It’s well known that when city girls' soccer teams battle against the suburbs, the suburbs usually come out on top. This theory will be put to the test in this weekend’s MIAA state soccer tournament, where top girls and boys teams in the city league will compete against suburban teams with the goal of a state title.
The boys' soccer teams shouldn’t be worried, as the top teams ventured outside the city and did well. Boston International beat Randolph, 3-2, and East Boston beat Malden,1-0, and Medford, 3-2, this season.
It’s the girls who have been having trouble, most evident in last year’s tournament.
Brighton and East Boston, the only teams that competed, both lost in the first round; Brighton, 9-0, against Acton-Boxboro, and East Boston, 5-0, to Medford.
The same effect happened when top girls teams like Latin Academy and East Boston ventured outside the city.
Latin Academy lost its three games to Ursuline, Dedham, and North Quincy. East Boston lost its three games to North Quincy, Everett, and Minuteman.
Despite the losses, coach Richard La Cara pointed to the suburban experience as a crucial element of the Jets’ city league victory on Thursday.
By looking at the Jets’ record, La Cara’s point is clear. The Jets started out with a 7-0 loss to North Quincy, followed by a a 5-0 loss to Everett and a 1-0 loss to Minuteman.
Since then the Jets have come a long way, and freshman forward Mariah Roberts believes they will shake things up in the tournament.
“I think we’ll change the negative stereotype of the city league,” Roberts said. “We just have to make sure we keep playing as a team and have lots of communication.”
While East Boston coach Richard La Cara believes that he has a group of gifted players, proven by their city championship victory, he knows that a tournament win will require a bit of luck.
“We’re playing the number nine team in the state,” he said of Saturday’s match against Westford. “We’re going to give it our all but honestly, we know it very well could be our last game.
“We played out of the league three times this season and it’s more strenuous [than the city league,] to say the least. We’ve got our work cut out for us but we’ll let the chips fall where they may.”
What should give the city league hope is the variety of teams competing in the tournament. While last year only Brighton and East Boston challenged the suburbs, this year East Boston, Madison Park, Latin Academy, New Mission and O’Bryant will all compete.
Latin Academy junior defender Jillian Eweka said that Latin Academy’s performance in the tournament shouldn’t fall into the city stereotype, since it’s the Dragons’ first year in the league.
“We weren’t a team last year so maybe we’ll change things for the city league,” she said. “We’re going to practice and do our best and hopefully pull out a win.
“I think we have a good chance at getting far in the tournament.”
Dragons coach Nick Kamberidis thinks his girls have what it takes to at least make it past the first round – but they’ll need to work for it.
“We’re going to spend all of tomorrow trying to adapt to [Bishop Fenwick’s] style and challenge their years of experience.
“It’s definitely going to be our most challenging game of the year.”
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- Justin A. Rice -- A metro Detroit native, Rice is a Michigan State University (Go Spartans!) and Northeastern University graduate. Rice lives in the South End with his dog and wife, who unfortunately attended the University of Michigan ... his wife, that is. He curates the BPS Sports Blog and is always looking to write about city athletes with great stories. Have an idea? He can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.
- Ryan Butler -- A Rhode Island native and avid Boston sports fan, Butler played basketball, baseball and football throughout his time in Barrington Public Schools. Now currently in his middler year at Northeastern University, he joins Boston.com as a correspondent for the site's BPS coverage. Have a story idea? Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on his Twitter @butler_globe.