WHS sports roundup
WHS volleyball team defeats St. Mary’s 3-1
Although the Winthrop High volleyball team saw its seven-match winning streak snapped with a 3-1 loss to Marblehead last Wednesday, the Lady Vikings got back on the winning track with a 3-1 triumph over St. Mary’s of Lynn Friday.
Winthrop took the first set of its contest with Marblehead, a team that is undefeated this season. However, the Lady Vikings dropped the next three sets, including a third set that was decided by the slimmest of margins, 25-23. The final tally for the match in Marblehead’s favor was 17-25, 25-11, 25-23, and 25-19.
Nina Bartlette led Winthrop on offense with 13 kills. Allie Love smacked 10 kills at her Marblehead foes and Meg Dolan added six kills. Love also was a force on defense with 12 digs, as was Dolan with 11 digs. Maddie Fainga’a and Lacey Scott accounted for eight digs apiece. Lacey also set 27 assists for her teammates, while Maddie led Winthrop with four service aces.
Marblehead’s star, junior Jenny Norcross, led the way for the Lady Magicians with 17 kills.
Two days later, the Lady Vikings’ non-conference contest with St. Mary’s of Lynn followed a similar pattern. Winthrop dropped the first set, 25-21, but then came back to take the next three, 25-18, 25-16, and 25-23, to claim the victory.
Bartlette once again was Winthrop’s kill-master, recording 11 kills. Haley Holden and Dolan added nine kills apiece. Nicole Pucillo served five aces at her St. Mary’s foes. Nicole and Scott also were credited with 10 digs and Lacey put 32 assists into the scorebook.
WHS boys soccer team defeats Hull, 3-1
The Winthrop High boys soccer team, despite playing without the services of three starters, affirmed their place in the upcoming Division 4 state tournament with a 3-1 victory over Hull, the lone Division 4 school on the Vikings’ schedule this season. Although Winthrop had defeated Hull in the teams’ first meeting to clinch a spot in the tourney, the additional win Friday evening at Miller Field provided important momentum and self-confidence for the Vikings as they approach the state tourney, which will get underway next week.
WHS head coach Kyle Gagin was forced to shuffle his starting lineup with senior striker Jacopo Velesi, senior Leo Sacchi, and freshman playmaker Washington Miguel all on the sidelines for various reasons.
Senior Mike Norris was moved to striker, senior Jake Lafratta was moved to right wing, and Timmy Duyon started at right back. Winthrop started slowly in the first half, yielding a goal to Hull on a penalty kick within the opening 10 minutes. The Vikings picked up the pace as the half progressed and began to gel, but still trailed 1-0 at the whistle.
Gagin made some additional moves after the intermission, switching Lafratta to play left wing (from where he could cut in and use his dominant right foot more to get shots and crosses), and moved senior Matt Sennott to right wing.
“Lafratta really played well with sophomore left back Steve Tracy, who would overlap and helped create many opportunities,” said Gagin.
Junior Arthur Barasch brought Winthrop back to level after taking down a loose ball inside the box and reaching the back of the Hull net for the goal. About 10 minutes later, Lafratta scored what Gagin termed, “The goal of the season for us. Tracy was able to overlap Jake and draw a defender. Lafratta took on his defender, ‘megged’ him (dribbled the ball through his opponent’s legs), and then curled a shot into the top corner of the net from just outside the box,” said Gagin.
Lafratta concluded his superb evening by converting a penalty kick late in the game to seal the victory.
The Vikings then trekked to Salem Monday evening to take on the Witches amidst Halloween Week.
In addition to playing without the same trio as the Hull contest, Sennott also was sidelined with a concussion he had suffered in the Hull game. Gagin made some more adjustments, pushing senior Mike Casey to the wing from his usual defensive midfield position and Dave Barry to attacking midfielder.
The first half was an even contest and ended deadlocked at nil-nil. “We were able to create some chances, but Salem had a really great sweeper and broke up almost all of our attacks,” noted Gagin.
Salem notched a goal in the second half, forcing the Vikings to become more offensive-minded. Salem caught Winthrop on a counter-attack to make it 2-0 and then scored on a PK for a 3-0 advantage before adding a fourth goal off a corner kick.
Winthrop broke the shutout for the 4-1 final score when freshman Jaylin Cordes passed the ball to the top of the box to Barasch, who put it past the Salem keeper. The assist marked Jaylin’s first varsity point.
Gagin and his crew concluded their regular season Tuesday evening against Saugus in a contest highlighted by Senior Night festivities.
The Vikings came out on the short end of a 4-3 decision, as Saugus took advantage of some Winthrop defensive lapses to jump out to a 4-0 lead in the opening half, their fourth goal coming on a PK.
“We took Saugus lightly from the start and they punished us for it,” said Gagin.
The Vikings finally got on the board when senior Jacopo Velesi slotted one in the net. Then, with a few minutes left in the half, a controversial call by the refs occurred when Jacopo was running down the line and beat his man into the box and got fouled. One referee called for a PK, but the other referee said he had dribbled out of bounds. In the end, the refs said it was a Saugus throw-in and not a PK.
The Vikings regrouped at the intermission after a talk from Gagin and assistant coaches Pedro Jardim and Dave Tracy and took control in the second half.
Velesi made it 4-2 when he was sent a nice through-ball from freshman Washington Miguel and then notched a hat trick with a PK with about 10 minutes to go.
However, that would be as close as the Vikings would get in what became a heated confrontation between the teams. A Saugus player was given a red card and a Viking a yellow, and at one point both coaches had to step onto the field to restore order when a melee broke out.
“We had some really good possessions and combination plays, but Saugus’s goalie made great saves,” said Gagin. “We continued to create chances, but their goalie played phenomenally. In the end, we can only blame ourselves. We were asleep for 30 minutes and woke up too late, which we can’t do, especially with playoffs coming up.
“Saugus took advantage of us when we played probably the worst we’ve played all season and they fully deserved to win this game. Although there were some bad calls for us, the referees made bad calls for both teams so we can’t blame them,” continued the coach. “We’ve got a great group of guys. We just need to work harder in practice and improve.”
Gagin and his crew now will await word of their seeding and first-round opponent in the D-4 North sectional of the state tourney. That information is expected to be announced Monday.
Winthrop Vikings leave Swampscott feeling blue
By: Jim Lederman
The Winthrop Vikings won their third consecutive game at Blocksidge Field in Swampscott. The Vikings recorded their third victory of the 2015 campaign (3-4) defeating the Big Blue (36-6).
The Vikings missed the Division 4 North playoffs finishing ninth. The Vikings will play host to the Hamilton-Wenham Generals on Saturday at noon at Miller Field.
“If you had told me we would be (3-4) after and (0-3) start, we’d take that,” said coach Sean Driscoll. “We have improved every week and we are shooting for a winning season. We have two more games at home, Hamilton-Wenham and Newburyport and are confident we will finish strong, ”said coach Driscoll.
The Vikings scored on their first possession. Co-captain Matt Feeley set up the touchdown with a 30-yard run. Jon Gonzales scored his 6th touchdown in the last 3 games, scoring from 4 yards out. Feeley rushed for the extra points and the Vikings led (8-0).
The Vikings recovered an onside kickoff. Gonzales had a key 10-yrd run and Matt Feeley raced 36-yards off the Winthrop left side to score. “Our offensive line-center Luigi Spinazzola, guards Gene August, Nick Manfra, Braedan Sullivan, tackles Scott Wasson, Calvin Tufa and Andrew McGrail, ends Joe Trenouth and Dan Dellano, played their best game of the season,” lauded coach Sean Driscoll. Tufa kicked the extra point and the Vikings led (15-0) to end the first quarter.
Sophomore Jaidon Brown intercepted a Colin Frary aerial and sprinted 40-yards for the score. “The Pick Six” was a key play for the resurgent Viking eleven. Tufa kicked the extra point and the Vikings headed to the locker room with an impressive first half (22-0) advantage.
Early in the third quarter the Vikings suffered a huge loss when Matt Feeley was lost for the season with a separated shoulder. Matt and Jon Gonzales had combined for nine touchdowns in the last three games. Matt averaged 9.6 per rush in the Swampscott victory.
The Big Blue scored on a 66-yard aerial from sophomore Colin Frary to Sean Lahrizi.
The ‘Super Soph’ Jaidon Brown electrified the Winthrop crowd breaking away from a host of would be Swampscott defenders for a 54-yard touchdown. Tufa split the uprights and the Vikings led (29-6) to end the third quarter. “Jaidon had a huge game and he continues to improve every week,” said coach Driscoll.
Junior quarterback Chris Zuffante picked off a Swampscott pass and raced to the Big Blue 12-yard line. Senior A.J. W inter raced off the Viking left side for a 8-yard touchdown. Tufa’s fourth extra point and a final score.
Winthrop – 36- Swampscott – 6
The Vikings had 302 yards of offense, 274-yards rushing and 28-yrds passing. Gonzales (11 for 66) Jaidon Brown (9 for 61), Matt Feeley (9 for 66), A.J. Winter (8 for 56), Chris Zuffante (6 for 31), Zuffante was (3-6, 28 yards) passing.
Defensively Joe Tranouth had 8 tackles, 2 for a loss. The junior end leads the team in tackles. Sophomore tackle Calvin Tufa is 6 for 6 on extra point kicks. He will be a key player on special teams, kicking off replacing captain Matt Feeley.
It was a great weekend if you were a Malden High School Golden Tornado’. Friday night Malden defeated Everett (22-19) to win the GBL (Greater Boston League) title.
Sunday at Gillette Stadium, ex-Golden Tornado Breno Giacomini was the starting right tackle for the New York Jets. Breno played against the Vikings a few years ago in a pre-season scrimmage. The Viking lost (706) to Malden in the NEC-GBL pre-season scrimmage in September.
Jim Magnasco, grandfather of Vikings quarterback Chris Zuffante, was smiling when he entered the press box at Blocksidge Field. Jimmy won the ‘Split the Pot’ on Saturday afternoon.
Ten Revere high school Patriot players were in the stands watching their Thanksgiving opponents beat the Big Blue.
Game number 84 in the WHS-RHS rivalry will be played at the new Harry Della Russo Stadium.
Around the NEC
Peabody needed a victory over Danvers to qualify for the Division 1 North playoffs.
The Tanners received a stellar performance from Dovo-Santos to defeat Danvers (26-7) at Peabody.
Santos rushed for 226 yards and three touchdowns to pace the Tanners (4-3, 3-2 NEC North).
Marblehead used some of t heir magic (the Magicians) to defeat Lynn English in overtime. With the win, the Magicians improved to (6-1, 5-) in NEC North play).
Revere quarterback Dan Murphy ran for three touchdowns and passed for another, to lead the Patriots to a (28-6) victory over Salem.
The victory for the Patriots (6-1, 3-1 NEC) clinched Revere’s first over .500 season since 1981 and spot in the Division 3 Northeast playoffs.
Coach Lou Cicatelli played on the 1981 team. The undefeated Vikings super bowl champions, rolled over Revere (49-13) on Thanksgiving.
Skimming the Sidelines
Hamilton-Wenham (2-5) has defeated Georgetown (0-7) and Amesbury (2-5). The Generals have scored 112 points and allowed 166. Hamilton-Wenham lost a (49-6) decision to Lynnfield (6-1). The Pioneers won their 4th consecutive Baker Division title. Lynnfield hosts Watertown on Friday night. The final in Division 4 North could find Pentucket (7-0) and Lynnfield playing for the championship in the North.
From the Press Box:
The MIAA Playoff Power Formula
By Jim Lederman
The MIAA instituted a new playoff system three years ago. The formula allows more teams to qualify for a shot to play in the super bowls.
The Vikings had a shot to make the playoffs but they needed Watertown to lose to Stoneham. Watertown scored with 30 seconds to play defeating Stoneham (21-14). Division 4 North has 16 6eams.
Pentucket (7-0) North Reading (6-1), Lynnfield (6-1), Triton (4-3), Stoneham (3-4), Watertown (4-3), Ipswich (4-3) and Bedford (4-3) qualified for the playoffs.
The Vikings finished with 63 points, Bedford had 72 points.
The Vikings received 10-points for a victory in Division 4 and 12 points for their victory over Salem. For the MIAA Playoff Formula, opponent points award three for every win by a team you beat and one for every win by a team you lose to.
In 1982, the Vikings were undefeated and captured the NEC title. They lost a chance to win a super bowl title by one hundredth of a point, because of the number of wins by their opponents. After capturing the super bowl title in 1981 (a 14-0 victory over Tewksbury and (14-3) winning the super bowl title over Xaverian in. The Bob DeFelice Vikings won 33 games in a row and should of won three super bowl championships.
Let’s look at some of the teams that qualified for the playoffs. Salem (2-5) is playing in the playoffs in Division 3 North. The Vikings defeated Salem (37-15) and Revere handed the Witches a (28-6) defeat last Friday night.
The major drawback to the system is the scheduling of non-qualifier games as well as games involving schools that get knocked out in the opening rounds of the playoffs.
The Vikings will host Hamilton-Wenham on Saturday, travel to play at Amesbury next Friday night and play host to old NEC rival Newburyport on Friday night, November 13th.
The End Zone
Hamilton-Wenham (2-5) and Winthrop meet for the second year in a row at Miller Field. In 2014 the Generals qualified for the playoffs finishing second to Lynnfield in the Baker Division of the Cape Ann League.
The Vikings prevailed (26-6) last year. The Vikings defeated Triton (14-7) in the second round. The championship game in Division 4 North, the (9-0) Vikings lost a (35-14) decision to Lynnfield, committing five turnovers.
I will pull out the old ‘Crystal Ball’ and pick the playoff winners. In division 3 North. Danvers to defeat Revere, Beverly to defeat Gloucester, Tewksbury to defeat Salem and Marblehead to crush Winchester.
Let the Games Begin!
WHS SPORTS Years
10 years ago
October 27, 2005
The WHS football team improved to 6-1 with a 41-7 thrashing of a good Swampscott team that came into the contest with a 4-2 record. Junior Jason Griffin tore through the Swampscott defense for 185 yards on just 12 carries, including TD runs of 60 and 19 yards. Matt Murray ran for 97 yards and three TDs on 15 carries. The Winthrop defense now has allowed just 51 points in seven games.
The WHS girls soccer team qualified for the state tournament with a 3-0 win over Lynn English. Julie Dowson scored two goals on direct kicks and Alyssa Martel added a third marker. Freshman goal keeper Katerina Mallios earned her first shutout of the season. Coach Kevin Connolly’s squad now is 8-5-2 overall.
The WHS girls tennis team defeated Lynn English, 4-1, to finish at 4-9 for the season. The doubles teams of Laura McGrail & Cassandra Busbee and Brittany Babcock & Adrian D’Agostino handily defeated their LE opponents, as did Mary Beath Pevear at No. 2 singles and Cheryl Stella at No, 3.
The WHS boys soccer team tied Revere, 2-2. Steve Figueira and Taulant Shkoza scored for Winthrop.
20 years ago
November 2, 1995
The WHS football team defeated Lynn Classical, 13-0, Saturday at Miller Field, in a contest dubbed “The Mud Bowl” by onlookers because of the mosh-pit conditions at Miller. Classical came into the game a heavy favorite with a 5-1 record against the 3-3 Vikings, but a tough Winthrop defense, led by senior tackle Steven Bickford, who had eight tackles and a sack, held the potent Ram offense scoreless. Albie Maggio ran for 111 yards and scored a TD for the Vikings. Paul Ferrara put the game out of reach with a 58 yard TD run late in the fourth quarter.
30 years ago
November 6, 1985
The WHS football team dropped a 21-14 decision to Beverly in the rain Saturday. The Vikings battled the Panthers, who are in first place in the NEC with a 6-1 record, all the way until Beverly won the game in the last part of the final quarter. Winthrop running back Steve Holgersen, who has rushed for 670 yards on 163 carries this season, scored a TD on a 22 yard run.
Lady Viking Coleen Cash finished in eighth place in the State Coaches Cross Country Meet Saturday at Franklin Park.
The WHS girls tennis team finished with its best record in many years with an 8-10 mark. Co-captains Diane Musi and Janine Getek, along with fellow senior Rebecca Cohen, led the team this season.
40 years ago
November 5, 1975
The WHS football team ended Swampscott’s nine-year domination of the teams’ rivalry with a 6-0 triumph Saturday at Miller field. Winthrop quarterback Kevin McGee tossed a 30 yard pass to Viking tight end and captain Keith Welch for the lone score of the game.
50 years ago
November 3, 1965
An emotionally-drained Winthrop High football team dropped a wild 40-32 decision to Marblehead Saturday which Winthrop lost in the final minutes after scoring a late TD to tie the game. Ed Cavanaugh scored two touchdowns and Ron Miles, Bud Northrop, and Charlie McDermott scored a touchdown apiece for Winthrop.
Fred Goldberg of Winthrop is the starting goalie for the AIC soccer team.
60 years ago
November 3, 1955
For the third successive year, the poor playing conditions at Miller Field have forced local officials to transfer a Winthrop High home football game to another field for this coming Saturday’s contest. However, despite a fifth straight loss this past week to Marblehead, 20-0, a new spirit is evident at the high school with cheering, football songs, and talks being given by the coaches at class assemblies this past week.
70 years ago
November 1, 1945
A touchdown by Jackie Talcott on a 60 yard interception return and another TD by sophomore Frankie Covino, who went over from one yard out, lifted the WHS football team to its second straight win, 13-6, over Woburn.
90 years ago
November 7, 1925
The WHS football team defeated Lynn English 7-0 on a long pass play from Saunders to Rowe in the final two minutes. Another pass from Saunders to Guidi accounted for the extra point.
The WHS girls field hockey team defeated Lexington, 4-1.
100 years ago
November 6, 1915
A questionable call by the referee robbed Winthrop of a sure win and turned the game into a 13-12 defeat to Arlington Wednesday afternoon at Ingleside Park. A Winthrop field goal by Louie Sheehan was nullified by the ref who ruled that Winthrop had 12 players on the field, despite the protestations by Capt. Talcott and coach Manter.