A renewed rivalry is brewing between Medford and Everett High Schools.
In Friday’s second round MIAA Division 1 playoff bout at Medford HS, the two sides met for the third time this season, with Medford besting the Crimson Tide 4-3 in penalty kicks.
In their two regular-season meetings, both 1-1 ties, undefeated Medford was really put to the test but couldn’t take down the Tide (12-2-3) until the playoffs, EHS’ first visit to the tournament in 3 years.
Although Medford (13-0-4) is moving on to the next round, the slim margin in skill and style separating the two sides caused a friction all season that has really relit the rivalry flame between the two Greater Boston League counterparts.
“The rivalry has been restarted,” said third-year EHS head coach Pedro Blas. “In general, with our schools being traditional rivals and our team continuously getting better, it was clear they wanted it and we wanted it bad, too,” said Blas.
Everett entered the tournament the 19th seed while Medford entered the 14th seed and all that separated the two teams for the GBL title was 1 point. The point system, calculated using wins-losses, ties, and goals scored tipped in the favor of Medford. What would have been the Tides first GBL title in several years went to Medford by one single point – the same tally that held the Tide from extending their season.
“Medford is very organized. You got to give them credit. They are really organized defensively, particularly when stacking the back end,” said Blas while drawing comparisons to his team’s defensive prowess this year.
“Our defense held up,” said Blas. “We had no shots on goal for our keepers and no big mistakes defensively. We expected the long ball from them, and we took care of that. Our game plan was good and we executed it, but it came down to penalty kicks,” said Blas.
Tied 1-1 at regulation on a goal from junior Tysenger Alcin, the Tide got penalty kick goals from junior Guilherme Meireles, sophomore Patrick Garcia and another from Alcin to wrap up their scoring.
With 12 wins and only 2 losses, it was an absolute winning season for the Tide, one Blas hopes to build on next season.
“We played unselfishly, we touched the ball well, and we trusted everyone to do their jobs. It was a lot of team- work,” said Blass, who will be graduating 16 seniors this year. “Next year we will have an all new crop of players, but we can compete. There’s a lot of new talent,” he said while giving credit to this year’s competitors.
“I’d like to thank our senior defenseman Ben Pezo for making the sacrifices he made this year switching from his natural position as center-mid to center-back. He did a phenomenal job helping stop the through balls,” said Blas. Behind s sturdy defense and standout goalie play from senior Dominick Reyes, the Tide held opponents to under two goals per game.
Senior Luan Cruz and junior Guilherme Meireles were both named Eastern Massachusetts All-Stars for their efforts this season. Senior Dan Cadet led the way with 18 goals scored.