(Amesbury MA) Girls soccer is being played in Massachusetts.
But the MIAA has taken the rivalries out of it.
Teams are happy just to be playing.
Thoughts of who the opponent is, and winning state titles have vanished.
Spectators are limited in number and visiting spectators are banned from the events. It’s a paid vacation for the officials as a result!
The games feel like scrimmages to me. But I digress……
Amesbury (3-2-2) and Manchester-Essex (3-1-2) played to a 1-1 tie this morning at Landry Stadium as part of their 10-game Cape Ann League schedules.
One player described today’s game as “fun.”
That’s not the way I recall the November get-togethers the last two seasons in the Division 4 North finals between these two teams!
The crowds were into those events and the players were as well. It wasn’t all sugar and spice for sure.
The Hornets lost one of those game in overtime and the other on penalty kicks. There was plenty of “thrill of victory,” and “agony of defeat” in both events. The winners were very happy and the losers not so much.
But then there’s today’s game.
Both coaches were happy with the result.
“It was super exciting,” said ME coach Luke Cosgrove. “It’s always a great game between these two teams.”
“I thought we moved the ball better than we have all year,” explained Coach Adam Thibodeau of Amesbury.
The goals came in the second quarter. MK McElaney (Amesbury) converted her own rebound while five minutes later Dasa Hase (Manchester-Essex) had her long shot go in off the crossbar.
The goalies were terrific, and they had to be to keep the score as low as it was.
Facing shots from Division 1 commits (Alyssa Pettet-Holy Cross & Dasa Hase-Dartmouth) will bring out the best (or worst?) in a goalie.
On this day, both Julia Campbell (Amesbury) and Leilani Brown (Manchester-Essex) were very, very good.
“Their goalie was fantastic,” recalled Coach Thibodeau. “She was ultra-aggressive and took plays away at the top of the box.”
Alyssa Pettet of Amesbury was the one applying some of the pressure in the final quarter. “I had some good chances, but the goalie (Leilani Brown) made good reads coming off her line.”
One of the features of the Hornets/Indians games is the contrasting styles. ME tries to be patient and relies on a short, quick passing game. Amesbury likes to pressure the defense with long runs and long kicks, hoping for a mistake.
“It’s always exciting to watch the two styles go against each other,” said Luke Cosgrove.
“Madelyn DiPietro got the ball forward and Ella Marinopoulos moved the ball into the middle,” said Coach Thibodeau describing his team’s goal. “MK (McElaney) came down the gut for a shot and then put in the rebound.”
MK McElaney: “I came down the middle and the ball went off the goalie. My shot went off the post and came back to me. Then I shot it in.”
The Manchester-Essex goal was set up when the Indians had trouble getting the ball out of their own end. (The MIAA rules require that the ball be kicked on the ground after some violations and clearing a ball that way is difficult especially from deep in your own end.)
“They gave Dasa (Hase) a little bit of space,” said Coach Cosgrove, “and she smashed it. We’ve seen quality play from her for four years and have no doubt she’ll continue that in college.”
Dasa Hase: “There was space, and I was able to rip it (from the right) with my left foot. I was looking high and it worked out.”
Coach Thibodeau: “We gave Dasa way too much space. It was a great shot and nothing Julia (Campbell) could have done about it.”
Dasa will be attending Dartmouth in 2021. “I started talking to them the summer of my sophomore year and I went to a bunch of their camps. They then reached out to me. I got on campus and fell in love with the school. It’s beautiful there and the coach is great. The goalie on my club team is a freshman there.”
Senior Gabby Smyth: “We really turned it around today. The goal by MK was fantastic. I expect to go to Lasell University next year. They contacted me. I like the GNAC Conference.”
Avery Hallinan: “Our offense today was better than usual. We need to work on getting to the back post which we did at the end.”
Before today’s game, the AHS seniors on this year’s squad were honored. “We were set up a little differently today to get the seniors as much time in the game as possible,” said Coach Thibodeau.
The weather was stunning for October 24th. Nice and warm.
(All of the pictures will enlarge if you click on them.)
This story/pictures will be on my McClelland Miscellanea blog, as well as Twitter (@mcclellandpeter) and Instagram (McClellandMiscellanea). I have been trying to post on Mascores, as I have in the past, but with no results so far.