Boys soccer team look to regain momentum

The Chelsea High boys soccer team made it through the first ten games of this season without losing a single game. In the last ten days, however, the level of Chelsea’s competition has heightened significantly. Meanwhile, the Red Devils have been shorthanded while missing some of their top midfielders and, as a result, have struggled to keep up with the tougher opponents, losing three of their last four games.

The Devils suffered their most lopsided defeat in over a year on October 13 when they were beaten, 6-1 by Somerville. Chelsea got another shot at Somerville a day later and faired better, but still lost, 3-0. It was the first time the Red Devils have been shut out this year.

“In the first game, we were completely outmatched,” said Evan Protasowicki, assistant to Chelsea head coach Mick Mitunovich. “We were in the second game the whole time. We missed a lot of offensive opportunities. The ‘D played real well, but [Somerville] just capitalized on three mistakes. Good times know how to punish your mistakes.”

Protasowicki lauded goalie Norliss Torres for keeping Somerville’s top playmakers from reaching the back of the net for most of the game. Somerville scored twice in the first half and did not score again until they got a breakaway goal in the last ten minutes of the game.

Chelsea bounced back two days later with a 4-1 on the road against Whittier Tech. Omeilleo McNeish led the way with a pair of goals, both of which were butted in with his head after receiving a high pass from the wings. The two headers gave Chelsea four scores by way of the skull in the last seven games. Three of those goals have come from the head of the 6’3” McNeish. Hugo Erazo and Elvin Merino also had goals for Chelsea in the win over Whittier.

On Tuesday, the Red Devils suffered their first loss of the season against a conference opponent when they were defeated, 1-0 on a penalty kick by Lynn Tech. Chelsea has three games remaining in the regular season and is in midst of a tight race for the Commonwealth Athletic Conference title with Lynn Tech and Northeast Metro RVT. The season could very well come down to the last game, which will be played at Chelsea High against Northeast.

The Red Devils (10-3-1) were scheduled to play at Greater Lowell on Wednesday and will host Greater Lawrence on Tuesday.

Girls Soccer

The girls soccer Devils played at home against a tough Mystic Valley team last Thursday. Much as they did against top-ranked Shawsheen Tech a few days before, the Red Devils were able to play even with their opponent throughout the scoreless first half. Chelsea scored the game’s first goal in the second half, but the officials reversed the goal due to the fact that it was an indirect kick that only touched on Chelsea player. Mystic Valley was able to score three times in the second half to take a 3-0 win.

The Red Devils played much better on Tuesday when they defeated Lynn Tech, 3-1. Stephanie Medina played a superb game at midfield, and Elsi Cruz scored twice to lead the offense. Chelsea also got a solo goal from Kati Romero, as well as top quality performances in the net from both Victoria Perez and Cindy Cruz.

Chelsea (5-7) will face Presentation of Mary Academy today and will get another shot at Mystic Valley on Monday.

Cross Country

Both the boys and girls cross country Red Devils competed in the Commonwealth Athletic Conference meet last Wednesday at Essex Agricultural in Danvers. With 112 points, the Chelsea boys finished in fourth place behind Minuteman Tech (93 points), Mystic Valley (83) and Shawsheen Tech (57).

Two of the Red Devils ran well enough to earn all-star status at the league meet. Running in his last race after a stellar cross country career, senior Ugo Cvjetan was fourth overall with a time of 17:53. He was joined on the all-star list by teammate Cesar Hernandez, who finished tenth with a time of 18:56.

Other top finishers for the Red Devils included Santos Hernandez (24th overall with a time of 19:56), Luis Hernandez (32nd at 20:29), Brandon Rath (42nd, 21:25). Also competing in the varsity race for the boys was Hector Mendoza, who finished in 22:14, and Edgar Ocana, who completed the race in 22:40.

The girls cross country Devils finished fifth out of ten teams in a very competitive meet. Chelsea had 84 points, placing the behind Mystic Valley (fourth with 80 points), Greater Lowell (79), Shawsheen Tech (63) and Presentation of Mary Academy (62). Suzanne Mixalixen earned all-star honors by running the race in 23:51 to finish seventh overall.

Four other Chelsea runners finished in the top 30 in the girls race, including Jesenia Contreras (13th overall with a time of 24:44), Thien-Ly Che (20th, 25:51), Anelsa Beqo (23rd, 26:00) and Karen Zuluaga (25th, 26:10). Chelsea also got quality runs from freshman Patricia Guardado (36th, 28:03) and Kadiatu Kamara (37th, 28:14).

Head coach Don Fay praised both of his teams for their efforts this season and expressed optimism that the two teams can be just as good or better a year from now. Both teams have the chance to return nearly all of this year’s runners. Cvjetan is the only outgoing senior on the boys squad, while Zuluaga is the only senior on the girls team.

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