Classical boys soccer team claims NEC championship

The Lynn Classical boys soccer team claimed the Northeastern Conference South Division championship with a 2-0 victory over Lynn English in the season finale at Manning Field.

It’s the first conference soccer title for Lynn Classical since the school won back-to-back crowns in 1975 and 1976.

The Rams, led by fourth-year head coach Joseph Skahan, finished their intra-divisional schedule with a 7-0-3 record with ties coming against Revere, Winthrop, and English.

“It feels great to win the NEC title,” said Skahan. “I know it’s been a long time for the school. The players worked really hard for it. They earned it by putting into play what we as coaches instilled in them and it worked well.”

Freshman Ybesi Musema scored both goals in the win over an English team that was also seeking to take home the NEC title. Musema was promoted to the varsity team at mid-season and became a valuable addition at the striker’s position.

Skahan said the team benefited from having excellent leadership in its three captains, seniors Greg Rybak and Dammy Dada, and junior Abdoulaye Bah.

The 6-foot-2, 185-pound Rybak was a standout on defense, earning NEC and Eastern Mass. All-Star honors. “Greg is just an excellent player and he had a phenomenal season,” said Skahan. “He’s such a tough competitor.”

Dada is the Rams’ goalkeeper who was at his best in the title clincher against English. “Dammy is super athletic and knows the position well,” said Skahan. “He’s a great asset to our team.”

Bah is a skilled offensive performer who contributed a dozen goals this season. “I feel Abdoulaye is one of the top strikers in the conference. Teams usually had two or three players shadowing him in games.”

A solid all-around effort propelled the Rams to the title. Forwards Bah and Musemi jelled quickly following Musemi’s call-up to the varsity. All-Star selections Joelle Reyes and German Canales and steady player Joe Field keyed an excellent contingent of midfielders.

Rybak and fellow All-Star Kevine Kakou were the leaders of a rugged Rams’ defense that also included fullbacks Marvin Abda and Walter Cifuentes.

Skahan said the team struggled a bit early in the season before hitting its stride. “We moved people around until we found the right combinations and now we have a great team that is playing extremely well together.”

Bill Devin, director of athletics at Classical, spoke proudly at Sunday’s NEC All-Star Game about the soccer team’s accomplishment.

“This team demonstrated that if you work hard and you’re dedicated, great things can happen,” said Devin. “When we hang the championship banner in our gymnasium, it will be an achievement that every player and every coach can look back on and say that they contributed to it.”

The Rams (7-5-4 overall) are awaiting the start of the State Tournament. Classical will compete in the Division 2 North Sectional.

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