Category Archives: Amesbury

Amebury catches Triton and wins 61-58 in overtime

Max McKenzie contested by Blake Bennett

Luke Martin (5) had eighteen points after the first half.

(Amesbury MA) Luke Martin was part of Amesbury’s problem in the first half.

The second half?  He was a big part of the solution.

Amesbury rallied after a half of subpar defense/offense to reach overtime with Triton and then dominated overtime to scratch out a, 61-58, win on Tuesday night.

“We played a zone early and Triton made a bunch of three’s,” said Coach Tom Comeau afterwards.

The solution?  Change to a man-to-man and apply ¾ court pressure after baskets.

“That pressure had an effect,” said Triton coach Ted Schruender.  “We had chances to score and didn’t.”

TJ Overbaugh (12 points) had three 3’s in the first quarter

The Indians (3-5) trailed by fourteen (31-17) at the half and the way Triton was shooting made you think that the lead might get bigger in the second half.

“I challenged the team at halftime to play better and protect the homecourt,” said Coach Comeau.  It worked for certain.

But the Vikings (5-6) didn’t go away despite the improved play of the home team.

However, the Triton lead started to shrink in the second half and when Jimmy Gjikopulli hit a runner in the lane with two minutes left in regulation, Amesbury was ahead for the first time, 48-47.

Those expecting Triton to now quit were disappointed.  Led by Max McKenzie (22 points), Triton regained the lead, 52-48 with thirty-six seconds left.

Enter Luke Martin.  Actually, Luke had already entered (finally) in the second half and had accumulated ten points in Amesbury’s second half revival.

Luke Martin from the corner over Max McKenzie

But now down four with time running out, Luke nailed his third triple of the second half to get AHS within one.  Triton’s Kyle Odoy followed with one-of-two free throws.  Junior Jimmy Gjikoupulli finished the Amesbury comeback with a layup just before the buzzer sounded and the game reached overtime – 53-53.

Amesbury continued their defensive pressure in the four-minute overtime and Triton struggled against it.  The Vikings had three turnovers to show for the first two minutes.

Meanwhile the Indians had a fallaway from Jaden Keliher and two free throws from Luke Martin. Then it was Luke again with 1:51 left hitting a large three.  AHS now had a seven-point lead (60-53).

Credit Triton.  Game over?  Not by the way they answered.  Max McKenzie went to the hoop twice getting layups, and on the second one he was fouled.  Max made the shot and now Triton was within two (60-58) with forty seconds left.

Max McKenzie guarded by Ethan Catania

Plenty of time.  Amesbury opted to use as much clock as possible before shooting.  Jaden Keliher took the shot, missed, and it looked as if Triton might have fifteen seconds to get an ending they liked.

Looking for a hero for Amesbury?  It was Kyle Donovan getting the offensive rebound off Jaden’s miss.  That extended the possession and Triton was forced to foul.  Jimmy Gjikopulli made one-of-two to give the Indians a 3-point lead.  Triton struggled on their final possession and were unable to get off a three to possibly tie the game.  Amesbury had an exciting 61-58 victory.

Luke Martin: “We got things going in the second half.  We heated up.  Even after I missed a few I had to keep shooting.  It was a good idea by Coach to put pressure on them because they didn’t handle it too well.”

Camden Keliher (16 points) puts up a floater in the lane

Coach Schruender: “It was a good competitive game that we let get away from us.  It’s a learning experience.  We’ll work on things and make it better.”

TJ Overbaugh of Triton made four three’s including three in the Vikings breakaway first period.

Triton defeated Amesbury 42-41 in December.  Neither Nick Everett nor Luke Martin played for Amesbury in that one.  TJ did and he made three triples.

Triton ended up with twenty turnovers (by my count) while Amesbury had only ten.

Luke Martin (18), Camden Keliher (16), and Jimmy Gjikopulli (13) reached double figures for Amesbury.

Max McKenzie (22) led all scorers.

Amesbury box

Triton box

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

Max McKenzie (22 points) to the rim

Blake Bennett

Jaden Keliher (15) guarded by Quintin McHale (14)

Kyle Odoy (15) between Oliver Hogg (14) and Kyle Donovan (20)

Kyle Odoy free throw

Luke Martin (5) on the move defended by Kyle Odoy (15)

Luke Martin shoots a free throw

 

 

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North Reading holds off Amesbury 43-41

Last shot of the game

Lauren Sullivan (11 points) made two 3’s

(Amesbury MA) Amesbury rallied from thirteen down in the final quarter and had a shot to tie it at the buzzer.

But the shot missed, and North Reading escaped with a 43-41 win in Cape Ann League action on Tuesday night.

The ups and downs in this game were significant.

If you came early, the Indians were unstoppable and off to an 8-0 lead in the first 1 ½ minutes.

If you saw just the middle section it was all Hornets.  They drained three’s (8 of them) and took very good care of the ball.

If you looked in after NR sported a nice cushion (42-29) at the 6:41 mark of the final quarter, you saw Amesbury put pressure defense and thirteen straight points together and nearly catch the Hornets.

Flannery O’Connor (12 points) finds an opening

This certainly was a game where the good things and the things needing work were obvious for both squads.

“We needed to play that defense the whole game,” said AHS coach Gregg Dollas afterwards.

The visitors ran an excellent offense against single coverage.  They passed, they drove, they got to the basket, and drew fouls.  When the taller Amesbury defenders started to double-team in the final quarter, NR struggled and turned the ball over six times in four minutes and set up the Indians late-game run.

The Indians (1-1) got off to the electric start because scoring threat Flannery O’Connor was able to get the ball in close against light coverage.  That quickly changed and most of the rest of the game Flannery had at least two defenders and sometimes a third one nearby.

Ali Grasso (16 points) finds teammate Lauren Sullivan (4) closer to the basket

“Once we start hitting our shots, we’ll be tough to beat,” added Coach Dollas.  With Flannery so closely covered there were shots for teammates that didn’t fall this time.

North Reading (2-0) was good from long range.  The Hornets struck eight times from far out with Ali Grasso and Casey McAuliffe getting three each.

Ali paced NR with sixteen points while Casey added twelve.  Lauren Sullivan contributed eleven points.

Amesbury had twelve from Flannery and eleven from newcomer Avery Hallinan.

After the home team grabbed the quick 8-0 lead, North Reading followed with a 15-1 stretch that had them ahead, 15-9, early in the second period.

Later the Hornets put eight straight together in the third quarter when Lauren Sullivan’s full-court layup was followed by three’s from Ali Grasso and Lauren.

Mary Bullis over Kiley McCarthy (1)

But no sooner did that happen in the third quarter than Amesbury puts its own run of points together.  Mary Bullis hit a three from Alli Napoli and Flannery O’Connor drove the length of the court.  Mary Bullis finished the run by converting her own missed shot.

Typical of this game, however, NR came back with its own version of good offense and was sitting pretty (42-29) with 6:41 remaining.

It is hard to believe that the Hornets had only one point (Ali Grasso free throw) the rest of the way.

Ciara Sullivan hit a couple of jump shots and Avery Hallinan made six free throws to key Amesbury’s late-game rush.

The Indians were within a point (42-41) but came up empty in the final minute.  Ali Napoli got a shot off to the right of the lane in heavy coverage that missed to end the game.

Free throw shooting was a struggle for both teams.

The free throw shooting was not good in this one.  North Reading missed ten (11-for-21) and Amesbury eight (12-for-20).  The Indians had six misses within their thirteen-point rally in the final quarter.

Enthusiastic crowd on hand.

Alli Napoli took a heavy fall late in the game driving to the basket.  Somehow, she managed to play on.

North Reading box

Amesbury box

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

Ali Grasso dribbles into space

Amesbury defense collapses on Mia DeNofrio (23)

Avery Hallinan (11) tries to pass to Flannery O’Connor (12)

Flannery O’Connor with three Hornets

Floor tussle

Mia DeNofrio shoots a free throw

Mine!

Sadie Kermelewicz (4) stays with Ali Grasso (3)

Hustling Alli Napoli (21) caught Julie Howse (33) and blocked her shot

Lauren Sullivan (4) in for a layup

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Amesbury tops Manchester-Essex in D4 North title game 2-1 in double OT

Amesbury poses with the D4 North title trophy

Plenty of contact in today’s game

(Lynn MA) Last time I saw the Manchester-Essex girls soccer team play Amesbury it was October and they scored early and often defeating the Indians, 3-0.

In the rematch today, the Indians won the Division 4 North title, 2-1, in double overtime at Manning Field.

Amesbury (15-3-4) moves on to the D4 state semi-finals on Wednesday against the South winner.

The difference-makers in today’s game?  Senior Chelsea Lynch and junior GK Alli Napoli.

Chelsea had both goals for Amesbury, including the game-winner, while Alli was a strong presence in net.

Hornets celebrated Jillian Bowen’s tying goal

Chelsea did not play in the 3-0 October loss, while Alli played just the second half after returning from an injury.

To take this back even further, the two teams met at Manchester-Essex in September.  The Indians won, 2-0.  Amesbury goals?  Both by Chelsea Lynch. Alli Napoli was in net for the shutout.

Both teams capitalized on misplays in the box during regulation; Chelsea Lynch in the first half and Jillian Bowen in the second half.

The longer this game went between the two Cape Ann League rivals the greater the emotional gap would be between the winner and the loser.

Dasa Haser was in the Amesbury box 1 ½ minutes into the second overtime but her shot went wide left.

Dasa Hase (16) and Avery Hallinan (21)

Alyssa Pettet sent a direct kick toward the left post with 3:15 left in that second OT but Maddie DiPietro couldn’t finish.

Next Amesbury possession freshman McKenna Hallinan got by one Hornet and passed ahead to Chelsea Lynch in space.  As the space closed, Chelsea shot past GK Bella Pomeroy just inside the near post.  Game over.

McKenna Hallinan gets by a defender before setting up Chelsea Lynch

Chelsea Lynch (12) shoots between Emma Cochand (11) and Drew Charlton (21) for the game winner

After the game-winner is scored.

Emma DiPietro hemmed in by Hornets

“What an ending,” said Amesbury coach Adam Thibodeau afterwards.  “Last year we got bumped out in a similar situation (state semifinals).”

Chelsea Lynch: “That last goal was a full effort from everyone behind me.  It came from midfield.  McKenna (Hallinan) made a beautiful pass to me.  Everything was going so fast.  I knew I had to take advantage of the opportunity because there weren’t many of them.”

Very difficult loss for Manchester-Essex.  Amesbury had taken them out last year in the D4 North first round.  The Hornets improvement over last year was very evident.  They beat out Amesbury to win the Baker Division of the Cape Ann League and they were a higher seed (#4) than Amesbury (#6).

Maya Baker (1) and Ashlee Porcaro (14)

ME coach Luke Cosgrove has twice told me that what he wants from his team in a game is to, “start fast, score goals, and be tight in the back.”

In the October win over Amesbury, ME scored in the first 40 seconds and had a 3-0 lead after eleven minutes.  Against #1 Mystic Valley in the D4 North semis the Hornets scored in the first twenty seconds and led by five at the half in a 6-1 win.

When I looked at this D4 North final matchup I knew what ME wanted to do.  But they couldn’t.  The most dangerous of the Hornets (in my opinion) was Dasa Haser.  The talented sophomore is very fast, can get past defenders, and knows how to score.  She had two in the October win over Amesbury.

Dasa Hase (16) and Maddy Creps (2)

Dasa showed off her speed today but most of her shots were from long range.  There was one time in the 2nd OT, however, where she had the ball in the box, but Amesbury had three defenders and the goalie in front of her.

I waited for ME to score first but instead it was Amesbury exciting the crowd in the first half (15:13).

Chelsea Lynch had a chance for a separation goal ten minutes into the second half, but her shot was just wide left.

As the game moved into the latter stages of the second half it looked as if one goal might be enough.  It wasn’t.  Credit the Hornets.  They persisted and persisted finally tying things with 8:49 left as Jillian Bowen drove home a loose ball in the box.

Now we had ourselves a ballgame!

Jillian Bowen takes a corner kick

In the deciding second overtime, Amesbury had the wind to their backs and the sun was in GK Bella Pomeroy’s eyes.

There was no ten-minute cooling off period after the game for Coach Cosgrove.  He wasn’t happy with the loss and who could blame him.  I talked to Amesbury coach Adam Thibodeau right after the 3-0 loss to Manchester-Essex in October.  He wasn’t real happy either!

The Amesbury style of play was not to Coach Cosgrove’s liking. “We want to pass the ball around defenders.  They run real fast and try to intimidate defenders.”

No official will admit this, but in these big games, they would prefer to let the teams play without interfering.  Things are let go and there will be collisions.  Players go down and there are no calls.  Both sides get upset.

First Chelsea Lynch goal celebrated

The key to the Amesbury win?  Limiting Dasa Haser.  “They definitely did better on Dasa today,” said Coach Cosgrove. “When players like that get into the right spot, they can score goals against anyone, but Amesbury had some tough defenders on her.”

Maddy Creps was one of them: “There was a lot of running trying to keep up with her (Dasa).  I felt that we did a pretty good job of containing her.”

“We knew that both teams were ready,” said senior Emma DiPietro afterwards. “We knew it would be a huge battle.  Last season in the state semi-finals we lost in double overtime.  We didn’t want that to happen again.”

Alyssa Pettet (5) and Jillian Bowen (3)

Manchester-Essex cruised through opponents in the D4 North tourney.  “We were ready for a tough game after a tight win over St. Mary’s (1-0) in the semis,” said Coach Thibodeau.

Amesbury’s Alyssa Pettet claimed that a change of style was key to the win: “We got into just kicking the ball.  We had to change back to our game and keep the ball on the ground and try to complete passes. We did that, and we scored the winning goal.”

The sun was shining and the breeze wasn’t as strong as it can be at Manning Field.

Manchester-Essex finishes 15-4-2.  “We had a great season,” said Coach Cosgrove.  “Our kids did everything we asked.”

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

Action along the sidelines

Alli Napoli and Meg McElaney

Ashley Flood and Maia Esty

Avery Hallinan

Emma DiPietro (11) dropped by Madison Lawler (15)

ME goalie Bella Pomeroy

Pressure on Amesbury GK Alli Napoli

Shirt tug Emily Beck (6) on Chelsea Lynch

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Gracie Doherty goal against St. Mary’s brings Amesbury to D4 North finals

Amesbury team celebrates winning the D4 North semi-finals

Chelsea Lynch (12) and Gracie Doherty (18) celebrate the goal

(Lynn MA) Amesbury’s next opponent might want to check to see who hasn’t scored for the #6 Indians so far and keep an eye on them.

Twice in this year’s D4 tournament, non-scorers have broken through for Amesbury.

Today in the D4 North semi-finals, it was junior Gracie Doherty.  In the D4 North First Round it was senior Sara Johnson.

Sara’s goal was part of a 4-0 win over Winthrop.

Goalie Alli Napoli on the ground. Kayla Demers in the air. Meg McElaney nearby.

Gracie’s goal today at Manning Field was all there was as Amesbury took out St. Mary’s 1-0.

That win gets the Indians (14-3-4) into the D4 North finals for the third straight year.

To hear senior Emma DiPietro tell it, the win was nice but not enough. “I got a taste of winning these last three years and I don’t want to lose again.  I think that we’re ready to win the whole thing.”

To get the state title Amesbury will need three more wins starting with the Manchester-Essex/Medway winner on Sunday at Manning Field.

The Indians are undefeated in their last ten games since losing to Manchester-Essex in October.

I saw St. Mary’s play Amesbury in the tournament last year at Landry Stadium in Amesbury.  I was unimpressed.  The final was only 2-0 but the Spartans displayed a game-long inability to generate any sort of an attack.

Riley Lynch (11) and McKenna Hallinan (1)

Today I saw a different team of Spartans.  For a little over a half, the play was in the middle of the field or in the upper half of the Amesbury end.

“We had a great first half, “recalled St. Mary’s coach Jim Foley.

There weren’t golden chances, but the Amesbury attack was seriously limited by St. Mary’s.

“We started off with two great chances in the second half,” said Coach Foley.  One was off a free kick by Joslyn Deschenes and the other came when Kayla Demers got in close.  Amesbury goalie Alli Napoli handled both advances.

And then Amesbury took over.

Sara Johnson (6) dribbles ahead

“We didn’t play our game in the first half,” explained Amesbury coach Adam Thibodeau.  “We were playing as individuals.  I told them at halftime that if they didn’t play as a team the season could be over.  Our seniors stepped up because they don’t want it to be over.”

Amesbury had a great chance in close after nine minutes in their resurgent second half and then senior Emma DiPietro put two long shots on net during the next two minutes.

The pressure on St. Mary’s (13-7-1) was building.  Every clearance was being put back into scoring areas by the Indians.

The persistent pressure led to a free kick.

Alyssa Pettet took the kick from straight away.  Her kick came toward Spartans goalie Adrianna Bowker.  Chelsea Lynch was nearby contesting the oncoming shot.

The long shot bounced off the St. Mary’s goalie and right to junior Gracie Doherty.

Gracie put a charge into a shot and it hit the crossbar and caromed right back in her direction.

Gracie reacted by leaning into a header that settled in just under the crossbar at 27:27.

Sherly Feliz (24) and Emma DiPietro (11)

“What a time for Gracie to get her first goal,” said Coach Thibodeau afterwards.  “On championship teams you need goals to come from all over.”

Gracie’s reaction to scoring such a big goal wasn’t too surprising: “I was shocked that it went it!”

I assumed that St. Mary’s would start to press Amesbury with so much time remaining.  They called a timeout after the goal, but their offense never got started.

“We really didn’t get any looks after those plays in the beginning of the second half,” said Coach Foley.

Amesbury has now shut out St. Mary’s three straight years in the tournament. They are also unscored on in this year’s D4 North tournament.

It was not a lack of effort on the Spartans’ part.

The Indians had that “team” thing going defensively.  The long balls to no one were limited.  Instead, teammates were passed to and better control kicked in.

“Defense wins championships,” said Coach Thibodeau.

McKenna Hallinan gets point-blank attempt

Emma DiPietro: “We don’t give up.  We came back stronger.  We have always been kind of a second half team.  In the locker room we said, ‘This is it.  All or nothing.”

Certainly, an advantage for the Spartans was that even though they were the lower seed (#10), they ended up with a home game late in the tournament.  They have played twelve games at Manning Field this season.

I was very impressed with defender Morgan Mackey in the first half. She prevented the speedy Indians from getting any breakaways.

Ball in the middle

Gracie Doherty’s goal was unassisted although as Emma DiPietro explained, “she assisted herself.”

Not to be forgotten on the eventual game-winner was the terrific send-in by free kicker Alyssa Pettet.

Ten minutes after the Doherty goal, McKenna Hallinan broke in for as clean a look as you could hope for.  Spartans goalie Adrianna Bowker should have been arrested for unarmed robbery after she deflected McKenna’s shot wide.

Coach Thibodeau: “A culture was created on the soccer team three years ago.  It wasn’t about winning.  It was about doing the best we can.  That approach has gotten us to the North finals three straight years.”

Coach Foley: “We couldn’t clear it out on their goal.  Amesbury is a very good team.  Adam (Thibodeau) does a great job.  We’ve lost to them three years in a row.”

Fight for the ball

The weather was nice.

The parade of planes flying over, heading to Logan, always interests those of us who seldom hear/see planes of their size.

Despite the 3:30PM start, there was a good crowd in the stands.

Amesbury is in the Cape Ann League.  St. Mary’s is in the Catholic Central League.

College plans?  Emma DiPietro: “I have applied to go to Boston University.  If I go there, I will try to play some club or intramural soccer.  I am interested in studying biology and specializing in genetics.”

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

Amesbury GK Alli Napoli leaps to save

Chelsea Lynch (12) and Riley Lynch (11)

Sherly Feliz

High kick

Incoming

Joslyn Deschenes

 

 

 

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Amesbury advances 4-0 over Winthrop in D4 North First Round

Jenna Dorr (12) and McKenna Hallinan (1)

Chelsea Lynch (12) and Gemma Dimento (24)

(Amesbury MA) “They have the potential to go far again this year.”

That was the assessment Winthrop girls soccer coach Tracey Martucci gave of Amesbury after her team was overwhelmed, 4-0, by the Indians on Sunday night in the D4 North First Round.

The Indians were on the board (Sara Johnson) two minutes into the game and Chelsea Lynch added two more before halftime.  Avery Hallinan turned the 4th Amesbury goal seventeen minutes into the second half.

Amesbury (12-3-4) advances to the D4 North quarterfinals against Essex Tech on Tuesday night.

Maddy Creps had two assists.

The #6 Indians are now undefeated in their last eight games.

Last loss?  Manchester-Essex at home on October 9th.

I covered the 3-0 loss to the Hornets and was underwhelmed by what I saw of the Indians on that afternoon.  Amesbury coach Adam Thibodeau wasn’t too thrilled either, as I recall.

But today?  The Indians were off and running against the #11 seed and really never gave the visitors from the Northeastern Conference a chance.

“They were fast and aggressive,” said Coach Martucci.

Coach Thibodeau’s only complaint after the game was that his team didn’t score more goals.

I spent most of the game near the Winthrop goal and believe me, goalkeeper Gemma Dimento was amazing under fire especially in the second half.

“She (Gemma Dimento) made a lot of point-blank saves,” recalled Coach Thibodeau.  “Give her credit.  She only gave up one goal in the second half.”

Miya Grein (2), Julia Macoccio (16), and Olivia Holmes (7) face a free kick.

Two of the recent games I’ve covered have been scoreless until the final minutes.  Amesbury would have none of that today.

“We wanted to score early and get the momentum,” said senior Chelsea Lynch.  And that they did.

A Maddy Creps’ corner kick bounced back to senior Sara Johnson and she found a place in the net just below the crossbar.  The game wasn’t even two minutes old.

Led by sophomore Alyssa Pettet, the Indians kept the pressure on the Vikings defense.  Alyssa was exceptional at controlling the middle of the field and creating offense for teammates or herself.

“Alyssa was ranked one of the highest players in the Cape Ann League for a reason,” said Coach Thibodeau.  “She impacts games by playing at such a high level.”

Chelsea Lynch (12) surrounded by Vikings

The biggest threat to score in this game was Amesbury’s speedy Chelsea Lynch.  Twice she did score, and she also came close several other times.

On Chelsea’s first goal, she came in on the left and caught the far corner.  The second one was set up by a terrific pass from McKenna Hallinan.

“Day in, day out we work on breaking out wide and pushing upfield as a team,” said Chelsea. “We’re supportive of each other.”

That support was evidenced often because Amesbury had layers of defenders in place to turn back Winthrop’s attempts to clear from their own end.  Attempted clearouts were quickly turned into the next attack on the Winthrop goal.

Vikings GK Gemma Dimento held off Amesbury in the second half until a Maddy Creps’ corner kick was redirected by teammate Avery Hallinan midway through that half.

Avery Hallinan heads off a corner kick by Maddy Creps

Avery Hallinan drives home a header.

The #11 Vikings (Northeastern Conference) finish 10-8-1.

Alyssa Pettet (5) and Nora McCarey (25)

Amesbury will need to win two more games to reach the D4 North finals.  The opponent there might be Manchester-Essex.

“We had a couple of low spots in the season,” said Alyssa Pettet regarding the 3-0 loss to Manchester-Essex.  “We did beat them earlier in the season and we’d like to play them again.”  We’ll see on that one.

Chelsea’s college plans? “Looking at UMass Lowell or UNH.”

Alyssa caught me up on her sister Ashley who was a standout for Amesbury: “She’s playing at Brandeis on a team that has twelve wins.”

Reasonable temperatures (40’s) for a night in November.  I was covering a game in a driving rainstorm yesterday in New Hampshire.

Landry Stadium may be a nice place to play but taking pictures there at night requires equipment I’ll never be able to afford to own.  Maybe time for a new bulb or two?  But I whine!

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

Chelsea Lynch shoots

Alex Gibbons (8) and Emma DiPietro (11)

Chelsea Lynch after goal

Ella Marinopoulos (8) and Julie Marcoccio (16)

Gemma Dimento dives for a loose ball

Pressuring the Winthrop defense

Sara Johnson (6) scored the first goal

Sophia Carter

Jillian Johnson (10) and Gracie Doherty (18)

McKenna Hallinan (1) with two Vikings

Mia Grein (2), McKenna Hallinan (1), Jenna Dorr (12)

 

 

 

 

 

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Manchester-Essex scores early defeating Amesbury 3-0 in first-place battle

Dasa Hase (2 goals and an assist) runs with Meg McElaney (3)

Jill Bowen had the second Hornets goal

(Amesbury MA) It didn’t figure to go this way.

Manchester-Essex (8-3-1) jumped on Amesbury (7-3-1) early and defeated the Indians, 3-0, to move to the top of the Baker Division in the Cape Ann League.

Why didn’t it figure to go this way?  (1) The last fourteen times the two teams have met, including this season, the Indians won twelve times.  (2) In the last seven games between the two teams ME had scored only twice.

And then to increase the chances of another bad outing, no team bus showed up in Manchester and the Hornets were forty-five minutes late getting to Cashman Field in Amesbury.

So the stats and the situation suggested strongly that Manchester-Essex would struggle…………but they didn’t.

Alyssa Pettet (5) and Emma Cochand (11) battle

“We knew that we couldn’t control being late on a bus,” said ME coach Luke Cosgrove afterwards, “but we knew that we could control the start.”

And that was where this game was won.  Early.

The visitors tallied a goal in the first forty seconds and by the end of eleven minutes had two more.  Amesbury never recovered.

That lack of reaction bothered Indians coach Adam Thibodeau.  “We gave up.  If the other team gets off to a better start, we give up.  All of our losses have been by big scores.”

Dasa Hase (16) nearly scored in the second half.

The catalyst in the Hornets’ three goals was sophomore Dasa Hase.  She had the opening goal, assisted Jill Bowen on the second, and scored the third.

“We put her (Dasa) in the middle to try and use her speed,” said Coach Cosgrove.  “Sometimes out wide her speed gets hidden.”

Teammate Drew Charlton sent Dasa off in the first minute with a long pass up the middle. Dasa dribbled into space and cashed an open look against AHS goalie Julia Campbell.

Alli Napoli (out with injuries for a few games) was in net for Amesbury in the second half.

“Julia (Campbell) was beaten three times,” said Coach Thibodeau, “but it wasn’t a keeper issue.  All three were wide-open shots.”

Emma DiPietro hit the crossbar in the first half

Amesbury came close twice in the last ten minutes of the first half.  Emma DiPietro hit the crossbar and Alyssa Pettet fired a direct kick over the net.

The three-goal halftime lead changed ME’s approach to the second half.  “In the second half we said let’s not concede a goal,” explained Coach Cosgrove.  “We rested our star players and we got out of here with another clean sheet.”

The Hornets had three defenders stay on their half of the field even when their teammates were advancing on the AHS goal in the second half.

“In the last seven games, we’ve scored a goal each time within the first seven minutes,” said Coach Cosgrove.

The Indians did themselves no favors in Division 4 with the loss.  “We now may have to go to them in the tournament,” said Coach Thibodeau.

Coach Thibodeau: “They’re a great team.  I was hoping for a better battle in a playoff atmosphere but it didn’t happen.”

Drew Charlton (21) clears

The Indians defeated ME 2-0 earlier in the season.  Chelsea Lynch (now out with turf toe) had both goals for AHS.

Amesbury eliminated Manchester-Essex last year in the first round of the D4 tournament.  They would go on to reach the state semi-finals before losing to Millis.

ME’s Jade Cromwell is a two-time CAL All-Star.

Emma DiPietro, Alli Napoli, Chelsea Lynch, and Alyssa Pettet of Amesbury were honored by the Cape Ann League after last season.

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

AHS goalie Julia Campbell punts

Madison Lawler

Rachel Albertazzi chased by Meg McElaney and Bev Browne

Abby Lantz (7) and Maia Esty (15)

Alyssa Pettet

Alyssa Pettet and Jade Cromwell

Ashlee Porcaro shadows Dasa Hase

Hornets goalie Bella Pomeroy

Dasa Hase (16) congratulated by Jade Cromwell on her second goal

Dasa Hase (16) congratulated by Jill Bowen after her first goal

Ella Marinopoulos (8) dribbles

Emma DiPietro (11) and Claire O’Brien (5)

Emma DiPietro tries to get past Drew Charlton

 

 

 

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Amesbury softball surprises St. Mary’s 4-2 in Division 3 North semifinals

Hayley Catania ended the first and fifth with consecutive strikeouts

Emma DiPietro (triple) scored in the 5th inning to tie the game

(Lowell MA) Neither team expected to even be in this game!

St. Mary’s was young while Amesbury was seriously reconstructed.

On this afternoon, it was the reconstructed team that put enough pieces together to win the Division 3 North softball semifinals 4-2 at Martin Field in Lowell.

The top piece for Amesbury (15-8) was senior Hayley Catania.  The AHS pitcher allowed five hits (three of them in the first inning) and struck out ten Spartans.  But there’s more to the story: Hayley also had two hits and an RBI.  Her alert baserunning keyed one of the Indians runs in the 2-run fifth.

Shortstop Alyssa Grossi makes a nice running catch

Both teams had powered past quarter-final opponents.  St. Mary’s had four homers versus Pope John while Amesbury had three long ones against Lynnfield.

Today’s contest had only two loud hits and both of them were by Amesbury.  Emma DiPietro had a triple in the 2-run fifth and Hayley had an RBI double in the Indians 2-run seventh.

St. Mary’s (14-9) scratched out a run in the first.  Consecutive singles (Felicia D’Alessandro, Marina DiBiasio, Jordan Sullivan) produced a run.  This was where Amesbury’s Hayley Catania gave us a glimpse of the kind of game she would have as she then struck out Jennie Iudice and Taylor Sullivan to end the inning.

Amesbury had runners in scoring position in each of the first three innings, but pitcher Lily Newhall kept the ball in the infield and escaped being scored on.

Starting with the 2 K’s in the first inning, Hayley retired eleven in a row including six strikeouts.

While the pitching was terrific for Amesbury they still trailed by a run until the fifth inning.

Emma Catania singled home a run in the 5th but was thrown out stretching it.

Junior Emma DiPietro tripled with one out over CF Christina Nowicki’s head.  Hayley Catania walked but on ball four the ball got away from catcher Jordan Sullivan allowing Emma to score and tie the game.  Hayley alertly took second when the Spartans concentrated too much on Emma crossing the plate.  That alertness paid off for AHS because when her sophomore sister Emma singled to center, Hayley came home with the go-ahead run.

Now down, 2-1, the pressure was on the St. Mary’s offense.  Alyssa Grossi singled to center opening the bottom of the 5th.  A sacrifice bunt (Katie O’Neill) moved her to second with one out.  But here came Hayley Catania, doing exactly as she had done in the first inning, striking out the next two batters (Angelina Catino and Christina Nowicki) to hold the slim lead.

Emma DiPietro’s triple goes over CF Christina Nowicki’s head

Both teams went down in order in the sixth.

The seventh was not for the weak of heart on either team!

Amesbury put two runners on with no one out on a walk (Emily O’Donnell) and Julia Campbell reaching on an error by pitcher Christina Nowicki.  Freshman Maddie DiPietro pinch ran for Emily.  That brought up Hayley and St. Mary’s coach Paige Licata had a meeting at the mound.

“We talked about walking her (Hayley),” said Coach Licata.  “I told Christina (Nowicki) to keep the ball away from her, and she did, but the ball was still pulled to left.  With a hitter like that you take your lumps and hope you can produce more runs.”

Hayley took that outside pitch over LF Julia Nickolau’s head bringing Maddie DiPietro across and getting Julia Campbell to third.  Senior Hannaih Burdick’s grounder to second enabled Julia to tally Amesbury’s 4th run.

Maddie DiPietro (8) and Julia Campbell (10) wait on the bases to see if Hayley Catania’s long fly will be caught….it wasn’t.

Hayley Catania happy to survive the St. Mary’s 7th

The Indians would need those extra runs in St. Mary’s final at-bats.  Things started harmlessly enough (for Amesbury) as two Spartans struck out.  Then Hayley walked Alyssa Grossi and Katie O’Neill followed with a 2-strike single to right.

Was a miracle comeback about to happen?

The Spartans created a rundown between first and second and Alyssa Grossi scored as Katie O’Neill got back to first safely.  Now the tying run was at the plate.

But Hayley got Angelina Catino to fly out to RF Karleigh Walker insuring Amesbury a trip to Saturday’s North final against Austin Prep.

The Indians reaching the D3 North surprised their coach (Jacqui Waters) as much as anyone: “I have only two players playing where they played last year.  This is all ecstasy to me.  I never thought we’d be here.”

Lily Newhall gave up five hits over six innings.

Coach Paige Licata was surprised that her team made it as well:  “We started 0-3 with a team with no seniors and two juniors.  Today we used a 7th grader (Angelina Catino) at first and an 8th grader (Lily Newhall) pitching.  There was no one crying afterwards because everyone will be back.”

Hayley Catania: “To beat St. Mary’s was a first for me.  My best pitch today (like against Lynnfield) was my drop curve.”

St. Mary’s had only three outfield outs, all to RF Karleigh Walker.

Coach Waters: “Our two seniors (Hannaih Burdick & Hayley Catania) have held this team together.  Often graduated seniors aren’t like that but our two have stayed attentive.  We practice three hours a day, six days a week on the basics and go at it as hard as we can.  We’ve gotten better and better as the season has progressed.  I learned that approach from previous coach Chris Perry and it has paid off.”

Weather looked as if it could rain at any time.

RF Karleigh Walker successfully handled three fly balls including the one that ended the game.

Funny moment: I asked Coach Licata about Hayley’s pitching and she said that she’d coached against her two years ago.  She then asked me laughing, “She’s a senior, I hope, isn’t she?”

No one I talked to afterwards knew when the last time was that Amesbury softball had beaten St. Mary’s.  Coach Waters guessed that it might have been 2005.  It had obviously been a while!

I did see Amesbury soccer defeat St. Mary’s in the tournament this season at Landry Stadium.

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

Christina Nowicki

Waiting for the game to start

Pitcher Christina Nowicki loses the ball attempting to tag Julia Campbell

Maddie DiPietro turns 3B and heads home in the 7th inning

Hayley Catania after the win

Victory hugs

2B Felicia D’Alessandro tosses to first

Hayley Catania throws to first

Shortstop Alyssa Grossi throws to first

Freshman Marina DiBiaso

3B Julia Campbell throws out bunter Katie O’Neill

 

 

 

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