The Patriot Way
Licata brings Revere flourish to St. Mary’s
By Cary Shuman
Paige Licata, a 2010 graduate of Revere High School where she was a three-sport captain, is the new head coach of the St. Mary’s High School softball team.
At 23, Licata becomes one of the youngest varsity head coaches in the state. Licata has been an assistant of Revere High coach Joe Ciccarello’s staff for the past two seasons in which the Patriots have won back-to-back Northeastern Conference titles and advanced to the state semifinals. She is also an assistant field hockey coach at Revere High.
She is excited about the opportunity to take over the powerful St. Mary’s softball program.
“It’s a big honor to be awarded this position – it’s surreal at times,” said Licata. “The girls I played softball with at a young age in Revere – like Brianna Holmes and Vanessa LaFauci – they went to St. Mary’s and did immensely well. St. Mary’s has always been one of the best teams around and they’re known for their academic and elite athletics. I’m honored to be the head coach.”
Licata has been a softball player her whole life and has now made it her full-time, professional career as the current director of operations at Bay State Softball and owner of PAL Athletics, a company that provides softball instruction and consultation about the college admissions process for student-athletes.
Her introduction to sports began on the baseball and softball fields in the St. Mary’s Cal Ripken youth program. As a 12-year-old All-Star, her team advanced to the Nationals in Alabama under the leadership of head coach Scotty Giordano.
She earned the starting shortstop position as a freshman on the Revere High varsity softball team and played four seasons. Licata’s final year was hampered by a serious knee injury but she did receive the Silvio Cella Athlete of the Year Award in recognition of her stellar all-around career.
“Unfortunately I tore my ACL in the third game of my senior field hockey season,” said Licata, who captained the RHS field hockey, basketball, and softball teams. “I missed the entire basketball season in coach [Diana] Finn’s first year and played the final three games of the season in what was also coach [Joe] Ciccarello’s first year in Revere.”
Licata said her playing experience for Revere High set the foundation to her entry into the coaching profession and she’s grateful to her former RHS coaches.
“Coach Finn is one of my greatest mentors and I have learned so much from coach Ciccarello,” said Licata. “That’s what I love most about Revere. I’ve grown up here. I’ve played sports here. I’ve played for great coaches and they’ve molded me in to the player I was and the coach I want to be. It’s nice that coach Finn and coach Ciccarello are still there to advise me.”
In addition to her former coaches, Licata is also thankful for the support of her parents, Tom and Joanne Licata, and her brother, Ryan, 27, throughout her playing and coaching career.
“When I told my parents that I wanted to make softball the main part of my professional life, they were supportive and said, ‘you have to go for it and follow your dreams.’ “And with their support and encouragement, I’ve made that decision to pursue coaching as a career and I’m going to work hard at it.”
Though Licata is inheriting a strong team at St. Mary’s and has one of the state’s top pitchers in former Revere youth standout Mia Nowicki, She intends to bring “the Revere underdog mentality” to her coaching position.
“It’s not about our [St. Mary’s] reputation in the past – it’s about getting better each game and doing well in the future,” said Licata, who played softball at Assumption College. “That’s one thing that Revere has taught me to do for sure. I’m excited and eager to meet my new players and for the season to begin.”
RHS sports Through the Years
10 years ago
February 15, 2006
The RHS hockey team moved within a point of qualifying for the state tourney with a 3-2 win over Winthrop. Pat Webber, Anthony DelloIacono, and Paul Pelletier scored for coach Jim Palumbo’s Patriots, who now are 9-6-1 on the season.
Veasna Deth Chan scored a 9.0 on the floor exercise, the highest-score ever recorded by a Revere High boys’ gymnast according to RHS head coach Dave Montani (who has been coaching the RHS program since its inception in 1976), in the Patriots’ recent tri-meet with Lowell and Andover.
Eddie Mahoney scored 20 points and snared 12 rebounds for the RHS boys basketball team in a 68-63 loss to Beverly. Dan Broadford added 17 points and Alex Brito hit for 12.
The RHS girls basketball team dropped contests of 77-41 to Winthrop and 74-45 to Beverly. Christina Cavagnaro scored 12 points vs. Winthrop and Christina Polsonetti hit for 12 against Beverly.
20 years ago
February 14, 1996
The RHS hockey team improved its record to 15-2 with a 7-2 win over Cambridge in which Dave Patch netted the hat trick for the Patriots.
The RHS girls basketball team qualified for the state tourney with wins over Somerville and Malden this week. Sophomore Lauren Fisher led the away with 15 points in the 63-49 win over Somerville and Kristen Mucci led the way with 16 against Malden.
Sophomore Sithan Moeung score a career-best of 7.5 in the vault for the RHS boys gymnastics team in a 99.6-88.4 loss to Andover.
RHS girls gymnastic coach Ann Montani has been named the GBL Coach of the Year. Lady Patriot Meredith Sclafani finished in second place in the all-around competition at the recent GBL Meet.
30 years ago
February 12, 1986
The 6-2 RHS boys gymnastics team has been invited to compete in the State Meet, an invitation extended to only four other schools.
Two more losses by the RHS hockey team last week has extended the program’s winless streak to 40 games.
The RHS boys basketball team remained winless this season at 0-16 after losses this week to Arlington and Malden.
Tina Doria, Deanne Mantia, and Rachel Costa were the top scorers for the RHS girls gymnastics team in a 105-76 loss to Lincoln-Sudbury. The RHS girls finished the season at 1-4.
The 9-7 RHS girls basketball dream needs three wins in its last four games in order to qualify for the state tourney with a 60 percent winning record. In a 57-43 win over Malden, Diane Odoardi led the way for Revere with 21 points. Odoardi scored 23 points in a 71-69 loss to Arlington.
The RHS boys indoor track team dropped a 50-36 decision to Arlington in a meet that determined the GBL champ between the two unbeaten squads.
40 years ago
February 18, 1976
The RHS hockey team concluded the season with an 8-3 pounding of Arlington. Capt. Mike Gordon scored four goals and Steve DiCarlo notched a hat trick for the Pats, propelling DiCarlo to end up as the GBL scoring champion. The Patriots finished just one point behind GBL co-champs Peabody and Arlington and now will play in the post-season state tourney.
50 years ago
February 17, 1966
The RHS Parents Football club held a banquet at Caruso’s Diplomat to honor the achievements of the 1965 team’s successful season.
The RHS hockey team, which already has clinched the title of the Metropolitan League, clinched a berth in the post-season state tourney with a 1-0 shutout of Malden, Revere’s ninth win in a row and 11th of the season. Fran Licata scored the game-winning goal and Paul Coccovillo earned the shutout in net. Revere has scored 63 goals on the season and allowed only 27.
60 years ago
February 16, 1956
The RHS basketball team still has only one win this season after losses of 81-39 to Somerville and 59-40 to Everett. Merullo was high scorer for Revere with 11 points in both games.
The Immaculate Conception High basketball team has kept alive its hopes for a league title with two wins this past week. Kelleher was the big gun for IC in a 64-55 win over Sacred Heart of Newton. Cowan scored 18 points and McSweeney added 16 in a 61-49 victory over St. Columbkille’s.
RhS sports Roundup
RHS hockey team
beats Northeast, 3-1
The Revere High hockey team kept alive its hopes of qualifying for a berth in the post-season state tourney with a 3-1 win over Northeast Regional Saturday evening.
The teams were deadlocked at 1-1 after two frames, with Rick Briana scoring the lone goal for the Patriots. However, the Revere defense and goalie Maxx Anderson continued to hold firm in the third period, enabling the Patriot offense to kick into gear, with goals by Mike Goroshko and Joe Ristino boosting the Pats to the victory.
“I thought we played a gutsy game with our backs against the wall,” said RHS head coach Joe Ciccarello. “Our seniors played great, especially defenseman Kevin Chiles and goalie Maxx Anderson.”
Last Wednesday the Patriots came out on the short end of a hard-fought 4-3 decision to Everett, a team which had won five of its previous six games and which had earned a share of a Greater Boston League title for the first time since 1970.
Revere trailed 4-1 entering the final period, with Briana once again having lit the red lamp for the Patriot tally. Anderson and his defense proved stalwart over the the final 15 minutes and goals by Mike Giordano and Kevin Chiles brought the Pats within one. However, Revere proved unable to push across the tying marker.
“Everett is a good team,” noted Ciccarello. “They are physical and have strong, fast skaters. We closed the gap to 4-3, but we just couldn’t put home the equalizer.”
Ciccarello and his crew, who now stand at 7-9-2 on the season, must win their final two games in order to reach the .500 mark and punch their ticket for a Journey to the Tourney.
They host Lowell Saturday at Cronin at 5:10 and then will entertain Everett in a rematch next Wednesday with a 6:30 face-off. The contest with Everett will be highlighted by Senior Night festivities.
Boys basketball concludes with big win over Peabody
The Revere High boys basketball team concluded its season on a high note with a 64-57 victory over Peabody last Thursday. Although the Patriots had dropped their last five encounters with the Tanners (including a 61-36 loss earlier this year), coach Adam Rizzo’s crew fought hard from the outset and stayed close all the way — Revere trailed 12-11 after one period, the teams were tied at 29-29 at the half, and Peabody held a 42-37 advantage at the third buzzer — before the Patriots pulled away in the final eight minutes.
Peabody’s Junior Estrella and Revere’s Marvin Urdaneta went back and forth, bucket for bucket, in the first quarter as both scored seven of their team’s points in the opening eight minutes.
“Coming into the game we knew that Estrella would be their go-to guy and we tried to take his offense away,” said RHS head coach Adam Rizzo. He’s real tough as he’s arguably the best athlete in the entire conference, so you can game-plan for him, but physically it’s tough to get in position to stop him.”
In the second quarter, Estrella poured in six more points while getting some help from his teammates, who knocked in three three-pointers and a tough contested jumper. For Revere, Gerald Charles added five points along with layups by Mass Joof and John DiGregorio. However, the Patriots went back to the well often in the second and continued to feed Urdaneta, who added nine more points in the second quarter alone.
“We knew Marvin has had this type of ability all season long,” said Rizzo. “We’ve tried to get him to assert himself throughout the season, but being an undersized big man, it’s tough for him to score consistently against some of the trees we play against. Lately, he’s been playing much more athletically on both offense and defense, especially when it comes to blocking shots. His confidence has been as high as ever and against Peabody we saw that true potential this kid has. Knowing that Peabody had no answer for him in the first half, we pleaded with our team to just keep feeding him the ball and let him go to work in the second half.”
Although Peabody took a slight four-point lead going into the fourth quarter, the Patriots’ confidence never wavered, despite playing with two freshmen on the floor for the majority of the final period.
“To have two freshmen on the floor in the fourth quarter of a tight game speaks volumes to the confidence we have in them to perform,” noted Rizzo. “Marcus Brunson has been our point guard since Day 1 and we brought up Scott Montefusco for the last eight games or so to be a shooter off the bench. Peabody had played us in a zone all night, so we figured we would throw the kid out there and let him try to get hot from deep.”
Just as the Patriot coaching staff had planned, the freshmen answered the call in the fourth. Brunson and Charles handled the ball-handling responsibilities beautifully, controlling the offense and not turning the ball over. Charles scored four of his nine points while Brunson had seven of his nine in the fourth quarter. Montefusco was able to attempt a pair of threes: swishing one of them and getting fouled on the other. After knocking down his three shots from the charity stripe, Montefusco finished the quarter with six points on two attempts.
However, the real story of the fourth quarter continued to be the man who had carried Revere throughout the entire game: Marvin Urdaneta. En route to his game-high (and most points scored by a Patriot all season long) 29 points, Urdaneta saved his best for when it mattered the most and poured in nine points in the final eight minutes.
“Marvin had it going all night long and I applaud him on his effort and for carrying us in this one,” lauded Rizzo. “The boys did a great job getting him open on the block and getting him the ball in a spot where he could go to work. For him to go out and hit 11 of his 14 shot attempts and knock down seven of his eight free throws, this is one of the better scoring performances I’ve had an opportunity to coach. Marvin was a man out there tonight and I look forward to seeing what he does for an encore in his senior season.”
The point scorers for Revere on the night were: Marvin Urdaneta with 29, Gerald Charles and Marcus Brunson with nine each, Scott Montefusco with six, Mass Joof with four, Janard Jones with three, and John DiGregorio and Brendan Hayes with two apiece.
The night before, Chelsea — which has developed into the Patriots’ biggest hoop rival over the past few seasons — came to town for the Battle of Broadway II. Revere had won the teams’ first encounter on the Red Devils’ home court two weeks ago, but Chelsea turned the tables, 47-43, in the rematch to spoil Revere’s Senior Night festivities.
The contest was a nip-and-tuck battle all the way, with Chelsea holding a 13-11 edge after one period, Revere taking an 18-17 advantage into the intermission, and Chelsea regaining a 36-33 lead after three frames.
“I was very pleased with our defense in the first half, especially in that second quarter,” said Rizzo. “To give up just four points in an eight-minute period is something I will take every day. Our problem was we struggled to get the offense going. The week had been tough for us with zero practice time due to snow storms shutting down the school, so we didn’t have a chance to see the ball go in the hoop for quite some time.”
The contest eventually came down to a battle of free-throw shooting, and unfortunately for the Patriots, they hit only two-of-nine from the charity stripe on the night, a statistic that tells the story of the final outcome.
“Poor free throw shooting has plagued us all season long,” noted Rizzo. “We have gotten progressively better at hitting them throughout the season, but it was tough to see this problem rear its ugly head in the fourth quarter against our rival on Senior Night. Our kids fought hard and put themselves in a position to close out this game, but we left too many points on the table and it cost us in the end.”
Urdaneta was high man for Revere with 17 points, followed by Jones with 10, Charles with nine, Joof with four, and DiGregorio with three.
Rizzo was effusive in his praise of the three seniors who were honored for their contributions to the RHS boys basketball program.
“We have three seniors on the team,” said the coach. “Jordi Palma has been with the program the longest, spending all four years here, playing basketball for three of them. He missed out on his sophomore season due to a torn ACL from football. Not only is he the biggest player on the roster, he’s one of the smartest and we know he will be successful going forward whether it be in football or academics.
“Josh Flanders transferred from New York last year for his junior year of high school. He’s had a tireless work ethic and it has been infectious. A tremendous athlete and an even better person, we’ve wished ever since he stepped foot in Revere High that we could have had him in our program for longer than two years.
“Our third senior is one of the co-captains, Janard Jones,” continued Rizzo. “Janard also transferred in for his junior year and has been an instant impact player for two years. He’s been one of our top scorers for the past two years and has a calmness to his game that helps settle his teammates. A bright kid with some skills, we hope to see him continue his playing career at the next level. All three seniors will be missed greatly.”
Lady Patriots compete
at Division 2 Meet
The Revere High girls indoor track team was well-represented at last week’s Division 2 State Meet held at the Reggie Lewis Athletic Center.
The Nguyen sisters, Angelisa and Angelina, competed in the 55 meter dash. Angelisa came across in a time of 7.97 seconds and twin Angelina ran an 8.13.
“These weren’t their fastest races by any means, but for the girls to even qualify and compete in a post-season meet was special,” said RHS head coach Antonio LaBruna. “They’ve improved so much over the past three seasons, going from JV sprinters their sophomore season, to scoring sprinters last season, to two of the top sprinters in our conference this past season.”
Lady Patriot Rachel Shanbar threw 29’-10.5” in the shotput, a personal record (PR) by three inches. “We were hoping for 30 feet, but are going to have to wait until spring season to reach that goal,” noted LaBruna.
A Revere relay team also qualified for the meet. The 4 X 800 quartet comprised of Hannah Fitzpatrick, Suellen Guerreiro, Helen Perez, and Trisha Cheever ran a 10:59.9, which was 33 seconds slower than their school record time that they set January 31. “This was the fourth hard race in 11 days for these girls,” said LaBruna. “They just didn’t have the legs.”
Four tracksters chosen
for NEC all-star team
Two girls and two boys from the Revere High indoor track teams have been selected to the Northeastern Conference all-star teams.
On the girls’ side, senior captain Angelisa Nguyen, who was a top sprinter in the NEC this season, and sophomore Hannah Fitzpatrick, a top miler, were named to the NEC All-Star squad at Tuesday’s league meeting.
For the boys, senior Daniel Murphy, who has been among the elite sprinters in the NEC for the past three seasons, and fellow senior Zak Attioui, who performed as one of the top two-milers in the NEC this season, were selected as NEC All-Stars at the league meeting.
Pepic named to Spartan Classic All-Tournament Hoop Team
Sophomore center nets 22 in win over Masco
By Cary Shuman
It’s always a good thing when the opposing coach says one of your basketball players was “unstoppable.”
That’s the adjective Masconomet Regional coach Bob Romeo used to describe Revere sophomore Valentina Pepic’s performance in the consolation game of the Spartan Classic Monday afternoon in the Tony Conigliaro Gymnasium at St. Mary’s High School.
Pepic scored a game-high 22 points to power Revere High School to an impressive 71-50 victory over Masco in a game matching two potential Division 1 tournament-bound teams (Masco needs one more to qualify).
A 6-feet-1-inch center, Pepic was a problem for Masco’s frontcourt all game, following up her 18-point effort in Revere’s 66-59 loss to Billerica in the semifinals. Revere led by 12 points before Billerica took control in the fourth quarter.
Pepic was named to the Spartan Classic All-Tourmanent Team for what could be a breakthrough performance for the future college prospect.
Bob Romeo, whose Masco team played Revere in a preseason jamboree, said the Patriots have shown improvement since that scrimmage. The former 6-feet-6-inch Brandeis University player was profuse in his praise of Pepic.
“Revere has definitely improved – they’ve really found a way to get Pepic in 1-on-1 situations in the block where she just can’t be stopped,” said Romeo. “She’s probably the best post player I’ve seen this year fundamentally, from the standpoint of how she catches the ball, how she squares up and how she finishes. Her technique is the best I’ve seen. She’s a really good player.”
Coach Diana Finn, a prolific point-scorer herself in the Revere girls basketball program, said Pepic is making strides in her still-developing game.
“Valentina has worked hard for a year-and-a-half now and I don’t think anyone in our lockerroom is surprised that she’s playing well because she’s works hard,” said Finn. “All four of our post players, Meaghan [Gotham], Maritza [Scott], Samantha [Woodman], and Valentina [Pepic] work hard.”
There were key contributions from other players versus Masco.
Sophomore guard Pamela Gonzalez had 13 points after netting 15 versus Billerica. Junior center Meaghan Gotham had seven points. Senior guard Ally Hinojosa contributed eight points. Senior forward Maritza Scott had a solid tournament with 21 points combined in the two games.
Revere, the Northeastern Conference North champion for the second year in row, plays Lynn English Wednesday and hosts St. Mary’s Friday at 6 p.m. on Senior Night. Adanna Hector, Ally Hinojosa, Maritza Scott, and Natasha Iacoviello will be honored during a pre-game ceremony.
“We want to play well versus St. Mary’s heading in to the State Tournament,” said Finn. “We played a good game against them in our first meeting and we look forward to another battle.”