(Amesbury MA) Junior Alyssa Pettet switched from defender/playmaker to striker this year.
This afternoon that certainly looked like the right move as she scored three times as Amesbury held off Ipswich, 3-2. It was Alyssa’s first hat trick and her fifth goal of the season.
“Striker is more fun,” Alyssa admitted afterwards, “but I like to learn different roles on the field because I think it makes me a better player.” She has already committed to D1 Holy Cross.
Alyssa had all three of her goals twelve minutes into the second half and Amesbury (5-0-1) had a comfortable, 3-0, advantage, or so it seemed at the time.
The Tigers (0-5-1) had other ideas.
“One of the strengths of our team is that we keep fighting until the end of games,” said Ipswich coach David Wood.
And that they did.
There had been good chances for the Tigers but Indians goalie Alli Napoli (fresh off twenty-eight saves on Monday vs Masconomet) turned everything away.
But when Alli was injured, and had to leave the game, the winless Tigers had new life.
With no backup goalie available (out sick) sophomore Avery Hallinan took over as goalie…..on her birthday!
Avery was quite insistent after the game that playing goalie was not one of her birthday wishes. “Last time I played there was in 8th grade in a town league game,” she explained.
With someone less experienced in net, Ipswich turned up the pressure. By the time Alli returned to finish the game, the Tigers had collected two goals (Katie Rokes & Carter King).
“How much time was left,” was a question only the lone official had any idea of. Was in ten minutes? Five minutes? No one knew.
With little sense of how much time was left, you wondered if Ipswich had enough time to earn a remarkable tie. They didn’t. Alli went back in net after the second goal and the ball never reached her the rest of the way.
“It was an unfortunate situation with their goalie,” said Coach Wood. “It did give us the opportunity to make a mini-comeback.”
Alyssa certainly took the pressure off her team after the Tigers two goals by getting into the distant corner with the ball and shielding off a defender while time ran out.
“We should have gone to the corners more, late in the game, to waste time,” added Alyssa.
AHS coach Adam Thibodeau was impressed with the Tigers. “There is no quit in Ipswich.”
Alyssa’s first goal was on a penalty kick. She dribbled past one defender and was tripped by another (Kyleigh Cranston) to set up the PK.
“Alyssa’s second goal was a thing of beauty,” said Coach Thibodeau. “She blasted it into the far post.”
“My 3rd goal came after a clear-in from Gracie Doherty,” explained Alyssa.
The first Ipswich goal came on a long, high shot by senior Katie Rokes. Teammate Carter King tallied the second goal after getting in close and firing a shot into the right corner.
Both Katie and Carter displayed the ability to get by defenders. Carter was very effective dribbling laterally and finding openings.
The Indians had given up only two goals in their first five games.
Ipswich had scored eleven times but had surrendered twenty goals in five games.
Avery on the Masco win on Monday: “The Masco game was insane. It was crazy from beginning to end. McKenna (Hallinan) scored the only goal in the first five minutes of the second half. She kicked a shot hard into the goalie that bounced back to her and she put it in. We thought it didn’t go in and then it did. We just packed it in defensively after that. I moved back to defense and so did Alyssa.”
No, I don’t want my taxes to go up BUT it really is time for some turf fields with scoreboards and seating to become a reality in Amesbury. I covered a boys soccer game on Monday at Stehlin Field in Newburyport so I know what could be.
(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)