By Steve Freker
The exploits of the Malden High School (MHS) boys’ soccer team have been well-chronicled through the years with head coach Jeremiah Smith’s Tornados a consistent challenger for league titles and postseason State Tournament berths.
Malden was a force in the former Greater Boston League (GBL) and did not skip a beat when it joined the Northeastern Conference (NEC) last year, winning an NEC South Division title and a “Coach of the Year” nod for Coach Smith to boot. Not much has changed this year as the Tornado boys roared out of the gate at 5-0-1 before sustaining their first loss. Malden dropped a tough one on Monday to a strong Somerville squad, 5-0, but bounced right back with a 1-0 win over non-leaguer Methuen.
Heading into Wednesday’s NEC matchup with Gloucester, Malden needed just one more point (two points for a win, one point for a tie) to qualify for its third-straight MIAA Division 1 State Soccer Tournament berth.
Malden has only missed the postseason twice in the 15 years coach Smith has been at the helm, and he said the team is still looking for that right mix of consistency and performance to be tourney-ready. “We have played very well at times and not so well in other games,” coach Smith said. “We had some new players this year getting used to each other and will keep working at it as we get closer to the postseason.”
It will be Malden-Everett today at 4:00 p.m. at Everett Stadium in a battle of the two former GBL rivals, now both in the NEC.
The MHS girls’ soccer team, under second-year head coach Rick Caceda, is also off to a soaring start with an identical 8-2-1 mark to the boys’ record so far this season. The Lady Tornadoes have already clinched a postseason berth based on their 17-game schedule.
Coach Caceda’s Tornados rung up an impressive 1-0 shutout win over Salem on the strength of a lone goal. It was Malden’s second-straight shutout, coming after a 2-0 win over Somerville High on Saturday. Malden is now riding a five-game unbeaten streak (4-0-1), which it carried into Wednesday’s game at Everett.