Massachusetts Boys Division 1 Top 20
We toyed briefly with the idea of leaving the top spot vacant this week and moving on from there. Kidding, of course, but the point being that parity has produced chaos and defense rules with no team or handful of teams able to clearly separate from the pack.
At any rate we have a new occupant at the top for the third consecutive week. No. 1 Burlington (10-1-0), the Middlesex League’s Freedom Division leader, stretched its winning streak to 10 games with one-goal decisions of Melrose and Lexington. The Red Devils don’t dazzle – they have five one-goal wins – but they have shown great resilience and grit in tight spots. Coach Bob Conceison’s club faces road games against Malden Catholic (Monday) and Arlington (Saturday) this week, two key tests.
No. 2 St. Mary’s (8-1-1) stays put despite having its nine-game unbeaten start to the season halted by Catholic Central Large foe Austin Prep, 2-1. The Spartans control their own fate in the CCL championship chase and continue to lead Division One with fewest goals allowed (9). Their three-game schedule this week has home games against Hingham (Monday) and Newburyport (Friday) sandwiching a visit to Winchester (Wednesday).
After being surprised by Independent Shrewsbury last Monday, No. 3 Framingham (8-3-2) rebounded nicely with matching 5-1 Bay State Conference decisions of Weymouth and Brookline. The Flyers are running away with the BSC’s Carey Division race. They’re on the road to face Newton North (Wednesday) and Walpole (Saturday) this week.
No. 4 Arlington (7-1-1), the Middlesex League’s Liberty Division pacesetter, jumps three spots after league wins against Belmont and Wilmington. Pope Francis (Monday) and Burlington (Saturday) visit Ed Burns Arena this week in what could be a defining week for the Spy Ponders, who sit third in D1 in fewest goals allowed (12).
No. 5 Xaverian (6-2-3) has a St. John’s Prep problem. Both Hawks’ losses to date have come against the Prep, including Saturday night’s 5-1 home defeat. Xaverian tied Catholic Memorial earlier in the week. This week’s three-game workload includes visits by MCV/DCL One clubs Central Catholic (Monday) and Chelmsford (Wednesday) and a league date at Malden Catholic (Saturday).
No. 6 BC High (6-3-1) split its games, doubling up St. John’s Prep, 4-2, before falling to Pope Francis, 3-1. The Eagles kick off a five-game homestand at the Clark Center against Winchester Monday, followed by league games with Malden Catholic (Wednesday) and Catholic Memorial (Sunday).
No. 7 Catholic Memorial (6-3-4) stays in place after 1-1 ties with Xaverian and Hingham. The Knights remain in the conference and are on the road against St. John’s Prep (Wednesday) and B.C. High (Sunday).
No. 8 Pope Francis (6-5-1) inches up one spot after Saturday’s win against BC High. The Cardinals’ visit to Arlington Monday is followed by home dates against St. John’s (S) on Thursday and Andover on Saturday.
Despite that loss to B.C. High earlier in the week, No. 9 St. John’s Prep (5-3-2) cracks the Top 10 on the basis of how it handled Xaverian Saturday. The Eagles spend the week at home as Reading (Monday), Catholic Memorial (Wednesday) and Austin Prep (Saturday) all visit the Essex Sports Center.
No. 10 Hingham (6-4-1) shut down Walpole, 7-0, and had that tie with Catholic Memorial in a productive week. The Harbormen head to St. Mary’s Monday and return home for a Saturday date against St. John’s (S).
No. 11 Austin Prep (5-3-2) sustained its Catholic Central Large title hopes with that win against St. Mary’s followed by a 4-0 whitewash of Archbishop Williams. The Cougars face off with St. John’s (S) Monday, Arlington Catholic Wednesday and St. John’s Prep Saturday.
No. 12 Duxbury (5-2-2) rolled past Pembroke, 8-0, in its only action. The Green Dragons have a busy week against Marshfield (Monday), Silver Lake (Wednesday) and Quincy (Saturday).
No. 13 Reading (7-3-0) jumps four spots, having extended its winning streak to four games by knocking off Bishop Hendricken, 5-3; Lexington, 4-0; and Melrose, 5-3. The Rockets are at St. John’s Prep Monday and home to Lexington (Wednesday) and Stoneham (Saturday).
No. 14 Central Catholic (7-4-1) routed Concord-Carlisle but lost to Westford Academy. The Raiders visit Xaverian Monday and Billerica Saturday.
No. 15 Braintree (6-3-1) bounced back from a 2-1 loss to Natick by easing past Weymouth, 3-1. Milton (Monday) and Newton North (Saturday) provide this week’s opposition.