ISL title now a two-team race – What was once a four-team race for the ISL title has come down to two. This is the last week of the season for the ISL, with Governor’s and Belmont Hill tied for first with just two losses. Governor's and Belmont Hill have just two games left, with the latter having the tougher schedule. Belmont Hill’s final game is against third-place BB&N.
Norwood upsets Walpole – Before May 20, Walpole hadn’t lost a game since April 4, but it lost to Norwood, 2-1, on the road. Not an embarrassing loss by any means, but not what coach Bill Tompkins was looking for a week before the tournament seeding is announced. The Rebels are still heavy favorites heading into the postseason, but their momentum was halted by the Mustangs.
North Reading no longer undefeated – The Rebels weren’t the only Globe Top 20 powerhouse to get upset. North Reading’s undefeated-season hopes were dashed on the road against Masconomet May 18. The Hornets fell, 2-1, to their Cape Ann League rival thanks to Speros Verinos’s complete-game one-hitter. Coach Frank Carey is as veteran a skipper as you can ask for, so the Hornets are likely to move past the loss come tournament time.
Medford and Everett share GBL title – The Mustangs finished as GBL champions for the first time in 12 seasons -- but they’ll have to share trophy custody with rival Everett. Medford clinched a share by beating Everett, 6-4, on May 13. The Crimson Tide did rebound against Cambridge last Monday, however, winning, 7-2. Thanks to that victory, there are GBL co-champions.
MIAA seeding just one week away – Next Tuesday around 3 p.m., the MIAA will release its tournament seedings. The postseason is creeping closer, and the seedings give us another reason to get excited.
Alex Hall is a high school sports correspondent for The Boston Globe. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @AlexKHall
It took No. 8 North Reading 17 games to suffer its first loss, a 2-1 decision to Masconomet on Saturday. The loss dropped Frank Carey’s crew one spot from last week, giving Danvers the No. 7 spot after a 2-0 week. The Falcons defeated Winthrop and Marblehead by a combined 13-2.
Also moving up a spot was No. 3 Newton North after an undefeated week.
The top 20 added four newcomers to the bottom four spots. No. 17 Central Catholic currently leads the Merrimack Valley Conference and No. 18 Medford clinched the Greater Boston League title this week. No. 19 Bishop Fenwick is also leading the Catholic Central. The Crusaders’ consideration was also helped by its upset of Peabody.
Former top 20 teams in Lincoln Sudbury, Acton-Boxborough, and Malden Catholic all lost at least two games last week.
By Colleen Casey, Globe Correspondent
Bridgewater-Raynham improved to 16-0 to claim the top spot for another week. Milford remains in the second spot, powered by Shannon Smith, who has the chance to make history this week as she looks to break the state's all-time strikeout record. She needs 13 to break it.
Danvers suffered the biggest drop, moving from No. 3 to No. 12 after losing to St. Mary's, 1-0, on Saturday. Both Abington and Silver Lake climbed this week continuing their winning streaks.
No. 15 Coyle & Cassidy broke into the rankings after defeating No. 5 King Philip, 1-0, on Tuesday. Bellingham earned the 16th spot, proving themselves in a 7-6 win over No. 6 Hopkinton.
Take a look at this week's Top 10 rankings.
First-ranked Lawrence and second-ranked Milford are unbeaten in their last eight matches.
The Lancers (18-1) close out the regular season Monday against Chelmsford, the only team besides Billerica to take the Lancers to five sets. In their last meeting, twin brothers Anibal and Jeyson Henriquez delivered 11 kills apiece.
The Scarlet Hawks' only loss this season was to Lawrence on April 25, 3-1, and the squad ended the season strong with a 3-2 win over No. 5 Newton North.
Needham, Newton North, and Newton South all dropped a spot after losses this week.
Norwood has been on the bubble of the Top 10 and defeated Needham, 3-2, Wednesday, but fell to Newton North, 3-0. With four losses this season, the squad remains right outside the rankings.
Cambridge was bumped up to No. 3 after avenging a loss to Newton South in a clean sweep with Jalen Penrose's 28 kills.
North Quincy fell to No. 8 after falling to Taunton, 3-1.
St. John's Prep was bumped up to No. 7 after beating No. 9 Chelmsford, 3-2, with 22 kills from outside hitter Brian Keogh. Medfield stays at the bottom of the rankings with a loss to Barnstable, its second of the season.
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T.J. Hajjar, third-year coach of the Merrimack volleyball team, announced Thursday that four players had committed to the Class of 2017.
Among them is Jennifer Cain, who played four years at Melrose. The 5-foot-8-inch outside hitter was named Most Improved Player her freshman and junior years. She was also the team's Unsung Hero her sophomore year.
Cain helped anchor Melrose to a magnificent 26-1 record in her senior season, which the Red Raiders capped by winning the Division 2 state title -- the school's first in more than 40 years.
"Jen Cain comes to Merrimack with the understanding of what it takes to win," said Hajjar. "Jen has to be one of the most athletic kids I have seen in the sport. We are extremely excited to have a player who can do so many things on the court."
The other three girls headed to Merrimack are Juliette McCall (California), Jocelyn McLain (Colorado), and Tara Stuhr (California).
"I truly feel our 2012 season was a successful one as we doubled our wins from the previous year," said Hajjar. "With 10 returners and what looks to be one of the strongest recruiting classes the program has ever seen, I believe 2013 will be a great year for Merrimack to make some noise in the NE-10."
By Craig Larson, Globe Staff
The road to the Catholic Central League title was hardly routine for the Austin Prep boys' lacrosse team.
The trip started with a 2-hour-45-minute commute from North Reading to Braintree Wednesday, resulting in a 7:45 p.m. faceoff.
In the third quarter of the league showdown against host Archbishop Williams, there was a power outage, resulting in darkness.
But when play finally did resume, Prep wrapped up its second CCL crown in three years with a thrilling 7-6 overtime win, thanks to a strike from sophomore Bobo Carpenter with a minute left in the extra session.
"Dodged a defender, sprinted down the alley, and let it fly," summed up Austin Prep third-year coach Peter Smyth of Carpenter, who finished the night with four goals, raising his team-leading point total to 49 (42 goals, 7 assists).
Senior goalie Luke Tetrault (17 saves) triggered the transition to Carpenter's game-winner with his biggest save of the night. Sophomore Matt Morgan (35 goals, 13 assists this season) had a goal and an assist.
Prep won the title in 2011 in Smyth's first season at the helm. Archies captured the crown last year.
Overall, it was a pretty draining but satisfying night for the Prep team (14-1 overall, 10-1 CCL), which did not arrive back at school until nearly midnight.
1. Wednesday games will shape ISL – Rivers, Belmont Hill, Governor’s Academy, and BB&N are all deadlocked atop the ISL standings with two losses each. The Red Wings, Govs, and Belmont Hill have games Wednesday, and the results could significantly change the landscape going into the final leg of the season. A dark horse for the ISL title is Lawrence Academy, which is just behind the top four teams at 7-3. The Spartans can edge into the hunt if they knock off Rivers Wednesday.
2. St. John’s Prep wins Catholic Conference – The Eagles faced off against conference foe BC High Monday, winning, 3-2, on a walkoff homer in the ninth inning by David Bornstein. Not only did the Prep win in classic style, it sealed the Catholic Conference title in the process. St. John’s is 15-1 and swept one of its biggest rivals to earn the crown. It’ll be tough for any team to knock off these Eagles in the state tournament.
3. North Reading closing in on perfect season – The 14-0 Hornets are just five games away from finishing the season undefeated. Earlier this year, coach Frank Carey earned his 700th career victory, and his team hopes to continue adding to that tally. The road is not an easy one, however, as the Hornets take on Newburyport and Masconomet in two of their next three contests. Masco and the Clippers own the second- and third-place spots in the Cape Ann League. The Hornets will try their luck against Newburyport tonight and meet Masconomet Saturday.
4. Silver Lake’s Lundin having a gem of a season – The Lakers own the best record in the Patriot League at 13-1. Almost half of those victories have come with Mike Lundin on the mound. Lundin is 6-0 with 51 strikeouts in 38 innings. He has been a big part of Silver Lake’s impressive season and will be a tough hurler to beat in the state tournament.
5. Peabody bounces back – The Tanners couldn’t get things going against Northeastern Conference rival Beverly last Wednesday, losing, 6-1. Since that game, however, Peabody has gone 2-0, defeating Everett and Lynn English in close encounters. The Tanners won each game by a run, defeating Everett, 3-2, and Lynn English, 4-3. Beverly’s victory did not rattle Peabody. The Tanners have been out to prove last week’s game was just one bad day at the office.
Alex Hall is a high school sports correspondent for the Boston Globe. He can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @AlexKHall.
This week sees the return of Duxbury to the No. 1 spot in the Globe's Top 20 boys' lacrosse rankings. The Dragons have 13 wins (including the recent four-overtime victory over Lincoln-Sudbury) and their four losses have come solely against out-of-state competition.
Lincoln-Sudbury moves down one spot to No. 2 after suffering their only defeat of the season against Duxbury. Total number of wins and the schedule of both of these top teams factored into the decision making as to who would take the top spot.
The Reading Rockets moved up a few spots to No. 9. The team has not lost since mid April and are on a nine game winning streak.
Wellesley made its debut in the Top 20 this week at No. 12. The Raiders have won eight in a row and have done so in convincing fashion by outscoring their opponents 107-40 during this streak.
Westford fell this week to No. 18 from No. 8. The Grey Ghosts are 4-4 in their last eight games after starting the season 7 - 1.
No. 1 St. John’s Prep continues to roll along this season, taking down Xaverian and St. John’s of Shrewsbury before traveling to Chelmsford and Catholic Memorial for road victories. The Eagles easily retain their top spot this week.
As for No. 3 Peabody, the Tanners move up in the rankings despite a lopsided 6-1 loss to No. 16 Beverly this past Wednesday. What aided Peabody were two losses this week by then No. 3 Newton North. The Tigers dropped two of their three games last week, losing to unranked Weymouth and Woburn respectively.
With the victory over the Tanners, Beverly qualifed for the state tournament and cracked into the Globe Top 20 this week. The Panthers haven’t lost since the first of the month and could easiliy continue to rise up the rankings in the coming weeks. Another team making its top 20 debut is No. 19 Acton-Boxboro. The Colonials defeated Concord-Carlisle and Easton of Pennslyvania this week by a combined scored of 19-7.
A team notably missing from the top 20 this week is defending Division 1 champion Xaverian. The Hawks are just 6-8 on the year and have lost four of their last five contests. An argument could no longer be made for Xaverian among the top 20 teams in Eastern Massachusetts.
Bridgewater Raynham has held onto the top spot for a second week in a row, still undefeated. The Trojans completed another fantastic week with a perfect game on Friday. Sophomore pitcher Sarah Dawson struck out nine in five innings to propel B-R past Barnstable, 17-0.
Milford remains in the second spot, finishing last week with two wins. While Milford held serve, Hockomock power North Attleboro dropped to No. 9 after losing to Top 20 newcomer Taunton and No. 6 King Philip.
Dracut and Central Catholic flip-flop after Dracut’s, 6-5, 12-inning victory over Central Monday. Abington continues to climb the rankings, sporting a seven-game win streak. Newcomers include Silver Lake and Lexington, both of which have managed to lose only one game so far.
Newton North drops to No. 2 after losing to Bay State rival Weymouth and Woburn.
Some interesting tidbits on the high school boys' volleyball scene:
1. Haverhill clinches tournament spot -- Before falling to Lawrence Monday, Haverhill (7-4 Merrimack Valley, 9-5 overall) won six straight matches to qualify for the postseason. The Hillies boast a 40-3 record the past two seasons, though they fell to state champion Cambridge in the Division 1 North semifinals last year to end the season at 19-1.
2. Bay State brings heated matchups -- Next week, the Bay State Conference features some of the best matchups. Needham has a target on its back as the only undefeated team in the conference at 12-0, and it goes on the road for games against Norwood Monday at 4 p.m. and Newton North Wednesday at 4 p.m.
3. St. John's Prep stuns Medfield -- St. John's Prep put an end to Medfield's 10-game win streak with a straight-set victory Monday on its home court, 25-18, 25-10, 25-13. Brian Keogh (18 kills) and Sean Brennan (32 assists) led the way.The win avenged a 3-2 loss to Medfield May 1. The two squads square off once more, in the final match of the regular season Tuesday, May 21, at St. John's Prep.
4. Newton South, best in the state? -- After taking down state champion Cambridge Tuesday, Lions senior Zack Halpryn said his squad was the best in the state. Easily sporting the best record in the Dual County League (10-1, 15-1 overall), the Lions are serious contenders come tournament time. But we'll see how they measure up in a rematch at Cambridge Wednesday at 4 p.m. The Lions are having their best season since 2009-10 when they went 19-1 before falling to Chicopee Comp in the state semifinals.
5. Your turn to vote! -- Vote on which Top 10 squad you think has the best chance of winning on the state title stage. The results will be featured in next week's notebook, so don't forget to vote!
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After a stellar season for St. John's Prep's football team, a year in which the Eagles won the Division 1 Super Bowl, one of the team's offensive catalysts has his sights set on the next level.
Eagles running back/defensive back Johnathan Thomas has told his high school he is verbally committing to play for the University of Maryland.
Thomas rushed for 1,794 yards and 15 touchdowns on 220 carries to help the Eagles capture the Super Bowl. The junior back also caught nine passes for 153 yards and three TDs and has amassed 2,900 rushing yards in his career.
Thomas scored two touchdowns for St. John's Prep on Super Saturday, helping the Eagles to a 48-28 win over Brockton. He was named a Globe All-Scholastic after the season.
Eleana Cardarelli, the Globe's Division 1 Athlete of the Year in field hockey last fall, has committed to Providence College.
The 5-foot-8-inch junior from Acton-Boxboro had 29 goals and 15 assists this season, leading the 22-1-1 Colonials to their third state title in six years.
Providence's field hockey team posted a 9-9 record last fall and has qualified for the four-team Big East championship in five of the last seven years.
Cardarelli has also been a standout on the girls' lacrosse and ice hockey teams at Acton-Boxboro, and each team she is on seems to experience success. The girls' ice hockey team advanced to the Division 1 state final two years ago while the girls' lacrosse team is having its best season since 2010, off to an 8-4-1 start.
Cardarelli's sophomore sister, Leah, has been a standout across the three sports as well.
The BC High boys' tennis team won the Catholic Conference championship for the first time with a 5-0 win over Malden Catholic Tuesday.
Lance Hutchinson has been coaching at BC High for four years, including head coach for the last two. He attributes the success of the Eagles to “a great team with a lot of hard-working, dedicated, talented players.”
Sophomore Charles Shewalter, who is USTA nationally ranked for New England, won the first singles match, 6-1, 6-0. The second singles match was won by junior Jeremy Mendoza, 6-0, 6-0. Freshman Justin McGaffighan won the third singles match, 6-1, 6-0. The first doubles match was won by sophomore Charles Morris and freshman Bailey Ward, 6-0, 6-0. The second doubles match was won by freshman Kaye Tittmann and senior Evan Walsh, 6-1, 6-3.
Hutchinson sees a lot of potential with his young team.
“Things are looking really good for the future of BC High tennis,” he said. “I hope we can make a deep run into the playoffs as a team and individually I hope they make a deep run in the individual tournament.”
The Eagles are 8-7 overall.
Here's the latest you need to know in baseball this week.
1. Peabody and Beverly Face Off -- The Tanners and Panthers face off at Beverly Wednesday in a clash of the Northeastern Conference’s top teams. Peabody is undefeated in both the conference and on the road. Beverly has suffered all four of its losses to conference rivals and will have to find a way to rattle Tanners hurler Pat Ruotolo.
2. Xaverian Shows Signs of Life Against Malden Catholic -- The No. 20 Hawks have had a rough season, owning just a 6-7 record. Still, the team showed signs of coming alive as it defeated Malden Catholic, 3-1, in extra innings Monday. With the victory, Xaverian improved its Catholic Conference record to 2-4. The Hawks showed last year that they can turn things around late in the year; we’ll see if they can do that again.
3. St. Mary’s Halts Archbishop Williams – The Spartans traveled to No. 18 Archbishop Williams Monday and shut down the Bishops. St. Mary’s beat Archies, 4-0, allowing just five hits. With a victory, the Bishops could’ve clinched a spot in the state tournament. Now they’ll have to wait another game to do so, carrying a two-game losing streak.
4. No. 12 Malden Catholic Slumping – With the loss to Xaverian, the Lancers have lost three straight. Malden Catholic lost a close one to BC High, 2-1, last Friday, took a beating, 14-5, against Billerica the next day and then lost to Xaverian in extra innings Monday. The stretch has hurt the Lancers’ chances of chasing down BC High or St. John’s Prep this year. MC’s record is now 7-7. With the recent skid, it’s a two-team battle for the Catholic Conference title.
5. No. 13 Braintree Looking for Big Conference Win – The Wamps have a chance to get closer to chasing down Newton North in the Bay State Conference this Wednesday. All that is standing in their way is a 5-8 Natick team that has gone 2-4 in its last six. If the Wamps can grab the victory, they’ll stay one game behind Newton North, which faces 7-7 Wellesley the same day. The Tigers have lost three of four, to the likes of Brookline, Braintree, and No. 2 Walpole. Things could get a lot tighter atop the Bay State Conference after Wednesday night.
Here are some things you should know this week in boys' lacrosse:
1. Here's your game of the week -- Lincoln-Sudbury vs Duxbury is the game of the week. Both teams will look to prove Thursday that they deserve to be No. 1. Two players to keep an eye on in this one are Duxbury’s JC LoConte and Lincoln-Sudbury’s John Sexton.
2. The last of the unbeatens -- Canton debuted in the Top 20 this week at No. 16. Along with Lincoln-Sudbury, they’re the only team that remain undefeated. They look to keep their unbeaten streak alive this week while facing off against Oliver Ames and Abington.
3. One hot player -- Nick Pino of North Andover has 44 goals and 20 assists this season. The Scarlet Knights look to continue their strong play in a tough matchup this Thursday against Billerica.
4. The battle for the Bay State Conference -- Newton North, the Globe's 11th ranked team, has won six in a row and is in a fierce battle for first place in the Bay State Conference with No. 5 Needham. The Tigers have a game with Wellesley (8-4) this Thursday while gearing up for a matchup with Needham next Tuesday.
5. One more game to watch -- Jay Drapo of Westford has been hot as of late. The Grey Ghosts have a tough matchup with Acton Boxborough this Thursday.
St. Mary's of Lynn junior guard Brianna Rudolph of St. Mary's has verbally committed to attend the University of Massachusetts Lowell.
Rudolph will be the first girls' basketball player from St. Mary's to accept a full scholarship from a Division 1 program. She is also the River Hawks' first recruit for the class of 2014 since the school announced in February that it would be moving up to the America East Conference, and Division 1, this fall.
"Playing at the top level of women's basketball has always been a goal of mine, but I was never really sure if that would happen," said Rudolph. "I am extremely grateful that coach [Sarah] Behn and UMass-Lowell have given me this opportunity."
Rudolph holds the school record for points in a season with 402. She has averaged 16.8 points per game and has scored more than 20 in a game eight times. She ranks fifth on the school's all-time scoring list (738) despite missing 18 games in her sophomore year.
"Brianna is obviously one of the most talented players we have ever had," said St. Mary's coach Jeff Newhall. "To have her get this scholarship is great for her, the school, and our program.
"She has overcome a lot of obstacles along the way, including losing a year with a broken ankle. She deserves a lot of credit for making the dream of being a Division 1 basketball player become a reality."
Bridgewater-Raynham has claimed the top spot on this week’s Globe softball Top 20. Led by junior shortstop Madi Shaw and sophomore pitcher Sarah Dawson, the Trojans remain a perfect 10-0.
Reigning Division 1 champion Milford drops to the No. 2 slot. No. 3 North Attleborough handed the Scarlet Hawks their first loss of the season, a 1-0, 10-inning battle.
Danvers (No. 4) and Sandwich (No. 5) round out the top five. Both are still perfect.
Newcomers to the Top 20 include Case, Amesbury, Boston Latin and Masconomet. Case earned the No. 14 seed after defeating Fairhaven 9-0 last week, causing Fairhaven to drop from No. 3 to No. 15.
See the full Globe softball Top 20 here.
If you're questioning why Lincoln-Sudbury is at No. 1 over Duxbury in the Globe's boys' lacrosse Top 20, you'll have an answer Thursday as the two powerhouses meet in what’s sure to be a great game.
The Warriors remain undefeated on the season and atop the rankings. The Dragons meanwhile have won three in a row, defeating Hingham in overtime before handling a tough Medfield squad and Silverlake. Duxbury has lost four games to out-of-state teams. and remains at No. 2 in the rankings.
St. John's Prep moves up from No. 13 to No. 4 in the Top 20. The Eagles had three wins this past week, including a victory over the Needham Rockets.
Medfield comes in at No. 6. The Warriors went 2-1 this week and their strong play all season has shown that they deserve their spot in the Top 20. Their loss was a 5-4 final against Duxbury.
Wilmington makes its debut in the Top 20 at No. 13. The Wildcats started their season with an impressive 9-0 run before suffering their first loss this past Tuesday to Arlington.
Reading moves up one spot this week to No. 14. The Rockets have won five in a row and are led by Connor Frazier with 23 goals and 20 assists and Mark Denete with 22 goals and 22 assists.
See the full Globe boys' lacrosse Top 20 here.
St. John’s Prep went undeated this week so the Eagles retain the top spot in the Globe Top 20, but there was some movement throughout the rankings. Walpole creeped up to the No. 2 after Billerica and Newton North suffered losses this past week. No. 16 Chelmsford rocked the Indians at home last Monday (14-6), the same day the Tigers lost to Natick (9-8).
Walpole scored 13 runs in each of its three games last week, beating Needham, Natick and Weymouth. Thanks to the Newton North loss, both No. 3 Newton North and Walpole now own the same 9-1 Bay State Conference record. BC High also dropped down a few spots to No. 6 after suffering a tough 2-1 loss to No. 17 Lincoln-Sudbury. The past two Wednesdays have not been kind to the Eagles with a loss to St. John’s Prep a week before falling to the Warriors.
No. 19 Silver Lake moved into the Top 20 and probably should have been last week considering the Lakers are 11-1 and first in the Patriot League. The Lakers debut one spot ahead of still struggling No. 20 Xaverian. The Hawks took another loss against St. John’s Prep last Wednesday after falling to BC High two days earlier. It’s been a rough season for the 5-7 Hawks and there’s only so many more losses they can record before exiting the top 20.
See the full Globe baseball Top 20 here.
By Nick Ironside, Globe Correspondent
Marblehead softball coach Johnny Gold knew he had a special player last season, when then-freshman catcher Emily Messinger led the Magicians with five home runs.
On Monday at Lynn English, Messinger hit her second home run of the year. She hit her third of the season Wednesday in a 5-1 win over Revere.
But on Saturday against Gloucester, Gold saw something he hasn’t seen in his nine years with the Magicians’ softball team. Messinger hit three fence-clearing home runs in a 10-5 win. The sophomore now has six on the season.
Gold raved about his sophomore, who drove each home run to a different part of the outfield.
“That’s the first time in all my years coaching that I’ve seen someone clear [the fence] three times,” Gold said. “She’s a good power hitter. She hit around .480 as a freshman, and she doesn’t strike out often.”
In the first inning, Messinger hit a two-run homer that cleared the center field fence. In the second, the sophomore drove a pitch over the left-field fence, giving her five RBIs.
The biggest moment of the day came in the fifth, though, when she led off the inning with an opposite-field home run to right.
“They were trying to pitch her outside,” Gold said, “and she took it the other way.”
According to Gold, Messinger’s teammates were excited for her.
“They went crazy,” he said. “They were jumping all over the place. It was pretty cool, and I couldn’t believe it.”
The Magicians improved to 7-4. Gold starts four freshmen, and was glad that his team had the chance to experience Messinger’s performance.
“She works at [softball] a lot. She threw out two players stealing [today], so she’s solid defensively. She’s had one [heck] of a week.”
Check out this week's boys' volleyball Top 10 rankings.
Cambridge’s 22-game win streak, dating to last season, ended this week in back-to-back losses to St. John’s Prep and Acton-Boxboro. The No. 3 Falcons fell to No. 7 St. John’s Prep, 22-25, 15-25, 25-22, 24-26. The Falcons then lost at home against A-B in straight sets. The Falcons regrouped Friday by squeezing by Arlington, 3-2.
Top-ranked Lawrence breezed by Millis and Andover in straight sets and the Lancers' highlight of the week was their stellar performance against previously undefeated No. 8 Chelmsford. The matchup went to five sets, with senior twins Anibal and Jeyson Henriquez combining for 22 kills.
No. 2 Milford regained its footing after a 3-1 upset to Lawrence April 25, taking Catholic Memorial, Chicopee, and Taunton, each in three sets.
No. 10 Newton South got its revenge over Westford Academy, the only squad to beat the Lions this season. Newton South won, 3-1.
No. 4 Needham, No. 5 Newton North, and No. 6 North Quincy stayed afloat, all with wins this week.
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Some interesting tidbits on the high school boys' volleyball scene.
1. "Oh how the mighty have fallen" -- Host St. John's Prep thumped defending state champion Cambridge in a 3-1 upset Monday (25-22, 25-1, 22-25, 26-24). Seniors Eric O'Connor and Brian Keogh drove the offense with a combined 31 kills to end Cambridge's 22-game unbeaten streak from last season.
2. Chelmsford run ends short -- Lawrence ended Chelmsford's chances of an undefeated season after rallying from a two-game deficit to win 27-29, 20-25, 25-21, 25-18, 15-13. The twin duo Anibal and Jeyson Henriquez performed up to par as usual, notching 11 kills apiece. Christian Mayi and Christian Tavares split seven blocks each. The Lancers earned first place in the Merrimack Valley Conference.
3. St. John's Prep to be tested -- Despite the ultimate feat of taking down the defending state champion Cambridge, the Eagles have struggled to stay afloat this season. The Eagles squad fell to Western Alliance rival Medfield that sits atop the conference, undefeated at 8-0. The Eagles get a second chance at that foe Monday on their home court and the day after, travel to Milford, a squad that beat the, 3-2 earlier this season.
4. Newton South avenges loss to Westford -- The Lions (12-1) took on Westford 25-16, 25-17, 21-25, 25-17 with a team-combined 31 kills. Zack Halpryn led the match with 10 kills to avenge a 3-2 loss to Westford April 8, the squad's only loss this season. The Lions have won nine straight.
5. Watch out for Haverhill --Despite an early season slump, Haverhill is picking up the pace, earning its sixth straight win with wins over Billerica, Andover and Lowell this week. We'll see if the Hillies can continue this run with four games left, the most challenging against Lawrence Monday.
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By Liz Torres, Globe Correspondent
Unable to produce a winning record the past few years, the Medford boys’ hockey program has been looking a fresh start.
Out of five applicants, former Bruin Shawn Bates had a resume and local ties with the community that made him an easy choice as the new head coach.
“It’s nice to hire within the community," said athletic director Bob Maloney. "Shawn’s resume is impeccable, and we’re looking for a fresh start.”
Bates, a 1993 Medford graduate, was part of the first public school team to reach the championship round of the Super 8 tournament, and he is the program’s all-time leading scorer (103 goals, 139 assists).
Bates went on to play for Boston University, and his teams played in the Frozen Four each year, winning the national championship in 1995.
Bates, a center, was a fourth-round pick of the Bruins in 1993 and played four years in Boston beginning in 1997. After signing with the Islanders as a free agent in 2001, he spent five-plus seasons with them, finishing his NHL career with 72 goals and 126 assists.
“He’s played at every level of hockey and has had success," said Maloney. "When you play at BU and the NHL, you’ve reached your peak of your sport."
Regardless of where he has played, Bates never really left Medford. He is responsible for two $1,000 scholarships (hockey and basketball) for Medford High graduates, and he also donated a scoreboard for the high school's LoConte Rink.
“He’s never forgotten where he came from and we’re lucky to have him,” said Maloney.
“We’re looking to build the program and make it more respectable."
The Mustangs went 8-12 last year and 9-11 the year before.
Boys’ gymnastics may get a second chance to be reinstated as an official high school sport in Massachusetts.
The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association's board of directors decided Wednesday to reconsider its vote in January to drop boys’ gymnastics from its roster of sponsored athletic activities.
The MIAA’s Jan. 16 vote to end sanctioned competition for boys' gymnastics had drawn harsh criticism from coaches, parents, and gymnasts all over the country. That vote had essentially downgraded boys’ gymnastics to a club activity next season.
MIAA officials said then that the decision was driven by low participation rates. There are only seven public high schools — Andover, Attleboro, Braintree, Burlington, Lowell, Newton North, and Newton South — that have boys' gymnastics teams.
The MIAA board of directors is expected to take the issue up again at their next scheduled meeting on June 6, which provides hope that boys’ gymnastics can continue as usual next season.
Braintree High athletic director Michael Denise, and Rich Ellis, boys’ gymnastics coach at the school, appeared before the MIAA board of directors and presented their reasons to reinstate boys’ gymnastics.
“Once they heard some of the facts, they certainly were positive to it,” said Ellis, in a telephone interview. “During the discussion, the board members said, ‘Why are we dropping them?’”
Ellis said the board voted 7-2 to revisit the issue at their next meeting on June 6. As it stands, if the MIAA board of directors does not act to reverse their original decision, there will be no MIAA-sanctioned high school gymnastics competitions for boys next season, and no boys’ state championship. The seven schools with boys’ gymnastics teams would be able to offer boys’ gymnastics as a club sport.
Ellis said he was “hoping something would be resolved” at the May 1 meeting, but he was otherwise pleased with how it turned out. He said he’s looking forward to the next MIAA meeting, and plans to reach out to other coaches, parents, and athletes to join him in voicing support for boys' gymnastics.
“I’m going to have to rally the troops," he said.
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- Zuri Berry: Berry attended the same high school as sports legends O.J. Simpson and Joe DiMaggio. (Guess which one is his hero.) He's a South Boston resident (formerly of Eastie) and the editor of the High School Sports blog as well as the go-to-guy for everything high school sports on Boston.com. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @ZuriBerry for all of the latest updates.
Then there are our winter correspondents:
- Alex Hall | @AlexKHall | Baseball
- Colleen Casey | @ColleenCasey226 | Softball
- Mike Giesta | Boys lacrosse
- Catherine Calsolaro | @catrenee13 | Girls lacrosse
- Liz Torres | @etorres446 | Boys volleyball
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