Sports 10-20-2011

Red Devils fall to Gr. Lowell Fumbles prove costly in 16-9 defeat

It is said that a glance at the turnover statistic in a football game box score often will be as indicative of which team won the game as the final score.

Friday night’s football game at a wet Chelsea Stadium between the Red Devils and Greater Lowell proved no exception to that rule. Both Chelsea and Greater Lowell coughed up three fumbles on the slick night. But Greater Lowell recovered all of theirs, while the Red Devils lost all of theirs. And thus the final score of 16-9 in favor of the visitors reflected the plus-three turnover factor in favor of Greater Lowell

“It was a very frustrating game for us,” said CHS head coach Mike Stellato. “We put together some nice drives, but the fumbles cost us dearly.”

Greater Lowell jumped out to a quick 8-0 lead, taking the opening kickoff and marching 65 yards in 10 plays. Although the Chelsea offense could not get much going in the first quarter, the Red Devils kicked into gear in the second frame. A 70 yard drive capped b a 10 yard run for a touchdown by Juan Martinez, who did the bulk of the heavy lifting on the drive, closed the gap to  8-6.

Greater Lowell put together a nice drive on the ensuing possession and got as far as the CHS 15, but the Red Devil defense dug in and made a big stop on fourth down to stymie the scoring threat.  CHS quarterback Steve Dwyer then directed the Red Devils downfield, moving the ball to GL 18, primarily thanks to the running of Martinez and Raoul Flores. With his team facing a fourth down situation, Stellato showed his faith in his place kicker, Martinez, who booted a 35 yard field goal to give Chelsea a 9-8 advantage at the half.

The contest then was delayed longer than usual at the intermission because of the heavy rain. After Greater Lowell made a key defensive stop of the Red Devils on a fourth and one at the GL 41 on the first possession of the second half, a 45 yard pass play keyed a touchdown drive by the visitors to put GL up 16-9.

The Chelsea offense threatened to get the equalizer, making two forays into GL territory in the final period, but the aforementioned fumbles stifled the comeback attempts.

The Red Devils, who now stand at 3-2 overall and 0-1 in the Small Division of the Commonwealth Athletic Conference, travel to Haverhill Saturday morning to take on Whittier Tech. Kick off is at 10:30.

CHS boys and girls cross country teams on track to win league championships

The Chelsea High boys and girls cross country team had two missions this past week. The first was to defeat Whittier Tech last Thursday to remain undefeated and set up a battle for undisputed first place in the Commonwealth Athletic Conference with Shawsheen. Coach Don Fay’s squads accomplished that initial task with relative ease, with the boys running away to a 15-46 shutout victory to improve to 7-0 on the season and the girls bringing home a 23-35 triumph to raise their record to 8-0.

Thus the stage was set for a twin battle of unbeatens at Admiral’s Hill on Monday. Last year there had been a similar scenario, with Shawsheen winning both the boys and girls meets by slim margins on Shawsheen’s home course in Billerica. In addition to that bit of recent history favoring Shawsheen, the Techmen had not lost a dual meet in four years.

However, the 2011 Red Devils gave an early indication that there might be a changing of the guard at the top of the CAC when two Chelsea boys were the first runners to come into view. Joseph Arroyo came across the line in a personal record (PR) time of 17:58 to maintain his undefeated streak in the league. Teammate and senior captain Francisco Colindres was right behind with an official clocking of  of 18:00 minutes, which also was a PR.

Senior captain Edgar Ocana finished next for Chelsea in fourth spot in 18:15, which was still another PR. But cross country is a team sport. Though each runner is on his own once he gets out on the course, the team needs five finishers to earn a victory. And unless the top three come in 1-2-3, your other runners also need to run well.

So when Shawsheen took third and then places five through nine, leaving Shawsheen with 29 points, the Red Devils (whose top three runners accounted for seven points) needed the next two spots to assure a victory. Chester Rath accomplished a PR in a time of 19:11 to grab 10th place and Faisal Nasimi came across in 11th in a new freshman record of 19:23.

For the math whizzes reading this, their finishes added 21 points onto the CHS score chart, for a team total of 28   one better than Shawsheen’s 29.

“It was an incredibly close and exciting race,” said Fay of his boys’ team, whose thrilling victory brought back memories of the 1970s when Bobby Goss, Eddie Richard, Richie Bradley, and Greg Benson blazed the cross country trails for the Red and Black. “If any of our places were flip flopped with Shawsheen, we would have lost by the same 28-29 score.  The boys remembered last year’s tough defeat and were determined not to let it happen again.  If we can beat Greater Lawrence on Thursday (today), we will win our first upper division title since 1998,” added the coach, whose boys’ squad won the lower division last year with an 8-1 mark.

The girls, who lost the dual meet title last year, but came back to win the league meet title, also expected a close meet with the Shawsheen girls. And indeed, the Lady Devils battled all the way to secure another close and hard fought victory.

Tatyana Almedia came across the line in second place, running a PR by 30 seconds in a time of 22:23.  Arandeni Ramos was third  in 22:54 and Duska Cvjetan was fourth in a PR of 23:23.  Shawsheen took fifth and sixth, but  Andrea Umana grabbed seventh in a PR of 24:04. Neris Yanes then clinched the triumph with a 10th place effort to make the final tally 26-29 in  Chelsea’s favor.

A victory by the Lady Red Devils today (Thursday) against Greater Lawrence will give the CHS girls their first-ever dual meet title.

“Both teams have worked extremely hard this year,” said Fay. “They have been very motivated and disciplined, as well as being great teammates to each other.”

After today’s meets the teams will travel to Greater Lowell for the CAC league championship meet next Thursday. “Both our boys and girls teams will be in the spotlight next Thursday,” noted Fay.  “The rest of the league will be trying to knock us off, so we will have to be at our best to win the league title.”

Boys soccer team posts win and a tie

The Chelsea High boys soccer improved their record to a sterling 11-1-1 with a win and a tie this past week. Coach Mick Milutinovic’s squad now is in prime position both to capture a Commonwealth Athletic Conference title and to earn a high seed in the upcoming state tournament as they enter the final week of the regular season.

The Red Devils took on one of their chief rivals in the CAC, Lynn Tech, last Wednesday and battled to a 1-1 deadlock. Hugo Erazo put Chelsea on the scoreboard midway through the first half on a nice goal in which he outdueled two Tech defenders on a run to the goal and then slid a nifty shot past the Tech keeper.

However, Lynn tied the score before the intermission. The teams then fought each other evenly throughout the second half. Both squads had their chances to score, but staunch defense and goaltending prevented either team from denting the other’s net. Red Devil keeper Jim Funes made some excellent saves to keep his team even.

“It was an exciting game in which both teams played well,” said CHS assistant coach Evan Protasowicki, who noted that the Red Devils were playing without the services of their captain and leading scorer, Carlos Martinez, who has been sidelined with an ankle injury. “Tech always plays us tough, but everyone stepped up to fill the void left by Carlos’s absence.”

Chelsea returned to its winning ways Monday with a 6-0 stroll past North Shore Vocational. Alcides Romero got the Red Devil victory train rolling with a goal early in the opening half, burying a nice feed from Oscar Valle.

Other Red Devils who had some highlight film plays included: Brayan Zepeda, who put home a crossing pass from Michael Rendon; Hector Ramirez, who headed in his second goal of the season on a corner kick delivered by Dennis Martinez; and Erazo, who reached the back of the No. Shore net twice, one of which came on a header off a nice crossing pass from Cesar Rubiomelara.

The Red Devils will complete their regular season schedule this coming week when they host Shawsheen Tech today (Thursday), travel to Greater Lowell Monday, host Cambridge Tuesday, and host Whittier Wednesday.

Lady Red Devils defeat Pope John, 2-0

After having yet another game rained out last Thursday, the Chelsea High girls soccer team was able to get back on the field last Friday against Pope John.  Earlier this season, Pope John had defeated Chelsea, but the Lady Red Devils were on a mission and came out strong in an attempt to avenge the loss.

Eight minutes into the contest, Zuleima Castillo scored a goal on a beautiful assist from Sarah Bourouis.  Chelsea continued on the attack throughout the first half with nine more shots on goal, though none reached the back of the net.  Four minutes into the second half, Zuleima C. scored her second goal of the match on a breakaway run.  With strong defense by Chelsea’s backline of Loren Ramos, Alex Guittierez, Cindy Cruz, and Delmy Mejia, Pope John was held scoreless on the day to preserve the 2-0 Chelsea victory.

“The girls played a great game,” said CHS head coach Kim Huffer. “This was the best we have played on the attack.  The girls pushed the ball up the field and looked to our forwards/midfielders to put the pressure on Pope John.  It was a great way to end the week.”

On Tuesday, Chelsea faced the formidable foe of Greater Lowell.  Greater Lowell has had an outstanding season, with their only conference loss coming at the hands of Shawsheen.

“We knew the Gryphons were going to be a tough match, especially since we were heading into the game missing three starters,” said Huffer. But the Lady Red Devil defense turned in a staunch effort, led by Loren Ramos at stopper and Lindsey Fuentes in goal.

“Loren stopped some scoring opportunities for Greater Lowell,” noted Huffer. “She did a great job of challenging the attacker and winning the ball.  Loren was our leader on the field and was vocal in letting everyone know where to go. Lindsey also did a great job with the balls that went through and ended the day with 13 saves.

“Lindsey has really improved in goal,” continued the coach. “Her reaction time has gotten quicker and she has done a better job cutting down the angles of shots.”

However, in the end, despite the strong Chelsea defense, Greater Lowell was able to dent the CHS goal to win 1-0.

“This was a tough loss for us,” said Huffer afterwards. “Again, we had a hard time scoring or breaking through their defense.  We had a couple of great chances, but missed by a couple of feet.  I feel positive that the girls are starting to really understand their roles and positions as we go into the final two weeks of the season.”

The Chelsea girls currently stand at 5-6 on the season.  They will face Lynn Tech at home today (Thursday) in their next-to-last home match.  The Lady Red Devils then travel to Greater Lawrence on Friday and to Whittier on Monday.

“All three of these games are against teams in the conference,” said Huffer. “They are important games in our quest for the state tournament and league title.”

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