Trevor Ward and Finn Sullivan shine in Newburyport’s 35-6 win over Pentucket

Trevor Ward (21) scored three times for Newburyport
Finn Sullivan had three TD passes and ran for a score

(Newburyport MA) Talk about filling the stat sheet!

Senior Trevor Ward rolled up numbers as the Clippers rolled over Pentucket, 35-6, on Friday night at Stehlin Stadium.

Trevor had a three-touchdown evening combined with two interceptions and a fumble recovery.

Quarterback Finn Sullivan had his best game for Newburyport.  The junior threw three touchdown passes and ran for another one.

“They were better than us tonight,” said Pentucket coach Steve Hayden afterwards.  “They were clearly more physical.”

The Sachems (0-3) lost two fumbles and had an interception in the first half and fell behind, 21-0.  There was no coming back against Newburyport (3-2) on Senior Night.

“They’re quarterback was outstanding, and their defense was tough,” explained Coach Hayden.

QB Chase Dwight fumble

Newburyport had one turnover but never punted.

Pentucket struggled to stop Finn Sullivan running the quarterback option.  Most of his successful QB options followed good fakes to either Trevor Ward or Jacob Buontempo.

“Shoutout to the line,” said Finn.  “They made great holes.  I couldn’t have done anything without them.”

No question the openings were there but it was the damage that Trevor and Finn did once they broke into the secondary that was noticeable.  Both had great speed.

“That was the fastest I’ve ever seen him (Finn) run,” laughed Trevor post-game.

Trevor Ward’s first touchdown

Trevor claimed that Finn was “throwing the ball on a dot,” while Finn claimed that “Trevor made me look good.”

It was that kind of night with plenty of happiness on the Newburyport side.

It was certainly a boost the Clippers needed after last week’s 33-6 loss to Ipswich.

“We had a tough loss last week, but we had a good week of practice this week,” said Finn.  “Our goal is to win out.”

Dylan O’Rourke (22) had eleven carries for thirty yards

On the first touchdown, Trevor started left and then broke clear as he cut back into the middle.

On the second touchdown, Finn faked a handoff to Trevor and went clear up the middle.

Senior Andrew Goodwin kicked the extra point after both scores.  Not surprising was that holder Trevor Ward righted a low snap to make the second kick possible.

Newburyport’s offensive line gave Finn plenty of protection.  In the second quarter, that lengthy protection gave Finn time to go deep to junior Lucas Stallard for a 24-yard score.

Lucas Stallard celebrates a TD catch

Lucas was able to get behind defenders Ethan Ruszkowski and Joe Lynch.

Newburyport added a fourth TD in the third quarter.  It looked like a harmless pass into the flat to Trevor, but his speed and shiftiness allowed him to score from nine yards out.

Pentucket used a trick play to get deep into Newburyport territory in the 3rd quarter.  Andrew Melone started one way but handed off to Adam Payne going the other way.  The Clippers got caught chasing and Pentucket reached the Red Zone.

However, that promising drive ended with a Trevor Ward interception at the goal line.

Jack Hadden gets a sack

“Trevor is great in man coverage,” said Newburyport coach Ben Smolski.

Trevor closed out the Newburyport scoring in the final quarter with a 15-yard touchdown catch.

“On that last touchdown, I figured that Trevor was there somewhere, and he was,” explained Finn Sullivan.

Pentucket’s Chase Dwight was able to get a four-yard, clock-running touchdown in the final two minutes to put the visitors on the board.

Beautiful weather.  I was one of those back in the fall saying that football won’t work well in March and April because of the weather.  Okay, I was wrong!

Coach Smolski: “I am happy with the way we played tonight.”

Trevor Ward: “We’re lucky to even be able to play. I’m enjoying it.”

All of the pictures above and below will enlarge significantly if you click on them.

Late game scrum
Trevor (5 catches – 64 yards including 2 TDs) gets behind Will Sutton
Trevor Ward tries to escape from Joe Lynch
Dylan O’Rourke surrounded by Clippers
Nick Petty (80) set to tackle Chase Dwight (10 carries – 41 yards)
Andrew Melone looks for room
Finn Sullivan (12-for-18 passing for 127 yards) rolls right
Dylan O’Rourke loses his helmet
Finn Sullivan (15 carries – 169 yards) finds a huge opening
Trevor Ward recovers a fumble
Finn Sullivan (10) into the end zone
Henry Walsh returns an interception
Jacob Buontempo (10 carries – 38 yards) has many blockers
Andrew Goodwin kicks
Trevor Ward had a big game
Lucas Stallard and Finn Sullivan pre-game

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Newburyport edges Triton in back-and-forth thriller 3-2

Sydney Yim and Evelyn Pearson at the net
Emma Campbell finds an opening

(Byfield MA) Triton coach Karen Christian said the game was “probably the highlight of the season,” and her team lost!

The Vikings (5-5) took Newburyport to five games on Wednesday night at Triton.

The Clippers (8-2) extend their win streak to seven. Their last loss was to Triton in March.

Newburyport won the first two games tonight, 25-19 and 25-15.

In those first two, Sydney Yim (Purdue commit) gave Triton trouble serving, setting, and finishing.  Many of her finishes weren’t hard hits but, instead, dropped into open spaces.

Sydney Yim

I started thinking sweep and early evening.

The Vikings had other ideas.

“We flipped the switch in Games 3 & 4 and started making the plays we weren’t making before,” said Mia Berardino afterwards.

Suddenly the Vikings began to look like the team that had defeated the Clippers, 3-1, in March.

Triton took the next two games, 25-13 and 25-17.

The Vikings got off to good starts in both games and rode Newburyport errors to the two wins.

“We weren’t ourselves today,” said Newburyport coach Lori Solazzo post-match.  “but player for player we’ve improve so much.  My frustration is that I didn’t see the team I usually see most of the time.”

The level of play was remarkable at times. Hard hits were not definite winners. 

Both teams had terrific setters (Molly Kimball and Sydney Yim) so there was a steady diet of hard hits provided. 

Kate Sarra gets low

There was a play in Game Four in which both Sydney Yim and Abigail Gillingham launched hard hits, only to have Triton find a way to play on and eventually get the point.

In three of the games, the team with the early lead went on to victory.

That held true in crucial Game Five.  “We were overthinking it a bit early and we fell behind,” said Coach Christian.

The Vikings went down 6-1 and later 14-9. in the fifteen-point, deciding set, before turning on the “not-done-yet” button.

The Clippers struggled with four straight Evelyn Pearson serves and suddenly we had ourselves a 14-13 nail-biter!

Evelyn Pearson

A hard, deep hit by the Clippers was called in, and then it was called out, and then they decided to play it over again.

Fortunate for Triton because an “in” call ends the game.  Fortunate for Newburyport because an “out” call ties the game at 14-14.

“Thank goodness that out-of-bounds play didn’t end it,” said Coach Solazzo afterwards.

Given a second chance to win the game, the Clippers got it done.

Newburyport seniors keyed the set/match winner.  Kate Sarra received the serve and sent it to Sydney Yim.  Sydney set the ball near the net for Abigail Gillingham.  Abigail hit the ball through the Triton defense.

Clippers celebrate winning the match

“Abigail had an amazing game,” said Sydney Yim.  “She has been a huge part of our team this year.”

Abigail Gillingham at the net

“The team buckled down at the end, showed some grit, and pulled this one out,” said Coach Solazzo.

“It certainly had the feel of a championship game to me,” said Coach Christian.  “I would love to see them next week with the same energy.”

There will be a Cape Ann League tournament next week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

“Triton is a great team,” said Coach Solazzo.  “They’re scrappy.  They played their hearts out.”

Evelyn Pearson: “I’m proud of my team.  We pulled our energy together.  Newburyport was a lot more competitive than the first time we saw them.”

Mia Berardino: “It wasn’t the outcome we wanted but I’m proud of the way we played.  I think if we play like this we can go far in the playoffs.”

The Clippers ended up undefeated (5-0) on the road. 

All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.

Sydney Yim and Mia Berardino
Sydney Yim sets
Mia Berardino serves
Mia Berardino spikes
Sydney Yim and Em Hoggard
Abigail Gillingham and Molly Kimball
Evelyn Pearson and Ava Hartley
Mia Berardino blocks Sydney Yim

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Newburyport runs streak to six with 3-1 win versus North Reading

Clippers celebrate another win
Abigail Gillingham and Sarah Gerber

(Newburyport MA) Six straight wins for Newburyport.

Tonight it was a 3-1 win against North Reading on Senior Night.

“It wasn’t our best effort,” said Clippers coach Lori Solazzo afterwards, “but I’m very happy with the win.”

Newburyport (7-2) has a win against every team in the Cape Ann League except Triton.

A rematch between those two teams is scheduled for Wednesday at Triton.

“I’ll be pretty disappointed if we play like we did last time (3-1 loss) against them,” said Newburyport senior Kate Sarra post-match.

Tonight, the sets went; 25-20, 25-17, 21-25, and 25-12.

“We came out slow tonight,” said NR coach Mike Milone.  “We weren’t clicking together very well and didn’t take advantage of their errors.” NR had won two straight.

Sydney Yim makes a hard hit

In Game One, the Hornets (4-5) trailed the entire game but were close to the lead most of the way.  It was 22-19 late but the Clippers wouldn’t give in.  Sophomore Ava Hartley dropped shots in and served well.

Sydney Yim has been noticeably good in every game I’ve seen her play.  No surprise that she’s in D1 Purdue’s plans in volleyball.

It’s not the big hits, although you see a few of them, it’s the steady diet of consistent play.  Some of her setups were so good that you actually wanted to come out of the stands and take a whack at them!

Tonight Sydney had a good eye for open spaces on the North Reading side that were reached with soft shots.

Sophia Messina

In Game Two, the Hornets started strong (9-8 lead) but then the bottom fell out.  With Kate Sarra serving, Newburyport pulled away, 17-10, and NR couldn’t recover.  Sophomore Sophia Messina finished the match with a neat drop shot. 

The third game was the most exciting.  Things were tied at 8-8 before the Hornets, led by Sarah Gerber, gained separation, 21-10.  Newburyport was down, but not out yet.  The Clippers put seven straight points together and suddenly the NR lead was just 23-21.  But the visitors hung tough and a nice hit by the Hornets Celia Standel was the game winner.

“We may have been too cocky in the third set,” said Kate Sarra.  “We had won two sets and just fell apart at the start of the third one.”

Sydney Yim was key in the decisive 4th game.  She set up teammates, especially Abigail Gillingham, and put away shots herself.  A 16-11 Clippers lead was 25-12 at the end.

“We played with them a while,” said Coach Milone.  “We just weren’t able to keep it up.  We should have been playing like a seasoned team, but we weren’t.”

Sydney Yim and Anna Bryk at the net

“Our energy was good tonight,” said Abigail Gillingham afterwards.  “When we got down in the 3rd game, we picked it back up in the 4th.”

“We got the win, but I thought North Reading was scrappier,” said Coach Solazzo.

Sydney Yim (21 assists), Ava Hartley (9 kills), Abigail Gillingham (7 kills), Laney Lucci (5 digs), and Kate Sarra (5 aces) led the Clippers.

Coach Milone: “Sarah Gerber was good tonight.  Her blocking, hitting, and passing were solid.”

The regular Cape Ann League season ends this week.  There will be a tournament next week although there has been nothing official on how many teams will be in the tournament.  Lynnfield with one loss (to Newburyport) and Newburyport with two losses (Lynnfield & Triton) will certainly be playing in it.

Kate Sarra

Coach Milone: “The season has been short and fast.  I am incredibly excited that our eight seniors have been able to have a season.”

Newburyport’s four seniors (Sydney Yim, Laney Lucci, Abigail Gillingham, Kate Sarra) were honored afterwards.

All of the pictures above and below should enlarge if you click on them.

Abigail Gillingham and Anna Bryk
Sarah Gerber sets
Sophia Messina and Viive Godtfredsen with Sarah Gerber
Sydney Yim sets
Anna Bryk spikes
Abigail Gillingham blocks
Ava Hartley
Laney Lucci
Viive Godtfredsen
Anna Bryk and Abby Gerber
Sophia Messina
Team celebrates seniors

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Amesbury shuts down North Reading 20-0

Amesbury’s blocking gave running backs openings all afternoon
Kyle Donovan scored twice for Amesbury

(Amesbury MA) Amesbury got an early break.

A likely punt turned into a third-down retry.

Their opening drive, as a result, was kept alive, and a touchdown followed.

After that the Indians (3-1) were overpowering on both sides of the ball, registering a 20-0 shutout against North Reading on Saturday afternoon.

Amesbury struggled on their first possession.  A Zach Sampson sack and a Kyle Donovan fumble (recovered by Amesbury) had the Indians in trouble.  Their third-down play went nowhere BUT the whistle of a sidelines official had gone off enabling the home team to try that third down play again.  A first down resulted and Amesbury was literally off and running.

JT Tilton brought down by Robbie Tammaro

“If that inadvertent whistle doesn’t happen on their first drive, it’s fourth-and-four and they’d have to punt,” said North Reading coach Eddie Blum afterwards.

But the replay was rightly allowed, and Amesbury took full advantage cashing from the NR 37 with three minutes left in the first quarter.

Senior Kyle Donovan scored twice in the first half.

The first one went thirty-seven yards up the middle.  “I just shot the gap and was free,” said Kyle.  “One kid was there and I high-stepped by him.”

That TD was the longest AHS run of the day but certainly not their last run.

“We try to attack multiple gaps on either side of the football from a balanced look,” explained AHS coach Colin McQueen post-game.

Owen Delano and Ryan Perkins

“Their interior linemen took our traps away,” said Coach McQueen.  “When one thing is taken away, generally something else is there.  Today we moved the ball pretty well off tackle.”

The ball-handling of quarterback Drew MacDonald was impressive for Amesbury.  I will admit to following the wrong ball carrier on a number of occasions.  I am quite certain that I wasn’t the only one.

“Each guy on defense has read keys and responsibilities,” said Coach Blum.  “Amesbury is a senior-laden team that has been running that offense for a while.  Give credit to their offensive line and their blockers.”

The Amesbury defense, led by Nick Marden, made is tough for the Hornets (2-2) to put any drives together.

Drew MacDonald tacked a two-point conversion onto Kyle Donovan’s first touchdown and Amesbury led, 8-0, after a quarter.

Nick Marden ended NR’s first possession with a fourth-down fumble recovery.

Nick Marden (32) keyed the Amesbury defense

Nick came off the edge to give the Hornets trouble all afternoon.

Drew MacDonald had a TD and a 2-point conversion

“Nick is a physical specimen,” said Coach McQueen.  “Having him on the edge can be dangerous for the other team.”

Coach McQueen referenced former coach Geno Burnham who died this week.  “I coached with Geno and in our staff meetings he always wanted to ‘fire off the edge.’  We decided today that we were going to send a couple ‘off the edge’ today in Geno’s honor.”

Nick turned the ‘off the edge’ approach into run stops and sacks for the Indians this afternoon.

After Nick’s fumble recovery the Indians started at their own 46.  The rest of the drive was all runs with four first downs along the way.

Kyle Donovan hit the middle from four yards out and backed into the end zone for a second score.  The rush for two failed but AHS now led, 14-0.

Near miss for North Reading

The Hornets followed with a 40-yard kickoff (Robbie Tammaro) return to set them up at the Amesbury 35.  NR nearly got a score as Will Taylor ran a down-and-out into some serious open space, but Brian Heffernan’s pass sailed over his head.

Twice Amesbury ran their way deep into North Reading territory in the second half with nothing to show for it.  In both tries, fourth-down passes fell incomplete.

The Hornets had a 4th down converted but a fumble (recovered by Chip Kelley) gave the ball back to Amesbury with 4:43 left in the game.

Amesbury completed a pass to Tyler Mazzaglia for a first down and two more chain movers set the home team up on the NR four.

Jarrid Schwindt congratulates Drew MacDonald after his TD

QB Drew MacDonald faked a handoff up the middle and rolled left to score with a minute left in the game. 

“We had two TDs at the end of sustained drives,” said Coach McQueen.  “Our goal is to wear people down.  We want pads on pads and for our backs to run hard.”

Coach Blum: “Our defense battled all day.  You just have to turn the page after you learn what you can learn.  We’re on to Triton.”

Coach McQueen: “Kyle is a tough runner.  Any time we put the ball in his hands he has a chance to go.  It comes down to him getting the second and third level and making some guy miss.”

Kyle Donovan: “It was a great all-around team effort.  Our offense was at its finest and our defense held up.”

Tyler Mazzaglia caught an Amesbury pass

The weather was sunny and remarkable for early April.  Temps were in the upper 40s and I was over-dressed for sure.

The Amesbury ground game was so good that their passing game stood out as needing to improve considerably.  Of course, if the Indians can get early leads, they won’t be forced into any passing catch-up attempts.

The Landry Stadium scoreboard has a habit of not consistently working.  More of that today.

Is there a turf football field in Amesbury’s future?

All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them. 

Deceptive Amesbury ball-handling
Ball on the ground. Chip Kelley (54) will recover.
Two Hornets bring down Kyle Donovan
Ryan McCullough
Brian Heffernan passes
Jarrid Schwindt waits for Will O’Leary
Tim Gilleo
Connor MacDonald
Jarrid Schwindt
Nice hole for JT Tilton
Kyle Donovan carries tackler
Kyle Donovan (11) away for first touchdown
Tyler Mazzaglia (9) ready to pounce on a NR fumble
JT Tilton (4) follows Derek Couture (56)
Derek Couture
Casey Birdsall
Braeden Zellen
Tony D’Arcangelo

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Triton defeats Hamilton-Wenham for the first time 3-0

Triton celebrates its record-tying fifth win of the season
Jess Manganello and Molly Kimball

(Byfield MA) Triton had never won a match against Hamilton-Wenham.

They had won a game, back in 2016, but that was it.

When you’ve lost every match (twelve straight) to an opponent, you can’t call it a rivalry.

But that all ended today, as Triton (5-2) swept the Generals (3-4), 3-0, on Monday at Triton.

Labeling it as a sweep, betrays how competitive two of the three games were.

“It’s always nice to compete against Hamilton-Wenham,” said Triton coach Karen Christian afterwards, “they traditionally have been very strong.”

Charlene Fibbe at the net

The Generals were strong in the first and third sets suffering tough, 25-23 and 25-21 losses.

The middle set was all-Triton as junior Mia Berardino served the Vikings to eleven straight points on their way to a 25-7 rout.

“Triton, like Newburyport (D1 commit Sydney Yim), has a player who is a strong leader,” said HW coach Jen Flynn referring to Mia Berardino.

Mia ended up with nine kills and seven aces.

The first and third sets were close and entertaining.  There were multiple, extended volley’s that brought ooh’s and aah’s from those on both sides.

“There were some amazing plays,” said Coach Flynn.  “Some balls you just didn’t think would get over, but they did.”

The close games got Triton senior Jess Manganello tired.  “All of us were hustling and talking,” she said.  “I am not used to running so much in a game.”

Hamilton-Wenham volley

The Generals looked ready, in the first game, to continue their dominance over the Vikings.  They jumped in front, 11-7, before Triton tied things at 13-13 and 19-19.  Hard hits were handled by both teams.

The visitors moved to 23-19 before the home team rode the hard-to-handle serves of Evelyn Pearson on a six-point run and a 25-23 win.

The game ended on a terrific Molly Kimball setup that Mia Berardino finished.

“Molly had a great game,” said Coach Christian.  “She was very smart with her sets and she was hustling, getting to everything.”

Molly ended up with twenty-five assists.

In the third game, HW led early (8-7) before the Vikings rolled on Evelyn Pearson’s serving to a commanding 18-11 advantage.  HW’s Charlene Fibbe and Hannah-Marie Akoury kept the Generals in the game.

Mia Berardino had nine kills for Triton

HW was able to cut their deficit to, 23-21, as they just refused to make mistakes.

Fittingly however, Triton’s two big hitters (Mia Berardino & Evelyn Pearson) were set up on the next two plays for hits that would have been challenging for D1 college players to return and the Vikings had a 25-21 win……and the match.

“This was one of the more exciting matches of the season,” said Coach Christian.  “The kids came with lots of energy.”

Evelyn Pearson (eleven kills): “I thought we played pretty good.  Our communication was excellent.”

Senior Jess Manganello: “We’re all proud of how we played tonight.”   (Next year): “I am going to take a gap year, work, and take some courses at community college.”

Both teams have three games left.

Battle at the net

Triton’s win tonight gives them five and ties them with the most wins in a season the Vikings VB program has ever had.  They were 5-15 last year and 5-11 in 2015.

This has certainly been a special season for the Vikings……with more games to go.  I believe that there also will be some post-season playoffs.

The best team in the Cape Ann League is certainly undefeated Lynnfield.  After the Pioneers, however, the remaining teams are on the “any-given-night” level.

All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.

Block at the net
Jess Manganello
Mia Berardino gets low for a return
Emma Campbell and Molly Kimball
Molly Kimball and Evelyn Pearson
Trinity Cole
Maggie Firicano
Emma Day
Grace Roebuck
Evelyn Pearson spikes (eleven kills)
Mia Berardino serves (seven aces)
Action at the net
Emma Campbell at the net
Mia Berardino and Em Hoggard at the net for Triton
Mia Flynn serves for Hamilton-Wenham

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Newburyport plays ‘best match’ sweeping Hamilton-Wenham 3-0

(Newburyport MA) “It was the best Newburyport match that I’ve watched since we started,” were the happy words NHS coach Lori Solazzo had for her team’s performance afterwards.

Newburyport girls celebrate their third win of the season

“They were communicating,” said the 4th year coach.  “They were in it together.  One girl went for a ball and there was another one was behind her. They were really focused in on this match.”

Sophia Messina and Isabella Toledo

The Clippers (3-2) never gave Hamilton-Wenham a chance in the first two sets (25-7 & 25-13).

Then there was the third set.

The Generals ended up losing that one, 27-25, but HW coach Jen Flynn was pleased with how they played.

“I think that they did a great job coming back the way they did after the first two game,” said Coach Flynn.  “It showed grit and a desire to win.”

Coach Solazzo had high praise for senior Sydney Yim (Purdue commit) post-match.  “Her setting (15 assists) was amazing tonight.  We can’t have the hits we get without her.  She’s awesome.  She was nearly flawless in tonight’s game.”

Junior Ava Hartley was one of those benefitting for Sydney’s setups.  “She always gives me nice setups in the perfect spot every time.  We did a 5-1 tonight so she was setting all of us up.”

The Generals (3-2) were far from perfect in the first two sets.  Balls fell in and there were few successful spikes.

Sydney Yim

Everything changed in Game 3.  “Hamilton-Wenham is usually a pretty good matchup,” explained senior Kate Sarras.  And right she was in the third game.

HW cut down the miscues and led by setter Emma Day and hard-hitter Mia Flynn gave the Clippers a run for their money.

HW had a 23-20 lead before Newburyport called a timeout.  Back came the Clippers to tie the score.  HW twice after that had game point (24-23 & 25-24) but the Clippers put three straight points together to end a very exciting game.

“A lot of people stepped up for us tonight,” said sophomore Viive Godtfredsen (ten kills).  “We struggled against Triton the other night, but we proved ourselves to be better than that tonight.”

Newburyport’s serving was very good.  “We talked about service runs and how important they are,” said Coach Solazzo.  “It changes the match when you decrease your unforced errors.”

“We’ve been working on our serving and our service receiving a lot in practice,” explained Ava Hartley, “and it showed tonight.”

Charlene Fibbe hustles after a ball

Coach Flynn: “The Newburyport program has gotten better each year that I’ve watched them with Lori (Solazzo) coaching.  The core of their whole team has been raised over the last couple of years.”

Coach Solazzo: “We had a lot to come back from after the Triton loss.  Since then, we’ve had a lot of conversation on what we needed to do to get better.”

Coach Flynn: “I have a different mindset this year.  Every second we can be playing is a bonus. We’re trying to have fun being together.  We try to pull positives from every experience we can.”

Senior Kate Sarra: “We played well and our energy was up.  In the fall, I’ll be attending Eastern Connecticut State.  I expect to study Sociology and minor in Psychology.  I am hoping to play volleyball there.  I’m currently talking to their coach.”

(All of the pictures will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

HW coach Jen Flynn
Violet Landymore
Hannah-Marie Akoury and Grace Roebuck
Laney Lucci
Mia Flynn
Viive Godtfredsen spikes
Ava Hartley
Sydney Yim and Sophia Messina at the net
Mia Flynn returns
Action at the net
Emma Day sets up Isabella Toledo
Setter Emma Day
Viive Godtfredsen
Viive Godtfredsen had ten kills
Sydney Yim sets up Viive Godtfredsen
Mia Flynn spikes
Senior Kate Sarra

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Triton continues solid season with win over Pentucket

Evelyn Pearson spikes against Pentucket
Mia Berardino had a night of aces and spikes.

(Byfield MA) Triton was upbeat.

It was Senior Night.

And the Vikings (3-1) played extremely well defeating Pentucket (0-3) on Wednesday night at Triton by a 3-1 count.

“Molly (Kimball), the setter, and Mia (Berardino) was a 1-2 combination that we couldn’t handle very well,” said Pentucket coach John McNamara afterwards.

Mia had spikes tonight, but it was her serves that gave Pentucket their biggest trouble.

Putting those things together enabled the home to team to run points together and build up sizable leads.  On this evening, Pentucket was unable to respond.

“Returning serves is one of the hardest things to learn,” explained Mia post-match.  “We know what it’s like to have trouble with it.”

“They picked us apart with serves,” said Coach McNamara.  “You have to get the ball in play.”

The Vikings won the first two games, 25-15 & 25-11. 

The substitutes for both teams played most of the third set and Pentucket held on for a 25-21 victory.  This was the second time this season that they have won a game.

Coach McNamara calls the wins, “baby steps” and “things we can build on.”

The Vikings really put everything together in the final game.  The spikes were there and the serves handcuffed Pentucket.  A 5-5 tie turned into a run of nine unanswered Triton points with Mia Berardino serving.  Mia, Evelyn Pearson, and Jessica Manganello had successful hard hits.  The final was 25-10.

“Mia and Evelyn play off each other as the outside hitters,” said Triton coach Karen Christian.  “There’s never a letup in any rotation.”

Second year Pentucket shows its hustle

“Mia seems to be improving every day,” added Coach Christian.  “She gets to the short balls that we have trouble with.  She’s able to make a bad set into a good attack.”

“It was nice to get the win on Senior Night,” said senior Evelyn Pearson.  “This was the first Senior Night that we’ve won since I’ve been here.”

Junior Molly Kimball complimented both Mia and Evelyn: “I’ve been playing everything with Mia since 4th grade.  We work really well together.  Evelyn is another one of those I can trust giving the ball to.  She usually gets the point for us.”

“It was good to get kids playing in tonight’s game who haven’t been in that much before,” added Coach Christian.

Vikings at the net blocking

Five Triton seniors were honored before the game.

I caught up with Pentucket seniors Mackenzie Currie and Megan Reading afterwards.  Both have been key basketball players and both decided to give volleyball a try for the first time in their senior years.

Mackenzie: “Volleyball is very different from basketball.  It is not an easy game. I just wanted to try something new my senior year.  The hardest part for me has been learning all the rules.  It’s not like basketball where there are set plays and you can scout the other team.”

Megan: “It has been interesting to play volleyball.  I have enjoyed learning the game.  You just can’t grab the ball, like in basketball.  I saw volleyball as another chance to be on a team and connect with more girls before I graduated.”

All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.

The link to this story will be on Twitter (@mcclellandpeter) and the pictures should come later on Instagram (@mcclellandmiscellanea).

Molly Kimball sets
Megan Codair sets for Pentucket
Shot falls in among the Sachems
Arielle Cleveland spikes for Pentucket
Evelyn Pearson finishes
Mia Berardino spikes
Arielle Cleveland spikes
Jillian Sheehy finds an opening
Izzy Oldoni and Evelyn Pearson
Trinity Cole
Senior Em Hoggard
Megan Reading and Arielle Cleveland
Megan Codair
Molly Kimball sets up her teammates

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Mia Berardino leads Triton VB past Newburyport 3-1

Mia Berardino up for a block against Viive Godtfredsen

Mia Berardino had five aces

(Newburyport MA) Two of the best volleyball players (Mia Berardino & Sydney Yim) in these parts had at it tonight as Triton visited Newburyport.

On this night it was Mia Berardino’s Vikings winning three sets to one in Cape Ann League action.

Mia (just a junior) has offers from Babson, Stonehill, and Bentley and is talking to Holy Cross.

“I love volleyball,” said Mia afterwards.  “This was a huge win for us.  It seems like we’ve lost so many times to Newburyport.”

Volleyball is a team game but Mia’s five aces, eighteen kills, eight digs, and two blocks were crucial in the Vikings (2-1) win.

“We made the plays when we needed to,” explained Triton coach Karen Christian.  “The energy and enthusiasm was great.”

Even though Newburyport (1-2) won the first set (25-16) Clippers coach Lori Solazzo wasn’t fooled.  “We won but it didn’t feel like we did.  We weren’t executing well even in the first game.  We had our highs and lows.  We need to find the middle ground and be more consistent.”

Evelyn Pearson and Emma Campbell of Triton battle Sydney Yim at the net

Ava Hartley (9 kills) for Newburyport

The second game was tight and tied at 15-15 before Mia led a run of nine unanswered points and Triton won, 25-16.

“In the first set we were all over the place,” explained Triton senior Evelyn Pearson.  “After that we settled down and covered a lot more.  We started diving.  Volleyball is all about coverage and communication.”

“We lost the first set and never gave up hope and came back with a vengeance,” said Coach Christian.

Sydney Yim went out with an injury in the third game with the Clippers trailing 20-15.  Newburyport would lose that one, 25-19.

Sydney returned in the 4th game, but her team was behind, 13-9.  Triton continued to make plays while the Clippers struggled with consistency falling, 25-18.

Sydney Kim (18) at the net

“We learned from playing a strong team,” explained Sydney post-match.  “We just need to communicate more.  We’re very young and still getting used to each other.”

Sydney is committed to Purdue.  “I leave June 12th for Purdue to start early training.  It will be nice to get playing time in the summer.  It looks like there will be a Big Ten season in the Fall.”

Sydney collected eighteen assists tonight against Triton.

Mia and Sydney play on the same club team (Smash Volleyball – Newton).

“Mia was awesome tonight,” said Sydney.  “She’s definitely looking to play in college.”

Evelyn Pearson and Abigail Gillingham battle

Mia: “They had a big block, so we had to be smart with our shots and we did that.”

Coach Christian: “I am consistently impressed with the effort the girls do day in and day out.  It was a sweet win and I’m happy for our seniors.”

Coach Solazzo: “Triton has definitely improved.”

Evelyn: “I am going into bio-medical engineering.  I’m not sure what college yet.  I have been accepted by my top choice (Northeastern).”

Sydney: “Purdue is now ranked #10 in the country.  We were #20 last year.  There are two graduating seniors.”

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

The link to this coverage will be on Twitter (@mcclellandpeter). Pictures should appear on Instagram (@mcclellandmiscellanea).

Vikings celebrate 3-1 win

Emma Campbell block

Viive Godtfredsen (7)

Mia Berardino

Laney Lucci

Emma Campbell and Sophia Messina

Kate Sarra

Jess Manganello

Sydney Yim waits on a serve

Emily Hoggard

Sophia Messina and Emma Foley at the net

Kate Sarra

Sydney Yim setup

Mia Berardino spikes

Emma Foley (3 aces)

Sydney Yim (18 assists)

Molly Kimball (3 aces, 5 kills, 17 assists)

Evelyn Pearson (3 aces, 12 kills, 7 digs)



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Bishop Guertin take D1 title 42-35 over Winnacunnet

Bishop Guertin wins D1 boys basketball title

Cardinals celebrate the championship

Brett Marelli (10 points) faces two Bishop Guertin defenders

(Durham NH)  Sometimes things don’t go the way you planned.

And that was the way it was for Coach John Fisher’s Bishop Guertin team versus Winnacunnet tonight.

But on this night, Coach Fisher was the one with the smile on his face afterwards saying, “I feel blessed to have had this moment.”

The Cardinals (18-5) took the Division 1 title, 42-35, over Winnacunnet on Saturday night at Oyster River in Durham.

“We wanted to speed things up,” said Coach Fisher.

“We knew they were big,” said Nate Kane (11 points), “so we tried to full-court press them.”

Speed things up.  Get some easy baskets.  Stay away from defensive half-court situations. Good intentions, but that’s now how it went.  Fast breaks were rare, but the Cardinals half-court defense was exceptional.

Matt Santosuosso (20) up for a block

“They’re athletic and long,” said Winnacunnet coach Jay McKenna post-game. “They put a lot of pressure on us in the half-court.”

So while the Cardinals didn’t score a lot of points, they made up for it with great defense.

“We were scraping and dominating the boards even though they were a bigger team,” added senior Nate Kane.

The other thing that didn’t go as BG hoped, but still worked in their favor, was free throws.

“We knew that they have been good at free throw shooting, so we were trying not to foul them,” recalled Coach Fisher.

But foul they did, sending Winnacunnet to the foul line twenty-four times.

The Warriors made only ten of twenty-four attempts!  Two of those misses were on the front end of one-and-one’s.

Free throws were a key to the outcome

The Cardinals were 10-of-14 from the line.

A big difference?  You bet.

“Our free throw shooting has been good this season and has won us a bunch of games,” said Coach McKenna.

“In fact, we’ve worked on free throw shooting with this group more than any other one we’ve had,” Coach McKenna added.

“We even shot a lot of free throws this morning,” he added.  “Some nights you make them and some nights you don’t.”

So on this night, BG didn’t want to foul but did, and it worked to their advantage.

Not the way BG coach John Fisher planned it……..but I’m sure he’s happy with the unplanned ways things worked out.

Sam Andreottola (12 points) guarded by Lucas Baker

This was a one-possession game (26-25) one minute into the final quarter after a Joseph Allen layup set up by Brett Marelli.

The game got away from Winnacunnet in the next five minutes.

While the Warriors had only one free throw (five attempts) the Cardinals put ten points together and came away up ten (36-26) with two minutes left.  Winnacunnet didn’t have time to recover.

During the crucial BG segment, John Sullivan hit a fallaway jump shot in the lane and went in on a successful layin assisted by Nate Kane.

Matt Santosuosso scored on a drive and pairs of free throws (Jordan Robichaud & Dylan Santosuosso) extended the lead to ten points.

Nate Kane (11 points) sets up a teammate with a nice pass

“You have to be able to make free throws at the end of games and we did,” added Nate Kane.

Junior Sam Andreottola paced the Warriors with twelve points.  Senior Brett Marelli (WPI commit) added ten.

Senior Dylan Santosuosso (Colby-Sawyer commit) was Bishop Guertin’s top scorer with twelve points.

Consecutive three’s by Nate Kane and Dylan Santosuosso gave the Cardinals a 10-5 lead early in the second quarter.

Later in that quarter a Brett Marelli rebound basket tied the score at 13-13.

Charge or block?

The next nine points belonged to BG.  Two of the points came on an end-of-the-half, buzzer-beating rebound score by Matt Santosousso after a 3-point miss by his brother Dylan.

The Warriors cut into that eight-point deficit (22-13) in the third quarter and were in a one-possession game (26-23) after three.

Joseph Burns early layup in the 4th quarter put Winnacunnet within one point but Bishop Guertin pulled away the rest of the way to gain the D1 title.

Coach Fisher: “We wanted to do a good job on defense and make them work on every possession.”

Dylan Santosuosso: “This is all very exciting.  The game had runs, up’s and down’s.  We got into foul trouble early in the third quarter and I thought it might affect us in the long run.  Thankfully, it didn’t.”

Matt Santosuosso: “We played strong.  We played solid.  It feels great.  It’s amazing.”

Nate Kane on a drive

Nate Kane: “We knew they were good after they upset Exeter early in the tournament.”

Coach McKenna: “There is an awful lot of disappointment among the kids right now.  We’re exceptionally proud of the effort they put in tonight.  We had a tough time making shots.  That’s how it goes sometimes.”

Noisiest game I’ve been to this season.  In most games, you can hear every coaches’ word during timeouts. The benches, for both teams, were very active.

The lighting at Oyster River was excellent.  I won’t be able to use the “lighting” excuse for mediocre pictures this time.

Bishop Guertin box

Winnacunnet box

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

The link to this coverage will be on Twitter (@mcclellandpeter) and later pictures will be up on Instagram (@mcclellandmiscellanea).

Dylan Santosuosso

John Sullivan (12) reaches in for a steal

John Sullivan (6 points) tries to split Elynn Houston and Lucas Schaake

Elynn Houston

Dylan Santosuosso guards Brett Marelli

Sam Andreottola guards Matt Santosuosso

Brett Marelli

James O’Hara guards Jordan Robichaud

Matt Santosuosso down the lane

Dylan Santosuosso in for a layup with Sam Andreottola close by

Scramble for possession

Javari Ellison finishes the game with a dunk




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Bishop Guertin defense stymies Londonderry 54-25 to reach D1 title game

Bishop Guertin pressure was persistent and effective

Liv Murray led BG with eighteen points

(Kingston NH) Bishop Guertin is so good that even on an “off” night they make it look easy.

The Cardinals (18-0) handled Londonderry, 54-25, on Thursday night at Sanborn Regional to reach the D1 finals on Sunday against Bedford.

“Bedford is going to have their hands full,” said Londonderry coach Nick Theos after having what he called, “a tough night” against Bishop Guertin.

BG will be chasing their fifth straight D1 title.

The Cardinals gave the Lancers (6-10) little room all night long.

Almost every time the Lancers picked up their dribble they were in trouble.

How much trouble?  Thirty-four turnovers worth, by my count.  That’s a lot of empty possessions.

Both teams struggled with turnovers in the first half.

For a half, the Cardinals had their own problems on offense.  I had them for fifteen turnovers BUT they still had a 25-9 lead at halftime.

“We need to be sound defensively,” explained BG coach Brad Kreik afterwards.  “If you do that than you can be a little sloppy and off your game a bit offensively and still have a shot to win.”

Everywhere a Lancer went with the ball there would be one, two, and sometimes three Cardinals close by.

“We were a little tentative at the start,” said Coach Theos.

Bishop Guertin jumped ahead, 12-2, in the first four minutes led by sophomore Liv Murray (18 points).

Meghan Stack and Olivia Chau

Neither teams would score a point during the final four minutes of the turnover-packed first quarter.

“We missed having Brooke Paquette (8 points) on the floor for much of the first half,” said Coach Kreik.  “She got into foul trouble and without her out there we felt it.  We got out of our rhythm.”

The good defense never went away, however.

And the offense started the second half with five minutes of turnover-free basketball.  Five different Cardinals contributed points during the productive segment as part of a 17-3 run.

Catelyn Wheeler (11 points)

Catelyn Wheeler (11 points) had seven points during the burst and the Cardinals lead was, 42-12.

“You can’t take away one or two kids,” said Coach Theos, “because they continue to throw good kid after good kid at you.”

The rest of the way both coaches cleared their benches rewarding their entire rosters with some tournament semi-final action.

Shannon Ball and Olivia Chau paced Londonderry with seven points.

Impressed with the way BG’s 6-foot sophomore Meghan Stack got to the basket and defended smartly in the backcourt.

Bishop Guertin box

Londonderry box

All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.

(The link to this coverage will be on Twitter @mcclellandpeter.  Later, I will post some of the pictures on Instagram @mcclellandmiscellanea.)

Bishop Guertin breakout

Liv Murray to the basket

Brooke Paquette (8 points)

BG coach Brad Kreick

Maizie Barker (2) and Molly Smith (4) apply pressure

Battle on the boards

Catelyn Wheeler on defense

Meghan Stack (9 points) in for two

Trying to get control

Londonderry coach Nick Theos with Ashley Rourke

Ashley Rourke escapes a BG trap

Olivia Chau (7 points) to the basket

Sarah Clegg (23) rebounds






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