SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Sports

September 3, 2013

North Shore boys soccer clubs prepare for new season and alignment

As this year’s boys soccer season kicks into full swing this week, most of the attention will be on the state’s realignment.

Last year there were only three divisions for boys soccer during the playoffs, but this year’s new alignment offers four divisions under the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association’s plan.

Schools were given a years notice about the new configuration and had time to review and discuss the proposal. The realigning is based upon boys enrollment within each school. The new four-year realignment cycle (2013-14 through 2016-17) was based upon 2011 enrollment figures.

Many of our local teams are in the mix when it comes to moving into a new tier.

Masconomet, which has had wild success in Division 1 since moving there in 2009, is back down in Div. 2 this fall. Under head coach Dave Mitchell the Chieftains made a Div. 1 state title appearance in 2011 and went to the North semifinals last season against St. John’s Prep.

They were able to take down several Div. 1 powers including Acton-Boxboro, Ludlow and Billerica and will likely do some damage in Div. 2. This year’s schedule kicks off with St. John’s Prep tomorrow and also includes another non-league tilt against Div. 1 North champion Somerville later in the season.

The Chieftains are once again gifted with excellent leadership with seniors Adam Grammer and Jeff Panella. Both have ample tournament experience from the past two seasons and are sure to make a splash in this year’s playoffs.

Every season, Masco seems to have a strong senior class leading the way and this year is no different. Along with Grammer and Panella the Chieftains return seven other seniors on the team. Dylan Zernich, Max Craig and PJ Criscioneon are back at attack, along with Edison Forbes who was one of the leading goal scorers last year. Stephen Pease and Jack Heintzelman round out the midfielders, while Willie Stewart enters the season as the starting goalkeeper.

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