Fight erupts after boys semi-finals victory

Fight erupts after boys semi-finals victory

Samantha Godding and Siearra Papuga, Editor-In-Chief and Feature Editorial

The Ludlow boys’ soccer team took a 1-0 victory at Westfield State University on Tues. Nov. 15 against Worcester North in the state semi-final soccer game. However,  the victory was marred by a fight that broke out between players and fans after the referees ended the game early.

“It was unfortunate the way the game ended. [It] takes a little away from the boys’ accomplishment of making it to the State finals again,” said Athletic Director Tim Brillo.

Throughout the entire game there was a lot of physical contact and “cheap shots” by the Worcester North players, according to many soccer players and fans.

“The game was aggressive from the beginning,” said Principal Lisa Nemeth, who added that it was the Worcester North players who initiated the fight. “I was hoping none of LHS’ soccer players would get hurt by the other team.”

Junior Kyle Tomas scored a goal with 12:00 minutes left in the second half and it was after that when Worcester North players intensified the cheap shots to the Ludlow player’s heads, hands, legs, and genitals, according to witnesses and what can be seen on the video.

“After the goal was scored, we knew we were going to win,” said senior right back Greg Santos. “The tension on the field could be felt and we knew at the end of the game that something was going to happen.”

According to senior forward Brandon McCarthy, Ludlow junior Tyler Quiterio was kicked by a Worcester North player continuously, and senior goalie Nick Zucco ended up on the ground with the ball in his hands. This is when the game had escalated to the breaking point. The referees felt unsafe and called the game with about two minutes remaining. However, Worcester North’s Yashin Ahmed (#9) did not like the referee’s decision to end the game early and reacted by hitting the referee.

As Ludlow players rushed the bench to celebrate, others including Zucco, Santos, senior right-mid Mario Nascimento and senior center-mid Shaun Mello were stuck in a fight with Worcester North players.

As soon as the whistle was blown, Nascimento said that the game turned to instant chaos and he had to “turn [his] head at all times.”

“At one point their fans surrounded me,” said Santos, “Then I heard someone yell ‘knife’ and I had to defend myself.”

Once the fight dispersed, referees, coaches and the athletic directors were left to determine the consequences for players’ actions.

Nemeth sent out an email to staff and faculty on Thursday that said that in no way was the Ludlow soccer team responsible for what had occurred.

As of now, Zucco’s and Santos’ red cards were downgraded to yellow cards and no suspensions have been made.

“We got into their heads early in the game. We knew if we did they would fall apart and that’s what happened,” said Tomas. “Even though they were hitting us the whole game we didn’t lose our tempers and in the end we had more heart then they did.”

The State finals will be held at Worcester State University on Fri. Nov 18 at 5:00 p.m. Worcester police and the MIAA were notified of the fight in Westfield and are preparing appropriate security precautions for the game.

“[We are] a family who protects each other and that was shown in this game,” said senior right-back Paulo Carvalho.