The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, December 19, 2008

 

CCHS boys fall sports round-up

Soccer

After losing 12 seniors, C-C soccer faced perhaps its greatest challenge to meet expectations. At the start of the season, the bar was set high; over the past couple of years, head coach Ray Pavlik had produced two of the elite teams in the state. Although this year’s team started 4-4, they came together in C-C fashion to finish the regular season 7-1-1, earning a bid to the state tournament for the 24th year in a row. The Patriots’ overall record was 11-6-1.

With a group that was both younger and smaller than in previous years, the most important

CCHS sophomore Alex Puchrik (#1) goes to goal against Lincoln-Sudbury. (Photos by Anderson Photo)

task at hand was team identity. For this year’s team, it all started with defense, as the Patriots gave up on average only one goal a game. “We got better as the season progressed,” said Pavlik. “Lots of younger kids stepped in to bigger roles.” As each member found his place, the team improved greatly. Coaches and players constantly preached that they would be a team that always brought a great deal of intensity to each game. As Pavlik noted, “There was a shift in mentality, as players developed a mindset that when they stepped on the field, they would outwork their opponents” and “continue to work on aspects of their game that needed to improve if we were to win.” With this is mind, improvement certainly came, as C-C beat the first and second place teams in the DCL Large in the last two games of the year, including a 1-0 win over Lincoln-Sudbury. In this win, only one senior played for most of the second half, which Pavlik called a “nice sign for next year.” Eight starters, including six of the seven top scorers, will return for the 2009 season.

Carlisle players on this year’s team included seniors Ben Young and Ben Verrill, and sophomore Cam McGrory. Verrill was awarded DCL All-Star.

Football

Members of the 2009 graduating class were the first players to have gone through the Pop Warner program, designed to develop players in elementary school and junior high. Thus, this past season was a testament to the program as a whole. Led by a strong senior class, the team finished with a record of 5-6, and showed signs of improvement all along the way.

“This significant improvement of our team really shows the value of Pop Warner football,” said junior Dillon Mariano of Carlisle. “Although we didn’t win as much as we would have liked, we were definitely able to compete with big schools like Lincoln-Sudbury and Acton-Boxboro, who, in years past, had beaten us.” Evidence of this ability to compete showed in some key wins, such as the 42-7 victory over Wayland, a team that usually holds the upper hand. In another game against powerhouse Lincoln-Sudbury, an L-S player recovered a fumble at his own five-yard line, and in pursuit of a clear path to the end zone, was stripped crossing the goal line by senior Zach Driscoll. The play saved a score, and gave the Patriots the ball. Plays like this highlight C-C’s incredible willpower and ability to always compete.

Next year’s team expects to build upon the accomplishments set this year, as there will be many returning seniors who have experienced varsity play since sophomore year. With an extraordinary work ethic shown by many of these players, the future will be bright for C-C football. Mariano said, “I think our program has sent a message to other teams saying we’re back on the radar, and we aren’t afraid to bite back.”

Carlisle players included senior Andy Feiner, juniors Dillon Mariano, David Reed and Eric Debruzzi and sophomores Peter George and Ryan Robinson. Dick Kerr, who faithfully coached the Patriots for many seasons, will step down after this year.

Golf

This year’s golf team, coached by Phil Gibson, was nothing short of dominant. Cruising to a 14 and 4 season record, including highlights such as winning the Doug Bouchard cup against Lincoln-Sudbury High School and the Cape and Islands Classic by over 20 strokes, the squad was far from finished. Determined to accomplish what they set out for, they played their best golf in crunch time, and as a result wound up state champions.

Although success was almost expected with many key players returning, remaining humble and focused were the key ingredients in the team’s formula for meeting expectations. Coach Gibson constantly preached “team,” and no matter what circumstances the players were in, they acted as a unit. “Preparation was definitely a huge part of winning it all,” said junior Justin Harris of Carlisle. “Guys began playing in the spring as soon as the snow started melting in order to prepare for a golf team that was almost three seasons away.” Each member committed himself to hours and hours of practice, hitting thousands of balls. Harris commented, “I know all that extra time and effort that went into those practices paid off, because when we needed to shoot the round of our life, we all felt confident we could do it.”

Perhaps more than in any other sport, golf is a game of inches, sometimes even millimeters. One slight hitch in a swing can result in a complete miss-hit, making it as much of a mental game as it is physical. Harris said that the team was able to conquer this mental aspect by “practicing real life situations, which helped better prepare [them] so [they] wouldn’t get nervous on the big day.” He added, “When on the course, that’s the goal: keep your mind off of everything and just play golf. Most guys talk it up or don’t talk at all. I usually prefer to sing on the course, to keep my mind off trying too hard to perfect my swing, since I tend to be a bit of a perfectionist out there.”

Carlisle players on the golf team include juniors Justin Harris and Connor Diegnan, and freshman Ryan Harris. The team expects to have similar success next year as the majority of its squad will be back.

Cross-country

Led by Carlisle junior co-captain Phil Lavely, the C-C Cross-Country team entered the fall

CCHS junior Kevin Clarke of Carlisle keeps up a steady pace on the cross-country course. (Photos by Anderson Photo)

knowing that this year’s team had potential to go very far. The team went 7-2, finishing first in the DCL Small. Looking to improve upon last year’s 25th place finish at EMass (Eastern Massachusetts State Meet), the squad did just that, placing eighth.

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the cross-country team is their work ethic and demand

for success. “I think we went into the season with even higher expectations than this,” said Coach Steve Lane, “and the kids would be the first to say the same.”

For a runner to be at the top of his game, it’s a constant uphill battle – often in a quite literal sense. “Without daily training, it’s difficult to stay in top shape and compete with the best,” said Lavely. He calls cross-country “a fall sport that requires year round commitment.” After a hard-working fall season, many runners usually continue to do winter or spring track. In the summer, some enter the challenge to run at least 440 hours, as well as making certain requirements for circuits and workouts.

Carlisle participants included freshmen Larry White, Matthew Salemy, and Chris Elwood; sophomores Andrew Chen, Drew Albano, Chris Burnham, Sean Fidler, Adam Koski, Tim Lamere, Jon Mayer, Ben Parson, Josh Philippou, Cameron Reid, and Curran Wilmot; juniors Kevin Clarke and Phil Lavely, and senior Matthew Koski. Lavely, who was a first team DCL All-Star, will return as a captain next year. ∆


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