A Win for the Team, a Mohawk for the Coach

February 1, 2012
By

There were two big stories to come out of Saturday afternoon’s hockey game between Everett and Somerville.

The first was that the Crimson Tide skated to a 5-2 win over the Highlanders to improve to 9-3-2 on the season and move within one point of qualifying for the state tournament for the first time in almost 10 years.

But decades from now, when recollections of who scored the goals and in what game will be just foggy blurs of memories from their youth, there is one thing that every member of the EHS squad will remember about the 2011-12 season: They gave their coach a Mohawk haircut.

With his Crimson Tide team having recorded just one “W” last year, EHS head coach Alex Naumann issued a pre-season promise to his charges: If we make the state tournament, I’ll let you give me a Mohawk.

Entering the contest with Somerville, the Crimson Tide had reeled off four straight victories and stood at 8-3-1, just three points away from punching their ticket for a Journey to the Tourney. One of those losses had come three weeks previously  to GBL rival Somerville, which also was coming into the fray with an identical 8-3-1 mark. Moreover, a share of second place in the GBL was at stake.

So Naumann upped the ante a notch. “I told them that if we beat Somerville, they could give me a Mohawk right after the game,” said Naumann.

Steven Chaves, assisted by Cody Nadeau, gave Everett an early 1-0 lead in the opening period, but Somerville knotted matters in the second frame to leave a 1-1 count showing on the scoreboard entering the final stanza.

“I challenged them a bit between periods, telling them that the Mohawk haircut was on the line in those final 15 minutes,” said Naumann.

Stephen Faia made it 2-1 midway through the period, assisted by Shawn Doyle and James Liberge, but Somerville responded about a minute later to create a standoff once again.

So with six minutes to play, and a big crowd on hand at Allied Veterans Rink, including many alumni who would be participating in a special alumni game right afterwards, the excitement was palpable as the Crimson Tide and their fans anticipated not just a win, but a head shaving never to be forgotten.

They did not have to wait too long. About a minute later, Chaves lit the red lamp after a scramble in front to give the Tide a 3-2 edge, sending the old rink into a state of delirium. Nadeau and Doyle were credited with assists. And at that point, the Crimson Tide began to tap their helmets as they skated past their coach, signaling what they hoped would be awaiting him.

Shortly after Chaves’s second marker, Nadeau found himself alone in front of the Highlander goal after a Somerville defenseman mishandled the puck. Cody zipped the black disk  past the Somerville goaltender for a huge insurance tally.

Somerville pulled its goalie in the waning minutes, but Doyle blocked a shot at the point and raced in for an empty netter for the 5-2 finale.

A slightly surreal scene then enveloped the arena, one that could not have been better choreographed than if it had been a Hollywood movie. The players and their coach crowded into the rink manager’s office and, using clippers brought along for the occasion by C.J. Sylvester’s father, took turns skimming swaths of hair from  their coach’s head. The crowd of parents,  cheerleaders, and assorted fans watched the scalping with delight through the glass which encloses the manager’s office.

“The Somerville win was a total team effort. We did all of things we work on in practice and it paid off,” said Naumann, who cited the tremendous goaltending of Vin Sottosanti, who turned aside 30 Somerville shots.

“I’m very proud of this team, which is now on the brink of accomplishing something that hasn’t been done in our program for almost 10 years,” added the coach. “They’ve been a credit to themselves and their school this year. We’ll be looking forward to continue working hard and improving over the final third of the season.”

The Crimson Tide host Cambridge Wednesday at 8:00 in what hopefully will be a tourney-clinching contest. They then will travel to first place Medford Saturday.

EHS girls top Waltham, 57-48

The Everett High girls basketball team received 16 points each from Taylor Sweeney and Amanda DeSouza to come away with a 57-48 win over Waltham last Tuesday.

DeSouza also was a force off the boards, pulling down 18 rebounds to record a powerful double-double.

However, Sweeney and DeSouza were not the only major contributors to the Lady Crimson Tide cause. Tori Cyrus hit for double figures with 11 points, while dishing out six assists and making six steals. Spressa Ramadani likewise scored 11 points, made two steals, and grabbed seven offensive rebounds, quite a feat for a backcourt player.

Savannah Spinney rounded out the EHS scoring with two points,

“It was a total team effort,” said EHS head coach Tammy Turner.

However, the Lady Crimson Tide did not have as much luck the following night against Lynn Classical. Everett held a 21-15 lead at the half, but Classical employed a half court trap after the intermission that led to eight Everett turnovers in the third period. By the time the third buzzer sounded, Everett’s halftime advantage had turned into a 38-31 deficit.

“We were able to beat their trap the first time we played them,” said Turner. “So it was very frustrating not to have been able to handle it the second time.”

Although the Lady Crimson Tide cut down on their turnovers in the final frame, they were unable to make a run at Classical and fell by a final score of 53-47.

Sweeney led the point parade again with 14 points, followed by Cyrus with 12 and Ramadani with 11. Jess Wade hit for six points and snared seven offensive rebounds. “Jess came up big for us and kept us in the game,” noted Turner.

Spinney and Mimi Febles scored two points each. DeSouza had another nice night on the boards, grabbing 11 rebounds.

The Lady Crimson Tide then journeyed to Somerville Friday for a showdown with first place in the Greater Boston League at stake. However, Somerville sprinted out to a quick lead of 6-0 and never was headed. Everett picked up the pace and made it a 16-12 contest by the end of the opening quarter, but Somerville enjoyed a wide scoring margin in the second frame to grab a 30-17 lead at the intermission, a deficit from which the Lady Crimson Tide never recovered.

Sweeney topped the point chart for Everett with 12 points, followed by Cyrus with nine, DeSouza with seven, Spinney and Wade with three each, and Ramadani with two.

The Lady Crimson Tide, who now stand at 7-6 on the season, will face a crucial stretch this week as they hope to solidify their hold on second place in the GBL and pave a path to the state tourney.

Turner and her crew were set to host Malden last night (Tuesday), No. Quincy tonight, and Cambridge on Friday.

EHS boys track team tops Medford

The Everett High boys track team earned its first win of the season, defeating Medford 49-36 last week.

The Crimson Tide took first place in four of the nine individual events: Henry Maldonado sprinted to victory in the 55 yard dash in 5.9 seconds; Andres Tejada sped past the field in the 300 dash in 36.3; Jefrey Perez won the two mile run in 12:26.5; and Heiu Vo-Tran captured the high jump with a leap of 5-2.

However, superior depth proved the difference in the meet, with the Crimson Tide taking second place in six of the nine events. Vo-Tran in the two mile in 14:02.9 l (to give Hieu a team-high eight points on the day); Trevor Freeman in the hurdles in 8.5; Jonathan Mendez in the 300 in 37.4; Carlos Duran in the 600 in 128.9;  Jason Mendoza in the 1000 in 2:54.8; and Dan Plunkett with a shotput heave of 34-.25.

Adding single points to the Everett scoresheet with third place performances were: Steven Garrity in the hurdles in 8.9; Edwasner Ambroise in the dash in 6.2; Malcolm Alexis in the 600 in 1:29.4; Luis Franco in the 1000 in 2:56.3; Ricardo Perez in the mile in 5:42.6; and Brandon Conde with a shotput toss of 32-0.

Kernan, Steeves win for girls track team

Maeve Kernan and Katie Steeves turned in first place performances for the Everett High girls indoor track team in last week’s meet with Medford.

Kernan outdistanced the field in the mile in 6:02.3, while Katie S. outsprinted the competition in the 300 dash in 43.1, just edging her closest Medford competitor by 0.8 of a second.

Other Lady Crimson Tide performers who turned in fine efforts with second place finishes were: Elspeth Colson in the hurdles in 9.1; Luana DeMenezes in the 600 in 1:55.7; Faith Pinho in the 1000 in 3:34.1; Jessica Mangan in the mile in 6:11.1; and Corina Reason with a high jump of 4-4.

Everett girls who put one point into the scoring column with third places were: Emily DeSouza in the 1000 in 3:59.5; Kathy Pham in the high jump with a leap of 4-2; and Tricia McQuade with a shotput throw of 24-9.