Category Archives: Manchester-Essex

Hot-shooting Amesbury takes down Manchester-Essex 77-58

Jaden Keliher (26 points) dribbles by Lars Arntsen

Rocco Kokinacis (11 points) splits two defenders

(Amesbury MA) There was no off button for the Amesbury Indians on this night.

Amesbury (8-3) jumped all over a very good Manchester-Essex team with a convincing, 77-58, win on Monday night in Cape Ann League action.

The Indians had a 25-5 final quarter against Hamilton-Wenham the other night and suffered a painful 63-50 loss to the Generals.

“We learned a lot from that loss,” said AHS coach Tom Comeau post-game.  “We have to take care of the basketball, win the 50/50 battles, and rebound.  We took care of all three phases tonight.”

Manchester-Essex (9-2) used multiple defenses but couldn’t slow down Amesbury.

Kellen Furse (11 points) passes out of an Amesbury double team

“We scored fifty-eight points,” said ME coach Tim St. Laurent afterwards.  “That should have been enough to win but we couldn’t contain them on the defensive end.  They were making shots and they were attacking us.  We didn’t keep them from getting to the rim.”

Amesbury built up a twenty-point lead (41-21) in the first half.

The Hornets cut that lead to eleven (61-50) at the start of the final quarter.

“I thought in the second half that we could get all the way back, but Amesbury was the hotter team tonight,” said Coach St. Laurent.

When ME narrowed the lead to eleven, the Indians answered with their third nine-point run of the game and back up the lead went to twenty (70-50) with four minutes left.

Senior Jaden Keliher (26 points) scored points in the breakaway first half (19) and then handled ME’s backcourt pressure in the second half.

“We came out and played hard,” said Jaden afterwards.  “We played together.”

Kyle Donovan (14 points) was a strong interior presence for the Indians

Junior Kyle Donovan (14 points) dominated the inside for AHS.

“Kyle was a ‘man’ out there,” said Coach Comeau.  “He plays hard and he’s a smart player.”

Tonight’s game did not get out of hand immediately.

The Hornets trailed only, 10-7, after five minutes. But then the first nine-point run kicked in.  Jimmy Gjikopulli (13 points) turned an ME miscue into a layup and followed that with a successful jump shot.  Jaden Keliher added a layup and a free throw and Ethan Catania converted a rebound.  Up the home team went, 19-7.

The Indians started the second quarter with another collection of consecutive points.

Play on the floor

Rocco Kokinacis (11 points) got to the rim twice.  Jimmy Gjikopulli converted his own rebound and Jaden Keliher added an old-fashioned 3-point play.  That boosted the AHS advantage to 28-11 only two minutes into the second quarter.

Amesbury was ahead, 43-24, at the half.

That lead would extend to 60-27 with two minutes left in the third quarter.  It looked like a cruise to the final buzzer for the Indians.  The Hornets, however, had other ideas!

Over the next 2 ½ minutes of playing time, the Hornets that I saw defeat Bishop Fenwick in double overtime, showed up.  Their defense was effective, and they made shots.  Visions of a big comeback started to take shape.

AJ Pallazola led a ME comeback attempt

Sophomore AJ Pallazola sparked the Hornets with a jump shot and two assists as ME put together a 13-1 segment stretching into the final quarter.

That 61-50 deficit looked manageable with 7 ½ minutes of playing time remaining.

“We called a timeout and things got settled down,” said Jaden Keliher.  “Then we went out there and kept them from making a comeback.”

Twice Kyle Donovan scored from in close and Jaden Keliher got to the basket.  Then Jimmy Gjikopulli got loose in the lane and added a free throw.  Back the lead went to twenty (70-50) and the Indians were home safe.

Sometimes backcourt turnovers will lead to rallies, but the Hornets pressure couldn’t get there tonight.

Jaden Keliher

“Jaden (Keliher) is strong with the ball,” said Coach Comeau.  “We have three guards who really play well so it’s hard to press us.”

Mason Paccone (15 points) led the ME scorers.  The Hornets senior drained three from long range.  Kellen Furse finished with eleven points.

Jaden Keliher: “We wanted to take away Kellen Furse and #12 (Jack Shaw).  Kellen is a great player.  I have a lot of respect for him.  I’ve grown up playing him.”

Coach Comeau: “Hamilton-Wenham came back against us and we let it snowball and get away from us.  We discussed before the game that we needed to learn from it.  They’re fast learners!”

Jaden Keliher: “Points are nice but getting a W at the end is what it’s all about.”

The Indians were 9-10 last season.

Pentucket players were in the audience at tonight’s game.

Amesbury box

Manchester-Essex box

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

Rocco Kokinacis

Coach Tom Comeau and Jaden Keliher in the closing minute

Frank Wood

Jaden Keliher breaks past Frank Wood

Jaden Keliher in close for two

Jimmy Gjikopulli

Kellen Furse and Jimmy Gjikopulli

Cam and Jaden Keliher guard Kellen Furse

Kellen Furse pressured by Rocco Kokinacis

Kyle Donovan

 

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Manchester-Essex bests Bishop Fenwick 76-74 in 2 OTs

Manchester-Essex celebrates win over Bishop Fenwick

Jason Romans defends AJ Pallazola

(Peabody MA) The two coaches called the game, “great” and “awesome,” and who could argue?

Manchester-Essex defeated Bishop Fenwick 76-74 in double overtime on Sunday afternoon.

There were fifteen lead changes and six ties and there could have been one more lead change if Jason Romans (27 points) had connected on the game’s final 3-point attempt.

The Crusaders (4-2) had four-point leads in both overtimes but the Hornets (6-0) just wouldn’t go away.

Kellen Furse (29 points) down the lane

Senior Kellen Furse (29 points) had ten of his points in the fourth quarter as ME rallied back from a seven-point deficit.

“We press and we fast break,” said Kellen post-game.  “I was exhausted after the first quarter, never mind after two overtimes.  Our ability to sub in our one-minute guys to give us a break is huge.  Our depth is awesome.”

Fenwick led, 74-70, in the second OT after a Hornet turnover led to a Kobe Estes layup with 1:34 left.  Those, however, would be the last points the home team would get.

A rebound basket plus one by ME junior Jack Shaw (15 points) and an AJ Pallazola layup after a BF five-second inbounding violation put the Hornets on top for good, 75-74.  Kellen Furse would add a free throw in the closing seconds.

Jason Romans (27 points)

“We competed hard,” said Fenwick coach Kevin Moran afterwards.  “That’s a credit to the players.  Our execution probably wasn’t as good as it should have been.  That one is on the coaching staff.”

A turning point in the game may well have been when Fenwick’s tallest player, junior Christian Loescher (12 points), fouled out in the first overtime.

“My eyes lit up when that happened,” said ME coach Tim St. Laurent post-game.  “Christian is a very good player.  With him out, I knew that we could go right at them.”

“When we lost Christian’s presence, it made a difference,” recalled Coach Moran.  “He does tend to get himself in foul trouble once in a while.  He’s one of the better athletic big guys around.”

Jack Shaw at the line late in the game

The two teams were tied 59-59 with three minutes left in regulation.  Neither team could score in those last three minutes.  The Hornets missed four straight free throws in the final ninety seconds; two each by Kellen Furse and Jack Shaw.

“We haven’t shot much from the free throw line in a tight game like this,” explained Kellen Furse.  “Tomorrow at practice we’ll most definitely be running……..and shooting free throws!”

Sophomore AJ Pallazola covered high-scoring Jason Romans during most of the game.  “He’s a very good player,” said AJ.  “He can shoot and he’s tough coming off screens.”

Jack Shaw finished with fifteen points including seven in the first quarter.  He had two 3’s.

Teammate Mason Paccone registered eighteen points.  He had four 3’s and produced eight points in the second quarter.

The Crusaders turned a 26-25 deficit in the second quarter into a nine-point lead with a run of ten unanswered points.  Both Jason Romans and Christian Loescher contributed two layups and Jason added two free throws for BF.

Manchester-Essex was down 40-32 in the third quarter before consecutive three’s (Mason Paccone, Alex Furse, Jack Shaw) put the Hornets ahead 41-40.

Max Grenert (13 points)

Fenwick had thirteen points from junior Max Grenert (three 3’s) and twelve points for junior Alex Gonzalez (two 3’s).

Bishop Fenwick used a zone defense while ME pressed full-court for the first half and went to a half-court man-to-man during the second half and in the two OT’s.

Coach Tom Comeau of Amesbury was in the house.  The Indians, like Manchester-Essex, are in the Cape Ann League and will face each other twice.

ME and BF played twice last season.  Both games were close.

Coach Moran: “Manchester-Essex is one of the top teams in D4.  We knew that they would be competitive.  They have seniors with lots of experience.”

Coach St. Laurent: “This was two of the best teams in Division 4 going at it.  This was high school basketball at its best.  Fenwick has great guard play and they have bigs that crash the boards.”

Kellen Furse: “This was such a big team win.  They are an incredible D4 team.  This gives us momentum going into our league stretch.”

AJ Pallazola: “It was very intense out there.  They were banging us, and we were bumping them.  We have to improve our foul shooting.”

Bishop Fenwick box

Manchester-Essex box

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

AJ Pallazola

Christian Loescher

Christian Loescher (33) blocks a shot

Frank Wood (23) and Alex Gonzalez (24) reach for a pass

Jack Shaw (15 points) to the basket

Jack Shaw surrounded by Crusaders

Mason Paccone (18 points) guarded by Alex Gonzalez

Max Grenert and Jason Romans double-team AJ Pallazola

Kellen Furse draws a foul on Christian Loescher

Kellen Furse in for two

Kobe Estes (10) puts up a three in the 2nd OT

Manchester-Essex traps

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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PKs send Amesbury by Manchester-Essex and into D4 state semi-finals

Dasa Hase and Gracie Doherty

Alyssa Pettet kicked home the game-winner in the shootout

(Lynn MA) I struggled all afternoon trying to guess how this game was going to go.

I tried the Manchester-Essex end at the start because Amesbury had beaten them twice during the season.

That put me out of close range as the Hornets dominated the first half and had a goal (Mia Cromwell at 17:16)) to show for it.

Second half I favored the Amesbury end because that was where ME had spend a lot of time in the first half.

Alli Napoli leaves the goal with Rachel Albertazzi (10) near the ball

That put me long range as Amesbury scored (McKenna Hallinan at 35:43) and carried the play in at least half of the second half.

In the final twenty minutes, both teams had chances but the goalies (ME’s Kara Glynos & Amesbury’s Alli Napoli) made plays.

Overtime?  Not yet.

In the final five minutes of regulation, the Indians were called for an infraction in the box.  Suddenly there would be a penalty kick (far from where I was standing!).

Mia Cromwell tried to go to the left corner with her PK but GK Alli Napoli lunged that way and the game continued.

Now we had overtime.

Ashley Flood (20) and Alyssa Pettet (5)

Last year, Amesbury defeated Manchester-Essex in double overtime in the same D4 North title game.

Both teams had chances to end it in the overtimes.  Amesbury’s Alyssa Pettet came very close in the first OT but the game continued as no one was found who could finish for either team.

That opened the door for the dreaded shootout.  The pressure, the lonely walk to the penalty line, and the elation/agony with the result.

The two goal scorers (Mia Cromwell & McKenna Hallinan) shot first.  Mia froze GK Alli Napoli with a shot to the right.  (In the PK at the end of regulation she had gone to the left and Alli was there.) McKenna’s shot against Leilani Brown was high to the left.

Bella Hadaegh & Gracie Doherty shot second. Bella also tried to go right but hit the crossbar.  Gracie scored past Kara Glynos on a grounder to the left.

Grace Doherty PK

So after two rounds the score was tied.  Who expected this after these teams were tied after eighty minutes of regulation and twenty minutes of overtime??

Maya Baker and Avery Hallinan were in the third round.  Maya shot up the middle and Alli Napoli hardly moved to save it.  Avery shot to the right and it slipped by ME GK Leilani Brown.  Advantage Amesbury.

Maya Baker PK

Avery Hallinan PK

The last round this game would need to reach an outcome had Sofia Gillespie and Alyssa Pettet in it.  Sofia’s shot went over the top and that gave the CAL Player-of-the-Year a chance at the game-winner.  She shot hard to the upper left by GK Kara Glynos and Amesbury had a 2-1 win in PKs.

Alyssa Pettet PK

With the victory the Indians (14-1-6) capture the Division 4 North title again and will face Millis (again) on Wednesday night (5PM) at Manning Field.

The Hornets’ goal in the first half was nicely set up.  “Maya (Baker) and Mia (Cromwell) worked a nice give-and-go on that one,” explained ME coach Luke Cosgrove afterwards.  Mia ended up with a good look and drove her shot to the right side.

Mia Cromwell shoots

ME celebrates Mia Cromwell goal

Junior Dasa Hase started the play by getting the ball from the left wing into the middle to Maya. Dasa’s corner kicks were threatening all game long.

The Indians’ goal in the second half resulted from a halftime adjustment in their corner kick formation.  Alyssa Pettet normally draws two and three defenders and usually heads close to the goal when a corner kick heads that way.

“Avery (Hallinan) suggested that having Alyssa go away from the goal would open up the front of the goal,” said Coach Adam Thibodeau.

“I ran Alyssa’s route,” explained Avery, “and no one was on me as the corner kick (MK McElaney) came in.  I tipped it and then McKenna (Hallinan) put it in.”

Avery “insisted” that the shot would have gone in without her sister McKenna’s “help.”  My pictures tell me, however, that McKenna’s part was essential.  She dove feet first into a ball that was just about to be cleared out and sent it into the left corner of the net.

Avery (11) about to deflect to McKenna (1) in front

McKenna sees the ball near the goal line

McKenna kicks ball into corner by a defender and GK Kara Glynos

McKenna’s goal signaled by official

One thing that was certainly agreed on was the extraordinary game Alli Napoli had.  “Alli is an outstanding athlete, “said Coach Thibodeau.  “She took the team on her back today.  She was disappointed with the first goal.  She has forty-nine career shutouts for a reason.”

Waiting for the shootout

Amesbury doesn’t give up many goals (16) but they also don’t score very many (35).  “We’ve had six ties this year, so we have been preparing our penalty kicks for a while,” explained Coach Thibodeau.

Senior Gracie Doherty spent most of the afternoon chasing talented Dasa Hase around.  “She’s good with the ball and very fast,” said Gracie.

On her successful penalty kick: “I wanted to take my time and try to get it into a corner.”

Coach Cosgrove: “Amesbury was very good.  The D4 North was a showcase-and-a-half.  #5 (Alyssa Pettet) was phenomenal.  Almost unstoppable.”

Avery Hallinan didn’t practice yesterday.  “My ankle is killing me,” she said post-game.

On her successful PK: “I walked up and my stomach dropped.  I shot it and thought, ‘Okay, it went in!”

Bella Hadaegh and Lily O’Neill

Alyssa Pettet’s game-winning penalty kick was her 4th of the season.  “PK’s are very tough mentally,” the Holy Cross commit said afterwards.  “You have to tune out everything that is happening.”

On Alli Napoli: “I was confident with her in net in the shootout.  She’s so athletic that she would probably be good in any sport she tried.”

Alli may have seemed calm on the field but she wasn’t.  “I was nervous out there all the time,” she said.

McKenna Hallinan on the goal she scored: “Avery’s shot was NOT going in.  It was a twin-to-twin effort.  We have twin telepathy.  We love our twin-twin moments.”

The Hornets (11-4-5) alternated goalies.  Junior Leilani Brown was in net for the first half and the first overtime as well as for the first and third PK.  Senior Kara Glynos guarded the goal in the second half, second overtime, and the second and fourth PK.

Overcast conditions with light rain after the game was over.

Tough day for Manchester-Essex.  Their boys’ soccer team lost to Burke in the game before the Amesbury girls soccer game.

(Many of the pictures are long range.  Essential that you click on them to see them enlarged.  Some, also, are a bit blurry because of the distance away that they were taken from.)

Sophia Carter (13), Lily O’Neill (16), MK McElaney (14), Gabby Smyth (17)

Alli Napoli above the crowd

Coach Adam Thibodeau with captains and trophy

Amesbury goal celebrated

Amesbury celebrates goal

Amesbury team celebrates win

Amesbury team picture with banner

Amesbury trophy raised

Dasa Hase and MK McElaney

Gracie Doherty (18) and Maya Baker (1)

Coach Luke Cosgrove with ME captains and trophy

Maddy DiPietro ready to head

 

 

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Manchester-Essex overcomes two-goal deficit to tie Newburyport 2-2

Kellen Furse in on GK Stefan Berlind

Josh McPherson over the sliding tackle of Ryan Archer

(Newburyport MA) Both teams are still undefeated in the Cape Ann League but there wasn’t a lot of celebrating after today’s game.

“I thought we had them,” said Newburyport coach Shawn Bleau afterwards. “We were up 2-0 and playing well.”

The Clippers took a 2-0 lead with 16:37 left in the second half.  They had taken more shots and certainly had been set up with more corner kicks.

But the Hornets (4-1-1) can score and in a span of just over a minute had the two goals back.

“Newburyport scored that second goal and it would have been easy for us to put out heads down, but we didn’t,” recalled ME coach Robbie Bilsbury.  “It was great that we were able to battle back.”

Will Acquaviva after scoring the Clippers 2nd goal

Freshman Will Acquaviva had a goal and an assist for Newburyport (2-0-3) while sophomore Naderson Curtis did the same for Manchester-Essex.

Yes, Will is Sam’s brother.  Sam moved from soccer and became a tremendous long-distance runner for the Clippers.  He’s now a freshman at MIT.

“We knew about Will in youth soccer,” said Coach Bleau.  “I coached Sam before he turned to cross country.  Luckily, for us, Will likes soccer a little more than running.”

Ryan Archer dribbles in traffic

The Clippers, led by super-active Ryan Archer, were relentless in harassing ME in their own end in the first half.  “We knew that we could pressure them carrying out from the back,” said Coach Bleau.  “Ryan Archer did a great job.”

Newburyport also had Max Gagnon shadowing Hornets playmaker Kellen Furse.

The Clippers took a 1-0 lead with about nine minutes left in the first half.  Junior Owen Spence collected the goal off a tremendous feed from Will Acquaviva.

“We’ve been working on bringing the ball to the end line and cutting it back across,” said Coach Bleau.  “Will came in on the left and sent the ball across to Owen Spence on the right.  Owen wasted no time in getting off a shot.  It was nice to see them execute something we’ve been working on in practice.”

Ryan Archer shoots at GK Ben Goutal

Junior Ryan Archer set up the Clippers second goal.  “It was Ryan hustling his butt off,” added Coach Bleau.  “He got off a shot and their keeper made a terrific save.”  But there was a rebound and Will Acquaviva was there to cash it in.

The goal happened at 16:37 and you did sense at the time that it was more likely that Newburyport would score the next goal.

Why? They now had a two-goal lead, it was hot, they were playing at home……..but it didn’t matter.

“Newburyport asserted themselves early,” said Coach Bilsbury.  “They were tough on every 50/50 ball, won headers, slide tackled, hustled, and outworked us.  We wanted to impose our possession style on them because they were closing us down.  We picked up our scrappiness in the second half.  Getting that first goal was crucial.”

The first ME score was not only timely but it came quickly after the Newburyport score…….just under ninety seconds later (15:12).

“Striker Naderson Curtis found a little pocket of space and fed a pass through to Kellen Furse near the goalie,” said Coach Bilsbury.  “Kellen was able to poke the pass by the NHS goalie (Stefan Berlind).”

Graham Smith (2) slides across the goal line trying to keep a shot out

Kellen and Stefan arrived at the ball at the same time and the resulting collision sent the ball toward the goal.  Defenders Cameron McDermott and Graham Smith did everything they could to keep the ball from crossing the goal-line.  Graham slide across the goal mouth but the shot had crossed the line.

Just over a minute later (14:01) the Hornets stunned the home team with another goal.

“It was a corner kick,” recalled Coach Bilsbury. “There was pressure on the goalie, and he may have mishandled it, but we’ll take it.  Getting the equalizer was huge for us.”

Incoming corner kick that turned into a goal

The ME pressure was supplied by a jumping Thomas Birkeland who effected a clear look at the CK and by Eli Cox who was very close to GK Stefan Berlind.

“We had breakdowns in the back on both of their goals,” said Coach Bleau.  “Our keeper needs to talk up a little bit more.  It’s something we can fix.  Missing a play can happen but not being vocal back there shouldn’t.”

Coach Bleau: “We’ve had a couple of ties.  It’s tough.  It’s bad on our stomachs.  Hopefully our guys can pick up on that and turns ties into wins in the future.”

One area the Clippers will have to get better on is corner kicks.  They had plenty of them and just couldn’t get the ball and bodies near the ME goalie Ben Goutal and create scoring chances.

Beautiful weather in a terrific stadium to play soccer and to watch soccer.

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

Kellen Furse jarred the ball loose from GK Stefan Berlind and a goal resulted

Hornets celebrate a goal

Clippers celebrate a goal

Emerson Khale and Ryan Archer

Harry Costello and Marcos Pasquale

Henry Acton (15) and Jake Edwards (17)

Jamie Brooks

John Fehlner throw-in

Max Gagnon (14) shadows Kellen Furse (10)

Naderson Curtis readies a corner kick

Owen Spence (11) gets a shot past GK Ben Goutal

Thomas Birkeland (4) and Henry Acton (15) vie for the ball

Thomas Birkeland

 

 

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Manchester-Essex wins first Division 4 title 5-2 over Tahanto

Dylan Wilson catches the final out

Hornets celebrate

Hornets behind the banner

Jimmy Railsback and Harry Painter

(Lowell MA) Manchester-Essex seniors filled the big moments for the Hornets this afternoon leading the team to its first baseball state title, 5-2, over Tahanto at LeLacheur Park.

“The seniors have absolutely led this season from beginning to end,” said ME coach BJ Weed afterwards as he dried off from a post-game dousing.

Seniors Luke Leavitt (2 hits, 2 runs, 1 RBI), Harry Painter (3 hits, 1 run, 2 RBI), and Dylan Wilson (2 hits, 2 RBI) supplied the firepower in ME’s five runs.

Dylan also came on to protect the Hornets’ 5-2 lead over the final two innings.

“I was lucky enough to come in and close the game,” said Dylan.  “We were up 5-2.  I was just trying to pump the zone with a good defense behind me.  Just throw strikes and let my defense work.”

Dylan Wilson pitched the final two innings for ME

Some might dispute Dylan’s “let the defense work” line during the final inning.  Why? There were two popups in the last inning and Dylan was all over both of them.  The game-clinching out was a popup that Dylan caught in the righthand batter’s box.

“I knew coming in that I wanted to get the last out,” Dylan said smiling afterwards.  “I saw that last popup and said to myself, ‘I’m not letting anyone else get this.’”

Tahanto, from Boylston, had a very young team.  They started three freshmen and an eighth grader (catcher Andrew Brown).

The Stags tied the score (1-1) in the first and only trailed 3-2 after three innings.

The fourth inning was decisive.  The Hornets (20-5) pushed across two runs and had the pitching the rest of the way to make that 5-2 lead stand up.

Sophomore Will Levendusky led off the fourth inning with a bunt single.  Later, with two outs, Luke Leavitt doubled to right scoring Will.  Harry Painter (3 hits) followed with a double over Matt St. Denis (LF) to bring Luke home with the 5th ME run.

Freshman Kellen Heney pitched 4 2/3 innings

Freshman Kellen Heney pitched the first 4 2/3 innings for the Hornets.  The Stags (17-7) threatened to get runs back against Kellen in their half of the fifth with two on, two out.  But Coach Weed summoned Vaughn O’Leary and the freshman struck out Derek Arcand to end the inning.

Another chance for Tahanto in the 6th but again with two on, and two out, the Hornets got yet another strikeout (Ryan Walton), this time from Dylan Wilson, to frustrate the Central champs.

Freshman Trevor Grady doubled in the 7th with two outs but Dylan Wilson reeled in the last out.

Manchester-Essex got a run in the first inning.  Harry Painter doubled, went to 2B on a wild pitch, and scored on Dylan Wilson’s single to right.

Adam Fuller scores as catcher Mike Quill reaches to tag

Tahanto got that run back in their half of the first.  Adam Fuller walked, stole second, and was driven in by Ethan Sauriol (3 hits) with a two-out single to left.

Two runs for ME in the third.  Will Janowicz (bunt single) and Luke Leavitt (walk) led off the inning.  Harry Painter singled and the throw home allowed Will to score and Luke to get to third.  Dylan Wilson’s single brought Luke home.

Taranto receives their trophy

Tahanto coach Neil Greewald: “It wasn’t our best game for sure.  Hats off to Manchester-Essex.  They out-pitched us, out-hit us, and played better defense.”

Mike Quill (catcher): “It was incredible to win this.  Everyone has worked hard all year and it has paid off. Kellen (Heney) is a young kid with composure.”

Bennett O’Leary (shortstop): “All year long people doubted us because we got eliminated in the first round of the playoffs last year.  We used it to motivate us.  We had one goal this entire season and that was to win the state championship and we did it.”

Luke Leavitt (Southern Maine commit): “We put it together this whole post-season.  We were never losing.  We never found out what it was like to be chasing.  I told the younger guys yesterday, ‘There’s no better feeling than to win something like this with your best friends.’”

Luke Leavitt

Franklin Wood (reserve): “It was amazing.  So much fun to be a part of this.  It was great to see us keep battling the whole game and having our captains lead us through was awesome.  Usually a Catholic school wins D4.  It was good to see a public school do it.”

Harry Painter (UMass Lowell commit): This will be my home field for the next four years.  It’s beautiful.  I can’t wait.  We worked hard; early mornings, late nights.  It all paid off.  Every one of my hits came off a fast ball.  I tried to stay off the curve balls as much as I could.  I wanted to get into good counts and drive the ball.  At UMass Lowell I’m thinking of studying sports physical therapy.  I learned a lot when I had surgery on my arm.”

Coach Weed: “This is almost like a dream to me.  I can’t say enough about this team.  I am almost speechless.  We’ve had the goal to win a championship since we started five years ago.  We started Harry (Painter) slowly this year because of his injury last year.  He got better every outing and he hit .544.”

Dylan Wilson: “I will be going to UMass Amherst to study Biology.”

Tahanto was the #7 seed in the Central.  They are in the Midland Wachusett League.

Matt St. Denis

In 2017, the Stags were 22-1 losing in the state semi-finals that season.

Today’s game was the first state final Taranto has been in since 1993.

Manchester-Essex won ten straight including five in the tournament.

Harry Painter was the Player-of-the-Year in the Cape Ann League.  Harry, Bennett O’Leary, and Dylan Wilson were on the CAL First Team.  Luke Leavitt and Mike Quill made the CAL second team.  Coach Weed was Coach-of-the-Year.

Beautiful weather for today’s noon start.

Busy twenty-four hours for Hornets’ fans.  The girls lacrosse team was in the state finals last night.

Disappointed that the MIAA had no programs for a game of this importance.

Manchester-Essex box

Tahanto box

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

Bennett O’Leary (SS) gets the force at 2B as Adam Fuller approaches

The celebrating begins

Dylan Wilson (3B) makes a nice running catch in the first inning

Dylan Wilson batting

Ethan Sauriol (2B) awaits the throw as Will Janowicz slides

Jimmy Railsback caught in a rundown

Justin Wolfe

Lars Arnsten (2B) reaches for a throw

Vaughn O’Leary

Will Janowicz scores the 2nd ME run on a wild throw in the 3rd inning

Will Levendusky cools off Coach Weed

Lars Arnsten

Luke Leavitt tagged out at 3B by Rob Salerno

Trophy pose

Trophy raised

 

 

 

 

 

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Manchester-Essex upsets Newburyport 8-7 in CAL girls lacrosse

Diane Rodier and Molly Brady rush to celebrate an 8-7 win over Newburyport ending six straight losses to the Clippers

ME goalie Bella Pomeroy congratulated by teammates

(Newburyport MA) What a difference a week makes!

Manchester-Essex won their third game of the week, edging Newburyport, 8-7, on a sunny Thursday afternoon at Newburyport.

Meanwhile, the Clippers, with only two losses in the last two seasons, suffered their second loss of this week.

Abby Lantz (7) in the middle of the action

Senior Abby Lantz netted the game-winner with 4:26 left and was quick to credit her teammates: “That last goal was the climax of what my teammates were doing throughout the entire game.”

Newburyport’s Sam King (3 goals) faces goalie Bella Pomeroy

Newburyport (1-2) dominated the first fifteen minutes getting two goals from sophomore Sam King and one from junior Maggie Pons.

“Being down early (3-0) didn’t bother us,” said ME coach Nan Gorton. “We like the challenge.  The same scenario happened against Marblehead (14-6 win).  We just had to figure out what they were trying to do and see how we were going to beat it.”

That “figuring out” happened in the final 6+ minutes of the first half as the Hornets, with goals by Brigid Edgerton, Lily Athanas (2), Emma Cochand, and Gianna Huet, left with a 5-3 halftime advantage.

The second half was tense.  Katie Hadden tied the score at 6-6 and later teammate Maggie Pons tied things at 7-7 with 5:47 left.

Maggie Pons covered by Lily Athanas

Lafayette College commit Abby Lantz tallied the decisive goal 1+ minutes later and ME held on to end a six-game losing streak to Newburyport.

“It feels really good to beat them,” said Abby afterwards.  “We came into the game with those past experiences as fuel for us.”

Last year the Hornets were a very good 17-4 but three of the defeats were to the Clippers including the D2 North finals.

“We did a better job in this game in the second half of finding open girls,” said NHS coach Catherine Batchelder.

Sam King ready to shoot as Molly Brady defends

“Lacrosse is a game of momentum,” added Coach Batchelder, “wherever the draw goes is where the goals go.  We had trouble possessing the ball in the draw and that enabled them to get back in the game.”

Maggie Pons looks for an opening as Isabel Amigo defends

The defense of Lily Athanas on Maggie Pons (Cornell commit) was a key to the win.  “She did a nice job shadowing a great player,” said Coach Gorton. Maggie had 112 goals last season but only two this afternoon.

The ME coach also commended goalie Bella Pomery: “She is one of the best of the best.  She’s also a great teammate.  She tells everyone in front of her where to be and where not to be.”

Bella made a huge save on Sam King in the closing minute.

Coach Batchelder: “We’re just very young.  We’re still trying to find our way out there. They stayed composed in a lot of different situations this afternoon.”

Abby Lantz came from behind the net on the winning goal and perfectly executed a crease roll.

Drew Charlton

Abby on her choice of Lafayette College (Easton PA): “Throughout high school I’ve been playing club soccer.  That got me a lot of exposure.  Lafayette (Division 1) reached out to me and later, after visiting, I reached back.  When I step on their campus, I get butterflies.  As far as I’m concerned, it has the perfect balance of academics and athletics.  I am interested in government and psychology.  I have met the other nine recruits and played with the team and interacted with the coaching staff.”

Excellent April weather…….sunshine and temperatures in the upper fifties.

There will be a rematch at Manchester on May 21st. It would also seem likely that the two teams could meet for a third time, like last year, in the tournament.

I would expect a little more scoring from Maggie Pons in the games ahead.  Too many minutes off the field today because of infractions.

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

Ball on the ground

Abby Lantz passes

Brigid Edgerton, Emma Cochand, Sami Cavanaugh, Gianna Huet

Brigid Edgerton

Brigid Edgerton (2 goals) chased by Sami Cavanaugh

Bella Pomeroy makes a save

Maggie Pons

Maggie Pons attacks

Liberty Palermino

Bridget Lane

Sam King checked by Christina Calandra

Sam King shoots as Drew Charlton defends

 

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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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