Category Archives: Newburyport

Parker McLaren (26) and Jake Robertson (23) too much for Triton

Parker McLaren (26 points)

Jake Robertson (23 points)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Newburyport MA) The Newburyport Clippers looked awfully good.

Tonight they defeated Triton, 81-58, and qualified for the state tournament.

The Clippers (10-3) are undefeated in the Cape Ann League (10-0) and have won every game (eight) in the new year.

Parker McLaren guarded by Quintin McHale

Last loss was a non-league event against Amesbury in December.  The rematch is scheduled for February 4th at Newburyport.

Parker McLaren and Jake Robertson continue to put up points despite regularly drawing the oppositions best defenders.

Parker had twenty-six points including three triples.

Jake clicked from long range five times and ended with twenty-three points.

Triton (7-6) came out missing and the Clippers took full advantage.

Less than four minutes into the game Newburyport had already drained three 3’s (Jack Felhner, Jake Robertson, Parker McLaren) and led 12-0.  The Vikings never recovered.

“They can do everything,” said Mason Ferrick (15 points) afterwards.  “They can shoot from the outside.  They’ve got help down low to make layups.”

Zach Liebert guards Jake Robertson

“They’ve got a lot of weapons,” added Triton coach Ted Schruender.

Jake Robertson collected two more three’s before the quarter ended and teammate Jack Felhner also added another one.  Triton trailed, 25-12, after one period.

The visitors put a 10-1 segment together in the second period to lessen their deficit to, 29-22, three minutes in.  Getting to the basket and the foul line sparked the comeback.  Senior Jesse Wilkinson turned an NHS miscue into a layup.

But on this night, the Clippers had responses for any and all of Triton’s comeback attempts.

The highlight of the second period was Parker McLaren’s steal of a cross-court pass that gave him a clear breakaway.  Off he went with time to look for anyone chasing him.  He rushed in for a resounding jam that was a genuine crowd pleaser.  NHS led at halftime, 39-31.

Quintin McHale blocks Parker McLaren’s shot

Newburyport began the second half with a Parker layup (assist Trevor Ward) and another Parker three (assist Jake Robertson). There was no stopping them tonight.

The Clippers had a double-digit lead for good in the third period and cruised in with the win.

The Vikings never stopped competing.  They took the ball to the basket and they defended aggressively.  Quintin McHale (12 points) got Parker McLaren into several jump ball situations.

“Parker is resilient,” said Coach Clay.  “That’s why he’s a leader and a captain in our program.  Some people wouldn’t continue attacking but he did.  I loved that dunk he had.”

It certainly hurt Triton when high-scorer Michael Farago had two fouls in the first 1 ½ minutes of the game.  His minutes thereafter were limited but he never fouled out.

“He (Michael Farago) doesn’t let things bother him,” explained Coach Schreuender.  “That’s why he was able to play so well (eight points) in the second half.”

Both teams played man-to-man.  Triton tried a zone for one (?) possession and Jake Robertson immediately connected on a three from the top of the key.

Michael Farago defends

Impressed with the way that Newburyport took care of the ball.  Very few turnovers for the home team.

Good crowd of Vikings were on hand.

Mason Ferrick: “Newburyport is a good team and we didn’t have tonight what it took to beat them.  Now we get ready for Ipswich on Tuesday.”

Coach Schruender: “If we compete like we did today, we’ll have a lot of good situations in our future.”

Triton box

Newburyport box

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

Dylan Wilkinson

Griffin Dupuis shoots

Jack Fehlner

TJ Overbaugh tries to shoot

Trevor Ward defends

Jake Robertson looks to pass

Mason Ferrick guarded by Jack Fehlner (13 points)

Max Gagnon

Jesse Wilkinson

Mason Ferrick blocks Jake Robertson’s shot

 

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Newburyport’s fast start enough to defeat Haverhill 47-35

Lindsay Joulbert faces tight defense by Jackie Doucette.

Makenna Ward (14) moves quickly after a Haverhill turnover

(Newburyport MA) Newburyport had the defensive heat on high from the get-go and gained permanent separation early against Haverhill.

The Monday night non-league game was an unsavory 47-35 loss for the Hillies.

“That was not Haverhill basketball you saw out there,” explained a disappointed HHS coach Melissa Tarpy afterwards.  “We didn’t play basic basketball.”

It certainly didn’t help the Hillies (3-6) that Merrimack Valley League All-Star McKayla Dingle was not in uniform.

“We were missing a player but that is no excuse,” added Coach Tarpy.  “Teams step up in those situations and we didn’t.”

The Clippers (6-2) turned full-court man-to-man defense into ten Haverhill turnovers and a nineteen-point first quarter. Haverhill never recovered from the 19-7 deficit.

Sami Cavanaugh covers Kya Burdier (9 points)

“We got turnovers and layups,” said Sami Cavanaugh afterwards.

Sometimes turnovers merely change possession.  The Clippers had the kind that led to points.

“If our defense is strong, everything else is dictated by that,” said Newburyport coach Karen Grutchfield.

“We’ll never win a game with that many turnovers,” added Coach Tarpy.

The home team started the second quarter with two more hoops (Abby Gillingham layup from Sadie Vandenberg, Deirdre McElhinney steal and layin).  The Clippers’ advantage became, 23-7, and had me wondering why I thought this might be a competitive game!

The rest of the way, however, was competitive.  Haverhill outscored Newburyport 28-24 in the remaining twenty-three minutes of action, but the closest the Hillies would get to the lead was, 35-28, in the first minute of the final quarter.

Newburyport immediately answered by getting baskets when, first Makenna Ward, and then Ann Affolter, got the ball in to 6-3 Abby Gillingham on the block.  Abby was able to turn and get consecutive layups against out-sized opponents.

Makenna Ward sends a bounce pass to Abby Gillingham

Abby gets good positioning to receive a pass in close

Abby (14 points) gets a layup

“We have tall forwards,” said Sami.  “It was important to get the ball in to them because Haverhill couldn’t match up with them.”

Kya Burdier set to block Sami Cavanaugh’s shot

Sami added two free throws to run the Clippers consecutive-point total to six and boosted their margin to thirteen (41-28).  The NHS defense kept Haverhill from getting inside of double figures over the final five minutes.

The Clippers had one turnover in the breakaway first quarter but fifteen more (by my count) after that.  “We turned the ball over a lot,” said Coach Grutchfield, “and that helped them get back into the game.”

Against North Reading, last Wednesday, the Clippers struggled to get the ball inside without losing possession.  Much better job tonight.

Neither team did themselves any favors at the free throw line; Newburyport (8/18) & Haverhill (9/26).

Senior Leandra Kwo led HHS with thirteen points.  Sophomore Kya Burdier added nine points.

Deirdre McElhinney (9 points) looks to pass

Abby Gillingham (14 points) led all scorers.  A jumper from the corner was part of her collection of points.  Freshman Deirdre McElhinney added nine points including a triple.

Coach Grutchfield: “We have good depth.  We did a good job of getting the ball inside to Abby.  It was good to see Makenna (Ward) looking for her shot tonight.”

Coach Tarpy: “It was probably one of the worst games we’ve played defensively.  We’ve got more than half the season left.  We will also face Newburyport again.”

Haverhill is a D1 team from the Merrimack Valley Conference.  The Hillies had their best season in sixteen years last year when they were 16-6 and won a tournament game.  Haverhill was 17-62 in the four seasons before last year.

Kya Burdier was All-MVC last season.  Leandra Kwo was an Lawrence Eagle-Tribune All-Star in the same season.

Newburyport box

Haverhill box

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

Abby Gillingham sets a screen for Sami Cavanaugh

Anna Affolter

Christina Firek

Deirdre McElhinney drives right

Opening tip

Sami Cavanaugh

Sami Cavanaugh gets by Haley Phillips

Carli Quinlan

fight for possession

Jackie Doucette

Kya Burdier in for two

On the floor

 

 

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Newburyport holds off North Reading 38-36 in defensive struggle

Newburyport celebrates their fifth win

Deirdre McElhinney scores in the last minute

Julia Howse left with an injury in the second half

(Newburyport MA) Freshman Deirdre McElhinney turned a last-minute North Reading miscue into an old-fashioned 3-point play to give Newburyport the cushion needed to hold off the Hornets, 38-36, on Wednesday night.

Both D2 teams had scoring strengths, but tenacious defense minimized those strengths.

The Clippers (5-1) wanted to take advantage of their height inside, while North Reading (3-3) wanted their long-range shooting to spark them.

“It was a battle,” said NR coach Bob Romeo afterwards.  “We told the team before the game that this would be a one-or-two possession game, and it was.”

After a missed free throw (Sami Cavanaugh), the Hornets had twelve seconds to either tie the game or win it.  They got two shots off but under heavy pressure and couldn’t connect.

Ali Grasso led all scorers with twelve points

“I’m thrilled with how tough our kids were down the stretch against a good team,” explained NHS coach Karen Grutchfield.

The half-court man-to-man defenses kept either team from gaining significant separation.

North Reading had a six-point lead (10-4) after a Lauren Sullivan (9 points) breakaway in the opening period.

Abby Gillingham looks for her shot

Newburyport had a six-point lead of its own in the third quarter (24-18) after an Abby Gillingham layin.

The rest of the time it was close between the two Cape Ann League opponents.  There were six ties and five lead changes.

The visitors had a 3-point edge (32-29) five minutes into the final quarter after an Ali Grasso (12 points) long one.

The Clippers answered with their best collection of consecutive offense (six straight) over the next minute.  In the crucial run, senior Sami Cavanaugh started it by setting up junior Leah Metsker for a layup and then added a jump shot.  The other two points came on a perfectly executed inbounds play: Abby Gillingham set a screen for teammate Sadie Vandenberg along the foul line.  Sadie used the screen and rolled wide open into the lane for an uncontested layup.

Perfectly executed in-bounds play gave NHS a layup

That run of points put NHS ahead by three.

Makenna Ward has a shot blocked by Lauren Sullivan

The Hornets cut that lead to one (Lauren Sullivan rebound basket) and had the ball back in the last minute with a chance to do even better.  But the Clippers forced a turnover on the NR perimeter and Sami sent Deirdre off for the outcome-sealing layup + one.

“I felt that Anna Affolter (9 points) and Deirdre (7 points) really stepped up,” said Coach Grutchfield.  “Sami led us.  She’s the heart of the team.”

North Reading had five three’s.  Four of them came in the second half.

“We hit some big shots in that stretch when we got back into the game in the second half,” said Coach Romeo.

“North Reading is a good team with great shooters,” said Coach Grutchfield.  “We did a good job defending Ali Grasso.  She’s a very good player.”

Several of the Clippers had turns guarding Ali including Anna Affolter and Deirdre McElhinney.

Ali had twenty-three points the last time the Hornets visited Newburyport.

Leah Metsker looks for a pass

NR’s top inside presence (Julia Howse) injured herself diving for a ball going out-of-bounds early in the third quarter and didn’t return.

“We were a little short-handed when Julia (8 points) went out,” admitted Coach Romeo.

The Clippers (8-12 last year) are off to a nice start with their 5-1 record.  They have yet to face Pentucket, Masconomet, and Amesbury.  North Reading (3-3) has losses to Pentucket and Amesbury.

“We’ll be okay,” said Coach Romeo.  “We’re getting better.”

Pentucket coach John McNamara was in the house.

Coach Romeo on wearing green after all those years wearing Masco red: “I was due for some new clothes.”

North Reading box

Newburyport box

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

Makenna Ward tries to pass inside

Lauren Sullivan gets a timeout for North Reading

Sami Cavanaugh spots Deirdre McElhinney ahead and in the open

Sami Cavanaugh lofts a pass toward Leah Metsker

Sami Cavanaugh layup attempt with Ali Grasso over her shoulder

Senior Sami Cavanaugh

Freshman Makenna Ward

Freshman Emma Foley

Freshman Anna Affolter drives with Kiley McCarthy defending

Elle Doucette

Deirdre McElhinney adds the plus one in the closing minute

Ali Grasso pass in transition to teammate Lauren Sullivan

 

 

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Newburyport routs East Boston in D3 North opening round

Olivia Coletti starts the Newburyport scoring

Maddy Felts (15) and Cricket Good (11) celebrate a goal

(Newburyport MA) The Clippers (10-6-3) scored early and often in their 11-0 Preliminary Round win over East Boston on Sunday afternoon.

The #17 Jets (10-8-1) struggled all game just to get into the #16 Newburyport half of the field.

Midway through the first half an EB long ball from midfield rolled to Newburyport keeper Anneliese Truesdale and the Clippers student section “cheered.”  Why?  That was the first and only ball that Anneliese handled during the entire half!

Meanwhile, down the other end, the Clippers applied pressure, pressure, and more pressure and the goals started adding up.

East Boston goalie Julianna Bonilla made some nice saves but also left some big rebounds.

Newburyport coach Kevin Sheridan had everyone on his bench in action in the first half and used reserves for most of the second half.

Molly Webster (2 goals) and East Boston GK Julianna Bonilla battle for a rebound

East Boston coach Richard LaCara took note: “Newburyport is very, very skilled.  We appreciate everything that took place here.  It could have been a lot uglier than it was.  There was no running up the score.”

The Clippers had nine different goals scorers.

Senior Cricket Good paced the home team with two goals and an assist.

Sophomore Molly Webster also had two scores.

“Other people had good shots,” said Molly afterwards.  “The rebounds were there for me to run into.”

Vanessa Rico (6) and Isabel Kirby (13)

The goals today were Molly’s 2nd and 3rd of the season.

Senior Olivia Coletti started the scoring for NHS three minutes into the game.  Denied a minute earlier, Olivia fielded a deflected shot by Kelsey Soule and cashed an open netter.

Five minutes later one captain (Molly Elmore) was set up by another captain (Cricket Good).

Another five minutes Cricket used her strong left foot from the left side to beat GK Julianna Bonilla to the far side.

Another five minutes Maddy Felts turned a rebound into a 4-0 lead.

This was the point at which Anneliese Truesdale finally had to field a long roller from midfield.

The Clippers added three more goals in the first half to lead 7-0 at intermission.

Katie Gallagher (2 assists) readies a corner kick

“The girls played well,” said Coach Sheridan after the game.  “Everyone had a chance to play.  There was quality time for everyone in a tournament game.”

Junior Matigan DeFeo had a goal and two assists while Norah McElhinney added a goal and an assist.

Newburyport is in the Cape Ann League while East Boston plays in the Boston City League.

“Our goal is always to win the city championship,” said Coach LeCara.  “Whatever happens after that happens.”

The Jets lost in the city semi-finals.

Anna Affolter (21) and Jennifer Sanabria (12)

Tuesday the Clippers will encounter #1 seed Stoneham in the First Round.  Trust me, “night-and-day” might describe the difference in competition Newburyport will face in that one.

At one point in the second half, the Jets had twelve players on the field before Coach LaCara realized it and got the attention of the extra player.

Soccer doesn’t have a mercy rule………or do they?  I believe that the second half (?) was played with running time.  Normally the clock stops after goals.

I did some last-minute homework on Newburyport girls soccer to see when the last time was that the Clippers were in the tournament.  Didn’t happen last year but in 2017 they reached the state semi-finals.  Who did they play in the First Round on November 4th?  East Boston.  Score?  12-0.  Two years ago at Stehlin Stadium.

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

Cricket Good shoots for the far corner

East Boston threatens late in the game

Jets circle Liberty Palermino

Maddy Felts (15) watches her shot that turned into a goal

Molly Elmore (9) lines up a header

Molly Webster (19) and Matigan DeFeo (26) break in

Norah McElhinney (12) celebrates her goal

Olivia Coletti nearly scores early

Olivia Sullivan

Page Cole (24) dribbles by an EB defender

Sami Cavanaugh (10) sets to turn a corner kick into a goal

Sierra Leahy

Sportsmanship

 

 

 

 

 

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Newburyport keeps ALS Cup with 3-0 win over Pentucket

Clippers celebrate a 3-0 shutout over Pentucket

Meaghan O’Leary sets up for a direct kick.

(Newburyport MA) She couldn’t have picked a better time.

Senior Meaghan O’Leary turned two direct kicks into the first two goals of her high school career helping Newburyport (7-4-2) shut out Pentucket, 3-0, on Saturday afternoon at Newburyport.

The win kept the coveted ALS Cup in the possession of the Clippers.

Pentucket (8-4-2) has yet to win the ALS Cup in the annual crowd-drawing event.

There was valid optimism that today might be the day for the Sachems’ drought to end.

Why?

Shot coming in

Pentucket had a 6-5 win over the Clippers on September 10th at West Newbury.  The Sachems were down twice by two goals in that back-and-forth contest but rallied to stun the visitors.

The Sachems could score (46 goals) and they had the character to rally back if necessary.

On this cloudy afternoon, however, the Clippers kept both of those things from happening.

“The differences this time,” said NHS coach Kevin Sheridan, “were the organization of our defense, the discipline of our defense, and the communication all the way from the keeper to the strikers in terms of who’s covering who.  That first game was a wakeup call for us.”

Sabrina Campbell (19) and Page Cole (24)

“We came out in the second half determined to crush any hope they had of winning,” explained captain Molly Elmore.  “There was no letup.  We played the full eighty minutes.”

“Newburyport was very organized and defended well,” said Sachems coach Dan Millard.  “We had scored forty-six goals but got none today.”

Eight minutes into the first half (32:19), Meaghan O’Leary’s direct kick from the right deflected off the fingertips of Pentucket netminder Ashlynne Reade to put Newburyport in front, 1-0.

The visitors had some good chances to tie the score in the first half.  The best may have been with less than two minutes when Sabrina Campbell sent a ball into the middle that GK Anneliese Truesdale caught with Mackenzie Currie bearing down on her.

“We were better in the first half than we were in the second,” recalled Coach Millard.

The Clippers were awarded two direct kicks within the span of four minutes in the second half.  Meaghan O’Leary cashed the second one at 25:41.

First goal – upper left corner

“We practice a lot of free kicks,” said Meaghan.  “We have about ten girls that can take really good ones.  I was lucky enough to be the one who stepped up.”

Meaghan’s second goal (25:41 – second half) was off a direct kick from straight away.  Both of her goals were driven toward the upper left side and deflected off GK Ashlynne Reade into the net.

Clippers celebrate 2nd goal

Another set play produced the third goal at 14:26. Senior Cricket Good had plenty to do with this one.  The St. Anselm’s commit came across from the right into the middle and fired a shot back toward the right post that GK Ashlynne Reade make a brilliant save on.  The deflection gave Newburyport a corner kick from the right corner.

Cricket’s 13th goal was off a corner kick with her left foot that was sent low toward the goal.  Ashlynne came out to get the ball, between two teammates, but the hard shot deflected off her hand into the net.

Cricket Good’s CK coming in

Down 3-0 with fourteen minutes remaining, the Clippers had the lead and the solid defense to keep the shutout.

Referencing the three goals on set plays, Coach Millard said, “There were things out of our control.”

Mackenzie Currie (9) and Izzy Kirby (13)

The key defensive player for the Clippers was sophomore Izzy Kirby. Izzy had the job of trying to contain high-scorer Mackenzie Currie.

Meaghan O’Leary: “#13 (Izzy Kirby) was unbelievable.”

GK Anneliese Truesdale: “Izzy was always there to help with Mackenzie.”

“When their top guns received the ball, we had them marked and we had help there as well,” said Coach Sheridan.

A large crowd enjoyed the middle game of today’s triple-header at Stehlin Field.  Only on a turf field could you play a football game and two soccer games, after a night of rain, and still have a great field in place.

GK Anneliese Truesdale up for a save with Mackenzie Currie (9) close by

Anneliese Truesdale: “In the beginning of the season I struggled with high shots but Coach (Sheridan) had worked a lot on it with me.  Give credit to Pentucket.  This is the toughest competition we’ve seen in the ALS Cup.”

Cricket Good: “We were expecting a ton of goals, but we did a good job of knowing their players this time specifically.  It could have been a closer game, but Anneliese had some amazing saves.”

Olivia Sullivan: “We knew what we had to do after the first game with Pentucket.  We came out with plenty of energy this time.  Everyone was focused in warmups.”

Molly Elmore: “Today’s game was bigger than us.  It was for a cause.  I have been going head-to-head with Jacey Jennings for a couple of years.  I tried to find her because she can be a big threat.  She has a good shot.”

Molly Elmore and Jacey Jennings

Coach Sheridan: “Pentucket is a really good team.  We expected them to come out firing in the second half and we knew we had to match them.  It was a great statement game for our girls.  They are thrilled to maintain the cup.”

The Clippers have now won four straight and allowed only one goal during the win streak.

You couldn’t help but notice how dangerous Mackenzie Currie can be.  The combination of size, strong shot, and hustle make her a constant threat.

Cricket Good received a yellow card in the second half.  She was sent off in the first half. “The first time off I said that I’d keep my mouth shut and figure it out,” she said. “There’s still work to be done.”

Yellow card for Cricket Good

Both teams are in Division Three.  “I’m hoping that maybe we can play them again in the tournament,” said Coach Millard.  The Sachems have already made the tourney.  The Clippers need a win or two ties in their remaining schedule to also qualify.

Another Division Three Cape Ann League team is Lynnfield.  They have beaten Newburyport twice and Pentucket once.

That 6-5 win in September was the first time Pentucket had defeated Newburyport in NINE years.  From 2013-2018, in twelve meetings with the Clippers the Sachems had scored only TWO goals. That is why that 6-5 win sent the message that things had changed in West Newbury.

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

Annabelle Sylvanowicz and Olivia Sullivan

Anneliese Truesdale, Meaghan O’Leary, Katie Gallagher

GK Annaliese Truesdale corrals a loose ball

Deidre McElhinney (8) and Katelyn Sudbay (21)

Deidre McElhinney

Kinneal Dickens

Sage Seymour sang The National Anthem

Molly Elmore will attend Sacred Heart (Fairfield CT) next year

Molly Elmore and Jacey Jennings

Olivia Coletti and Syiera Campbell

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Purdue commit Sydney Yim leads Newburyport past Whittier 3-0

Sydney Yim unleashes a hard hit at the Whittier defenders

Sydney Yim committed to Purdue VB on Friday

(Newburyport MA) Impressive.

And I wasn’t the only one impressed by junior Sydney Yim of the Newburyport Clippers.

“She’s one of the best I’ve seen,” said Whittier coach Paul Bonosaro after his team fell, 3-0, to Newburyport on Wednesday evening.

“She can hit it hard and she can hit it soft,” the Wildcats coach added.

Taking that “impressive” label even further, Sydney has obviously gotten the attention of Purdue University VB head coach Dave Shondell as well.

“I committed to Purdue on Friday,” Sydney told me after the win over Whittier.  “I visited there and enjoyed the campus.  I also had a really good connection with the coaching staff there.”

Julianne Heath had twenty assists

No question that the Division One Boilermakers (West Lafayette IND) had an advantage.  “My mom went there, and she encouraged me,” laughed Sydney.

Tonight, the Clippers (9-5) swept Whittier; 25-16, 25-16, and 25-23.

“We certainly competed in the last set,” said Coach Bonosaro.  “We needed just a few things to go our way to win it.”

But those “few things” were missing for Whittier (10-4) much of the night.  “We had too many service errors and too much miscommunication,” he recalled.

The Wildcats (10-4) have qualified for the post-season and since both teams are in Division 2 North they could meet again, for the third time.  The Clippers won at Haverhill, 3-1, on September 23rd.

Whittier coach Paul Bonosaro

The Clippers haven’t qualified yet for the tournament although just one win in the final six games will get that job done.

“Our ability to communicate was a huge part of tonight’s win,” explained NHS coach Lori Solazzo.

She added that it certainly helps to have a player like Sydney on the team.

It is easy to forget that this is only the Clippers THIRD season with a volleyball team; 1-14 (2017), 4-15 (2018), and now 9-5…….and counting. Remarkable.

I asked Coach Solazzo how her team has become so good so quickly: “The girls have really dedicated themselves to getting better.  Many of them have worked at it during the off-season.  There’s interest in the school in volleyball.  We had sixty-four girls try out.”

The Clippers trailed early (6-5) in the first set before pulling away 16-10 and 20-13. A long hit by Whittier’s Grace Efosa ended the set 25-16.

Grace Efosa will play basketball for Providence next year

The second set was all Newburyport.  Sydney Yim (14 kills, 5 aces) led NHS to a 13-5 advantage.  One time it was serving.  Another it was dropping a shot into an open space.  In one sequence Sydney served a ball that wasn’t handled in the Whittier second row.  A replacement was inserted by Coach Bonosaro to that spot.  A hard serve by Sydney went to the same spot with the same result.

The third set was close.  Grace Efosa had the team from the Commonwealth Athletic Conference up 3-0 early.  But the Clippers (Cape Ann League) used a Sydney soft shot and a Sydney kill to get in front 18-13.  Credit Whittier, they didn’t pack it in.  They rode a drop-in by Meghan Jegerow and an ace by Alyssa Michel to trail by only one, 21-20.  Coach Solazzo called a timeout.  And she called another one after an ace by Alicia Habib tied the score at 23-23.  But that was the best Whittier could do.  A long hit and then a mishandled volley gave the home team the two points they needed to win the match.

“We did a good job of communicating tonight after a rough start,” explained Sydney.  “We gradually ended up learning more about the other team and adjusting to what they had do offer.”

Coach Bonosaro: “We tried to block her (Sydney Yim) and take her out of the game.  We did our best.”

Kate Sarra (19) and Jillian Stallard (12)

I hadn’t been in the Newburyport gymnasium since the boys team lost in the DNorth basketball playoffs to Dracut.  I was delighted with the bright lights.  On the lesser side, the low ceiling was certainly a factor.  With the ceiling actually in play, there were several awkward volleys.  I heard one Newburyport fan explain to someone nearby that the “ceiling was the team’s Seventh Man.”

Senior Julianne Heath had eighteen assists for Newburyport.

Whittier’s Alyssa Michel had twenty service points in the first meeting with the Clippers.

Zaria Collazo

It was interesting to have two Division One college commits on the floor at the same time.  You know about Sydney and Purdue.  The other D1 commit was Whittier senior Grace Efosa who will play basketball at Providence College for the Friars.

Coach Bonosaro is in his first year as head coach.  He was an assistant coach at Whittier for fourteen years.

Coach Solazzo played volleyball for Gordon College (Wenham MA) back in the day.  My wife and I were admiring spectators for quite a few of her games playing for Coach Val Ginn.

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

Sofia Messina serves set point

Block attempt

Meghan Jegerow sets

Siarra Cronin tries to block Sydney Yim

Sydney Yim spikes past Grace Efosa and Siarra Cronin

Meghan Jegerow (4)

Lindsey Hunt (4)

Laney Lucci

Jess Rosseau (8)

block

Battle at the net

Alicia Habib (40) and Siarra Cronin (12)

 

 

 

 

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Shorthanded North Reading defeats Newburyport 28-14

Jack Keller (3 TDs) uses a block by Ryan Kavanaugh (4)

Backup QB Ryan McCullough took a keeper 58 yards in the first quarter

(Newburyport MA) The Hornets starting quarterback Brian Heffernan was out with a sore back.

He already had ten touchdown passes in just three games.

Not to worry, sophomore fill-in Ryan McCullough was more than up for the job and North Reading continues undefeated after a Cape Ann League win (28-14) over Newburyport on Friday night.

“We had to simplify things,” said NR coach Ed Blum afterwards.  “He (Ryan) hasn’t had many QB reps but he’s an athlete and he did a good job.”

Ryan passed for a touchdown (Jack Keller) and ran for one, all in the first half.

The Clippers (2-2) were unaware that they would be facing a different quarterback.  It didn’t really matter to Newburyport coach Ben Smolski: “They ran what they ran on film and we defended as we taught them to.”

Walker Bartkiewicz (8) scored all of Newburyport’s points

The Clippers matched the Hornets (4-0) with two first-half touchdowns.  Both were by senior Walker Bartkiewicz.

Newburyport squandered a chance to take the lead early in the second half.  The NR punt receiver dropped the ball and Spencer Beane recovered setting the home team up on the NR 23.  But a Charlie Cahalane pass bounced off Walker Bartkiewicz’s hand and junior Jack Donohue had the interception near the goal-line.

Jacob Buontempo (20) turns a fumble into positive yardage

The Hornets turned the NHS turnover into a 94-yard march with Jack Keller finishing the final twenty-two yards on a sweep left with 3:16 to go in the third quarter.  Rob Tammario kicked the extra points just as he had done after the two first-half scores.  NR was now ahead, 21-14.

Jack Keller tallies the Hornets final touchdown

Turning point alert!  Next possession Newburyport started on their own 41 and moved to the NR 13 and had a 4th-and-2 from there as the seconds ticked off at the end of the 3rd quarter.  “There was a miscommunication between us and the refs over the time left on the play clock,” said Coach Smolski.  “We would have called a timeout but instead we ended up with a five-yard delay of game penalty.”  Now pushed back to the NR 18, there were still two options; go for the first down or kick a field goal.

“Walker (Bartkiewicz) was within his range but we wanted to tie the game and then put us in a position to win the game later on a field goal,” explained Coach Smolski.

The Clippers opted for a pass play and it might have worked for the important first down, but the toss was dropped by Trevor Ward.

Brayden Scribner had an interception for NR in the 4th quarter

Newburyport did get the ball back in the 4th quarter (7:54) with yet another chance to tie the score.  However, Brayden Scribner in the Hornets secondary picked off Charlie Cahalane’s pass attempt and returned the interception to the Newburyport 22 with 3:31 left in the game.

North Reading was now running the Wildcat with Jack Keller getting the direct snap.  Jack found a hole up the middle and went in untouched from eleven yards away to seal this one for the visitors.  This was Jack’s third TD of the contest.

This was the 4th time that the Hornets have pulled out a game in the second half.  “I wish we could play a better first twenty-four minutes,” said Coach Blum post-game.

Newburyport has now lost five straight times to North Reading.

In the last two games Walker Bartkiewicz has scored all the Clippers’ points.  He had sixteen last week against Ipswich.

Lovely evening with temps close to sixty with no wind.

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

Aidan Carucci (6) ends Newburyport’s last possession with an interception

Brayden Scribner had an interception in the 4th quarter

Charlie Cahalane looks for a receiver in the flat

Charlie Cahalane throws over Aidan Carucci

Coach Ed Blum

Gerry Callagy

Ryan McCullough

Tyler Foley (15) brings down Jack Keller

Walker Bartkiewicz (8) behind the defense after catching a pass

Walker Bartkiewicz tangles with Robert Tammario (10) trying to catch a pass

Ryan Kavanaugh (4) finds an opening

Ryan McCullough on his way to the end zone

Ryan McCullough runs for a first down

 

 

 

 

 

 

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