Masconomet Chieftains Girls Soccer '07

Burns, Masconomet seek revenge

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Tuesday, November, 06 By Bill Kipouras
Staff writer

A sense of revenge could be be the air this afternoon when the once-beaten Masconomet Regional girls soccer team puts its 15-0-2 game unbeaten streak on the line against visiting Lincoln- Sudbury in the Division 1 North quarterfinals.

There are seven players on the defending North champion Masconomet roster who were on the Lady Chieftains' team that fell to Lincoln-Sudbury, 49-46, in the Division 2 North basketball semifinals last season.

Masco's Annie Burns had a career-high 21 points and shot an incredible 6 for 8 from three-point land in that showdown. It was Lincoln-Sudbury's closest call en route to the state Division 2 championship; every other Warriors' win was by double digits.

"I thought it would be funny if we played them," Burns said. "I don't know how many of their basketball kids play soccer, but it would be fun (overall) if we won this game. I think it would be an added motivation for the basketball kids on our team."

Other Masconomet hoopsters who play soccer and might feel the same way are Melanie DiGregorio, Monica Davis, Karly Kiernan, Jamie White, Kim Talbot and Lexi Dussi.

Burns, however, is the most talkative about the subject of getting even.

"We've been hearing about a 'payback' from her, so I said 'OK, Burnsie, let's go for it'," Masco coach Paula Yanakakis said. "She's saying, 'Bring them on!' I'm sure a lot of their basketball teammates will be there supporting us."

The whole Tri-Town area is soccer conscious and should pack Roberts Field this afternoon, since Masco's contending boys team goes against tourney-tough Stoneham as part of a soccer twinbill starting at 6 p.m.

If the Masco ladies (16-1-2) can repeat their success of a year ago, reaching the EMass. final and taking it one step further this fall, the school's drama club may think of staging its own production of "Annie."

The 17-year-old Burns had been one of the stingiest keepers in the state, yielding just seven goals. She's also got 31 victories (15 and 16, respectively) over the last two years and 21 shutouts during that time to rank with the premier Masconomet goalkeepers over the years.

Soccer, however, isn't even her best sport. Basketball is her game. She's also a regular at No. 1 doubles on the tennis team.

"An athlete. That's what she is," Yanakakis said. "Annie has great hands in the net and I'm sure that's from basketball, as well as quick reactions. And we don't have a real backup for her. If we're up a good margin we'll use someone who hasn't played a whole lot."

Most soccer devotees are at it 12 months a year | but not Burns.

"I never expected anything like these numbers," the Topsfield resident said. "Certainly not this many (career) wins (31-4-4).

"Our offense is quick and our defense very strong. I have to give the defense a lot of credit. I get great support from our two fullbacks, Melanie DiGregirio and Blair Shrewsbury; Erika Skinner, our stopper, and Therese Paradise, our sweeper."

Burns was quick to point out she probably averages only seven saves a game as a result of the protection out front. She has an interest in studying pre-med in college, with hopes of becoming a doctor, and is looking at both Boston College and Bates College. If she attends BC, it'll be as a student only. But if it's Bates | where she's paid a visit and is leaning toward | she'd like to try and play basketball.

"Everybody knows I love basketball," she said. "I met (Bates) Coach (Jim) Murphy, who used to coach at Masco. He said I'd have a good chance of making the team."

Burns would prove a plus to any team as a downtown shooter. She hit 30 of 69 treys last season, good for almost 44 percent.

"Bates would be a good fit for her," Masco girls basketball coach Bob Romeo said. "I think she's seriously underrated as an athlete. They'll realize how good she is after she graduates."

If second-seeded Masconomet gets by Lincoln-Sudbury today, it runs smack dab into Winchester, which knocked out Peabody yeserday.

"Winchester is Winchester. Always tough," Yanakakis said.

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