The Chelsea High boys soccer team’s 2012 season, which saw Coach Mick Milutinovic’s Red Devils compile an undefeated 14-0-2 record and capture the championship of the Large Division of the Commonwealth Athletic Conference, came to an end Saturday evening under the lights at Chelsea Stadium with a 2-0 loss to Methuen in the first round of MIAA state tourney play.
The Red Devils came into the contest as the number three seed in the Division 1 North Sectional, while Methuen was seeded 14th with a 10-6-1 mark.
Chelsea came out fast and took the play to the visitors from the Merrimack Valley League. The Red Devils almost got on the board early at about five minutes into the contest, but a shot by Michael Kottu hit the cross bar, an omen of the evening of frustration to come for the Red and Black, who were unable to score for the first time this season..
Although Methuen did not put a lot of pressure in the CHS end, the visitors made the most of their opportunities. Both of Methuen’s goals, the first of which came midway through the first half and the second with 15 minutes left in the game, came on set plays off corner kicks.
“Obviously it wasn’t the outcome we had hoped for,” said CHS assistant coach Evan Protasowicki. “We came out sharp and focused and had many chances throughout the game. But we were unable to finish and Methuen took advantage of their two corner kicks.”
The Red Devils had hoped that key defender Hector Ramirez, who broke his wrist a few weeks ago, would be cleared to play, but that did not happen. “Hector has been the mainstay of our defense all season, so his absence was a big loss for us,” noted Protasowicki. “But a lot of our younger players really stepped up and carried us through to an unbeaten season and a strong effort against Methuen.”
So although the bittersweet reality of tourney play is that every team but one ends its season on a losing note, the 2012 Red Devils can look back on a season of brilliance that will rate among the best ever athletic achievements in CHS sports annals.
CHS grid team falls to Northeast
The Chelsea High football team endured a cold and wet evening for the occasion of the first home game under the lights at Northeast Regional Vocational High School, which proved to be a celebratory one for the home team by a score of 36-0.
Northeast took control from the outset of the contest, marching 60 yards for a TD on the game’s opening possession. The Red Devils then dug themselves into a hole by fumbling on their second snap on the ensuing possession. Northeast scored with seven plays to make it 14-0 after the first period.
A 60 yard run from scrimmage for Northeast in the second quarter made it 22-0 at the half. The Red Devils attempted to get something going after the intermission on some nice running by senior Raul Flores and junior Jose Martinez, but the Red Devils eventually were forced to punt. Northeast took over and put together a 60 yard drive to increase the margin to 30-0.
Another Red Devil fumble, still in the third frame, gave the ball back to NE in CHS territory which led to the final score of the contest.
Earning plaudits from CHS head coach Mike Stellato on the offensive side of the ball were junior end Carlos Vega (who made a great punt that got the Red Devils out of a jam on their own five yard line in the first half) and sophomore end Adrial Rodriguez. Defensively, the coach praised the efforts of Raul Flores, Jose Martinez, and David Roque.
The Red Devils will host North Shore Tech tomorrow (Friday) evening under the lights at Chelsea Stadium, a date which also marks Coach Stellato’s birthday.