Monthly Archives: March 2021

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

Surrounded

 

 

 

 

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Ipswich sweeps Pentucket on the road in season opener for both teams

Megan Reading (23), Anna Mossler (11), Meghan Wallace (27)

Lou Roesler – 9 digs for Ipswich

(West Newbury MA) Some might call it rebuilding.

Others might prefer reloading.

Ipswich girls’ volleyball started their 2021 season with a three-set sweep over Ipswich (25-15,25-18,25-12) on Monday night.

The Tigers (1-0) reached the Division 3 state semifinals last season.

“We graduated seven seniors from that team (16-7) but the newcomers to this year’s team blew us away in practices and in the game today,” said senior captain Lou Roesler.

Rachel Alleva

“It was a great season opener,” said Ipswich first-year coach Staci Sonke post-match.  “Obviously we had a little bit of rust to shake off because a lot of these girls hadn’t played in six months.  We had four really good seniors (Jillian Gregory,Anna Mossler,Gabrielle Ring, Lou Roesler) giving us a good foundation out there tonight.”

Pentucket is only in its second season of having a team.  With plenty of enthusiasm, but little experience, the Sachems took their lumps going 0-16 in that first season.

Starting this season with the likes of talented/experienced Ipswich was not an ideal matchup for the home team.

But they gave it their best and had good starts in all three sets.

Pentucket coach John McNamara

“We battled, but we gave away a lot of points,” said John McNamara, Pentucket’s first-year coach.

“Ipswich is very good,” he said. “They’re solid.  We had stretches where we made multiple mistakes in a row and all of a sudden you spot them six points.  They’re going to keep that lead.”

“Pentucket gave us a good run in the first set,” said Coach Sonke, “and it was nice to get our groove back in the 2nd and 3rd sets.”

“We’ll get better,” said Coach McNamara, “but we have a lot of work to do.”

Coach Sonke also saw work ahead for her team.  “There are still things to improve on.  The idea is to stay consistent out there.”

These are some of the Ipswich numbers: Jillian Gregory 6 aces, Kendra Brown 7 assists, Meghan Wallace 6 kills, Lou Roesler 9 digs.

Ipswich coach Staci Sonke

Lou Roesler: “I was really excited to get back on the court after Covid.  During the summer, I set my expectations low and prepared myself for no season.  The reality that we would actually play came around Christmas.  I have been accepted at a number of colleges.  I am interested in humanities and environmental studies.”

It was interesting to see senior basketball players, Megan Reading & Mackenzie Currie, giving volleyball a try for the first time for Pentucket.

This story will be linked on Twitter (@mcclellandpeter) and pictures will appear later on Instagram (mcclellandmiscellanea).

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

Macey Rodrigues-Cowl leads the Sachems onto the court

Arielle Cleveland and Mackenzie Currie

Megan Reading

Ready for a return

Meghan Wallace

Arielle Cleveland block

Jillian Gregory

Meghan Wallace (6 kills)

Block at the net

Nicole Zahornasky

Kendra Brown (7 assists)

Ally Cacciapuoti

Anna Mossler dives

Anna Mossler and Meghan Wallace at the net

Lou Roesler – backrow hit

Anna Mossler serves the match winner

 

 

 

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Winnacunnet reaches NH D1 Final Four with 54-43 win over Portsmouth

Brett Marelli battles inside the Portsmouth zone defense

Warriors start to celebrate

(Portsmouth NH) Winnacunnet avoided the upset defeating Portsmouth, 54-43, to gain the Final Four in Division 1.

The Warriors (10-4) will face Trinity on Wednesday (5PM) at Oyster River.

The Clippers (7-6) had lost twice to Winnacunnet in this season of regional schedules.

“Portsmouth was strictly man-to-man the previous two times,” recalled senior Brett Marelli.  “They had some success with a zone defense against Exeter so that is probably why they tried it against us.”

And that Portsmouth zone worked………for 2+ quarters.

The Clippers were up, 32-22, after Coleman Brewster (10 points) made a jump shot at the 5:33 mark of the third quarter.

Timeout Winnacunnet.  “I told the team,” said Warriors coach Jay McKenna, “we didn’t come this far, to come this far.  We couldn’t just be happy with beating Exeter.  We had bigger goals.  Things we wanted to do.”

Elynn Houston (12 points) finds an opening in the lane

What they needed to do, was handle the Portsmouth zone better.

“We struggled with the zone,” said Brett Marelli.  “What we needed to do was move around, pass, and cut into the middle.  It eventually worked and we started rolling.”

Winnacunnet finished the last 5 ½ minutes of the third quarter on a 14-2 run, took the lead (Joshua Schaake three), and held it the rest of the way.

Recalling the turnaround, Elynn Houston (12 points) said, “We brought the energy.  We turned the whole season around”

Six different Warriors contributed points during the crucial segment.  “I liked the way the guys shared the ball and created open shots for each other,” added Coach McKenna.

The Clippers had fallen behind, but they were far from finished in the 4th quarter.

A fallaway in the lane (Carmine Zingariello) reduced the WHS lead to, 38-36.  A minute later a long three by Kevin Cummings (19 points) and the lead was one point – 40-39.

The Clippers, in fact, were just one possession (44-41) away with three minutes to go in the game.

James O’Hara (12 points) gets loose in close in the final quarter

But then the unselfish Warriors found James O’Hara (12 points) twice in close for layups.  Assists to Brett Marelli and Lucas Schaake.

Out of one-possession range the Clippers went, 48-41, and they couldn’t recover in the final minute.

“First half we got down a little bit,” said James O’Hara post-game.  “We had to keep our heads up.  We knew we could battle back.  We’ve done it before after a sloppy first half.”

Senior Kevin Cummings was the key to Portsmouth getting the big start.  He had fourteen of the Clippers first thirty-two points including three 3’s.

“They have two of the best scorers in the state,” said Coach McKenna.  “That we could hold Portsmouth to only forty-three points was a good defensive effort on our part.”

Scramble on the floor as both coaches watch

Portsmouth coach John Mulvey: “Their size affected us, and we ran out of gas.  The purpose of using the zone was to give them one shot and out.  That worked for a while but later on they started getting inside and rebounding and it cost us.”

James O’Hara: “Portsmouth is a great team.  We knew that they can makes 3’s and are streaky.  We knew that we had to lock up, get some turnovers, and convert them into baskets.”

I asked James about his last-second drive to the basket with his team having an eight-point lead.  “I feel bad that I made that last basket, since we didn’t need it.  I just wasn’t sure how far ahead we were.  I was just playing.”

James O’Hara on a late drive

The Warriors now move closer to a championship game next Saturday.  Coach McKenna was well aware that it has been a long time since Winnacunnet has won a boys basketball title.

“The last time we won it was in 1992 and I was on the team,” he said with a smile.

Portsmouth box

Winnacunnet box

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

This story will be posted on my McClelland Miscellanea online blog.  The link to it will be on my Twitter site @McClellandPeter.  I will also post some of the pictures on my Instagram site @McClellandMiscellanea.

Kevin Cummings (19 points) led all scorers

Matt Minckler (7 points)

Tight Clippers defense

Coleman Brewster (10 points) makes a fancy layup in traffic

Carmine Zingariello lines up a three

Brett Marelli (9 points)

Elynn Houston (12 points)

James O’Hara (12 points)

Joshua Schaake

Ryan Minckler (4) and Brett Marelli (24)

Backcourt pressure

Game ends

 

 

 

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