Category Archives: Amesbury

Pentucket’s efficient defense leads to 42-23 win over Amesbury

Megan Reading (10 points) turns defense into a layup

McKenna Hallinan tries the baseline against Gabby Bellacqua

(Amesbury MA) “This was the cleanest game we’ve played defensively this season,” said Pentucket coach John McNamara post-game.

“What we talked about they executed really well,” he added.

The Sachems (9-1) challenged every Amesbury pass, dribble, and shot and coasted to a, 42-23, win on Friday night.

The Indians (7-3) went down, 9-1, in the first quarter and never recovered.

“Pentucket is very good,” said AHS coach Gregg Dollas afterwards.  “They’re very organized.  Very structured.  We just couldn’t gather ourselves.”

“We’ve had four practices in three weeks,” added Coach Dollas, “and at times in this game that lack of practice showed.”

Avery Hallinan shoots as Arielle Cleveland defends

That lack of practice was most apparent in Amesbury’s turnover number.  The Indians lost the ball on twenty-eight possessions without getting off a shot.  Plenty of wasted opportunities for Amesbury.

“We had way too many turnovers,” admitted Coach Dollas. “Plenty of silly passes and things like that.”

Senior Megan Reading led all scorers with ten points including several outside shots.

“My teammates made drives which set up the rest of us for nice open looks,” explained Megan.

And there were plenty of those open looks for Pentucket.  Amesbury was blessed that the Sachems were off from the outside and hit only four 3’s.

The Indians had as many three’s as Pentucket.  The home team had long one’s from McKenna Hallinan, Liv DeLong, and Meagan McAndrew in the last quarter.

Arielle Cleveland covered by Gabby Redford

Two years ago, Pentucket won at Amesbury by only two points.  Four years ago, it was a three-point game.  As a result, the one-sidedness of today’s game was surprising.  However, Covid-19 has taken the “normal” out of everything, including basketball.

“Amesbury is a good team,” said Coach McNamara.  “The score doesn’t indicate it.  They got off to a slow start and we were in control most of the way.”

The Sachems lead was 21-10 with three minutes left in the first half.  The next seven points belonged to Pentucket.  Freshman Gabby Bellacqua drained a three.  Senior Greta Mauer stole a pass and went for a layup.  Sophomore Audrey Conover drove from end-to-end.

This offensive collection elevated the Pentucket advantage to 28-10 in the early part of the second half.

Mackenzie Currie (9 points) splits Gabby Redford and Liv DeLong

Mackenzie Currie (9 points) and Arielle Cleveland (8 points) were the other two top scorers for the Sachems.

Gabby Redford paced Amesbury with six points.

When McKenna Hallinan got into early foul trouble, Gabby took over the point.  “I thought that Gabby stepped up in terms of controlling the ball,” said Coach Dollas.

The Indians three losses have been to Newburyport (twice) and Pentucket (once).  Neither of those teams are in Amesbury’s division in the Wednesday/Friday tournament of this coming week.  You have to like their chances.

Pentucket’s only loss has been to Newburyport.  Those two teams could well be facing each other for a second time in next Friday’s divisional championship.

Arielle Cleveland (8 points) breaks in with Ciara Sullivan in pursuit

In the February 3rd meeting, Pentucket’s top scorer (Arielle Cleveland) missed most of the game with an injury.  The Sachems squandered a lead in the last minute, falling, 58-54.  A rematch with the undefeated Clippers has “must-see” written all over it!

Megan Reading (senior): “I want to study kinesiology or exercise science. I want to get into the sports medicine field.”

Megan’s top school choice is Michigan.  “I have been accepted at Delaware, Maryland, Temple, and Penn State so far with a few more to hear from.”

Megan explained that her knee injury played a part in her interest in sports medicine.  “I got to experience that side of things with the injury.”

In the closing seconds of the game, reserves Ally Cacciapuoti (Pentucket) and Meagan McAndrews (Amesbury) nailed three’s.

Amesbury box

Pentucket box

The link to this game will appear on Twitter (mcclellandpeter) and Mascores.  Tomorrow I plan to post pictures on Instagram (mcclellandmiscellanea).

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

Emma Dollas looks for a pass

Emma Lopata (44) guards Liv DeLong

Ciara Sullivan shoots in the lane

Gabby Redford finds a lane

Abby Dube defends Alyssa Pettet

Ciara Sullivan looks to the rim as Mackenzie Currie defends

Bethany Cloutier gets a layup

Gabby Redford looks to pass as Audrey Conover defends

Alyssa Pettet trapped by Mackenzie Currie and Arielle Cleveland

Lana Mickelson to the basket

Scramble for the ball

Abby Dube

Megan Reading

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Amesbury, Pentucket

Despite Cam Keliher’s 44 points, Newburyport defeats Amesbury 86-83 in overtime

Cam Keliher scored forty-four points including eleven 3’s

(Newburyport MA) Both coaches said the same thing right afterwards.

“This game was fun.”

Everyone watched Amesbury’s last shot (Matt Welch) in overtime

Jake Robertson (17 points) hit a last-second shot to get Newburyport into overtime

I would have gone with, “exciting” to describe Newburyport’s, 86-83, overtime win against Amesbury on Friday night.

The game was certainly worthy of superlatives!

I’m going to guess that records were set.

Undefeated Newburyport (9-0) and Amesbury (2-5) combined for twenty-eight three’s.

Junior Cam Keliher collected forty-four points in a night where he made eleven three’s.

Amesbury played as if they didn’t remember their last meeting versus the Clippers; a 28-point loss in January.

The Indians also played as if they hadn’t played last night, which they had.

“Amesbury was relentless,” add NHS coach Dave Clay.  “They played well in their win over Manchester-Essex last night and it carried over into this one.”

The Indians came very close to winning in regulation.

A Cam Keliher three had Amesbury ahead by three with twenty-two seconds left.

You suspected that the Clippers’ high scorer, Jake Robertson, would be involved in the final shot……….and he was, but it took a while.

Tight AHS defense forced Max Gagnon (17 points) into what looked to be the last shot.  He missed, but Jack Fehlner (16 points) found the rebound and quickly found Jake.

Jake Robertson congratulated by teammates after sending game into overtime

“It was close to being over,” said Jake afterwards.  “Great offensive rebound by Jack.”

Trevor Ward draws a foul on Matt Heidt

Jake launched a long, straightaway three just before the buzzer sounded.  “I couldn’t tell if it was in because I fell off to the side,” said Jake.

But in it went, and Newburyport had five more minutes of playing time.

“We attacked the offensive glass and got that last chance,” said Coach Clay.

The Clippers took a quick four-point lead in overtime against the tiring Indians on inside scores by Jack Fehlner and Tommy Jahn (10 points).

Defensively the Clippers changed to a 1-2-2 zone defense and lessened Cam Keliher’s clean looks.

“We were just trying to give them a different look,” explained Coach Clay.  “Cam was really killing us with that step-back.  It was a gamble.  We did it earlier in the game and he hit a corner three.”

“That zone in overtime was effective because we missed some inside shots,” said Coach Comeau.

Cam Keliher closely guarded by Trevor Ward

After a layup by Kyle Donovan (11 points) Jack Fehlner and Tommy Jahn both scored again from in close.

Cam followed with his 11th three to cut the lead to three (86-83) with 22 seconds left.

The Indians would get a final possession with a chance to tie but weren’t able to do it.

“We had them,” said Cam post-game, “and he (Jake) made that tough shot. Credit to him.”

“I’m sad that we lost but it was a fantastic game,” said Coach Comeau.  “This what the Amesbury/Newburyport rivalry is supposed to be like.”

Max Gagnon (17 points) in the lane

“I’m excited for our kids to have been in a game like this,” said Coach Clay.  “Win or lose, you never forget these.”

Coach Clay: “Jake (Robertson) always makes the right play.  It doesn’t always end with him shooting the ball.  I was certainly glad to see the ball in his hands at the end, I’ll admit.  That was a tough shot, but we’ve seen him hit those in practice.”

You would have never guessed the ending by the way the first half went.

The teams were tied, 7-7, after four minutes but then the Clippers took over.  They scored the next fourteen points, while Amesbury committed five turnovers.

To make this worse, Cam Keliher limped off and missed most of the final four minutes.

Newburyport led, 21-7, after a quarter.

The lead was sixteen (36-20) halfway through the second quarter.

One minute into the second half, the Clippers still had a nice cushion, 46-30.

Matt Welch (13 points) guarded by Jack Fehlner

Newburyport winning by twenty-eight in January started dancing in my head.

But as Coach Comeau said afterwards, “There’s no quit in these kids.”

The Indians absolutely owned the next 3 ½ minutes of playing time in the third quarter.  They went on a 19-3 run and tied the game, 49-49.

Matt Welch (13 points) had seven during the run as did Cam Keliher.

Five ties and seven lead changes followed through regulation.

“I really feel bad that we didn’t have fans in the stands for this one,” said Coach Comeau.

I asked Cam if he had eaten anything special pregame. “I had Subway.”

There was some back-and-forth banter between the teams as the long shots started falling.  The referees put an end to it.  “It was all fun and games,” said Cam.  “We’ve been playing each other since fifth grade.”

Cam had three points in the first quarter and in overtime.  In between he went; 13, 13, and 12.  Remarkable performance.

“Cam’s a fantastic player,” said Coach Comeau, “and he’s going to play at the next level.”

Scramble on the floor

Jake Robertson: “Amesbury always gives us a good run.”

Jake described this season’s success this way, “We’ve been good at creating our own energy off the court and it transfers onto the court.”

It appears that there will be a post-season in the Cape Ann League during February vacation.

“It will give the seniors some more games,” said Coach Clay.

“If we are in the tournament, no one is going to be happy to play us,” added Coach Comeau.

Newburyport box

Amesbury box

The link to this coverage will be on Twitter @mcclellandpeter and also Mascores.  Pictures from the game should appear on Instagram (@mcclellandmiscellanea) on Saturday.

(The pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Nick White

Andrew Cullen

Cam Keliher leaves with an injury in the first quarter

Tommy Jahn (10 points)

Kyle Donovan gets a block

Jack Fehlner (16 points) including four 3’s

Kyle Donovan (11 points) in for two in overtime

Cam ties the game

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Amesbury, Newburyport

Fast start key as Amesbury gets 39-23 win versus Ipswich

Riley Daly (16 points) even with tight coverage

Avery Hallinan (18 points) even against a good Ipswich zone defense

Liv DeLong (10 points) on the baseline

(Amesbury MA) Sometimes the start can finish a team.

That’s what happened to Ipswich as they fell to Amesbury, 39-23, on Tuesday night in Cape Ann League play.

“We got off to a slow start,” said Tigers coach Chris Tolios,” and dug ourselves a hole we couldn’t get out of.”

Amesbury (2-1) had nine unanswered points to start the game.

Early in the second quarter the Indians put eight straight together.

When those two collections of consecutive offense were over, Amesbury was in front, 19-5, four minutes into the second quarter.

The two teams were even the rest of the way but the ship had sailed on the Tigers.

McKenna Hallinan looks to pass

A tight Amesbury man-to-man defense saw to it that Ipswich (1-4) stayed double digits away thereafter.

Avery Hallinan had eighteen points to lead the Indians.  Twice in this one (in the 2nd quarter) she hit from long-range.

Amesbury had five 3’s in the game.  “We hit three’s,” said Amesbury coach Gregg Dollas afterwards, “and we needed that against their tough zone.”

Riley Daly (16 points) paced Ipswich.

“McKenna (Hallinan) did a great job covering her,” said Coach Dollas.  “Riley is one of the best players in the CAL.”

Riley Daly gets to the basket

Riley was tightly covered on the perimeter and was confronted with extra defenders when she tried to get to the basket.  Somehow, even with the special attention, the Ipswich senior made shots.

I have seen all three Amesbury games, and the biggest improvement tonight was their passing.

“The ball movement was greatly improved,” agreed Coach Dollas.

And it needed to be against a well-organized Ipswich zone.

“Riley does a great job in the middle of that zone,” said Coach Dollas.  “She’s so athletic and she made it tough for Avery who lives in there.”

The heavy traffic, however, didn’t seem to deter Avery too much when passes did get inside.  She was willing to absorb contact, attempt layups, draw fouls, and collect points.

“We had good ball movement,” explained junior Gabby Redford post-game.  “Definitely better than last game (Lynnfield).  We passed well and got good looks out of it.”

Gabby Redford (22) finds a teammate for a layup

Gabby had several assists.  “I looked up and they were cutting through, so I got them the ball.”

Carter King (12) on defense

Coach Dollas: “He (Chris Tolios) does a terrific job with his kids.  They hang around in every game.”

Coach Tolios: “Amesbury played good physical defense.  We just couldn’t get anything going offensively.  We work a lot on defense in practice.  Our girls don’t quit.  Even when the ball is not going into the basket you can still play hard defense.”

Gabby Redford: “I have been thrown off by the way the season has gone.  Last year we had so much more practice and time to prepare.  Now everything is rushed.  I am still very happy to be playing.”

Covid-19 concerns have affected both teams.  Amesbury had its first five games postponed.  Ipswich hadn’t played in thirteen days.

Ipswich coach Chris Tolios

Liv DeLong notched ten points for Amesbury.

Only three players scored for Ipswich.

Usually low-scoring games indicate a plentiful amount of turnovers, but not this time.  Why?  Ipswich kept the ball in Riley Daly’s hands as much as possible while Amesbury lessened their tendency (in the first two games) of panicking under pressure.

Amesbury box

Ipswich box

This coverage will be linked in Twitter @mcclellandpeter and should appear on Mascores.  I plan to also post some of the pictures on Instagram @mcclellandmiscellanea.

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

Alyssa Pettet (14) moves up to guard Riley Daly

Julia Moseley

Sami Kimball

Ava Horsman blocks McKenna Hallinan’s shot

Carter King tangles with Avery Hallinan

Avery Hallinan rebounds

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Amesbury, Ipswich

Amesbury holds off Lynnfield 47-43 for first win

McKenna Hallinan and Bella George go to the floor for a loose ball

Avery Hallinan (18 points) drives past Riley Hallahan

(Amesbury MA) There were six ties and six lead changes.

But it was Amesbury that took the last lead change.

The Indians were able to put together a good collection of offense/defense in the closing quarter and defeated Lynnfield, 47-43, on Friday night.

The winless Pioneers didn’t score a point in the final 6 ½ minutes.

This was only the second game for the Indians (1-1).

Three days ago, Amesbury faced Newburyport after just three days of practice.  The result (46-18) wasn’t pretty.

Alyssa Pettet defends Grace Klonsky (11 points)

“It certainly felt better tonight than last game,” said Avery Hallinan (18 points) about the team’s first win.  “We were more settled and definitely ready for this one.”

Lynnfield (0-5) which had also lost badly (61-29) to Newburyport, were in this game until the end.

“I saw them on film,” said AHS coach Gregg Dollas.  “They were much improved today.”

An issue for the Pioneers was depth.  Injuries had limited them to only seven players in uniform.

The short bench caught up to Lynnfield in the last quarter.

Abby Adamo to the basket

Up until then, the Pioneers made shots and disrupted Amesbury with double-teams and pressure.

“We were better today,” said LHS coach Jeannine Cavallaro post-game.  “We implemented a press the other day and they did a good job of executing it.”

At 6:30 of the final quarter, Grace Klonsky (11 points) nailed a jump shot from straight away and the Pioneers were up, 43-40.

Maybe it was the short Lynnfield bench.  Maybe it was tighter Amesbury defense.  Take your pick and/or add other reasons, but the Pioneers didn’t score another point.

Gabby Redford’s drive, and later her assist on a McKenna Hallinan three, gave the Indians the lead for good, 45-43, with 3 ½ minutes left.

Alyssa Pettet shoots a free throw

Several minutes later, Alyssa Pettet set up teammate Liv DeLong for a baseline jumper to boost the Amesbury margin to, 47-43, with 1 ½ minutes remaining.

That was how it ended but not before Lynnfield had good looks and Amesbury had free throws.  However, there were no successful connections on either end, and the Indians held on for the victory.

“In the first half we were hitting,” said Coach Cavallaro.  “The second half we were a little tired and I think it affected our shooting.”

Lynnfield’s Caroline Waisnor (17 points) was on fire in the first half notching fourteen points.

Caroline Waisnor (17 points) at the line

Avery Hallinan covered her.  “She’s a very good player and I love playing against her,” said Avery.

Avery Hallinan and Caroline Waisnor

Avery had eighteen points with most coming off drives.  Three of the baskets were set up by her sister McKenna.

“We were certainly better on offense today,” said Coach Dollas.  “Every game is going to be a grind.”

“Alyssa Pettet made big plays for us late in the game,” added Coach Dollas.  “She set up a basket and had a steal.”

“Amesbury had size,” said Coach Cavallaro.  “We had trouble shooting against them on the inside.”

Caroline Waisnor beat the clock with a late three to end the third quarter.

The Pioneers had a six-point lead (26-20) three minutes into the 3rd quarter but two 3’s by senior Mary Bullis (assisted by Liv DeLong) brought Amesbury even.  Liv’s cross-court passes gave Mary open looks against Lynnfield’s zone defense.

Sami Kimball blocks out

“I was certainly happy with our offense tonight after only getting eighteen total points at Newburyport,” said Coach Dollas.  “However, I didn’t like giving up forty-three points although they were really hot early in the game.”

Coach Dollas told me that he had heard multiple answers on whether or not there will be playoffs at the end of the season.

Avery Hallinan: “The Newburyport game was almost like a warmup game because we had so little preparation.  Now we’re moving on.  We did much better today.”

Amesbury box

Lynnfield box

The link to the game story & pictures will be on Twitter @mcclellandpeter.  I send Mascores the stories and some have been posted.  Pictures will appear on Instagram @mcclellandmiscellanea tomorrow.

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

Bella George and Gabby Redford

Ava Buonfiglio shoots a free throw

Grace Klonsky past McKenna Hallinan and in for two

Grace Klonsky

Inbounds lineup

Gregg Dollas and Jeannine Cavallaro

Leave a comment

Filed under Amesbury, Lynnfield

Undefeated Newburyport defeats Amesbury 46-18 led by Abigail Gillingham’s 20 points

Newburyport Clippers are undefeated after six games

Amesbury’s Avery Hallinan (11) looks for someone to pass to.

Abigail Gillingham (20 points)

(Newburyport MA) This was not a good matchup.

Amesbury was overwhelmed by Newburyport, 46-18, on Tuesday night at NHS.

The Indians faced undefeated Newburyport with only three days of practice, thanks to a ruling by the Amesbury School Committee.

The Clippers, now 6-0, could easily be the best team in the Cape Ann League.  They have been together for weeks and their play on both ends of the court shows it.

In this game, Newburyport passed its way to high percentage shots while defending Amesbury into low percentage shots.

Abigail Gillingham (20 points) was a game-long problem for the Indians.  Neither their perimeter defense nor their inside defense was effective enough to slow down the Clippers.

Avery Hallinan tries to cover Abigail Gillingham in close

“Abigail Gillingham was very good tonight,” admitted Amesbury coach Gregg Dollos afterwards, “but we didn’t battle the post.  We gave her all the positioning she wanted.”

Even when the Clippers missed shots in close there were teammates on hand to cash rebounds.

“Abigail did a great job of getting her body in the paint and we made really good passes to her,” said NHS coach Karen Grutchfield post-game.

Amesbury’s defensive struggles on the interior eliminated Newburyport’s need to rely on long-range shots and they took very few.

The Clippers gained separation 24-12 at halftime and Abigail had fifteen of Newburyport’s points.

Clippers interior defense

The Clippers defense truly made things tough for the visitors later on and they could only get six points in the entire second half. There were very few clean looks from anyplace for the Indians all night long.

“Our defense is the key to everything we do,” explained Abigail afterwards.  “Amesbury had trouble with our 1-2-2 press.”

“Our passing wasn’t good at all,” explained Coach Dollos.  “There were just too many individual things going on out there.”

It all came down to a well-organized team facing a team just getting used to being together.

Block by Liv DeLong

The Indians have two days to prepare for their home opener Friday versus Lynnfield. The time together should help them to improve.

“Amesbury has good kids and they’re physical,” said Coach Grutchfield.  “We were fortunate to catch them when we did.”

Deidre McElhinney had nine points for Newburyport while Avery Hallinan paced the Indians with ten points.

Newburyport box

Amesbury box

Interesting to see Amesbury’s Alyssa Pettet trying basketball her senior year.  She’ll be playing soccer for Holy Cross in the fall.

Newburyport seniors

Newburyport’s two seniors (Abigail Gillingham & Leah Metsker) were honored after the game.

This story/pictures will appear on my online blog (McClelland Miscellanea).  The link to the game with be on Twitter (mcclellandpeter).  Mascores has also been posting my entries.  There should be pictures showing up on Instagram (McclellandMiscellanea) over the next few days.

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

Newburyport triple-team

Alyssa Pettet gets to the basket

Gabby Redford tied up by Gabby Loughran and Makenna Ward

Jackie Doucette guards Gabby Redford

Abigail Gillingham jump shot in the lane

Deidre McElhinney (9 points) to the rim

Leah Metsker

Liv DeLong guards Abigail Gillingham

Mary Bullis

Metskers

Gillinghams

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Amesbury, Newburyport

Amesbury wins belated season opener 73-64 over Rockport

Benan Murdock cornered by Andrew Davis and Matt Welch

Bowen Slingluff had a career-high 31 points for Rockport

(Amesbury MA) The Amesbury boys basketball team finally got a chance to play……….and they made the most of it.

The Indians (1-0) held off Rockport, 73-64, on Sunday afternoon.

The winless Vikings (0-4) got a career game (31 points) out of junior Bowen Slingluff and were within five points in the last minute with the ball.

Key play alert.  Bowen followed with a drive to basket, which could have cut Amesbury’s lead to three points, but the shot attempt was blocked by senior Kyle Donovan.

Cam Keliher (21 points)

The rest of the game was a steady flow of free throws for junior Cam Keliher (21 points), and his eight-for-eight from the line sealed it for the home team.

“You could see the rust for sure,” said Amesbury coach postgame.  “Defensively, we were a little slow and #13 (Bowen Slingluff) took advantage of it.  This is only our fourth day out here since coming back.”  The Indians had their first four scheduled games cancelled because of Covid worries.

“I’m very proud of our team,” explained Rockport coach Phil Whitley afterwards.  “We’ve got three seniors not playing because of Covid concerns.  Today we were down but we came back.”

That short bench (three reserves) caught up to the Vikings in the third quarter.  They gained a, 34-31, advantage after 1 ½ minutes.

Matt Heidt (13 points)

Six different Indians (Matt Heidt, Kyle Donovan, Matt Welch, Cam Keliher, Keegan Collins, Jake Hallinan) contributed points in a 17-3 segment that followed over the next 4 ½ minutes and Amesbury took the lead for good, 48-37.

The Indians comfortable double-digit lead (65-55) got a little uncomfortable, however, in the last two minutes of the game as Rockport turned full-court defense into quick offense.

A three by Bowen and then a steal (Austin Matus) set Bowen up for a layup which had the Vikings within five, 65-60, one minute later

However, after Amesbury’s 8th turnover of the quarter, Kyle Donovan blocked Bowen’s layup attempt that would have made things even more interesting in the closing seconds.

Rockport was now forced to foul and every time they did, Cam Keliher had the ball.

Afterwards, Cam had lost track of the eight straight he made in the final thirty seconds.  “I missed one earlier in the game,” he said.

Tight defense

“They made free throws at the end when they needed to,” recalled Coach Whitley.

“Cam is a very good foul shooter,” said Coach Comeau.  “We wanted him to have the basketball late in the game.  He’s a good all-around player.”

Cam led Amesbury in scoring.  He had three 3’s in the second quarter.

Bowen’s thirty-one points were a career high for the junior.  “He was amazing,” said Coach Whitley.  “He hit from everywhere.  He had been struggling a bit but had a big second half in our last game against Lynnfield.”

Kyle Donovan (14 points) dominated the inside, but fouls limited his playing time.  “I have to learn to stop committing bad fouls.”

Kyle Donovan (14 points)

Rockport made ten three’s with Bowen getting seven of them.  “We gave #13 too many looks,” said Cam Keliher.

The Indians will certainly have to improve their perimeter defense next game when they host Georgetown which specializes in long-range tries.

Nine different players collected points for Amesbury.  Sophomore Matt Heidt had three of the Indians’ nine three’s.

Coach Whitley: “It has certainly been a bizarro season for everyone.  This was a fun game to be a part of even though we lost.”

Coach Comeau: “Rockport played very well today.”

Rockport box

Amesbury box

The link to this game will be posted on Twitter @mcclellandpeter.  The story will also get posted (I hope) on Mascores.  Later some of the pictures will appear on Instagram @mcclellandmiscellanea.

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

Cam Keliher

Benan Murdock

Dan Merz

Loose ball

Cam Keliher shoots in traffic

Austin Matus drives on Keegan Collins

Benan Murdock (14 points) sails

Austin Matus to the rim

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Amesbury

Amesbury and Manchester-Essex settle for a 1-1 tie in CAL girls soccer

Lidya Belanger and Madison Lawler

(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……

Battle for the ball

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.

Getting an advantage

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.

ME goal keeper Leilani Brown

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.

Only in the second quarter were the teams able to cash in.

MK McElaney puts in a rebound

“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.)

Dasa Hase’s shot goes over GK Julia Campbell

Dasa Hase

“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.”

Gabby Smyth

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.

MK McElaney

Elizabeth Loring and Sarah Chace

Alyssa Pettet gets an open look

Chloe Molin sent flying

Riley Doherty shadows Dasa Hase

Dasa Hase chased by Amesbury defenders

GK Leilani Brown saves in front of Alyssa Pettet

ME goal celebrated

Mercedes O’Neil and Sarah Chace

McKenna Hallinan has a chance

Amesbury goal celebrated

GK Leilani Brown lunges for a shot

Dasa Hase on the move

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Amesbury, Manchester-Essex

GK Julia Campbell stars in Amesbury’s 1-0 win over Newburyport

Senior Julia Campbell earned a shutout against Newburyport this morning.

GK Julia Campbell

(Amesbury MA) Senior goalkeeper Julia Campbell has not played much for Amesbury.

Blame graduated Cape Ann League MVP Alli Napoli for that.

However, although Julia didn’t play often, she did get to face Newburyport several times because of injuries to Alli.

“I’ve played them quite a few times and I knew their offense really well,” said Julia post-game.

Julia’s goalkeeping turned out to be a key for the Indians (2-0) as they defeated Newburyport, 1-0, on a sunny, windy Saturday morning of soccer at Landry Stadium in Amesbury.

“We don’t win this without Julia,” admitted Amesbury coach Adam Thibodeau afterwards.  “She earned that shutout today especially in the first half.”

Avery Hallinan’s goal celebrated

Defender Avery Hallinan struck the game-winner for the Indians in the third quarter.

The Clippers (1-1) started the game with a double-team on CAL All-Star Alyssa Pettet and the (substantial) wind to their backs.

Both factored significantly early on.

It was 6 ½ minutes before Alyssa actually touched the ball.

It was eleven minutes before Amesbury could even get the ball into the Newburyport side of the field.

That’s dominance………..but the Clippers didn’t score.

Allie Waters and Riley Doherty

“We had more chances and more possessions early,” said Newburyport coach Kevin Sheridan.  “We just didn’t capitalize.”

A number of the good Newburyport looks were shot over the net, certainly influenced by the strong winds.

The teams changed ends after the first quarter, which didn’t happen last game I was at.  It gave Amesbury the favorable wind.

Now it was Newburyport GK Anneliese Truesdale’s chance to face pressure.  And she faced it well.

Amesbury’s MK McElaney had a golden chance after a rebound in that 2nd quarter but Anneliese dove to stop an in-close shot.  Later, Anneliese was out of the net to beat McKenna Hallinan to a dangerous ball.

GK Anneliese Truesdale robs MK McElaney

“Anneliese is fearless,” said Coach Sheridan.

Gabby Loughran replaced Anneliese in the second half.

“We made some adjustments at halftime,” explained Coach Thibodeau.  “We wanted to fill the middle better.  They were taking away our immediate scoring threats, so we looked to get the ball to our 2nd and 3rd layer of players.”

That strategy paid off in the third quarter.

“I got a rebound off of a Newburyport player and dribbled in closer,” said junior defender Avery Hallinan discussing her goal.  “I had an opening, and their goalie was a little bit out, so I took the shot.  It dipped just under the crossbar.”

GK Gabby Loughran leaps for Avery Hallinan’s high shot.

“Two players dove at her and she got around them for the shot,” recalled Coach Sheridan.  “We needed to be containing there.”

That goal, at 12:29 of the 3rd quarter, spelled trouble for the Clippers.

Why?  The Indians switched into a defensive mode and moved Alyssa Pettet (Holy Cross commit) back as a defender.

“We knew that she (Alyssa Pettet) would go to defense if they scored,” said Coach Sheridan.  “She is a high-quality player.”

Alyssa was happy with the switch: “I feel more natural playing defense.”

A key to Alyssa being on defense was her ability to make long kicks, especially on goal kicks, that relieved pressure on Amesbury.

Maddie Felts shadows Alyssa Pettet

GK Julia Campbell was also happy to have Alyssa on defense. “The wind was killing all my punts,” said Julia.  “Alyssa could actually kick the ball out.”

“We packed it in defensively in the second half and it kept Newburyport from getting good chances,” recalled Alyssa.

Julia Campbell: “Avery’s goal was beautiful.  She had the wherewithal to hold onto the ball as long as she could.  She saw an opening and took it.”

Coach Sheridan: “I thought we did a fairly good job of shutting down Alyssa Pettet.  Using her the way they did was a winning strategy for them.”

Continue to be impressed with Deidre McElhinney’s in-traffic skills.

There were a limited number of spectators at this game.  First time that’s happened.  I counted twenty-six of them in the second half.

I have no doubt that “real” soccer folks are being, or would be, driven crazy by the rules that are in play for soccer in Massachusetts.  The ever-blowing whistles are the most maddening part.  I had to agree with Amesbury’s Sydney Aldrich when she said as the game was going on, “The game is now like field hockey and lacrosse.”  BUT, and I have to keep reminding myself, they are playing!

Coach Adam Thibodeau and Katie Gallagher

Great rivalry between Newburyport and Amesbury.  The last two years it was 1-1 ties.  Before that it was a 1-0 Amesbury win and the two years before that Newburyport won by a 1-0 score.

This game story, with pictures will be posted my McClelland Miscellanea blog.  There will also be coverage posted on Twitter (McClellandPeter) and Instagram (McClellandMiscellanea).

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

Amesbury celebrates a win

Jackie Doucette, Calista Catarius, Izzy Kirby

loose ball

Alyssa Pettet shielded from the ball by Maddie Felts

Avery Hallinan and Liberty Palermino

Maddie Felts and Sydney Aldrich

Deidre McElhinney and Sarah Chace

Deidre McElhinney and Avery Hallinan

Sarah Chace defends Allie Waters

Calista Catarius and Gabby Waters

Molly Webster (19) shoots

Allie Waters and Gabby Smyth

Allie Waters and Riley Doherty

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Amesbury, Newburyport

Alyssa Pettet (3 goals) leads Amesbury by Georgetown 6-1 in season opener

Alyssa Pettet (5) had three goals vs Georgetown. Megan Skahan (21) defends

Alyssa Pettet splits the Royals defenders

(Amesbury MA) Senior standout Alyssa Pettet scored three times in the first half leading Amesbury to a 6-1 win over Georgetown on Monday afternoon.

The Indians (1-0) rode Alyssa’s twenty-two goals last season to the D4 state semi-finals.  In the process she gained recognition in New England and will play for the Holy Cross Crusaders in 2021.

“Alyssa’s ability to run off the ball makes her so special,” explained AHS coach Adam Thibodeau post-game.  “She requires so much attention that she opens up the field for her teammates.”

Containing Alyssa became extremely difficult for the Royals (0-1) when defender Erin Irons went out with a sprained ankle just four minutes into the game.

Alyssa Pettet and Erin Irons early in the game

“Erin is not someone we can replace,” said assistant Georgetown coach Kevin Fair, who was filling in for head coach Colleen Gibbs.

The Royals trailed by four at halftime but were the better team for most of the third quarter.

“Our compete level was good, and we finally got a goal for our efforts,” said Coach Fair.

The Royals goal was set up by freshman Kayla Gibbs (coach’s daughter).  “She made a nice steal and put a beautiful ball to sophomore Carena Ziolkowski for the scoring play,” said Coach Fair.

There were other chances for the visitors to Landry Stadium but netminder Julia Campbell was “fantastic” according to her coach.  “She had new players in front of her and she communicated well with them,” added Coach Thibodeau.

GK Mary Surette and Callie Catarius

The Georgetown goal seemed to wake up the Indians.  In the final two minutes of the third quarter, MK McElaney and Callie Catarius elevated the Amesbury lead to, 6-1, and stopped any comeback plans the visitors might have had.

“It was a good first game for us,” said Alyssa Pettet afterwards.  “A lot of times against Georgetown we kind of struggle because they clump things up so much in the back.  But this time we found space.”

Alyssa finished with three goals, an assist, as well as two hit crossbars.  The girl can play!

Maddy DiPietro shoots

Two of Alyssa’s goals in the first half came after she had drawn penalties from the Georgetown defense.  One earned her a penalty kick and the other a direct kick from a short distance.  She collected goals in both instances.

Royals keeper Mary Surette had a busy afternoon.  She, in fact, was injured in the final quarter and was carried off the field by Coach Fair.

McKenna Hallinan followed Alyssa’s successful penalty kick with a long-range goal in the first quarter.  Goalie Mary Surette came out to kick a ball away and it went directly to McKenna.  The AHS junior wasted no time in taking a high shot on goal that Mary couldn’t recover to save.

Alyssa had her goal off the direct kick in the second quarter.

She also added another one in that quarter.  This time she made a long run down the right side with defenders on either side.  She got in close to goal with defenders still nearby and found room to squeeze a shot into the net.

MK McElaney (19) reacts to the goal she just scored

MK McElaney had one of Amesbury’s two goals in the third quarter.  Alyssa Pettet set it up with a kick from the side that went past several players into the middle in front of the net.  MK came down the middle and one-timed a shot for a score.

Later in that quarter, newcomer Callie Catarius hit a long-range shot from the right.

“Callie is a good counterpart to Alyssa,” said Coach Thibodeau. “She can score.”

The grass at Landry Stadium was long and it affected play.

“I love Cashman because it’s a hard, fast surface,” explained McKenna Hallinan.

The Indians practice at Cashman.

Coach Fair: “We had a couple of defensive breakdowns.  We have to do a better job of marking people.  I loved the effort, though.”

Avery Hallinan (11) shoots

McKenna Hallinan: “It was nice to be able to play.  I wasn’t sure it was going to happen.”

Looking forward to next Saturday (10AM) when Newburyport comes to Landry.  That one will feature two players (Alyssa Pettet & Allie Waters) who are committed to Holy Cross.

“The Holy Cross coach has already asked for the film from that game,” said Alyssa.

Georgetown had two close games with Amesbury last season but have lost ten of their last eleven to the Indians.

Ideal soccer weather with plenty of sun.

The pictures will enlarge if you click on them.

I am on Twitter (McClellandPeter) and Instagram (McClellandMiscellanea).  This story will be on my WordPress blog (McClelland Miscellanea).

Rylie Lasquade

action in front

Sydney Aldrich (2) in on goal

Julia Mabius and Alyssa Pettet

Callie Catarius

Alyssa Pettet’s direct kick that became a goal

Elle Schneider and Sydney Aldrich

Alyssa Pettet over GK Mary Surette

Ella Marinopoulos watched by Riley Smith

McKenna Hallinan and Sarah Chace celebrate a goal

Taylor Wight

MK McElaney

GK Mary Surette reaches for Alyssa Pettet’s PK

Georgetown coach Kevin Fair

Leave a comment

Filed under Amesbury, Georgetown

Terrific defense gets Amesbury past Winthrop (50-28) and into D3 North title game

Plenty of pressure applied game-long by Amesbury on Winthrop

Alli Napoli couldn’t keep herself from smiling as both fan groups chanted her name

(Wakefield MA) Everyone knew her name.

There was chanting and singing. All in Alli Napoli’s direction.

And she smiled through it as Amesbury ousted Winthrop from the D3 North tournament with a 50-28 win on Tuesday night.

The Indians (20-2) get a rematch on Saturday against #1 seed St. Mary’s at the Tsongas Center. At stake will be the Division 3 North title.

The Amesbury defense was active and effective all night long.

“Everyone we used played good defense,” said Indians coach Gregg Dollas post-game.

And who could argue? Amesbury held the Vikings (15-8) to only a point over the final seven minutes of the first period and went off to a 16-3 lead. Winthrop never recovered.

Maura Dorr and Avery Hallinan battle for a rebound

“We struggled to score,” said Vikings coach Joe Lowe afterwards. “It’s been that way all year.”

Alli Napoli (11 points) had two baskets, three assists, and several steals in the breakaway first quarter.

“Alli had a terrific game,” said Coach Dollas.

The Indians played very little half-court offense because their defense was so disruptive. On this night their on-ball defense was influential in creating twenty-four Winthrop turnovers.

“If we can’t score in the half-court, we’ll struggle to generate pressure,” said Coach Lowe. “They played well defensively so they were part of the reason we had trouble scoring points.”

Amesbury was up, 24-13, at the half.

Alli Napoli on the fly

The Indians put their defense/offense neatly together some more in the third period. In the first five minutes Amesbury went on a 13-3 run and stretched their advantage to 37-16.

Alli was again in the middle of the good play. The AHS senior sparked the offense and defense. She also made a long pass to a cutting Gabby Redford that had “next-level” written all over it.

“They’ve been doing that all year,” said Coach Dollas. “I’m going to miss that next year.”

Great crowd interaction during the third quarter. Winthrop had plenty of active fans. When Alli went to the free throw line they started chanting her name, trying to throw her off. Meanwhile, the Amesbury fans also started chanting her name at the same time.

Alli laughed about it afterwards: “Maybe it was because it was my 18th birthday? It’s fun to play in front of a big crowd.”

After Amesbury got the twenty-one point lead (37-16) the Vikings suddenly found their touch from beyond the arc.

Maura Dorr (11 points)

Maura Dorr, Julia Marccocio, and Caroline Earl produced consecutive 3-pointers. Winthrop was suddenly within twelve (37-25) 2+ minutes into the final quarter.

Coach Dollas reinserted some of his starters and the Vikings run ended. The Indians tallied that next ten points, including two baskets by Avery Hallinan (18 points), and they coasted in from there.

Avery Hallinan: “We always focus on turning our defense into offense. We don’t run sets very often.”

McKenna Hallinan: “We had to push the pace. We knew that they weren’t as quick as us. We tried to make it a track meet and run and score as much as we could.”

Alli Napoli: “Every practice it’s defense, defense, defense. He (Coach Dollas) drills it into our heads.”

Avery Hallinan (18 points) guarded by Maura Dorr

Coach Dollas on the Winthrop crowd: “The girls loved the Winthrop crowd. I was proud of the group Winthrop brought. They had fun and that’s what we’re here for.”

Coach Dollas on facing St. Mary’s: “There was a 45-point differential last time we played them. We may have to work on some defense! We’ll go out there and try to knock down one of the top private schools in Massachusetts.”

McKenna Hallinan on the St. Mary’s rematch: “We’re hoping to play our best and see where that takes us.”

Great lighting at Wakefield High School.

Maura Dorr made All-Conference in the Northeastern Conference. Caroline Earl and Luly Pulsifer were All-Stars.

Alli Napoli, Avery Hallinan, and Gabby Redford were honored by the Cape Ann League.

Amesbury’s two losses have been to Pentucket (#1 seed D2 North) and St. Mary’s (#1 seed D3 North).

In Winthrop’s D3 North quarter-finals win over Whittier, Lily Polsifer had twenty points while teammate Maura Dorr had sixteen points with fourteen rebounds.

Winthrop box

Amesbury box

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

Maura Dorr gets a block in front of the Amesbury bench

McKenna Hallinan

Sadie Kermelewicz

Izzy Cambece

Lily Pulsifer

Freshman Maddie Stiglets in the air

Avery Hallinan guards Maura Dorr

McKenna Hallinan in the lane

Carolyn Kinsella

Gabby Redford lines up a shot in front of the Amesbury crowd

Alli Napoli waits for a pass

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Amesbury, Winthrop