Category Archives: Swampscott

Swampscott stuns Newburyport 6-5

Swampscott celebrates the upset
Jack Russo scored the game winner

(Newburyport) He was going down as he let the shot go and it went in.

Not only did it go in, but Jack Russo’s goal was the game winner for Swampscott.

The Big Blue stunned Newburyport, 6-5, on Thursday afternoon.

It was the Division Three opener for both squads.

Swampscott moves on to face Pentucket on Saturday.  The Panthers had a 13-4 win over Big Blue on April 2nd.

The ways things turned out didn’t surprise either coach.

“We’re battled tested with Danvers, Beverly, Marblehead, and Masco so we knew we were capable of doing it,” said Swampscott coach Geoff Beckett afterwards.

Harrison Kinne carries

“In the tournament at the end of the year, anyone can beat anybody,” said Newburyport coach Josh Wedge post-game.

The result was surely a surprise to those doing the MIAA power rankings in Division Three since (12-7) Newburyport was the #8 seed and (10-8) Swampscott was the #25 seed.

Newburyport took a one-goal lead three straight times and Swampscott followed by doing the same thing.

The team behind always caught up until Jack Russo gave Big Blue a 6-5 lead with 5:15 left in the final quarter.  The Clippers weren’t able to get the equalizer in the several opportunities they had.

“Our defense was amazing,” said Swampscott goalie Aidan Breault.  “We gave up only one goal in the second half.”

Aidan Breault (9)

Aidan made some key saves but added, “I couldn’t have done it without the defense in front of me.”

The Clippers ability to score goals took a hit in the first quarter when senior Jonny Groth was injured and never returned.

“When Jonny, our best middie went down that was tough,” said Coach Wedge.  “He was our senior leader all year on offense.”

Big Blue took the lead for good on Jack Russo’s goal in the fourth quarter.

“I was trying to push top-side,” recalled Jack regarding his game winner.  “I saw the goalie slide, so I gave a nice little swim move and honestly prayed and it went in.  I was falling and I tried to use my momentum to put it in the net.”

“Swampscott is a very athletic team,” said Coach Wedge, “and I knew that they would give us problems if we didn’t execute.”

Cole Mellett with the ball

“To win we had to put forty-eight minutes together,” said Coach Beckett.  “We probably played about forty-five minutes but luckily it was enough.”

Senior Ryan McHugh opened the scoring for Newburyport but Cole Hamernick answered for Swampscott in the first quarter.

Coach Wedge called a timeout with fifty-six seconds left in the first quarter and his team came out and scored (Ryan Philbin) ten seconds later.

The back-and-forth continued in the second quarter.  Big Blue’s Jason Codispoti tied the game at 2-2 before Owen Kurez put the Clippers ahead again. 

Jack Russo went over the top of a defender to tie the game at 3-3 with seven minutes left until halftime.

Jack Hadden

Harrison Kinne poured in from the left and Big Blue had its first lead of the game, 4-3, with 5:52 left in the 2nd quarter.

Newburyport’s Jack Hadden made a long run to tie things (4-4) at the half.

I expected the higher seed to string goals together and gain some separation in the second half.

It didn’t happen.

“Our stick skills were a little sloppy,” said Coach Wedge.  “We had opportunities that we just dropped.”

Swampscott wasn’t playing very well either.

“We let them hang around in the third quarter with a lot of turnovers,” said Coach Beckett.

Goals by Cole Hamernick (Swampscott) and Ryan McHugh (Newburyport) kept things even when the third quarter ended.

Ryan McHugh had 2 goals for Newburyport

Only one goal was scored during the twelve-minute final quarter, and it was by Jack Russo.

“Their goalie (Ryan Portalla) was playing good all day,” said Jack, “so I finally got one by him.  Newburyport is a well-coached, great team.  #1 (Jack Hadden) is a heckuva player.”

Jack Russo saw plenty of Jack Hadden as the two of them tangled numerous times in Swampscott’s offensive end.

Christian Urbano and Harrison Kinne each had two assists for Swampscott.

Aidan Breault not only had a big game in net, but he also wasn’t hesitant to carry the ball into the other end.

“I got bored down there sometimes,” he laughed, “so I’ve got to run it up and make a play and try to set up the offense.”

Plenty of good weather this afternoon.

Newburyport   2   2   1   0   =   5

  Swampscott   1   3   1   1   =   6

Ball on the turf

Newburyport defenders in pursuit

Jack Russo and Jack Hadden get entangled

Jason Codispoti scored twice for Swampscott

Player in the air

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Swampscott reaches Final Four with 2-1 win over Triton

Swampscott reaches the Final Four in Division Three field hockey
Big Blue celebrates

(Byfield MA) Swampscott edged #4 Triton, 2-1, on Saturday morning to gain the Division 3 state semi-finals.

The Big Blue (13-5-3) will face the #1 seed (Sandwich) on Wednesday night (7PM) at Norwell High School.

Sydney Marshall provided the game winner for #5 Swampscott in the third quarter assisted by Isabella Modica.

Both teams knew each other well.

“We had never played them before,” said Swampscott coach Courtney Russo, “but this is our fourth time this season.”

An earlier scrimmage was followed by two games in October.  Triton won the first meeting (2-1) and tied the second (1-1).

“We played them a couple of times,” said Coach Donna Andersen of Triton.  “It could have gone either way today.  We knew it would be close.”

Brooke Waters’ goal in the first quarter was answered by Maddie Hillick’s goal in the second quarter.

Sydney Marshall’s game winner, in the third quarter (3:50), came just after Triton had done everything but score down the other end.

Nicolette Fraser (25) stops a Triton shot in front
Maddie Hillick (9) takes a second shot
Crowd gathers in front of Swampscott net

“Isabella (Modica) had a great shot into the circle that went right to me,” recalled Sydney of her game winner.  “I was able to hit it off the right post and it went in.  I was in the right spot at the right time.”

Sydney Marshall (23) takes the shot
Sydney Marshall celebrates the goal
Sydney Marshall celebrates with teammates

The pattern was set for the Vikings (14-4-3) to get an answering goal.  But that, however, didn’t happen this morning.

“We struggled to play a full sixty minutes of intense field hockey,” said Coach Andersen.  “We had our moments, and we did play spurts of good hockey.  At the end of the day, however, we didn’t maintain it.”

The Big Blue scored their first goal at 3:02 of the first quarter.

“Our first goal was set up by a shot from Isabella Modica,” explained Coach Russo.  “She (Isabella) hit it in, and Brooke Waters knocked it in.  She took a nice strong shot in the center.”

Brooke Waters (13) takes the shot
Team celebrates the Brooke Waters’ goal
Brooke Waters with the ball

Early in the second quarter, Triton pulled even off a corner at 12:31.

“Our goal by Maddie (Hillick) was well executed,” said Coach Andersen.  “The insert was good as was the hit off it.  Maddie collected the rebound, protected the ball and put it away.”

Maddie Hillick (9) shot from the left
Triton team celebrates Maddie Hillick’s goal
Maddie Hillick gets the ball
Paige Leavitt (2)

“Their corners are very strong,” said Coach Russo.  “We wanted to eliminate some of them.”

The Vikings had five corners (by my count) during the game.  Swampscott had one corner.

“I wanted to see more corners out of us,” added Coach Russo.  “It was nice, however, to see us get two goals that weren’t on corners.”

Sydney Marshall’s goal in the third quarter impacted the way things went thereafter.

“It’s not the end of the world if you get scored on,” said Coach Andersen, “but in this game the momentum shifted, and we weren’t able to get it back again.”

Isabella Modica had a part in both Swampscott goals

“I was a little worried that going into the fourth quarter with the lead, might cause us to play defensively, to play it safe,” said Coach Ruffo.  “But it didn’t happen.  I’m proud of them and pleased.”

The Vikings did have a near miss in that last quarter off a corner.  The shot taken hit Swampscott goalie Chloe Rakauskas’ pads and stayed out of the net.

Coach Andersen: “What hurts the most is that this was an upset.  They’re #5 and we’re #4.  If we had lost in the Final Four, it would be where we’re supposed to be.”

Remarkable weather with non-stop sun and reasonable temperatures. 

(I haven’t covered a lot of field hockey and find the violations confusing.  I hear plenty of whistles and frequently wonder what caused the whistle.  But the game immediately moves on, without explanations, and I must admit that I like the pace of play.)

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

Triton near miss in the fourth quarter
Swampscott ready to defend a corner
Loose stick
Triton shot goes wide
Ally Pugh
Sammy Kelly and Coco Clopton
Olivia Passalacqua (4) and Coco Clopton (5)
Ball in the middle

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On to the D2 North finals for Pentucket after 52-28 win over Swampscott

Pentucket double-team

MacKenzie Currie had ten points off the bench for Pentucket

(Haverhill MA) Fouls were a problem for Pentucket in the first half but that didn’t prevent the Sachems from defeating Swampscott, 52-28, on Tuesday night at Whittier.

The win sends Pentucket (21-3) to the Division 2 North finals at the Tsongas Arena on Saturday to face the winner of the Tewksbury/Melrose game.

For part of the second quarter, Maddie Doyle was the only Pentucket starter on the floor.  Angelica Hurley, Angelina Yacubacci, and Jess Galvin each had two fouls while Liv Cross had an injury.

On this evening the Sachems reserves were crucial contributors.  “Z (MacKenzie Currie) gave us points,” said Coach John McNamara. “Anna (Wyner) covered their best player, and Arielle (Cleveland) was good on both ends.”

Angelina Yacubacci (15 points) between Nikki Rosa (15) and Sophia DiGrande (5)

Instead of Swampscott taking advantage of Pentucket’s foul woes, they instead fell behind, 15-5, after one quarter.

“Pentucket is a very, very tough team,” said Swampscott coach Katelyn Leonard afterwards.  “We just couldn’t find the basket.”

The personnel for the Sachems may have changed but the effective defense didn’t.  Their full-court pressure often forced turnovers and hurried shots.

“Defense is what we focus most on in practice,” said senior Maddi Doyle.  “Everyone wants their chance to play run-and-jump.”

The Big Blue (16-6) were only down 26-16 at the half.  Make some shots and things could get interesting.

“I told the team at halftime,” said Coach McNamara, “that they had to settle down and play better defense.”  And that is what they did.

Maddi Doyle uses a Liv Cross screen

The starters applied their tight brand of defense with few fouls, while down the other end the points started to pile up.  Angelina Yacubacci (15 points) had a triple and two free throws while teammate Maddi Doyle added a layup and a triple to pace the Sachems in the breakaway third quarter.

That 10-point halftime lead bulged to 39-22 and the #1 seed coasted through the final quarter.

Coach Leonard: “Pentucket didn’t do anything we didn’t expect.  They just execute so well.  It’s one thing to know something is coming. It’s another thing to stop it.”

Maddi Doyle: “Surprisingly, I wasn’t in foul trouble.  I’m usually the first one on the bench with fouls.  Kids came off the bench and stepped up.  It shows the depth we have.”

Sophie DiGrande shoots against Liv Cross

Coach McNamara: “We were anxious at the start.  It took a whole half for us to be playing defense the way we wanted to. In the second half, we played defense without all the fouling.”

Arielle Cleveland: “Our team is deep.  I had more playing time and tried to contribute any way I could.”

Maddi Doyle told me after the game that she wants to go to the College of Charleston in South Carolina in the fall and study physical therapy.

Senior Grace DiGrande paced SHS with eleven points.

Sophomore MacKenzie Currie had ten points for Pentucket.

Swampscott’s Nikki Rosa is going to play basketball for Roger Williams next year.

Katie Watts is going to go to Endicott to play softball.

MacKenzie Kearney and Sophie DiGrande

The Big Blue reached the semifinals by defeating North Reading 49-47.  Nikki had nineteen points and twelve rebounds against the Hornets.

Maddie Doyle: “I would rather play defense than anything.  When we’re trapping it does things to other teams.”

The Sachems are three wins away from a state title. “We were so close (state semifinals) last year,” said Maddie.  “I want to just keep going forward.”

Pentucket box

Swampscott box

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

Angelica Hurley and Nikki Rosa

Angelica Hurley in the open

Anna Wyner guarded by Katie Watts

Jess Galvin

Katie Watts

loose ball

Maddie Doyle brings pressure to Sophie DiGrande

Sophie DiGrande tries to get the ball back from Angelina Yacubacci

Nikki Rosa and Angelica Hurley


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Pentucket gets by Swampscott easily (53-27) in Division 3 North semi-finals

Coley Viselli (19 points) shoots a three. She made five long ones.

Tess Nogueira (12 points) finds a way to the basket.

(Beverly)  No one expected a game like this.

Swampscott (18-4) was embarrassed by Pentucket, 53-27, on Thursday night at Beverly High School and now the Sachems move on to the Division 3 North finals on Saturday (10:30AM) at the Tsongas Center in Lowell against familiar Cape Ann League foe Ipswich.

The Big Blue (#2 seed) had won eight straight, won the Northeast Conference Small, and buried Stoneham in their previous tournament game.  None of that carried an ounce of weight versus the Sachems.  Swampscott shots were not falling and their zone defense could best be described as “porous.”

The game was certainly a lot easier for Pentucket (#3 seed) because Coley Viselli (19 points) was honed in from long range.  Who cares if one went in off the backboard (end of first quarter) and another took a high bounce off the rim and dropped in (start of the 4th quarter)?  All five that the talent junior made, counted.  Kelsi McNamara (8 points) hit two other triples.

Pentucket’s outside accuracy forced the Big Blue zone to stretch toward the perimeter and opened the inside for Tess Nogueira (12 points) and Sarah Higgins (9 points).

It took Pentucket a while to get going but Coley’s backboarded triple gave them a 7-6 first quarter lead.  They would never trail again.

Coley Viselli heads for the basket.

Coley hit her second three to start the second quarter.  Then she took a Big Blue turnover in for a layup.  She followed that with another triple assisted by Kelsi McNamara.  That was all in the first 1 ½ minutes of the second quarter and was part of an eleven-point run that extended the Sachems lead to, 15-6.

By the time the second quarter ended Kelsi had added her two long ones, Swampscott had eight turnovers, and they were in trouble at halftime, 25-12.

I was sure that the #2 seed was much better than what I had seen in the first half.  The local papers had stories about how big the rivalry was and also Niki Laskaris, who had twenty-six points against Stoneham, had only two points in the first half.

The Big Blue did make a response.  Niki had six points in the third quarter and her layup with 4 ½ minutes left cut the Sachem lead to 29-21.

Ara Talkov (11 points) gets to the rim.

But that was as close as it got.  Over the next six minutes of playing time, extending into the final quarter, Pentucket put a 14-2 run together and turned this game into a 43-23 rout.  Almost all the damage in this winning segment came on the inside.  Sarah Higgins (9 points) got three layups and Tess Nogueira one.  Tess also had two free throws.  And Coley drained her fourth triple.

The last 6 ½ minutes of the game were played by a fatigued and frustrated Swampscott team that on this day did not have the energy to make any sort of late challenge.

Junior Ara Talkov (11 points) and Senior Niki Laskaris (9 points) led the Swampscott scorers.

Pentucket (20-4) defeated Ipswich (Saturday’s D3 final opponent) 42-27 on January 24th at Pentucket.

The entire Ipswich team was on hand for the Pentucket/Swampscott game.  Late in the game, the Pentucket student section started chanting, “We want Ipswich, We want Ipswich.”  I’m not sure if they knew that the team they wanted was sitting to the left of them in the same section of seats under the basket.

Alex Moore, Tess Nogueira, and Sarah Higgins were all given medical attention during the game.  Alex was limited to two points.  With Coley on fire, Alex’s usual point production wasn’t needed by the Sachems.

Pentucket has now won twelve straight.

I’m not too keen on seating under the basket on both ends.  Okay, I’m selfish because that’s where I like to stand to take pictures. In this game I was forced off to the side.

Credit the Swampscott student section for hanging around for the entire game and enduring the “Scoreboard, scoreboard,” chant from the Pentucket kids.  Tougher still was the variation of “It’s all over,” that came out, “It’s a blowout,” as the Big Blue deficit reached twenty points.

Pentucket boxscore

Swampscott boxscore

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

Swampscott student section

Liza Brackbill in Swampscott traffic

Alex Moore defends

Niki Laskaris (9 points) floats in

Caroline Murphy looks for pass

tight defense

Sarah Higgins (9 points) steals

Kelsi McNamara (8 points) puts up a runner.

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