The Revere High boys soccer team completed the most successful season in the program’s history with a sweep of its final three games of the season last week. Coach Abdel Rhazi’s Patriots concluded their 2013 campaign with a sterling 11-2-3 record and claimed the championship of the Large School Division of the Northeastern Conference, Revere’s first-ever league crown of any kind.
“I’m very proud of this team,” said Rhazi, a Patriot soccer alumnus who is in his first year at the helm of the RHS boys program. “Even though we had beaten our closest rival in the division, Lynn Classical, the week before, we knew we still had to close out the season in strong fashion in order to claim the championship.”
The Patriots started the week by nipping Salem, 1-0. Saad El Khiam notched the lone goal of the contest to provide the only offense that would be needed by the Revere defense and keeper Jesus Landaverde.
Three days later at Beverly, the Patriots earned a 3-1 triumph. Tarik Maddrey and Jose Soriano scored goals in the first half for a 2-1 Revere lead, and then Soriano reached the back of the net again with 10 minutes to play for an insurance marker to seal the victory.
The season finale against Lynn English was highlighted by Senior Day festivities which ended appropriately with a 2-0 victory for the Patriots. Soriano reached the back of the English net in the first half, racing ahead of the English defense to grab a nice through-ball from Ruben Soares.
Soares then iced the RHS victory cake with a marker after the intermission when he made a nice run from midfield and then delivered a powerful and high strike from just outside the 18 that beat the English keeper.
Talal Hamza, who played in goal in the first half, and Landaverde, who came on in the second half, shared the shutout honors. Revere’s keepers combined for a 1.0 goals-against average, the best by far in the NEC Large.
“I can’t say enough about this team,” said Rhazi. “Everybody who played for us contributed to the victories. We allowed just one goal in three games and that speaks for itself.”
Rhazi and his crew, who punched their ticket for a Journey to the Tourney a few weeks ago, now will await the announcement of their seeding and pairing in the Division 2 North Sectional of the MIAA state tournament. Thanks to their fine record, Revere should have a home game in at least the first round and maybe further if they advance in the tourney.
Four Patriots named all-stars; Rhazi is Coach of the Year
Individual post-season plaudits poured in for the Revere High boys soccer team, befitting a Patriot team that achieved a successful 11-2-3 campaign and earned the championship of the North Division of the Northeastern Conference.
Senior forward Saad El Khiam and junior midfielder Abel Alcantar were named to the NEC’s All-Conference All-Star squad, while senior captains Tarik Maddrey, a forward, and Younes Hartout, a defenseman, were selected to the Large Division All-Star team.
In addition, first-year head coach Abdel Rhazi was named the NEC Coach of the Year, a remarkable and well-deserved tribute for leading the Patriots to the most successful season and first championship in the RHS boys’ program’s history.
Patriot gridders fall to Classical, 32-14
The Revere High football team dropped a 32-14 decision to Lynn Classical Friday evening, eliminating the Patriots from contention for a berth in the post-season under the new playoff format established by the MIAA.
An old nemesis, costly turnovers, that had bedeviled the Patriots early in the season, but which had disappeared in the past few games, returned to haunt the Revere cause.
The first miscue occurred in the opening frame when a muffed punt gave Classical the ball at the Revere 15 yard line. Four plays and a two point conversion later, Classical had an 8-0 advantage.
However, a hallmark of Coach Lou Cicatelli’s Patriots has been their ability to shake off adversity and move ahead. Kaleb Silva made a nice return of the ensuing kickoff to the Revere 45, from where quarterback Tom Portrait directed a 55 yard drive that culminated with a pass to tight end Steve Selevitch for the touchdown. The successful PAT kick by Selevitch made it an 8-7 affair.
The Revere defense stuffed Classical on a its next possession on a fourth-and-two and, buoyed by that momentum-changer, the Patriot offense went back to work. Portrait once again found Selevitch, who has become the Revere Patriots’ version of the New England Patriots’ Rob Gronkowski, in the end zone for a 30 yard TD toss.
“Steve has become a great offensive weapon for us,” noted Cicatelli of Selevitch, who also plays for the RHS basketball team. “He’s a big target and has good hands.”
Another successful PAT by Selevitch (who thus accounted for all 14 of his team’s points) gave Revere a 14-8 lead with about 3:00 to go in the half and the Patriot fans were smelling a major upset in the making.
However, the Revere faithful’s dreams of a victory that would propel their team into the post-season playoff picture dissipated before the intermission. A broken play on a fourth-and-three saw Classical achieve a first down at the Revere 20 with a minute to go. Classical punched the ball into the endzone before before the half ended and took a 16-14 advantage into the locker room.
The second half proved to be a different story, at least for the Revere offense, which was unable to replicate its fine first half showing. “”We just couldn’t get things going on offense,” said Cicatelli. The Revere defense continued to play tough however, yielding just one scoring drive (and a two point conversion) through most of the second half. The Revere D also stuffed another Classical scoring thrust on a fourth and two at the Revere 15.
However, the Patriots gave the ball up on an interception at their own 15 late in the final period and Classical took advantage of the opportunity created by the turnover for their final score to put the game on ice.
“Classical is a big team and probably the best team we’ve faced this season,” said Cicatelli. “I was proud of the ways our boys fought them hard all the way. If you take away the turnovers, we hung in there with them, especially our defense.”
The coach singled out for special mention the play of Silva, Martin Keucherian, and Pol Tran on the defensive side of the ball.
With the Pats now officially out of the MIAA’s playoff picture, the Revere squad will host Salem Friday night in a rematch of their previous tilt this season which was won by Salem. “We’re looking forward to facing them again,” said Cicatelli. “We felt we should have had a better outcome the first time we met them.”
Revere will travel to Dracut the following week and then host another earlier-season foe, Medford. The Pats will wrap up their 2013 campaign on Thanksgiving Day at traditional archrival Winthrop.
Nelson earns medal at All-NEC Meet
Revere star cross country runner Nikki Nelson became the first Lady Patriot to earn a full league medal in Saturday’s Northeastern Conference All-League Meet that was held on a chilly but sunny and dry Saturday morning at Bradley Palmer State Park in Topsfield.
“The hard work that Nikki has put in all season paid off,” said RHS had coach Katie Sinnott. “She finished 16th, earning an NEC All Star medal. This is extremely difficult in this league where the top teams have seven extremely strong runners. She ran a smart race and is the first Revere girl to earn a full league (not divisional) All Star medal since we entered the NEC.”
In addition to Nelson’s sterling effort, her Lady Patriot teammates, many of them underclassmen, also turned in impressive performances. Freshman Vanessa Puopolo ( 31st overall, 22:41), sophomore Suellen Guerreiro (39th overall, 24:08), junior Hayley Mangino (43rd overall, 24:42), sophomore Jaclynne Dion (45th overall, 24:57), senior Taylor O’Neill (51st overall, 26:24), and freshman Nicole Paddock (52nd overall, 26:25) all ran well.
A number of Lady Patriots also competed in the junior varsity race. They were senior Evelyn Bonilla; sophomores Catherine Monroy, Meloee Nazaire, Kasey Sierra, Michelle Vargas, and Jessica Ventura; and freshmen Rajaa Belhaouari, Megan Erwin, Joanna Severino Perez, Alyssa Silveira, and Lani Stevens.
Sinnott and her crew next week will participate in the State Coach’s Invitational Meet at the Wrentham Development Center. There will be a freshman race, a sophomore race, and a junior/senior race. “This meet will be a good indicator for the state divisional races taking place the following week,” noted Sinnott.
Della Russo paces RHS boys at NEC Meet
Senior captain John Della Russo led the way for the Revere High boys cross country team at Saturday’s All-League Meet of the Northeastern Conference that was held in Bradley Palmer State Park in Topsfield. John finished with a time of 18:37, good for 28th place in the field of 68 runners representing the top performers from each school in the NEC.
“John ran really well,” said RHS head coach Mike Flynn. “His time on this course was 45 seconds faster than what he did last year.”
Freshman Sebastian Mejia was the next Patriot across the line in 19:45. “This was Sebastian’s first race in a league meet and he did a great job,” said Fynn. “He’s one of the most talented freshmen I’ve ever coached.”
Senior captain Jay Mistri, who came across in 20:28, bettered his time from last year by 1:33. “Jay has continued to improve year after year for us,” said Flynn. “He and John (Della Russo) have set great examples for our underclassmen about the value of hard work.”
Junior Bounlaing Chen came in as the fourth Revere runner with a clocking of 20:54, almost two full minutes faster than his time from last year. He was followed by teammates Christ Genty, a junior, in 21:09, an improvement of 2:08 from last year; Domenic Giangregorio in 25:05; and John Erazo in 25:30.
“I’m really proud of how both Christ, Domenic, and John performed,” noted Flynn. “All three ran good races.”
Flynn will take five members of his team to the Coaches Invitational Meet next week at the Wrentham track and field training center. The Patriots then will take part in the State Meet in two weeks.
Lady Patriot soccer team to conclude season
The Revere High girls soccer team was set to wrap up its 2013 season yesterday with a makeup game against Winthrop yesterday (Tuesday) afternoon. The initial meeting between the teams was halted midway through the second half when a girl was hurt and there was no doctor on hand. The injury was not serious, but the refs elected not to continue with the contest, which was not an official game at the time it was halted.
Although the Lady Patriots have come out on the short end of their recent matches, there have been some highlights. Revere and Lynn Classical played in a game to support breast cancer research. Although Classical prevailed, Coach Megan O’Donnell was pleased with her team’s effort. “The girls played great and they were pumped when they found out I brought both teams shirts for the cause,” said O’Donnell. “The girls have known many people who have struggled with breast cancer and they wanted to show their pride and play for those who are battling this awful disease.
In the annual Senior Game against Beverly last Thursday, O’Donnell noted that “all of the seniors played their best game of the season.”
On Friday night the girls took on Lynn English, seeking redemption from the last time they played and lost 1-0. Revere reached the back of the English net twice with goals from senior Paolo Ortez and Marielos Ortez, who shared a special moment on the field because its the first time both cousins have scored goals this season.
“Everyone who took part in the last couple of games have given their best this year and I couldn’t be prouder,” said O’Donnell.
O’Donnell’s Lady Patriots were honored at the annual meeting of the league’s coaches with the Sportsmanship Award, which was voted upon by all the coaches in the league. In addition, Lady Patriot Cassandra DiBella received second team honorable mention honors.
RHS volleyball team overcomes 2-0 deficit
The Revere High volleyball team turned in a come-from-behind victory seldom seen in the game of volleyball to post a 3-2 triumph over Lynn English last Wednesday.
After dropping the first two games by scores of 25-22 and 25-15, the Lady Patriots breathed some life into their hopes for a turnaround with a tight 25-21 win in the third game. When the Revere squad took the fourth game 25-16, the momentum clearly was on their side for the fifth and deciding game. The Lady Patriots played nearly-flawlessly in their run to 15 points to capture the fifth game, 15-4, and earn an amazing and hard-fought victory.
“This comeback game was unreal,” said RHS head coach Jaime Imbracsio. “Being down two games is hard to come back from. If the girls made any errors or mental mistakes, Lynn English would have won. We showed true resilience in this game, something we will need for the tournament.”
Statistical leaders for Revere were Vanessa Leone with five aces; Natalie Colon-Martins with10 kills; and Raela O’Donell and Rachael DeSantis with 20 assists each.
Although the Lady Patriots dropped their other two encounters this past week with Peabody and Winthrop, Imbracsio was pleased with her team’s effort. “We lost to Peabody, 3-1, but had tied the match at 1-1,” said Imbracsio. “Even though we lost, it was a great game. If there is such a thing, it was a great loss. The girls fought real hard and took a game from Peabody. That is huge considering Peabody is undefeated in the league.”
Among the statistical leaders for the Lady Pats were Natalie Colon-Martins with 15 digs and eight blocks; Helen Davis with eight blocks and three kills; and Ally Hinojosa and Natasha Iacivello with eight receives each.
Friday’s contest with Northeastern Conference upstart Winthrop was a see-saw affair. Winthrop took the first game handily, 25-10, but Revere bounced back in the second game, 25-19, to knot the match. A similar pattern followed in the next two games, with Winthrop taking the third game and Revere the fourth to leave matters at 2-2 and set the stage for a fifth and deciding game in which Winthrop prevailed b the closest of margins, 15-13.
“This was our Senior Night and it was filled with emotions,” said Imbracsio. “It was a really heart wrenching loss, but the girls left everything on the court. Winthrop has really improved the second half of season and made us fight for everything. We had some of the longest rallies we have had all year. What was most important was that all the seniors got to play in their last home game.”
Natalie Colon-Maritns had a monster game with seven kills, 11 blocks, and 16 digs. Helen Davis socked six kills and accounted for eight blocks. Raela O’Donell provided 20 assists to her teammates and Shannon Spillane contributed nine hits and seven digs.
“All in all, it was a long and exhausting week for the girls,” noted Imbracsio. “We fought in every game. It was our most consistently-played week of the season.”
The Lady Patriots were set to wrap up their regular season Monday at Medford. Imbracsio and her crew, who stand at 12-7 and who punched their ticket for a Journey to the Tourney a few weeks ago, then will await word of the tournament seeds and their first round opponent with the announcement expected today (Wednesday).