Dorchester played its first game at its new home field Friday night, but it was Latin Academy that danced off the Roberts Field turf victorious.
Behind a balanced offensive attack and a swarming defense, the Dragons spoiled Dorchester’s home opener, 24-10. Spearheaded by dynamic senior quarterback Kyle Dance’s three touchdowns (2 passing, one rushing), Latin Academy improved to 3-0.
“It feels good [getting the win], especially the way they beat us last year, which kept us from going to the Super Bowl,” said Dance, Latin Academy's three-year starter under center. ‘”They were a good team, we came out hard, they came out physical, but I think in the end we did a good job."
Even though Dorchester scored the first ever points on Robert’s field, Latin Academy took the lead in the second quarter and never relinquished it.
The first two points were provided by Dorchester middle linebacker Leon Sealy, who sacked Dance in the end zone on third down with just over six minutes to play in the first.
“It means a lot, a lot of people didn’t get a chance to play out here ... but it means something to me,” Sealy said of scoring the program's first-ever points on their home field. “Coach sent me on the blitz through the A gap and I just got to the quarterback. That’s about it.''
With 3:45 to play in the first half, Dorchester spit up their first of four fumbles in the game on a pitch inside the 5-yard line. The ball bounced into the end zone before being pounced on by Latin Academy senior defensive lineman Johnson Kellen for the team’s first points of the game. The Dragons, who started the game with an errant snap and an ugly safety, never looked back offensively once their defense gave them a kick start.
“We have talented kids, and when our quarterback has enough time, good things happen for us,” said Latin Academy coach Rocco Zizza, who has watched Dance flourish in both the run game and the passing game this season. “The thing is, so long as the line can give him some time, we have guys who can catch the ball. And the better we run the ball, the easier it is for us to pass the ball.”
Dance, who finished the game with 64 rushing yards and 81 passing yards to go along with his three touchdowns, echoed his coaches winning strategy.
“Me being able to run the ball helps keep the defense off balance, so it works out good to our advantage,” he said.
Dorchester showcased six different rushers out the backfield, but had much less success than they are used to. Senior Hakim Harris, who scored the Bear’s only touchdown on a 66-yard rush, finished with a team-high 79 yards on 9 carries.
And although it was Dorchester’s homecoming party, coach Zizza felt his team did what they could to open the field with dignity.
“We played as hard as we can and that’s the ultimate form of respect for both Dorchester High and coach Moran,” he said.
The Latin Academy girl’s hockey team defeated Brookline, 6-1, Sunday night at Matthew’s Arena, and the domination came as a surprise; fueled by tons of action in a thrilling third quarter.
Even more surprising was that star of the game, Dragons freshman forward Danielle Baldassari is new to the school.
“This is my first time even playing with girls,” Baldassari said. “I’ve played with boys my whole life in South Boston.”
Following only one score in the first period by junior forward Kathleen Torpey, Baldassari started her hat trick at 11:42 in the second quarter. Freshman defender Margaret Whalen assisted on the goal by Baldassari, who shot the puck into the low right corner.
Down by two, Brookline (0-5) worked to pick it up at the end of the second period and succeeded when senior forward Devin Crowley shot the only puck that passed Dragons senior goalkeeper Natalie Lombardi.
The game was close at the start of the third period, 2-1, until the Dragons (3-1) took control over a four-minute span.
“The girls just put everything together and couldn’t stop scoring,” Latin Academy coach Ronald Ford said. “They got four goals in four minutes – that was pretty great.”
Baldassari scored with 6:22 left in the period after a cluttered fight for the puck near the crease. She scored again for the hat trick with 3:01 left after a rink-length rush.
“My first hat trick actually feels normal, scoring goals just feels natural to me,” Baldassari said, while her team chided her for her modesty. “But I guess it is pretty awesome.”
The Warriors' defense collapsed over the remainder of the period as sophomore forward Bridget Fehily and senior forward Jordan Fleming also scored.
“We were doing all right but we just came in so strong in the third period,” Baldassari said. “We crashed every rebound and our defense stopped [Brookline] every time.
“This was our best game by far.”
Both the New Mission and Burke girl’s basketball teams stepped onto the court for their first game knowing it could have been anyone’s game. New Mission had to bench several key players because of concussions while Burke featured a whole new roster. The result of the game ended in the veterans' favor, as New Mission trumped Burke 57-21.
New Mission dictated the tempo of the majority of the game and especially the first half.
Sparked by junior Jenny Mendez, New Mission to a 15-3 lead after the first quarter.
“They’re still learning the fundamentals of the game like position, footwork, passing the ball, defense and offense,” Burke coach John Evans said. “We’ve been working hard in practice but actually playing against an opponent showed us we have a lot to work on.”
Mendez went on to dominate the second quarter and buried two buckets from the right wing and garnered another two on free throws, all in a span of two minutes.
“I haven’t played basketball in a long time since I was injured and the win means a lot,” she said. “I’m happy that we won and look forward to doing it every game this season.”
The Lady Titans continued to rule the second quarter and went into intermission with a commanding 34-8 lead.
Burke senior guard Brenda Calderon finished with 8 points and senior guard Tylia Cromtrie finished with 7.
Calderon said it was clear as ever that her team needs work by looking at the scoreboard at the end of game.
“It was our first game together and we’re a brand new team so it was definitely frustrating,” she said, “We just need to learn how to work together and start communicating.
“But we’re going to stay motivated and we’re not going to give up.”
Coach Evans mirrored Calderon’s view and said it’s all about creating a bond between his girls before focusing on victories.
“My biggest issue isn’t about winning games right now, it’s about building a family,” he said. “My whole thing is to try and get the girls to work together and support each other.
“When that time comes, then we’ll work on winning games.”
Despite the big win, New Mission coach Emily Werner thinks her team has room for improvement.
“We played well and collectively as a team but it definitely exposed what we need to do better,” she said. “We had a lot of fouls and that shows that we’re being aggressive but that we need to get even better defensively.”
Since the East Boston girls soccer team lost to Brighton in last year's Boston City League championship, it wanted revenge. On Thursday afternoon, the third-place Jets beat first-place Latin Academy, 1-0, to win this year’s championship, its first since 2006.
To senior captain and forward Maria Vargas, the underdogs’ win did not come as much of a surprise. The Jets were eyeing the trophy before the season started.
“Getting to the City League championship is going to take a lot of practice and a lot of time. But we have time; we just need to be patient,” she said in August. “If we’re all committed, we’ll be able to win.”
Vargas’ prediction was correct. Unlike his captain, East Boston coach Richard La Cara wasn’t so sure his team would be the champion.
“We’re nervous, but excited,” La Cara said prior to the game. "We’ve made it to the finals a couple times, but haven’t won in six years. We’re relying on our defense and goalie.”
Most of the first half was a tug-of-war between both teams, each equally possessing the ball and exhibiting strong defense.
Then speedy freshman forward Mariah Roberts made a long run with the ball and Latin Academy’s defense failed to keep up. Roberts scored in the lower left corner in the 25th minute.
“I felt relieved when I scored the first goal,” Roberts said. “I was so happy. I thought they would come back, but we just communicated, worked together and had great defense.”
Latin Academy tried to rally. Senior forward Virginia McCaughey, senior midfielder Tianna Johnson, and even junior defender Jillian Eweka all had shots on goal, but they could not beat goalkeeper Brittany Brancato.
“I think we did really well,” Eweka said. “We had the ball on their side for most of the second half. We have nothing to be ashamed of, we’re just sad.”
This was Latin Academy’s first season competing in the City League, and Eweka and coach Nick Kamberidis said they were proud they made it to the final.
“We just couldn’t score,” Kamberidis said. “They played excellent defense and buried our chances. Hats off to [East Boston,] they deserve it.”
Despite getting a bucket of water dumped on his head in the chilly weather after the win, La Cara still looked like he was in disbelief.
“When we started in August,” he said, “I never thought this would have happened. With Latin Academy and New Mission in the league, we knew the season would be very difficult.”
“But I just have a great group of girls, and today we avenged our loss.”
East Boston and Latin Academy will compete in the state tournament this weekend.
East Boston will take on Westford at East Boston Stadium on Saturday at 3 p.m. and Latin Academy will face Bishop Fenwick at Reservation Road on Saturday at 2 p.m.
First place Latin Academy (11-2-0) downed fourth place O’Bryant (10-3-2) while second place New Mission (10-1-1) was upended by third place East Boston (10-1-1) on penalty kicks in the Boston City League girls soccer semifinals.
Both games ended 1-0, showing the parity in the leading heading into the championship game Thursday at Madison Park, said Latin Academy coach Nick Kamberidis.
“We’re all within a goal from each other,” Kamberidis said.
O'Bryant forwards Aleena Hill-Da Costa, Yonetta Harris and Keena Nicholas all attacked the goal and exhibited great skill, but were unable to score.
At the end of the first half it looked like the game would go in O’Bryant’s favor after the team was granted a penalty kick, but it was unsuccessful.
With fifteen minutes left in the second half, Latin Academy forward Morgan Wheeler sent a swift pass to senior Virginia McCaughey. McCaughey went on to score what would be the only goal of the game.
“We were nervous towards the end,” Wheeler said. “[O’Bryant] picked it up, but we have an amazing goalie and defense so we got lucky. For tomorrow, we’re just going to get a long night of sleep in, come in and do it again.”
East Boston and New Mission proved to be an even matchup as well, going a scoreless 90 minutes before being decided by shootout.
East Boston senior Maria Vargas and freshmen Pamela Sepulveda and Vanessa Figgueroa attacked the New Mission goalie tenaciously throughout the game, but were unable to make good on any of their scoring chances. Neither were New Mission senior forwards Fantazia Hinds and Bonnie Ramos as well as sophomore Qiyamah Abburrashid.
Both teams were aggressive and showcased a strong defense, resulting in a 0-0 tie.
“Our whole team was nervous today,” East Boston junior defender Hannah Lunetta said. “We knew it’d be tough but we came through. We were confident at the end though. We knew our goalie could make those saves.”
Lunetta's confidence was spot on, as East Boston keeper Brittany Brancato helped bring the girls to victory. She faced four shots from New Mission and blocked three, while Titans junior keeper Amarelis Morales faced four of East Boston’s shots and blocked one.
“We performed pretty well,” East Boston coach Richard La Cara said. “We’re a defensive minded team, we set the defense first. We have the best goalie and the best defense. If it went to penalty kicks, we knew we’d get it.”
East Boston will face Latin Academy 3:30 p.m. Thursday at Madison Park for the city title.
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.
O'Bryant, the second-place team in the South division, survived a scare from West Roxbury, the second place team in the North division, as the Tigers took the 20-14 victory despite the Raiders' late rally Friday afternoon.
“We do the same thing we do every week,” O’Bryant coach Kevin Gadson said. “We study the team we’re going to play against and try to prepare as best as we can. Then we practice on what we do best and try to do it better and better and better.”
O’Bryant junior quarterback Ajani Alfred-McFall ran for an 11-yard touchdown in the second quarter as the Tigers took the 6-0 lead at the half.
It wasn’t until the fourth quarter that the real action began. O’Bryant ended a 65-yard drive with a 22-yard touchdown run by junior running back Mehki Williams. McFall completed a pass to sophomore wideout George Gomez for a successful two-point conversion.
West Roxbury answered with an 80-yard kick return for a touchdown by junior star running back Michael Obiangwe.
“We came back because they were killing the game,” Obiangwe said. “That’s when we really started playing harder as a team. Before then I still believe we were playing as individuals and that was not working out.”
The Tigers completed a 35-yard pass to junior wide receiver Joseph Farrell for their third touchdown.
Even with the score 20-6 in the last five minutes, the Raiders refused to go down without a fight. Obiangwe ran 15 yards for a touchdown, capping a 68-yard drive. The two-point conversion was successful on a pass from junior quarterback David Berucci to senior tight end/defensive end Aaron Whitehead, but the Raiders couldn't get any closer.
“We’re just going to keep a good balanced attack,” West Roxbury coach Derek Wright said. “The passing game is definitely part of that, but when you have a big horse like Mike [Obiangwe] you run him. We have some other players that we’d like to get outside with too, but we like to keep teams guessing.”
O’Bryant 's Williams was just happy to have a key role in the Tigers’ fourth win in a row.
“While we had some ups and downs and can do better,” he said, “I think today, we showed everyone that we’re a family. We play together and because of that we came out with the victory.”
The only win for the Charlestown boys' soccer team was in the first week of the season, against South Boston, and coach Tim Meho was hoping that Tuesday would be the second victory as he enthusiastically pumped up his team before it took on Burke.
Yet as soon as the Bulldogs took the field, it was clear that Charlestown was destined to struggle, and the match ended 12-0.
“Today was tough, as usual,” said Meho. “But we can’t get the whole team here every day. I’m constantly working with new players.”
Charlestown's lack of consistency showed, as Burke senior forward Prince Collins scored within the first five minutes and went on to score three more times.
Burke’s entire roster exhibited intense speed and drive to reach the ball, but that didn’t necessarily please coach Mario Austin.
“We have good individual play and not a lot of team play,” said Austin. “But we’re getting it more, compared to the beginning.”
Yet individual skill kept Burke in the lead. By halftime, the score was 7-0.
Still, Meho encouraged the Townies to forget about the score and play hard.
“We don’t give up,” he told them during halftime. “We play until the end, just like every other game.”
The second half didn’t bring much luck to the Townies, however. As soon as it began, Burke forward Gilson Andrade rushed the goal and scored into the lower right corner.
Altogether, the talented freshman scored four times.
Senior midfielder Danilson Pina was strong on both defense and offense with several takeaways and two goals, one on a header.
The Townies seemed to lose confidence with every goal, even with Meho encouraging them from the sidelines.
“[We need to] just stay together as a team,” he said when asked what it would take to achieve another win. “It’s what you learn more than anything else. I teach them not to give up; life’s not always going to be easy.”
Frustrated forward Kurvan Vidal said his team did not play well and was upset with the score. However he knows what the team needs to work on and plans to address it next practice.
“It’s going to take a lot of things,” he said. “It’s going to take a lot of players willing to rush the ball, pass better and play harder.”
Despite the high score, Pina agreed with his coach that the Bulldogs need to work harder to improve teamwork.
“We play hard and improve every day,” he said. “We’re going to practice even harder because Friday’s going to be tough."
Burke will play at East Boston Friday at 3:30 p.m. while Charlestown will take on O’Bryant at home Wednesday at 3:30 p.m.
As the season progresses in the city league, so does the intensity. Here are the games to watch:
No. 1: C.A.S.H. at Madison Park, 3:30 p.m., Monday.
C.A.S.H. is 7-3 in the league, and appears headed for the city tournament. They beat Snowden, 4-1, and Latin Academy, 1-0, and coach Ian Glaude said his boys are looking better than ever.
Madison Park beat East Boston, 4-0, this week and ended its undefeated streak in the city. That leaves the Cardinals as the only undefeated team in the league. If C.A.S.H. can change that, they’ll be a front-runner in the city championships.
No. 2: Boston International v. Dorchester, 3:30 p.m. at White Stadium, Monday.
Boston International had a great week with a strong 10-2 win against West Roxbury on Wednesday. The Lions feature many forwards with super speed and strength. It’s because of them, that the team’s record is 7-2.
Dorchester is 9-3 and the Bears also had a fantastic week with two shut outs; 7-0 against Boston English Tuesday and 6-0 against West Roxbury on Friday.
Both teams are strong in all areas of the field and pretty equal in skill, making this match a toss up.
No. 3: O’Bryant v. West Roxbury, 3:30 p.m. at Millennium field, Monday.
The usually strong O’Bryant suffered a tough week. They were shut out in all three games, 3-0 against Wayland Saturday, 7-0 versus Brighton Tuesday and 6-0 against Burke on Friday. The always positive coach Ian Doreain expects the team to have a much better week, starting with West Roxbury.
West Roxbury’s week was also disappointing. They lost 10-2 against Boston International on Wednesday and 6-0 to Dorchester on Friday.
Doreian feels the Tigers need three more wins and a tie to qualify for the city championships, and they’re counting on West Roxbury for one of them. Both teams will come in strong to prove that they’re postseason contenders, ensuring a heated match.
No. 1: O’Bryant vs. New Mission at Reservation at 3:30 p.m., Thursday.
The top two teams are going head-to-head this week.
New Mission lost its undefeated record in its match against Latin Academy, 1-0, last week. They haven’t lost confidence, however, and shut out South Boston, 3-0, Thursday.
O’Byrant has only one loss as well, but to suburban Mt. Alverania. They shut out Snowden, 7-0, this week which means that the Tigers are still undefeated in the city league.
Both teams have great skill and only one loss. As the top two in the league, it’s hard to tell who will come out on top.
No. 2: Latin Academy vs. Dorchester at Franklin Field #2 at 3:30 p.m., Wednesday.
Dorchester has had quite a recovery. After suffering five losses in the beginning of the season, the Bears have had a complete turnaround since. They shut out Burke 3-0 on Tuesday and tied Brighton, 2-2.
Latin Academy had a similair week with a shut out and a tie. The Dragons dominated Boston English, 11-0, on Wednesday and tied East Boston, 0-0, on Friday.
While Dorchester has been doing well, Latin Academy is a top contender in the league with a lot of suburban experience. This match looks like it’s in Latin Academy’s favor, but Dorchester hopes to pull off the win.
No. 3: East Boston at Minuteman at 3:30 p.m., Monday.
Eastie has been having a great season with a 8-2-1 record. While the team is strong, the Jets have lost every time it has played in the suburbs; 5-0 to Everett and 7-0 to North Quincy.
Minuteman won't be an easy win for East Boston, as it has a strong roster and a 9-2 record.
All of the BPS girls soccer teams have had a hard time in matches outside of the city. If the Jets can earn a win against a Suburban opponent, it will be a boost for all city teams heading into the MIAA postseason.
The stars have only been getting brighter as the city championships are just two weeks away. Here's a look at the players that shined this week.
Marc Thebaud, C.A.S.H.: C.A.S.H. was desperate for a new goalkeeper this season. While Thebaud had always been a midfielder, he stepped up for his team. Coach Ian Glaude said he’s been fantastic and has played a big part in its 1-0 win over Latin Academy last week.
Mendel Moise, O’Bryant: While O’Bryant had a tough week with three losses, this senior defender never gave up. Coach Ian Doreain said that this is his first full year playing soccer and he continues to play well in the back.
Guy Charlot Destin, Dorchester: This week was the best week yet for the senior sweeper and captain. The strong defender was flawless, playing through the entirety of the Bears’ two shutouts against Boston English (7-0) and West Roxbury (6-0.) He also had a goal in the first and an assist in the second, all from the back.
Adilson Alves, Boston International: This junior dominated the field this week in the Lions’ game against West Roxbury. His speed and fancy footwork paved the way for one header and three additional goals, all within 10 minutes.
Mahmoud Hayek, West Roxbury: This goalkeeper never gives up, shown by the Raiders’ match against Boston International this week. The Raiders had many impressive shots on goal and Hayek stopped 16 of them in the 10-2 loss.
Jessica Martinez, Burke: Martinez is Burke’s best forward. While the team has yet to win its first game, she never gives up no matter what the score is. She also had two impressive goals in the match against Charlestown that ended 2-2.
Angelina Machante, Snowden: Coach Wade Wall calls her a star forward who continues to improve with each game. The Cougars lost all three, but Machante scored the only goal of the week against Boston International on Friday, ending 4-1.
Janiel Gordon, Charlestown: Gordon had her best week yet with her first hat trick in the 5-1 win against C.A.S.H. on Tuesday. She also scored on a penalty kick against Burke Thursday which tied the game 1-1.
Coach Conor Treacy called her a key member of the team with excellent natural ability.
“It is easy to forget at times that she is only in the 10th grade,” Treacy said. “She has the potential to become a very talented soccer player. She will continue to be a key player for Charlestown over the next couple of seasons.”
Mirlande Philogene, Dorchester: The senior midfielder was a key player in the Bears’ 3-0 shut out against Burke on Tuesday. She scored two goals within the first 15 minutes of the game.
Mary Pavlu covers Boston Public school athletics. She can be reached at Mary.Pavlu@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @MaryPavlu
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.