After an Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) mosquito was found in Topsfield last week, the Masconomet Regional athletic department has been doing everything it can to ensure the safety of its athletes.
The Board of Health issued an order for all fields to be closed and outdoor sports at schools to be canceled until barrier spraying occurs. While the spraying will happen this evening, the sports teams have had to find other alternatives to playing and practicing outside.
“We hope to be back on the field by (tomorrow) afternoon,” said Masco athletic director John Daileanes. “But we need to wait for the official word for the Boxford Health Department.”
The Chieftains’ boys and girls soccer teams have moved their practices inside to the fieldhouse and gym. Despite the small spaces, both coaches are making the best out of the situation.
“Practices in the gym have been a little crazy,” admitted girls head coach Paula Yanakakis. “We’re treating it as if they were rain practices. Most of the practices inside are much quicker because the space is much smaller and the girls are able to get a lot more touches with the ball.”
For the time being the girls have practiced in the gym while the boys practice in the larger fieldhouse. Masconomet’s volleyball team was away this past Monday, so girls soccer was able to have free reign of the gym — but that could change this afternoon.
The coaches have remained flexible with their schedules and are aware that these things happen during the fall season. Last year, a similar situation occurred at another Cape Ann League school, Georgetown. It’s also not unusual for this time of year for schools to put curfews on sporting events and eliminating the night games because of the mosquito problem.
All of the home games at Masconomet have since been moved to away sites. Yesterday the boys were scheduled to play Newburyport at home under the lights, but it was changed to an away game and moved to the afternoon.
Yanakakis, who also works in the physical education department at Masconomet, has had to move all of the gym classes inside, and students aren’t allowed to go outside during lunch. “I usually walk the track during lunch, but I haven’t been able to do that,” noted Yanakakis. “This is the first time that this has happened at Masco, at least since I’ve here, but we’re hoping it gets cleared up soon”
The girls played their regularly scheduled game at Newburyport yesterday and tied, 1-1. Paige Pratt tied the game midway through the second half and freshman keeper Katie Pelletier played outstanding, turning away 18 shots.
They’ll continue to practice inside the gym today, but have a scheduled home game against North Reading tomorrow that they’re hoping to get in.
Masco is looking to stay consistent with their scoring. The Chieftains netted 16 goals in their first two games and look to continue to bring the offensive pressure tomorrow against the Hornets.
Last Wednesday the Ipswich girls outshot Georgetown 18-2, but the game ended in a 0-0 tie for the two teams. It was the second straight scoreless tie for the Tigers, which did the same thing against Rockport when outshot them, 28-2 the game before.
It’s a combined 46 shots on goals for Ipswich (1-0-2), with only four shots allowed. The Tigers had a similar situation last year, recording seven regular season ties.
Speaking of Ipswich, senior Hannah Wallis recently found out that she tore her ACL for the second straight season. Both times were during games against Georgetown. After tearing it last soccer season, Wallis went through rehab and physical therapy, but unfortunately had the same injury last week.
You’ll hardly ever see a player for St. John’s Prep have more than three goals in a single game.
Why, you ask?
It’s one of head coach Dave Crowell’s rules. If a player nets a hat trick, they’re usually done for the game and Crowell subs in another player. It prevents a single player from running up the score and, in short, he says is just good sportsmanship.
Interestingly enough, Crowell had two players net hat tricks during last Wednesday’s 8-1 victory over Malden Catholic. Junior Patrick Foley got his first three goals of his varsity career for the Eagles, while senior captain Matt Chilton also earned a trifecta.
The Peabody girls are coming off an impressive 7-0 win over Lynn Classical yesterday. The Tanners have won both of their games since dropping their season opener to to Acton-Boxboro, outscoring their foes 13-0 in those two contests. Senior Madison Doherty leads the team with six goals.
GAME TO WATCH: The Swampscott girls travel to Danvers tomorrow for a 4 p.m. game. The Big Blue shut out Gloucester, 4-0, yesterday and are on a two-game winning streak heading into tomorrow’s Northeastern Conference tilt.
Just For Kicks, a column on North Shore high school soccer, appears every Wednesday in The Salem News. Contact staff writer Gianna Addario at 978-338-2615, GAddario@salemnews.com and follow her on Twitter @GiannaAddarioSN.