The Chelsea High boys soccer team continued its winning ways this past week against a pair of strong rivals, defeating Northeast Regional Vocational School 2-1 last Thursday and topping Everett 3-1 on Monday.
The twin wins boost the record of Coach Mick Milutinovic’s team to a lofty 8-0-1, a mark that already has clinched a state tourney berth for Chelsea.
The Red Devils had an easy go of it early in the season the first time around (a 5-1 blowout) with Northeast, one of their perennial chief rivals in the Large Division of the Commonwealth Athletic Conference, but anticipated a tougher battle in the rematch.
“Northeast was unbeaten after their loss to us,” said CHS assistant coach Evan Protasowicki, “and had defeated Lynn Tech, who had tied us. So we knew they were much improved and would be a tough opponent.”
Indeed, Thursday’s battle proved to be a hard-fought affair. However, Chelsea seized the early advantage, taking a 1-0 lead in the first half on a goal by Carlos Lainez, assisted by Luis Cruz. The Red Devils increased their advantage about 15 minutes into the second half to 2-0 when Michael Kottu blasted a shot from just outside the 18 yard line.
Northeast made things interesting with a marker with 15 minutes to play, but the CHS defense held firm the rest of the way.
Monday’s encounter with Everett at Everett Stadium saw the Red Devils start slowly, but then shift into high gear against their ancient rival from across the Parkway. After battling to a 0-0 deadlock at the half, the Red Devils spotted Everett a 1-0 lead about 10 minutes after the intermission.
However, the CHS squad soon reversed the game’s momentum five minutes later when Walter Guzman took control of a loose ball at the 18 yard line and, seeing that the Everett keeper was a bit our of position, neatly chipped it over his head for the equalizer.
“That was a big goal for us,” said Protasowicki, “because we answered right back, which was nice to see, and from there we took control of the game.”
The Red Devils grabbed the lead 10 minutes later when Michael Kottu delivered a nice corner kick that was headed into the back of the Everett net by Hector Ramirez, who had pushed up from his defensive spot to get into the action.
“Hector has amazing control of his body in the air,” said Protasowicki. “He also played a great game on defense. We are very fortunate that we have someone back there who has such composure in clearing the ball or moving it upfield. Hector has great instincts and makes the right decisions.”
The Red Devils then iced their victory cake with an insurance goal by Kottu, who took the ball at midfield, beat his man, and then let go a superb shot from just inside the 18. “Michael has great speed, but he also has a quick finish that often catches the other team’s keeper off guard,” noted Protasowicki.
The Red Devils, who now are in the driver’s seat in their quest for a CAC Large title, were set to host Greater Lawrence yesterday (Wednesday) and then will host Lynn Tech tomorrow (Friday). A victory by Chelsea in the latter game will all but clinch the league championship.
The Red Devils will entertain Everett, which is in the Greater Boston League, on Monday.
Young Red Devils still fighting hard
The Chelsea High football team continued its early-season trials against the top teams in the Commonwealth Athletic Conference, taking on Shawsheen last Friday evening under the lights at Chelsea Stadium.
Shawsheen came into the contest rated as the favorite to win the Large Division of the Commonwealth Athletic Conference (Chelsea plays in the Small Division) and early on showed some of the offensive firepower that had generated wins of 55-45 over Cambridge and 43-13 over Lynn Tech.
Shawsheen received the opening kick off ball at its own 30 and drove to the CHS 48, from where the visitors got into the end zone on a long pass on third down.
The Red Devils got nowhere on their opening possession and were forced to punt. Shawsheen took over at its own 35 and marched 65 yards to paydirt, the capper being an 11 yard aerial, to take a quick 12-0 advantage.
Chelsea moved the ball better in the second quarter, but couldn’t score. Shawsheen took over in good field position and once again reached the endzone on a 14 yard cross route that made it 20-0 with the two point conversion.
However, the Red Devils refused to quit and responded with their best drive of the night, with sophomore quarterback Mark Anthony Williams sneaking in for the TD. Raul Flores’s kick made it 20-7.
However, the Red Devil momentum proved shortlived, as Shawsheen drove the field in 1:28 and scored before the half with 38 seconds left on the clock to make it 27-7 at the intermission.
Shawsheen then wrapped up the contest early in the third quarter when Chelsea punted after its opening possession of the half and ran it back to the CHS 25, from where Shawsheen made it 34-7 in two plays. The visitors added another TD in the final quarter for the 41-7 final score.
Despite the defeat, CHS head coach Mike Stellato cited a number of his players for their fine efforts: sophomore Williams, who made his first start at quarterback; sophomore center Francisco Mercedes; sophomore guard Jomael Dejesus; senior offensive tackle Mark Beltran; and senior offensive tackle Angel Gamboni. On the defensive side of the ball, Stellato lauded senior linebacker Flores and junior linebacker Jose Martinez.
The Red Devils will travel to Greater Lowell Saturday to engage in their first Small Division CAC contest of the season Kick off time is 1:30.
Cross country teams run into top opponents
Last Monday the boys and girls cross country teams both lost to Greater Lowell in a meet that saw Bryant Va of Greater Lowell set a new course record of 17:43 for the three mile course at Admiral’s Hill. Chelsea’s first runner for the boys was Chester Rath who was fourth overall. Faisal Nasimi was sixth and Tony Nguyen was eighth. Luis Romero came home in 12th place, Jeffrey Estrada was 13th, and Alex Alvarez was 14th for the Red Devils.
On the girls side, Tatyana Almedia finished third against Gr. Lowell. Patty Guardado and Neris Yanes were eighth and ninth. Running well for the girls were Alejandra Sanchez (11th), Daisy Mejia (14th), and Wendy Becerra (15th).
The Chelsea boys next ran into a vastly improved Greater Lawrence team from last year. The Red Devils eked out a two point decision last year, but Gr. Lawrence has a much stronger top five in 2012.
“Right now they are the favorite to win the league meet,” said CHS head coach Don Fay.
Rath was the first Chelsea finisher in sixth place, followed by Estrada in ninth and Nasimi in 11th. Freshmen Luis Romero (13th) and Alex Alvarez (16th) finished the scoring for the boys.
“In the last nine days the boys have run into the iron of the league,” noted Fay. “We were at one point 5-0, but now stand at 5-3. We have to regroup and try to get some wins and confidence going into the league meet.”
The Lady Red Devils fared better and came away with a 22-37 win over their Greater Lawrence counterparts to raise their record to 3-6 on the year. The girls were led by Almedia who won the overall race running 22:58. Guardado was third with a clocking of 24:56. The girls clinched the meet by finishing fifth (Jailene Paz), sixth (Wendy Becerra), seventh (Neris Yanes), and eighth (Daisy Mejia).
Both teams were set to face North Shore/ Essex Aggie yesterday (Wednesday) at Admiral’s Hill.