Cross country teams complete undefeated seasons to win
The Chelsea High boys and girls cross country teams put the finishing touches on their outstanding 2011 seasons, defeating Greater Lawrence last Thursday. Both of Coach Don Fay’s squads finished with perfect records and claimed undisputed Commonwealth Athletic Conference titles.
Both teams now will seek to duplicate their regular season championships in the CAC All-League Meet today (Thursday) at Greater Lowell.
The Red Devils pulled out a tight 27-30 victory, their third triumph of their nine wins this season to be decided by a razor thin margin (the other two were by three points and one point), which always is the sign of a gutsy cross country squad.
Francisco Colindres finished third overall for the Red Devils, while Joseph Arroyo finished fourth (his first loss of the year). Edgar Ocana was fifth overall and Chester Rath was sixth for Chelsea. Faisal Nasimi finished in ninth place, the fifth CHS runner to cross the finish line to clinch the meet. Anthony Santiago and Jay Pedrero finished 10th and 11th to round out the scoring.
“We had a scare against Greater Lawrence,” said Fay, whose boys claimed their first CAC upper division title since 1998. (The Red Devils won the lower division crown last year and were bumped up to the upper division this season). “We had a letdown after last week’s Shawsheen race which we won by one point. Greater Lawrence went 1-2 on us, and when a team does that, it’s very difficult to come back from that. But we went 3, 4, 5, 6, and 9 to squeak by. It will be a very competitive league meet for the boys this Thursday at Greater Lowell.”
On the girls’ side, a 22-39 victory over Greater Lawrence gave the Lady Red Devils their first-ever CAC dual meet title with a 10-0 record. Tatyana Almedia was the second overall runner and first CHS girl across the line, followed by Neris Yanes in third. Arandeni Ramos was right behind in fourth place. Yareli Sanchez in sixth and Monica Hernandez n seventh finished up the scoring for the Lady Red Devils.
The girls will be looking to defend their all-league meet title which they won last year. “Hopefully a couple of our girls who are injured right now will be feeling better come the league meet,” noted Fay, who said he expects Shawsheen Tech, Presentation of Mary (PMA), and Mystic Valley to present the toughest competition for his Lady Red Devil squad at the league meet.
Boys soccer team wins one, drops pair
The Chelsea High boys soccer team faced a bit of adversity this past week, dropping two of its three contests. Although the Red Devils still maintain a lofty record at 12-3-1, they needed to win their final game of the season against Whittier Tech yesterday (Wednesday) in order to be assured of an outright Commonwealth Athletic Conference Large School championship.
The Red Devils moved a step closer to the league crown with a 7-1 pounding of Shawsheen Tech last Thursday on the local field. Hugo Erazo notched the hat trick to pace the CHS offensive attack. Senior striker Oscar Valle potted two goals and had two assists, while Dennis Martinez (one goal, one assist) and sophomore Jaime Barahona (his first varsity goal) also reached the back of the Shawsheen net.
“This probably was our best game of the season,” noted CHS assistant coach Evan Protasowicki. “Shawsheen always is a well coached team and our first game earlier this season was a tough battle. But we played solid defense and moved the ball upfield throughout the game.”
However, Monday saw the Red Devils make the long trek to Greater Lowell, only to come back with a 3-2 loss, the first time in 10 years that a CHS team had fallen to Greater Lowell.
The Red Devils had jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the opening minute when Valle took a nicely-delivered ball from Erazo, chipped it ahead, and then made a one-touch-and-shot to beat the GL keeper. “Oscar has really stepped up his game in recent weeks,” said Protasowicki. “He’s been working on setting up his shot and getting it off quicker and it’s really paid off.”
However, Greater Lowell scored the next two goals before Erazo knotted matters with an unassisted marker. But GL struck back before the end of the half to take a 3-2 advantage.
The Red Devils came out on fire after the intermission, dominating play at both ends. But the tying goal was not to be in the cards for Chelsea, despite all kinds of chances, most notably when Erazo hit the post on one such opportunity. The Red Devils then appeared to have tied the game when defenseman Hector Ramirez, who was pushing the ball upfield throughout the second half, drilled a penalty kick. However, the ref called it back when he observed a Red Devil with a foot in the box. Hector’s second effort was saved on a brilliant stop by the GL keeper.
“It was a really tough loss for us,” noted Protasowicki. “We allowed Greater Lowell to set the tempo in the first half, but then it turned out to be one of those games that no matter how hard we tried, we couldn’t find the back of the net.”
Tuesday’s loss to non league foe Cambridge, 4-1, was much closer than the final score might indicate. Cambridge held a 1-0 lead at the half, but Erazo knotted the contest shortly after the intermission. The momentum swung in favor of the Red Devils, who carried the play through the first part of the second half. However, Cambridge took advantage of an opportunity to forge ahead 2-1 and then added another marker moments later to secure a firm advantage.
“We seemed to have the game going our way, but their second goal really seemed to deflate us,”said Protasowicki, who cited the outstanding play of keeper Jimmy Funes, about whom his coach said, “Jimmy may have played his best game of the season. He made some great saves, including some one-on-one situations.”
With yesterday’s game against Whittier concluding the Red Devils’ regular season, they will await the announcement of the state tourney pairings next week. Chelsea punched its ticket for a Journey to the Tourney early in the season and now will have ample opportunity to mend all of the bumps and bruises that accumulate during the course of a soccer campaign.
CHS head coach Milt Milutinovic and his team especially will be hoping for the return of captain Carlos Martinez, who has been out of action for the past two weeks with a sprained ankle.
CHS soccer girls earn win and tie
The Chelsea High girls soccer team enjoyed a productive week, posting a win and a tie in their two contests.
On Thursday, Chelsea hosted Lynn Tech in a rematch from earlier in the season. Four minutes into the game, Zuleima Castillo reached the back of the net to give the Lady Red Devils a 1-0 lead. Later in the first half, Sarah Bourouis scored her fifth goal of the season to make it a 2-0 CHS lead at the intermission.
The second half saw the two teams battle back and forth, up and down the field. Loren Ramos made it 3-0 in favor of Chelsea with her sixth goal of the season and the Lady Red Devil defense held firm the rest of the way for the shutout victory.
“Lynn Tech was a much improved team from earlier in the season,” noted CHS head coach Kim Huffer. “They did a great job of challenging every ball and disrupting our passes. Delmy Mejia played her second full game in goal for us and refused to let a ball get past her.”
On Monday Chelsea traveled to Haverhill to battle the Whittier Tech Lady Wildcats. The Lady Red Devils started out sluggishly. “We were off in our passing and slow to the ball,” observed Huffer. “I think the girls had a hard time adjusting to a grass field from our practices on turf. It took us awhile to get into a rhythm.”
The game remained scoreless until midway through the first half when a hand ball in the box led to a penalty kick for Chelsea. Ramos buried the shot in the corner of the net to give the Lady Red Devils a 1-0 advantage. However, the CHS girls let down their guard and minutes later, Whittier tied the score on a mishap between Chelsea’s back line and goalie.
Chelsea went on the attack during the second half, pouring 13 shots on the Whittier goal, but none of them reached the back of the net. “We had a lot of crosses that just missed our feet,” noted Huffer. “Again, we were a couple of steps out of position to capitalize on our passes and regain the lead.”
The teams dueled through a scoreless second half to end the game with a 1-1 deadlock showing on the scoreboard at the final whistle. Jazmin Granadeno, typically a reserve fullback who stepped in because of injuries, had a great game and stopped a number of Whittier scoring drives.
The Lady Red Devils now stand at 6-6-1 on the season, which is precisely .500, the magic figure needed to qualify for the state tournament. With four games left to play in the coming week, the Chelsea girls will need four points if they are to punch a ticket for a Journey to the Tourney.
“The girls are very determined to make it to the tournament,” said Huffer. “We have a challenging conference schedule for the end of the season, partly due to rain makeups.”
Huffer and her crew traveled to conference rival Northeast Regional yesterday (Wednesday) and will venture to Presentation of Mary Academy today. The Lady Red Devils return home Monday for their final home game to face Mystic Valley before finishing their regular season with a trip to Greater Lawrence Tuesday.
Red Devils gridsters host Mystic Valley Friday night
The Chelsea High football team will seek to get back on the winning track tomorrow (Friday) evening when Coach Mike Stellato’s Red Devils host Mystic Valley.
Chelsea dropped its second contest in a row to fall to 3-3 on the season with a 34-9 loss to Whittier Tech last Saturday morning in Haverhill.
Whittier jumped out to a 16-0 lead in the opening quarter thanks to TD runs of 65 and 28 yards and a pair of two point conversions. Another Whittier TD made it 22-0 before Juan Martinez booted a 32 yard field goal to get the Red Devils on the scoreboard.
However, Whittier tacked on another TD before the end of the half and scored again after the intermission to make it a 34-3 affair. CHS quarterback Steve Dwyer scored on a 10 yard run in the final period for the 34-9 finale.
“Whittier did everything it had to do on both sides of the ball,” said CHS head coach Mike Stellato. “They outplayed us, but we could have done a better job.”
Friday’s foe, Mystic Valley, has played the Red Devils tough in the past two seasons. “They run a Wing-T offense and they do it very well,” noted Stellato. “We’ll have to be ready for them on every play.”
The contest is a must win for the Red Devils if they wish to remain in contention for the championship of the Small Division of the Commonwealth Athletic Conference. Chelsea is 0-1 in the CAC Small (Whittier is in the Large Division) and a loss to CAC Small rival Mystic Valley would all but doom any CHS hopes for a league crown.
Kick off time Friday night at the stadium is 7:00.
CHS volleyball team is on a roll
The Chelsea High volleyball team earned two bug wins this week, defeating Commonwealth Athletic Conference Small Division rival Northeast Regional on Monday and then topping Whittier, which belongs to the CAC Large Division, on Tuesday.
“These were two huge wins for us,” said CHS head coach Lisa Ceccherini. “We have not beaten a Large School opponent in quite a few years, so the win over Whittier shows how much our girls have improved this year. And the win over Northeast keeps us in the running for the Small Division title.”
The Lady Red Devils were set to meet Fellowship of Christian Academy yesterday (Wednesday) as the Record was going to press in a battle for first place in the CAC Small. If Chelsea succeeds, they will share the Small Division crown with Fellowship, as the teams did last year.
Ceccherini and her crew will travel to Presentation of Mary for their final regular season game Friday.