in Medfield. Ed and Jackie McGrail, Nick and Debbie Spinazzola, Scott and Melissa Wasson, Chris and Jeralyn Zuffante, John and Peg Lyons, Gene and Diana August, Tom and Sue Chiudina, Pat and Nancy Feeley, Rita and Cindy Driscoll, Elaine and Jen Adamson and Chris and Anne Sullivan.

The Viking games are taped for broadcast on Viking TV Channel 15.

Pat and Nancy Feeley traveled to Framingham on Saturday to watch sophomore Danny Feeley start at guard for the Framingham State Rams. The Rams defeated archrival Fitchburg (34-21).

The Engineers of WPI (Worcester Poly Tech) defeated Norwich (27-10) ex-Viking all-scholastic Sean Gillis is playing linebacker for the Engineers.


Where did the Boston Patriots play their home games in 1962?

Name the former Buffalo Bill quarterback who was a United States Congressman

Where did the Boston Patriots practice?

Name the first coach of the Boston Patriots.

Seeking to raise awareness about sports concussions

The ThinkTaylor Foundation begins a new initiative with the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) to help raise awareness and better educate players, parents, coaches and trainers on concussion injuries and proper treatment through special in-game features at high school varsity soccer games across the state.

ThinkTaylor’s Concussion Awareness Week will feature many supportive orange items, the foundation’s awareness color. These items include ThinkTaylor/INARIA soccer balls, ThinkTaylor/INARIA wristbands, scarves, a concussion awareness pledge, and Bag Tags for players at MIAA boy’s and girl’s high school varsity soccer games beginning today, September 21.

“When our youth and parents are more educated (about concussions), their decisions will reflect that, and that is our main objective here at ThinkTaylor,” said ThinkTaylor’s founder, former New England Revolution/U.S. National Soccer Team star and current ESPN lead soccer analyst Taylor Twellman. “Concussion Awareness Week is an idea that we’ve had since the moment ThinkTaylor was started, and I can’t tell you how proud I am that it starts here in Massachusetts.” “There’s no doubt in my mind that it will spread beyond Massachusetts and beyond the sport of soccer, and we can’t wait to truly make a difference in the world of traumatic brain injuries.”

The ThinkTaylor Pledge, promoted through social media as #TTPledge, encourages students to better understand this injury, take it seriously and understand that on occasion a concussion can require time away from competition.

Schools and athletic directors have received the orange soccer balls, wristbands and other items in early September. In addition, sponsors INARIA and Gatorade will reward the high school which exhibits the most ‘Orange Awareness’ and spirit on social media. INARIA will award the winning team with a set of custom uniforms for both boy’s and girl’s varsity soccer teams. Gatorade will be awarding the winning school with Sideline Packages and G Week, a three day experience where every in-season athlete at the school get the sports fuel to help them perform.  The school will receive free equipment and 3-days of product to enable every athlete to experience the full G Series lineup during their team’s practice or games.

“Concussion Awareness Week has just begun and the response we have received from schools, athletic directors, athletes and supporter groups has been overwhelming. We could not be happier with the feedback and look forward to the orange surprises the schools have in store for this week!” said ThinkTaylor Executive Director, Chelsea Harris

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