Somerville High Fall 2011 Preview: Football and Cheerleading

(written and photographed for Somerville Patch)

With the school year underway, Somerville Patch will be previewing all eight fall sports programs at Somerville High School. Unsure how the Highlanders did in 2010? Want to know who might impact the upcoming season? Just want to know when the first game is? Read on and find out.

Football

Coach Harry Marchetti will try and lead the Somerville football team to better than their 4-6 record in 2010.

2010 Record: 4-6 overall, 2-2 in the Greater Boston League

The Somerville Highlanders have the misfortune of playing in the same league as Everett (GBL title every year since 1994, six state championships including last season in eight appearances since 2001), one of the best high school football programs in Massachusetts. While many schools have left the GBL for easier opponents, Somerville coach Harry Marchetti says the Highlanders aren’t going anywhere.

“I grew up playing in the GBL, I’ve been coaching in the GBL all my life,” Marchetti said after an Aug. 31 practice. “It’s close to my heart.”

Somerville’s non-GBL games last season were no easier, with the Highlanders taking on three top-five teams in the first four weeks of the season. Despite the sub-.500 record, Marchetti said he liked how his team handled the high level of competition.

“We didn’t back down,” Marchetti said. “We toughened up. We were competitive.”

Hurrican Irene cut short Somerville’s preseason camp, delaying some of the 2011 squad’s maturation. Still, Marchetti said, “I have a good group of kids that are coachable and want to play.”

Continue reading Somerville High Fall 2011 Preview: Football and Cheerleading

Patriots-Dolphins: Ranking Tom Brady’s Trips to Miami

The Patriots are 5-5 in Miami during the Tom Brady Era. Brady's best game came on Oct. 21, 2007, in which he passed for 354 yards and a whopping six touchdowns. (AP Photo/Hans Deryk)

The 2011 New England Patriots season kicks off with a trip to Sun Life Stadium to play the Miami Dolphins on Monday Night Football. The Patriots have played 10 games in Miami during the Tom Brady era (including the 2008 season in which Brady played just one game), so how could we not do a Top 10 as part of our pre-game festivities?

Here’s how the last 10 Patriots-Dolphins road games stack up against each other:

10. Dolphins 21, Patriots 0 – Dec. 10, 2006

The Patriots’ 2006 game in Miami was one of just two Patriots shutouts that Brady has ever played, and Brady went 12-for-25 for just 78 yards in this one. He threw no interceptions, but he fumbled the ball twice, one of which the Dolphins recovered. The Patriots fumbled away three possessions total. The offensive line also couldn’t stop the Dolphins’ elite pass-rush, allowing five sacks and keeping the Patriots offense from ever developing any rhythm. Future-Patriot Sammy Morris rushed for 123 yards and a fourth-quarter touchdown that gave the Dolphins a three-possession lead with less than a quarter to play.

Continue reading Patriots-Dolphins: Ranking Tom Brady’s Trips to Miami

Somerville High Fall 2011 Preview: Girls’ Volleyball

Somerville High girls' volleyball coach Steven Walker will try to lead his team to a better record than their 3-11 season in 2010.

(written and photographed for Somerville Patch)

With the first day of school upon us, Somerville Patch will be previewing all eight fall sports programs at Somerville High School. Unsure how the Highlanders did in 2010? Want to know who might impact the upcoming season? Just want to know when the first game is? Read on and find out.

Girls’ Volleyball

2010 Record: 3-11 overall, 2-5 in the Greater Boston League.

Despite a poor final record, girls’ volleyball coach Steven Walker said before a Sept. 6 practice that the 2010 season taught his team focus and communication. With just two seniors graduating last season, those skills will hopefully translate to more on-court success this season.

“I really think that experience of them playing together for so long now is really going to help them out this year,” Walker said.

Walker also said his girls have become “problem solvers,” able to recognize mistakes on the court and fix them without becoming defensive.

“They’re holding each other to a higher level of responsibility,” Walker said.

“They understand that they’re either going to win or lose as a team. It’s not going to be one person’s fault. It doesn’t come down to one play. It comes down to them acting as a team.”

First 2011 game: Wednesday 9/7 at Lawrence, 5:00 p.m.,

Home Opener: Monday 9/12 vs. Haverhill at SHS Field House, 5:00 p.m.

Players to watch: Nicole Genard, senior outside and middle hitter

“She’s our best hitter on the team,” Walker said, adding: “She reacts faster than most girls can. … She’s very aggressive, she’s very competitive, and she always wants to get better.”

Brittany Cassidy, senior setter

“She’s kind of like the quarterback of the team,” Walker said. “She’s really getting the girls ready for everything, and she kind of runs the offense. She helps them figure out where they have to be rotation-wise, where they have to be on defense, and it’s through her decision-making that our offense can really run smoothly.”

Key to the season: Aggressiveness

“I think last year we were hesitant in some games, and we got kind of caught on our heels with different things,” Walker said, adding: “If we’re aggressive, and always attacking, and always moving our feet, then the level of play just quadruples.”

Kinsler and Hamilton Each Drive in Three as Rangers Crush Red Sox

Adrian Beltre connects on a single, the 2,000th hit of his career, during the Rangers' seven-run sixth inning of Sunday's game at Fenway. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)

If the Red Sox and Rangers face each other in the playoffs, the scorekeepers had best prepare: there will be runs, and lots of them. Sunday afternoon at Fenway was no exception.

The Rangers banged out 15 hits and 11 runs against John Lackey and the Red Sox bullpen Sunday, winning the game and the series, 11-4.

The Red Sox fell to 1.5 games behind the Yankees, who beat the Blue Jays 9-3 Sunday, in the AL East. They still lead the Rays in the wild card race by eight.

Continue reading Kinsler and Hamilton Each Drive in Three as Rangers Crush Red Sox

Somerville High Fall 2011 Preview: Boys and Girls Soccer

(written and photographed for Somerville Patch)

With the first day of school fast approaching, Somerville Patch will be previewing all eight fall sports programs at Somerville High School. Unsure how the Highlanders did in 2010? Want to know who might impact the upcoming season? Just want to know when the first game is? Read on and find out.

Boys Soccer

The 2011 SHS boys soccer team will look to repeat or improve on their MIAA North Div. 1 semifinal loss to Brookline in 2010.

2010 Record: 9-7-2 overall, 2-4-2 in the Greater Boston League.

The 2010 boys soccer team qualified for the MIAA postseason tournament, advancing all the way to the North Division 1 semi-finals against Brookline, where they lost 2-1 on penalty kicks.

“We had some chances and some disappointments,” coach George Scarpelli said of that game after practice on Sept. 1. “I think they had one shot in the second half, Brookline, and they scored on it.”

More than their postseason success, however, Scarpelli said he was happiest with what happened after.

“Out of the 14 seniors, all 14 have gone off to college, and eight will be playing in college,” Scarpelli said. “For us, that’s our No. 1 goal.”

The Highlanders’ .250 GBL winning percentage in 2010 was due to how tough a soccer league the GBL is in Massachusetts.

“We’re going to top-heavy again this year,” Scarpelli said. “We’re pretty strong but young. Medford is going to be very good, probably a top-five team in the state, as well as Cambridge. … Playing against each other twice a year gets us prepared for the tournament.”

First 2011 game: Wednesday 9/7 at Salem, 4:00 p.m.,

Home Opener: Wednesday 9/14 vs. Malden at Dilboy Stadium, 4:00 p.m.

Players to watch: Richard Rodriguez, senior captain and goalie.

“He’s had to sit back and watch some pretty good goalies play in front of him,” Scarpelli said. “I think this is his time to shine. He’s probably going to be the biggest key in the back.”

Thayrone Miranda, sophomore attacker; scored 15 goals as a freshman in 2010

“Thayrone creates so much space with his footwork,” Scarpelli. “He’s very good in small areas, and he’s a pure finisher.”

Key to the season: Quick development of younger players.

“We have probably the best freshman class I’ve ever seen in 22 years of coaching,” Scarpelli said, adding: “The biggest key is going to be not just the discipline but the learning curve and watching these kids mature and understand the system.”

Girls Soccer

Coach Jason Lenicheck will try to lead the 2011 SHS girls soccer team to a better MIAA postseason performance than their opening-round loss to Winchester in 2010.

2010 Record: 6-8-5 overall, 3-2-3 in the GBL

The 2010 girls soccer team qualified for their third consecutive MIAA postseason tournament, losing in the opening round to Winchester, 6-0.

“We had a ton of seniors,” coach Jason Lenicheck said of last season after a Sept. 2 practice. “Whether or not they were experienced, whether or not they had been playing soccer with the team or elsewhere, [there was] just good leadership.”

Much of that leadership may have left the team with the 12 varsity seniors who graduated in 2011, leaving a vacancy for the new upperclassmen to step into.

“I don’t know how much leadership is learned by watching it, but I suppose we’ll wind up finding out,” Lenicheck said. “I do think that some of the kids just have a natural ability to … bring people together.”

First 2011 game and Home Opener: Friday 9/9 vs. Medford at Dilboy Stadium, 6:00 p.m.

Players to watch: Natalie Henrique, junior captain and attacker; scored 17 goals in 2010.

“Natalie has tremendous touch on the ball,” Lenicheck said. “Just tremendous touch on the ball, and she’s essentially equally gifted with either foot. … She’s got tremendous technique. She’s got a very good, quick burst of speed.”

Kellie Hagerty, sophomore captain and defender

“Kellie’s defensive intensity is really what brings her her defensive skills,” Lenicheck said. “She’s very focused, very disciplined. She communicates well with the people around her. … Being able to see a field and see angles and see where a play is developing comes very easily to her.”

Key to the season: The ability of the Highlanders’ projected starting four attackers – Henrique and sophomores Rachael Berry, Shianne Harrington and Ella Tyler – to play in multiple positions.

“If the central forward position, if that player winds up fading out toward the side of the field, dragging one of their central defenders with them, that’s going to open a spot in the center-forward spot,” Lenicheck said. “If any of the other players of the attackers for our team are comfortable playing there, they can just step right into that open gap, and they’ll be comfortable performing in a spot against a defender who’s probably not comfortable.”

Top Ten Sports Moments from Six Years at 7 Priscilla

Watching the Red Sox win the 2007 World Series was the top highlight from six years' worth of sports memories while living at 7 Priscilla in Brighton. (Boston Globe Staff Photo / Barry Chin)

Wednesday marked the final day of six years spent living at 7 Priscilla Rd. in Brighton. Through those six years, countless Red Sox, Patriots and Celtics games have been watched, with a healthy dose of Bruins games as well. There has even been the occasional Badgers or Packers game. So what moments will I remember best? Here are my top 10:

10) Red Sox 3, Angels 2 – ALDS Game 4, 10/6/08

This game wound up relatively insignificant since the Red Sox went on to lose to the Rays in seven games in the ALCS. Still, 2008 was the last year the Red Sox made the playoffs, and of all the exciting games during that postseason, this was the only one I watched at 7P. The Red Sox went up 2-0 in the fifth, then the Angels tied it in the eighth before blowing a suicide squeeze in the top of the ninth that would have given them the lead. The game was a preview of things to come: John Lackey started for the Angels that night (and complained about a muffed double play that led to the Red Sox’s first run), and Jed Lowrie hit a walk-off single to win the game and hand the Angels their fourth consecutive playoff loss to the Red Sox.

9) Celtics 88, Heat 80 – Celtics’ Season Opener, 10/26/10

The 2010 NBA off-season was all about the Heat’s acquisitions of LeBron James and Chris Bosh to complement Dwyane Wade and form another “Big Three.” Boston’s reigning Big Three didn’t take too kindly to that, especially a year after a seven-game NBA Finals loss to the Lakers. Though Miami’s Big Three outscored Boston’s by three that night, 13 points off the bench from Glen Davis sealed the victory. After the game, Rajon Rondo was asked if the Heat were now the team to beat in the Eastern Conference. Unabashedly, Rondo replied, “I think we are.”

8) Jon Lester’s No-Hitter – Red Sox 7, Royals 0, 5/19/08

Cross this one off the list of sports accomplishments I’d like to see before I die (even if on TV). Perhaps the coolest thing about this no-hitter was the bear hug Terry Francona gave Jon Lester after it was over. We might bash Francona for his folksiness, but his deep affection for his players is undeniable. In one year, Lester beat non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, won the clinching game of a World Series (see No. 1) and pitched a no-hitter. That’s gotta rank up there for “most awesome year ever,” right?

Continue reading Top Ten Sports Moments from Six Years at 7 Priscilla