The girls basketball stars were nothing short of exceptional in their week one debut.
Takora McCyntire, Fenway: One of coach John Rice’s top players this season is surprisingly only a freshman. The guard was unstoppable in her first week on Varsity and lead the Panthers to two victories, 74-33 against South Boston and 77-0 against East Boston where she scored a total of 30 points and 10 assists.
Joseline Posada, New Mission Although only a freshman, this guard is one of the most dedicated players on the team with a great attitude.
“She shows exceptional leadership and poise on and off the court,” New Mission coach Brianna Forde said. “Joseline may not be my most experienced player but she accepts the challenges of a new team, sport and environment.”
Sara Centeio, Charlestown: This former soccer star turns out to be an even better basketball player.
The senior guard is not only Charlestown’s leading scorer but also has the most positive attitude, according to Coach Alexandra Ventura. She has lead her team to its current 2-1 record all while maintaining a 4.0 GPA.
Krystal Edwards, Madison Park: This senior guard has wasted no time in her first week back on the court. Her outstanding defense lead her to a 43-point game against South Boston. She also learned that she was offered a four-year academic scholarship to Union College this week.
Brenda Calderon, Burke: At only 5 feet and 4 inches, this senior guard knows how to hold her own on the court. Despite losing 57-21 in the Bulldogs’ season opener, she lead the team to most of its points. She scored 8 overall and plans to make sure her team is ready for CASH on Tuesday.
Madison Park and Snowden’s girls' basketball teams faced off Tuesday afternoon in both teams first game. Madison Park coach Carla Hands expressed concern over her small team, while Snowden coach June Robinson was worried about practice time since her school doesn’t have a gym.
It turned out Madison Park had no need to worry, as they beat Snowden, 56-22. The win was secured with the help of 5-foot-7-inch senior guard Amber Edwards, who scored 20 points.
“I like that I got a lot of points in my first game of the season but I’m very humble,” she said. “I’m a senior and I love showing leadership.
“I’m focused on my team, that’s why I’m here.”
Madison Park came out strong in the first quarter, leading Snowden, 21-2, as Edwards and her 5’6” twin Krystal both scored 8 points.
The Cougars couldn’t keep up with the Cardinals, and trailed, 35-10, at halftime.
“For our first game they were playing pretty well,” Robinson said. “They’re not used to playing together yet and it’s a lot of the girls’ first time.
“They just need to get to know each other better.”
Amber Edwards finished with 20 points while Krystal Edwards added 16.
At an early point Coach Hands realized she didn’t have much to worry about, but she still wants her girls to work even harder for next time.
“Every one, even the younger ones stepped up and played a really big role in this game so I’m really proud of the ladies,” she said. “But we’ve got a lot to work on and as a coach I’m greedy.
“I’m happy we won, but I want more.”
Coach Robinson plans to work with her team on fundamental skills and team bonding, but still feels that Snowden’s lack of a gym puts the Cougars at a disadvantage.
“We have to take a bus to practice every day so camaraderie is different because we have to travel,” she said. “Then we have to go to another school and cant start until 4:30.
“But because of this the girls on the team are very committed - some even have to pay to ride the bus to practice every day.”
The confidence of the Boston International boys' soccer team soared after a big win against O'Bryant Tuesday, but the celebration ended with a 3-0 shutout loss to Madison Park at home Wednesday afternoon.
The Lions and Cardinals are two of the top teams in the league, with similar records -- Boston International is 11-2, Madison Park 10-1. With both performing at such a high level, it was clear that the game was not going to be easy.
"I tried hard and played for my team," said Madison Park senior midfielder Edmilson Barros. "The results of this game made the decision of whether we would be the division champions or not. So I had to put my heart in the game, my head in the game, and play tough."
Tensions were high on the field with both teams trying to get closer to the city championship. The Lions and Cardinals possessed the ball equally and defense was being played at its best.
Twenty minutes into the game, Barros scored Madison’s first goal with a clear shot to the middle.
Toward the end of the half, it looked to be Boston International’s time to score. The Lions had possession of the ball and Madison’s keeper, sophomore Joao Rosa, stepped too far out, providing an open goal. But the Lions just couldn’t get the ball into the net.
Rosa was a big part in the shutout, with seven saves.
Boston International freshman Eliseu De Pina also played well, making eight saves.
The second half was even tenser than the first, and it was looking like 1-0 could be the final score. But Barros struck again, as did junior midfielder Emike Peres, both in the last 10 minutes.
"We need to practice more, talk to each other and get better organized," De Pina said.
He hasn’t lost hope for the big city win, however.
"This loss doesn’t mean anything," he said.
Barros believes the Cardinals also have a lot of work to do if they are to take home the title for the third year in a row.
"For the city champs, we’re just going to keep practicing hard," he said. "Every game that we play, we have to play like it’s the finals. We have to play hard, play tough, and play smart."
Tuesday's soccer match versus Boston International was O’Bryant’s last chance to continue its season. Naturally, coach Ian Doreian was pushing for a victory.
“We are 6-7-2,” Doreian said of the Tigers’ record, prior to the game. “We need to win in order to qualify for the state tournament.”
Despite its best efforts, Boston International brought O’Bryant’s season to an end at White Stadium, shutting out the Tigers, 6-0.
It would have been impossible to predict the end result from the way O’Bryant started the game. The Tigers went in with force and intensity, making it clear they did not intend to have their season end.
Both teams exhibited impressive defense throughout the first half. At the end of it, Boston International was only up,1-0.
Junior forward Bruno Pires scored the Lions’ lone goal of the first half, 20 minutes in.
O’Bryant junior goalkeeper Greg Morrison believed the Tigers still had a chance at victory at halftime.
“I thought we were going to make a comeback and tie the game,” he said. “I’m disappointed because I feel like I could have saved at least some of the goals today.”
Boston International entered the second half more determined than ever. Once freshman Marcos Espinosa scored the second goal, they couldn’t be stopped.
Both Espinosa and Pires scored twice in the second half.
“We didn’t start the game very well,” said Lions coach Djon Ramos. “After the first half, we started to do what we were supposed to do. O’Bryant is a good team, and we play every team with the same intensity.”
The Tigers were disappointed to see their season come to a close, but proud of its duration.
“Overall we had an OK season,” said senior defender and captain Fabio Cabral, “but I still consider it one of our best.”
Coach Doreian didn’t measure the success of the team by the number of wins, either.
“We had a good season and our record doesn’t reflect it,” he said. “This is one of the strongest teams O’Bryant has ever had, and by far the one with the most class.”
While O'Bryant's season has come to a close, Boston International's has not. The Lions
will go on to play at Madison Wednesday, at 3:30 p.m before competing in the state tournament.
A new month brought even greater performances by the city soccer stars.
Troy Fredericks, Latin Academy: The freshman forward put the seniors to shame against CASH on Friday. He made sure he was open at all times and helped out on defense when necessary. He also had great control of the ball which helped set up the two goals scored.
“He’s coming up and showing the older ones how to play,” coach Dennis Allen said. “I was very happy with his performance yesterday and I think he has earned a starting spot.”
Elmer Ventura, East Boston: Somerville brought an end to East Boston's winning streak, but that doesn't mean the Jets didn't play their best. Not only did Ventura lead the team to 9 wins thus far, he scored two goals and three assists against Latin Academy on Thursday.
Lizandro Noguiera, Brighton: This junior forward had an outstanding week. He had an assist in the Bengal’s 9-1 win over Dorchester as well as 3 goals in their 8-0 shut out against Charlestown on Friday.
Ildo Pires, Boston English: Coach Edmar Varela called the junior his best defender and counts on his performance every week. The Cape Verde native is well-conditioned, disciplined, and sets a great example for his team.
“He chased every play as if it was his last,” Varela said of his performance last week.
Heroldans Limage, Dorchester: This freshman took over the role as keeper this season and has been impressive. The Bears lost 3-1 in a thrilling game against Brighton, but Limage had 12 saves.
Lovelyse Bienamie, Dorchester: Dorchester received a blessing last week in the form of a sophomore forward from Boston International. The newbie debuted with a bang and scored both goals in their 2-1 win against Charlestown on Tuesday. The first goal was during the first half, after a cross from senior midfielder Merlande Philogene. The second came at the end of the thrilling second half. The game was tied until Bienamie scored in the last 15 minutes of the game.
Helina Gurmessa, Brighton: This freshman surprised everyone this week, even coach Bridget Driscoll. The forward scored three of the four goals in the Bengals 4-1 win over Boston English. Not only is she new to the game, this was the second match she's played this season.
Monique McPherson, West Roxbury: Although West Roxbury has yet to win its first game this season, coach Edmar Cayemite applauds senior forward Monique McPherson for keeping the team motivated. She also scored the only goal in Thursday's 6-1 loss to New Mission.
Sara Centeio, Charlestown: Despite missing the first two games of the season with paperwork issues, this forward has recorded six goals and two assists in the five games since she's returned. The Townies suffered a tough 5-4 loss to Snowden on Thursday, but Centeio had a hat trick.
"She works very hard both on and off the field," coach Conor Treacy said via email. "Her GPA of 4.34 demonstrates her standing as a model student-athlete."
Brittany Brancato, East Boston: The Jets' city record is 7-1, mostly due to this exceptional keeper. She's had six shutouts this fall, two of them against Burke and CASH 7-0 last week.
When Brighton battled Boston English in girls' soccer at Portsmouth Field in Brighton Tuesday afternoon, it was anyone's game early on. Both teams started out with high intensity, though they had trouble controlling the ball because of the rain.
Then Brighton’s Helina Gurmessa stepped in.
The Bengals shut out English, 4-0, and the forward scored three of the four goals. Not only is she a freshman, but this was only her second match.
“I knew she had skills,” said Brighton coach Bridget Driscoll. “But to see her execute was great.”
“It feels good,” Gurmessa said. “Especially since it was my second game, because I didn’t get my physical in on time.”
Her first goal came 20 minutes into the game. Senior forward and captain Emma Lama took control of the ball in the middle of the field, carried it past three defenders, and made a swift pass to freshman midfielder Juliana Santos.
Santos crossed the ball to the middle, and Gurmessa knocked it in.
Gurmessa scored again in the last five minutes of the first half, after a swift pass in front of the goal from Lama.
Gurmessa was at it again in the second half, scoring into the upper right corner of the goal after an impressive cross to the left by Brighton senior midfielder Amarilia Veiga.
Lama, who was also a strong offensive presence, scored the final goal in the first 15 minutes of the second half after a gorgeous shot from the middle of the field.
Brighton sophomore keeper Stephanie Fernandes provided the shutout.
Boston English senior keeper Aida Cornier also was excellent, with 16 saves, but she is looking to improve.
“I feel like I could have done better,” she said. “We’ll be more prepared [next time.]”
Coach Carlos Cornish thinks the only way English can improve is with practice, which has been a problem.
“We’re not getting practice time in that we should," said Cornish. "Some have jobs, some need to go home to watch the little ones. It’s hard.”
The Bengals have had no trouble with practice, though, and it showed on the field. Driscoll believes they have one thing to work on, though.
“We need to constantly work on positioning,” she said. “But everyone played pretty well.”
Photo courtesy of America Scores Boston
The South End was abuzz with soccer enthusiasts of all ages to celebrate at the 2012 SCORES Celebration Thursday night with special guest, U.S. women’s national soccer team star Heather O’Reilly. Students, athletes and Boston public school supporters gathered at the high-energy gala at Cyclorama for a night of soccer activities, poetry performances and food from local restaurants.
The faces of Boston public school athletes lit up as they received pointers from O'Reilly in the kid's clinic that kicked off the event. The olympic gold champion enthusiastically assisted each player in shooting and passing drills and coached them in a scrimmage.
“I've been involved for close to seven years," O'Reilly said. "I fell in love with the program and its uniqueness. I was an education major in college so it sort of blended together everything I find important. When I heard America SCORES was [in Boston] I jumped at the opportunity to help.”
O'Reilly also spoke about competing in the London olympics, signed autographs and posed for photos.
O’Reilly, New England Revolution team President Brian Bilello and New England Revolution broadcaster Brad Feldman spoke about their love of America SCORES and the impact it’s making on students.
“It’s a great organization,” Bilello said. “The fact that they’re combining soccer and education is great. It’s made a lot of sense for a long time for the Revs to be involved.”
After the soccer events, Lael Watson, a fifth-grader at Orchard Gardens K-8 School in Roxbury, made a poetry performance.
“My poem ‘I Am’ is about where I’m from and who I am,” Watson said. “I’m nervous, but I have a lot of confidence. I’m really happy I was chosen.”
Coach Mark Salzillo was thrilled and grateful that SCORES invited the Orchard Garden School.
“It’s an amazing opportunity to meet professional soccer players and create the idea of soccer at a bigger level for them, because they’re all beginners,” Salzillo said.
The celebration was provided by America SCORES Boston, a non-profit organization dedicated to help urban youth attain life skills, literacy, and health through soccer.
“America SCORES is a very special organization because it gives kids the platform to believe in themselves,” O’Reilly said. “Keep it up America SCORES because you’re doing fantastic things.”
For the boys:
East Boston at Malden at 3:45 p.m, Friday.
East Boston just gets stronger by the week. The undefeated Jets have dominated every match this season, most recently shutting out South Boston, 8-0. Freshman keeper Edwin Avelar has only surrendered one goal thus far, to Boston International.
East Boston’s rein may be over on Friday, however, as they are playing outside of the city. Malden also has a strong team with only one loss against Somerville.
West Roxbury vs. Boston English at Ceylon at 3:30 p.m, Monday.
Neither West Roxbury nor Boston English are off to a strong start this season, as both are still in search of their first victory. West Roxbury struggled against CASH in the one game they’ve played so far, losing 10-1.
English has played three matches and at least had three goals against mighty Brighton last week. It looks like English has this one set, but West Roxbury will definitely put up a fight.
Snowden vs. O’Bryant at Madison Park at 3:30 p.m., Thursday.
Snowden has had a weak presence in the league so far, but you wouldn’t know it by the way they played last Friday. The team dominated the usually strong Charlestown, winning the match, 4-0. This was the team’s first win of the season, and it’s likely they’ll keep that momentum going this week.
O’Bryant has also had a successful week, even after playing outside the city. They shut out CASH, 6-0, as well as Revere, 3-0, on Saturday.
Coming out of two equally nice wins, the match on Thursday is sure to be a thriller.
For the girls:
New Mission vs. Brighton at Portsmouth field at 3:30 p.m., Monday.
This will be the best girls game of the week by far. New Mission is this season’s team to watch and Brighton is trying to recover that title.
New Mission is still undefeated while Brighton lost their first game against Latin Academy 6-0. Brighton won both games against South Boston and Snowden and there is no way they’re going down again without a fight.
O’Bryant vs. Dorchester at Franklin Field #2 at 3:30 p.m., Monday.
Both O’Bryant and Dorchester have lost just once thus far, and both teams will do what they can to ensure they come out victorious.
O’Bryant had a stellar week, shutting out CASH, 10-0, and Burke, 4-0. It’s likely that they’ll be using this game against Dorchester to get them ready for Mt. Alverania on Tuesday.
Although the game is slightly in O’Bryant’s favor, Dorchester shouldn’t be counted out. They’re coming from Friday’s thrilling 3-2 win over Boston English and will be sure to provide a high-energy match.
East Boston at Charlestown at 3:30 p.m., Tuesday.
Charlestown is not happy with its tie against South Boston last Wednesday. The team has yet to win a match, but if their first win is against East Boston they are definitely a team to watch.
East Boston lost 7-0 to North Quincy Tuesday but came back victorious against West Roxbury on Friday, winning 7-2. If they come into the game against Charlestown with the spirits of Friday, it’s likely they’ll be the winners.
The stars made their debut as the Boston public school soccer season got underway.
For the boys
Rossel Cacho, Brighton: The captain and senior forward had two gorgeous assists as well as two goals in Brighton’s 10-0 shut out of Snowden. His intense speed and fancy footwork did not go unnoticed.
Elmar Ventura, East Boston: The senior midfielder is on fire so far with one goal and one assist in the team’s first win against Dorchester, 2-0. He scored again in the Jets’ second win against Boston International, 2-1.
Kevin O’Neill, Latin Academy: While Latin Academy lost 6-0 against Dedham, coach Dennis Allen believes the score does not reflect his players effort. O’Neill, a forward who played multiple positions in the game, is one of them. Even in defeat the sophomore excelled and put a stop to many opposing players.
Stanley Gourge, Snowden: Even though Snowden was dominated by Brighton 10-0 last week, the Quincy Upper keeper helped hold the team together. A newcomer to the sport, he had 11 saves in the game.
And the girls
Keena Nicholas, O’Bryant: The forward is only a freshman but was the star of the show in O’Bryant’s 6-0 shut out of Charlestown. She scored one goal in each half in her varsity debut.
Emma Lama, Brighton: The senior midfielder scored the two goals in the Bengals' first win of the season against West Roxbury, 2-1.
Lyne Justal, CASH:Coach Amy Offret nominated Justal for “pulling the team together” this past week. Due to this, the forward was chosen as team captain.
Ruth Rivas, East Boston:The sophomore forward had two goals in the Jets’ first win, a 4-0 blanking of Madison Park.
Here are the three games to watch in boys’ city soccer this week.
No. 1 -- Brighton vs. Madison Park at Madison Park, Monday, 3:30 p.m.
With two of the strongest teams in the league going head to head, this match may leave viewers on the edge of their seats. Madison Park is determined for a three-peat this season and Brighton is determined to put a stop to that.
Brighton forfeited their first game but dominated Snowden, 10-0, last week, proving to the rest of the league that they’re a team to watch.
No. 2 -- Snowden vs. Dorchester at White Stadium, Wednesday, 3:30 p.m.
After losing to East Boston in their first game, Dorchester’s confidence was lifted when they shut out C.A.S.H. 7-0 last Wednesday.
What looks like an easy win for Dorchester may just be the opposite. While Snowden was dominated by Brighton last Friday, 10-0, coach Joao Barros is determined for his team to make a come back.
No. 3 -- East Boston vs. South Boston at South Boston, Thursday, 3:30 p.m.
East Boston is on fire and has yet to be put out. The Jets beat Dorchester, 2-0, on Monday as well as Boston International, 2-1, on Thursday, proving that they’re a top contender in the league.
Meanwhile, South Boston did not play their first game but won a close match to Boston English, 4-3. It will be interesting to see whether the team will be defeated or put an end the Jets winning streak.
Here are the three games to watch for girls’ city soccer this week.
No. 1 -- Brighton vs. South Boston at South Boston #2, Tuesday, 3:30 p.m.
It seems the mighty have fallen. Last Tuesday Brighton suffered a devastating loss to Latin Academy, 6-0, in the season opener. However the team rose again on Thursday against West Roxbur,y 2-1, in an attempt to prove that they’re still a team to be reckoned with.
We’ll see whether the usual champions can make a comeback on their third game -- or surrender to Southie.
No. 2 -- Charlestown vs. New Mission at Reservation, Monday, 3:30 p.m.
New Mission is another team that has yet to be defeated. Their first win ended 2-1 in a close match against East Boston last Tuesday. The second was not so close -- they shut out Dorchester, 5-0, last Thursday.
Charlestown suffered a disappointing loss on their season opener to O’Bryant, 6-0, and are looking for vengeance. A win against the so far unstoppable New Mission could make for a complete turnaround for Charlestown.
No. 3 -- East Boston vs. Boston English at Boston English, Monday, 3:30 p.m.
Boston English forfeited the season opener to Madison Park last Monday and lost to Dedham, 6-0, last Friday. The underdogs are looking for a comeback. A win against a team like East Boston will show the league that they’re a team that shouldn’t be counted out.
East Boston is just as determined to win with one loss already under their belt. The team has a better outlook after shutting out Madison Park, 4-0, last Friday.
With both teams fiercely depending on this win, it’s a definite toss up.
About Boston Public Schools Sports BlogMore »
- 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.