Category Archives: Uncategorized

Newburyport stays undefeated (5-0) after 2-0 win over Lynnfield

Sophomore Owen Tahnk allowed five hits and had six strikeouts in a complete game win.
Michael Habib scored the first Newburyport run

(Newburyport MA) The Clippers continue to win.

This afternoon it was, 2-0, over Lynnfield.

Coach Mark Rowe said afterwards that he was happy with the 5-0 start but wasn’t thrilled with the way his team played today.

“I think that we were a little flat,” he said.  “Maybe it was because it was the first really warm day we’ve played in.”

There were popups and weak grounders by a team that has been making solid connections regularly.

“The majority of our at bats were disappointing,” Coach Rowe added.

But steady pitching by sophomore Owen Tahnk kept Newburyport in the game despite only three hits.

Senior Trent Balian pitched very effectively for the Pioneers.

Trent Balian allowed just three hits

Good teams find ways to win.

“We took advantage of our opportunities,” said Coach Rowe.

THE opportunity was the fifth inning.  A one-out single by senior Michael Habib was followed by two walks (Jack Fehlner & Tony Lucci). 

Luke Stallard’s long fly to center delivered Michael while Jake Buontempo’s sharp single to center brought Jack home.

Those two runs held up.

Lynnfield (1-4) had chances.

Spencer Riley doubled off the fence in left

The Pioneers collected five hits and had runners in scoring position in the first four innings as well as the sixth inning.

“We couldn’t get him in,” said Lynnfield coach John O’Brien post-game, “that was the story of the game.”

“Newburyport took advantage of a couple of walks that hurt us,” said Coach O’Brien referencing Newburyport’s two-run fifth inning.  “They got the timely hit.”

Evan Balian paced Lynnfield with two hits.

Spencer Riley hit a part of the leftfield fence in the fourth inning in a section of fencing that doesn’t exist in most of the rest of the field.  Could have gone out if it wasn’t pulled so much.  He had to settle for a double.

Jake Buontempo dives back to first

Newburyport pitcher Owen Tahnk remembered it: “That double off the fence was a scare.”

Owen limited Lynnfield to five hits and yielded only two walks.

“His limiting the walks was important,” said Coach Rowe.

Owen had six strikeouts getting two each in the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th innings.  In each of those innings the Pioneers had runners in scoring position.

“My slider and curve were working well today,” said Owen.  “I got grounders and fly balls on off-speed pitches.”

Coach O’Brien: “We’re back to ground zero after getting a nice win the other day.”

Clippers celebrate the win

Ryan Archer: “Our goal every day is to go 1-0.  We have two games coming up and that’s what we’re focusing on.”

I didn’t hear the news, but I saw the news.  The players weren’t wearing masks!  Is this where I say, “It’s about time!” and give away my politics?

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

Tony Lucci makes a catch
Baserunner Michael Habib and SS Henry Caulfield
Aidan Burke out stealing as Tony Lucci takes throw
Nick White had one of the three Newburyport hits
2B Jack Bird tries for a force at second
Catcher Evan Balian looks for a sign
Tangle in the Lynnfield outfield
Ryan Archer about to be tagged out by SS Henry Caulfield
3B Luke Stallard catches a popup
Trent Balian slides into 3B in the second inning
Evan Balian had two hits
CF Luke Martinho made some nice running catches
How would you caption this one?
Lynnfield box
Newburyport box

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Excellent pitching and hitting send Amesbury past Ipswich 15-0

Alana Delisle allowed 1 hit to go with 14 K’s
Ella Delisle had a HR and 4 RBI

(Amesbury MA) Consider yourselves warned future opponents.

Amesbury has a terrific softball team.

Ipswich (2-3) found that out today losing 15-0 on Monday afternoon via the mercy rule.

The Indians (3-0) have a brand-new field to play on and unlike their nearby former field, this one has a fence.

“This is the first time we’ve had an actual fence,” said junior Liv DeLong afterwards.  “It was really exciting to see three home runs go over it.”

Liv had one of the long ones and Ella Delisle and Ella Bezanson had the other two.

AHS had fifteen hits and all of the Amesbury starters scored at least one run in the 4 ½ innings played.

Ella Bezanson had the first of 3 Amesbury homers

The Indians had a six-run second inning and a seven-run fourth inning.

And then there was the pitching of AHS starter Alana Delisle.

Amesbury coach Jacqui Waters told me afterwards that she had originally planned on using several of her pitchers in each game.

Today she couldn’t do it as Alana put on a show.

“She was on fire,” said Coach Waters, “I wasn’t taking her out.”

Alana struck out fourteen Tigers and allowed just one hit.

“She took control of the whole game with fourteen strikeouts,” said Coach Waters.  “She was outstanding.”

“Alana was awesome today,” said her sister Ella, who was the catcher.  “Everything she had worked.”

The combination of Alana’s pitching and an offense, that on this sunny afternoon had hits and loud outs, made it tough for Ipswich.

Cassidy Smith dropped in the only Ipswich hit

Leftfielder Alexa Eliopoulos and shortstop Lexi James made outstanding plays in the field, but the sheer volume of tough chances made it difficult for the visitors to stop the runs from coming.

SS Lexi James made a nice running catch

The Indians didn’t bunt, just hacked away.  Ella Bezanson and Izzy Levasseur each had three hits for Amesbury.  Ella Delisle had four RBI.

Alana struck out the first eight batters she faced before walking Piper Reily in the third inning.

In the Ipswich fourth, Cassidy Smith dropped a short popup over Alan’s head and just in front of charging shortstop Liv Levasseur.  That was the Tigers first and only hit.

One thing I didn’t learn about today was the quality of the Amesbury defense.  Not one ball got out of the infield.  Alana got an assist on the final out of the game but there were no other infield chances other than Cassidy Smith’s hit.

Impressive, to say the least.

Liv DeLong celebrates a home run

The new field has bleachers beyond centerfield although most spectators chose the 3B/LF foul territory to view from.

Coach Waters: “We owe this field to the alumni.  They raised some money.  The infield cost $16,000.  We needed a new field.  The other one was a mess.  Mayor Gove came through with funds for the backstop and all the fencing.  We have a brand-new scoreboard which is not in yet.  It was a gift from the Newburyport Institution for Savings.”

Alana Delisle: “Today was really fun.  Ella did a great job catching.  Everyone hit.  Ella calls the pitches. I just throw them.”

Ella Delisle: “I’ve been catching her my whole life.  Her curve was moving really well.”

LF Alex Eliopoulos made several nice catches in the outfield

The Indians haven’t given up a run yet in three starts.  Liv Delong had fifteen strikeouts in the season opener against Rockport.

Coach Waters informed me that there will be a state tournament following the regular season.  How far can the Indians go?

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

Alana Delisle
Lauren Celia
Caroline Spencer in for a grounder
Ella Delisle celebrates her 3-run homer in the fourth inning
Grounder up the middle
Lexi James
Annabel Morris set to pitch
Piper Reily
Veronica Deacon
Liv Levasseur
Amesbury pre-game gathering
Ella Bezanson
Julia Campbell
Liv Levasseur
Alana Delisle pregame

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Undefeated Newburyport shuts out Manchester-Essex 7-0

Jack Fehlner pitched a 2-hit complete game for the Clippers
Kellen Heney held the Clippers hitless for five innings

(Newburyport MA) The weather was perfect.

Manchester-Essex pitcher Kellen Heney was perfect…..through five innings.

But when the game ended, Newburyport was perfect (4-0) after defeating the Hornets, 7-0, on Saturday morning at Pettingell Field.

ME struggled in the field all game collecting miscues in five of the six innings.

“Our pitchers have been pitching well,” said ME coach James Weed afterwards.  “I’m just not used to the kind of defense we’re playing.”

The shaky defense gave the Clippers a run in the fourth, but this was a one-run game going into the Newburyport sixth.

Then the wheels fell off for the visitors.  An infield error and five Newburyport hits put six runs on the board and sealed this one for the home team.

Jack Fehlner pitched a complete-game  two-hitter for the Clippers.  He wasn’t overpowering (one strikeout) but gave up just two walks.

2B Colin Coyne makes a play at second

“Jack was in total command,” said Newburyport coach Mark Rowe post-game.  “It was as good as I’ve seen him pitch. It was his first complete game.”

Catcher Nick White: “Jack’s fastball was working today.  Usually, it’s the off-speed pitch but today the fastball was the primary out pitch.  He challenged them.”

The Clippers 1-0 lead looked anything but secure heading into the bottom of the sixth inning.

“The scoreboard doesn’t show how close this game really was,” added Jack Fehlner.  “They’re a great team.”

Jake Buontempo had the first Newburyport hit in the 6th inning

Senior Jake Buontempo was in the middle of the Newburyport success in the sixth inning.

Jake ended Kellen Heney’s hitless streak with a double that drove in Luke Stallard who had reached on an infield error.

Rare play alert!  Demetri Connor popped the ball behind the plate near the backstop.  Catcher Michael Quill and pitcher Kellen Heney both went after it and Michael got it.  Jake alertly took advantage and raced in from third.

Jake reached third on Nick White’s infield hit. 

“I was watching to see where the pitcher was going,” recalled Jake.  “He followed the catcher to the backstop, so I knew the plate was wide open and I took what I had.”

Tony Lucci and AJ Pallazola

Jake also made a nice running catch in rightfield in the fifth inning and ended the game with a routine catch.

The Hornets (1-4) are the defending Division 4 state champions.  I was at LaLacheur Park (Lowell) on June 22, 2019 when they defeated Tahanto, 5-2.

Will Levendusky was part of that team but a football injury has kept him from playing so far. 

“It hurts not to have Will but for us it’s “next man up,” said Coach Weed.  “We have three freshmen playing.  We’re just trying to find the right formula.  We’ll get it going.  We’ll make a run.”

Freshman Kellen Heney was the starter and winner in the state title game. He’s now a junior.

“Their pitcher was good,” explained Jake Buontempo.  “He could locate really well.  Toward the end we started to catch onto him.”

2B Luke Stallard settles under a popup

Coach Mark Rowe: “It was two top-notch pitchers out there.  Unfortunately, his defense let him down a bit.  We challenged by putting balls in play and forcing them to make plays.  When they didn’t make plays, we took advantage.”

AJ Pallazola and Michael Quill had the hits for Manchester-Essex.

Jack Fehlner: “It was a beautiful day to be out here with the guys.  Our guys made plays.  I’ll put some ice on my arm and get back at it Tuesday against Lynnfield.”

Speaking of ice, I have a picture of Will Levendusky pouring the contents of an ice bucket over the head of Coach Weed in the celebrating after the D4 title win.  On that hot day and under those circumstances, it probably felt pretty good.

Remarkable weather and plenty of fans from both schools out enjoying it.

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

Newburyport box
Manchester-Essex box
Luke Stallard steals 2B as Michael Deoreo tries to tag him
Catcher Michael Quill
Connor Stick and Satchem Ramos
High hop
Hockey move?
Brady Ford scored a run
Ryan Archer catches a fly
Part of the crowd
Jack Fehlner dives back into 2nd as Satchem Ramos tries to tag him
AJ Pallazola dives back into first as Brady Ford takes throw
Luke Stallard throws to first base
Ground rules
Matteo Sarmanian
LF Isaac Porat

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Newburyport edges Triton in back-and-forth thriller 3-2

Sydney Yim and Evelyn Pearson at the net
Emma Campbell finds an opening

(Byfield MA) Triton coach Karen Christian said the game was “probably the highlight of the season,” and her team lost!

The Vikings (5-5) took Newburyport to five games on Wednesday night at Triton.

The Clippers (8-2) extend their win streak to seven. Their last loss was to Triton in March.

Newburyport won the first two games tonight, 25-19 and 25-15.

In those first two, Sydney Yim (Purdue commit) gave Triton trouble serving, setting, and finishing.  Many of her finishes weren’t hard hits but, instead, dropped into open spaces.

Sydney Yim

I started thinking sweep and early evening.

The Vikings had other ideas.

“We flipped the switch in Games 3 & 4 and started making the plays we weren’t making before,” said Mia Berardino afterwards.

Suddenly the Vikings began to look like the team that had defeated the Clippers, 3-1, in March.

Triton took the next two games, 25-13 and 25-17.

The Vikings got off to good starts in both games and rode Newburyport errors to the two wins.

“We weren’t ourselves today,” said Newburyport coach Lori Solazzo post-match.  “but player for player we’ve improve so much.  My frustration is that I didn’t see the team I usually see most of the time.”

The level of play was remarkable at times. Hard hits were not definite winners. 

Both teams had terrific setters (Molly Kimball and Sydney Yim) so there was a steady diet of hard hits provided. 

Kate Sarra gets low

There was a play in Game Four in which both Sydney Yim and Abigail Gillingham launched hard hits, only to have Triton find a way to play on and eventually get the point.

In three of the games, the team with the early lead went on to victory.

That held true in crucial Game Five.  “We were overthinking it a bit early and we fell behind,” said Coach Christian.

The Vikings went down 6-1 and later 14-9. in the fifteen-point, deciding set, before turning on the “not-done-yet” button.

The Clippers struggled with four straight Evelyn Pearson serves and suddenly we had ourselves a 14-13 nail-biter!

Evelyn Pearson

A hard, deep hit by the Clippers was called in, and then it was called out, and then they decided to play it over again.

Fortunate for Triton because an “in” call ends the game.  Fortunate for Newburyport because an “out” call ties the game at 14-14.

“Thank goodness that out-of-bounds play didn’t end it,” said Coach Solazzo afterwards.

Given a second chance to win the game, the Clippers got it done.

Newburyport seniors keyed the set/match winner.  Kate Sarra received the serve and sent it to Sydney Yim.  Sydney set the ball near the net for Abigail Gillingham.  Abigail hit the ball through the Triton defense.

Clippers celebrate winning the match

“Abigail had an amazing game,” said Sydney Yim.  “She has been a huge part of our team this year.”

Abigail Gillingham at the net

“The team buckled down at the end, showed some grit, and pulled this one out,” said Coach Solazzo.

“It certainly had the feel of a championship game to me,” said Coach Christian.  “I would love to see them next week with the same energy.”

There will be a Cape Ann League tournament next week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

“Triton is a great team,” said Coach Solazzo.  “They’re scrappy.  They played their hearts out.”

Evelyn Pearson: “I’m proud of my team.  We pulled our energy together.  Newburyport was a lot more competitive than the first time we saw them.”

Mia Berardino: “It wasn’t the outcome we wanted but I’m proud of the way we played.  I think if we play like this we can go far in the playoffs.”

The Clippers ended up undefeated (5-0) on the road. 

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

Sydney Yim and Mia Berardino
Sydney Yim sets
Mia Berardino serves
Mia Berardino spikes
Sydney Yim and Em Hoggard
Abigail Gillingham and Molly Kimball
Evelyn Pearson and Ava Hartley
Mia Berardino blocks Sydney Yim

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Amesbury shuts down North Reading 20-0

Amesbury’s blocking gave running backs openings all afternoon
Kyle Donovan scored twice for Amesbury

(Amesbury MA) Amesbury got an early break.

A likely punt turned into a third-down retry.

Their opening drive, as a result, was kept alive, and a touchdown followed.

After that the Indians (3-1) were overpowering on both sides of the ball, registering a 20-0 shutout against North Reading on Saturday afternoon.

Amesbury struggled on their first possession.  A Zach Sampson sack and a Kyle Donovan fumble (recovered by Amesbury) had the Indians in trouble.  Their third-down play went nowhere BUT the whistle of a sidelines official had gone off enabling the home team to try that third down play again.  A first down resulted and Amesbury was literally off and running.

JT Tilton brought down by Robbie Tammaro

“If that inadvertent whistle doesn’t happen on their first drive, it’s fourth-and-four and they’d have to punt,” said North Reading coach Eddie Blum afterwards.

But the replay was rightly allowed, and Amesbury took full advantage cashing from the NR 37 with three minutes left in the first quarter.

Senior Kyle Donovan scored twice in the first half.

The first one went thirty-seven yards up the middle.  “I just shot the gap and was free,” said Kyle.  “One kid was there and I high-stepped by him.”

That TD was the longest AHS run of the day but certainly not their last run.

“We try to attack multiple gaps on either side of the football from a balanced look,” explained AHS coach Colin McQueen post-game.

Owen Delano and Ryan Perkins

“Their interior linemen took our traps away,” said Coach McQueen.  “When one thing is taken away, generally something else is there.  Today we moved the ball pretty well off tackle.”

The ball-handling of quarterback Drew MacDonald was impressive for Amesbury.  I will admit to following the wrong ball carrier on a number of occasions.  I am quite certain that I wasn’t the only one.

“Each guy on defense has read keys and responsibilities,” said Coach Blum.  “Amesbury is a senior-laden team that has been running that offense for a while.  Give credit to their offensive line and their blockers.”

The Amesbury defense, led by Nick Marden, made is tough for the Hornets (2-2) to put any drives together.

Drew MacDonald tacked a two-point conversion onto Kyle Donovan’s first touchdown and Amesbury led, 8-0, after a quarter.

Nick Marden ended NR’s first possession with a fourth-down fumble recovery.

Nick Marden (32) keyed the Amesbury defense

Nick came off the edge to give the Hornets trouble all afternoon.

Drew MacDonald had a TD and a 2-point conversion

“Nick is a physical specimen,” said Coach McQueen.  “Having him on the edge can be dangerous for the other team.”

Coach McQueen referenced former coach Geno Burnham who died this week.  “I coached with Geno and in our staff meetings he always wanted to ‘fire off the edge.’  We decided today that we were going to send a couple ‘off the edge’ today in Geno’s honor.”

Nick turned the ‘off the edge’ approach into run stops and sacks for the Indians this afternoon.

After Nick’s fumble recovery the Indians started at their own 46.  The rest of the drive was all runs with four first downs along the way.

Kyle Donovan hit the middle from four yards out and backed into the end zone for a second score.  The rush for two failed but AHS now led, 14-0.

Near miss for North Reading

The Hornets followed with a 40-yard kickoff (Robbie Tammaro) return to set them up at the Amesbury 35.  NR nearly got a score as Will Taylor ran a down-and-out into some serious open space, but Brian Heffernan’s pass sailed over his head.

Twice Amesbury ran their way deep into North Reading territory in the second half with nothing to show for it.  In both tries, fourth-down passes fell incomplete.

The Hornets had a 4th down converted but a fumble (recovered by Chip Kelley) gave the ball back to Amesbury with 4:43 left in the game.

Amesbury completed a pass to Tyler Mazzaglia for a first down and two more chain movers set the home team up on the NR four.

Jarrid Schwindt congratulates Drew MacDonald after his TD

QB Drew MacDonald faked a handoff up the middle and rolled left to score with a minute left in the game. 

“We had two TDs at the end of sustained drives,” said Coach McQueen.  “Our goal is to wear people down.  We want pads on pads and for our backs to run hard.”

Coach Blum: “Our defense battled all day.  You just have to turn the page after you learn what you can learn.  We’re on to Triton.”

Coach McQueen: “Kyle is a tough runner.  Any time we put the ball in his hands he has a chance to go.  It comes down to him getting the second and third level and making some guy miss.”

Kyle Donovan: “It was a great all-around team effort.  Our offense was at its finest and our defense held up.”

Tyler Mazzaglia caught an Amesbury pass

The weather was sunny and remarkable for early April.  Temps were in the upper 40s and I was over-dressed for sure.

The Amesbury ground game was so good that their passing game stood out as needing to improve considerably.  Of course, if the Indians can get early leads, they won’t be forced into any passing catch-up attempts.

The Landry Stadium scoreboard has a habit of not consistently working.  More of that today.

Is there a turf football field in Amesbury’s future?

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

Deceptive Amesbury ball-handling
Ball on the ground. Chip Kelley (54) will recover.
Two Hornets bring down Kyle Donovan
Ryan McCullough
Brian Heffernan passes
Jarrid Schwindt waits for Will O’Leary
Tim Gilleo
Connor MacDonald
Jarrid Schwindt
Nice hole for JT Tilton
Kyle Donovan carries tackler
Kyle Donovan (11) away for first touchdown
Tyler Mazzaglia (9) ready to pounce on a NR fumble
JT Tilton (4) follows Derek Couture (56)
Derek Couture
Casey Birdsall
Braeden Zellen
Tony D’Arcangelo

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Triton defeats Hamilton-Wenham for the first time 3-0

Triton celebrates its record-tying fifth win of the season
Jess Manganello and Molly Kimball

(Byfield MA) Triton had never won a match against Hamilton-Wenham.

They had won a game, back in 2016, but that was it.

When you’ve lost every match (twelve straight) to an opponent, you can’t call it a rivalry.

But that all ended today, as Triton (5-2) swept the Generals (3-4), 3-0, on Monday at Triton.

Labeling it as a sweep, betrays how competitive two of the three games were.

“It’s always nice to compete against Hamilton-Wenham,” said Triton coach Karen Christian afterwards, “they traditionally have been very strong.”

Charlene Fibbe at the net

The Generals were strong in the first and third sets suffering tough, 25-23 and 25-21 losses.

The middle set was all-Triton as junior Mia Berardino served the Vikings to eleven straight points on their way to a 25-7 rout.

“Triton, like Newburyport (D1 commit Sydney Yim), has a player who is a strong leader,” said HW coach Jen Flynn referring to Mia Berardino.

Mia ended up with nine kills and seven aces.

The first and third sets were close and entertaining.  There were multiple, extended volley’s that brought ooh’s and aah’s from those on both sides.

“There were some amazing plays,” said Coach Flynn.  “Some balls you just didn’t think would get over, but they did.”

The close games got Triton senior Jess Manganello tired.  “All of us were hustling and talking,” she said.  “I am not used to running so much in a game.”

Hamilton-Wenham volley

The Generals looked ready, in the first game, to continue their dominance over the Vikings.  They jumped in front, 11-7, before Triton tied things at 13-13 and 19-19.  Hard hits were handled by both teams.

The visitors moved to 23-19 before the home team rode the hard-to-handle serves of Evelyn Pearson on a six-point run and a 25-23 win.

The game ended on a terrific Molly Kimball setup that Mia Berardino finished.

“Molly had a great game,” said Coach Christian.  “She was very smart with her sets and she was hustling, getting to everything.”

Molly ended up with twenty-five assists.

In the third game, HW led early (8-7) before the Vikings rolled on Evelyn Pearson’s serving to a commanding 18-11 advantage.  HW’s Charlene Fibbe and Hannah-Marie Akoury kept the Generals in the game.

Mia Berardino had nine kills for Triton

HW was able to cut their deficit to, 23-21, as they just refused to make mistakes.

Fittingly however, Triton’s two big hitters (Mia Berardino & Evelyn Pearson) were set up on the next two plays for hits that would have been challenging for D1 college players to return and the Vikings had a 25-21 win……and the match.

“This was one of the more exciting matches of the season,” said Coach Christian.  “The kids came with lots of energy.”

Evelyn Pearson (eleven kills): “I thought we played pretty good.  Our communication was excellent.”

Senior Jess Manganello: “We’re all proud of how we played tonight.”   (Next year): “I am going to take a gap year, work, and take some courses at community college.”

Both teams have three games left.

Battle at the net

Triton’s win tonight gives them five and ties them with the most wins in a season the Vikings VB program has ever had.  They were 5-15 last year and 5-11 in 2015.

This has certainly been a special season for the Vikings……with more games to go.  I believe that there also will be some post-season playoffs.

The best team in the Cape Ann League is certainly undefeated Lynnfield.  After the Pioneers, however, the remaining teams are on the “any-given-night” level.

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

Block at the net
Jess Manganello
Mia Berardino gets low for a return
Emma Campbell and Molly Kimball
Molly Kimball and Evelyn Pearson
Trinity Cole
Maggie Firicano
Emma Day
Grace Roebuck
Evelyn Pearson spikes (eleven kills)
Mia Berardino serves (seven aces)
Action at the net
Emma Campbell at the net
Mia Berardino and Em Hoggard at the net for Triton
Mia Flynn serves for Hamilton-Wenham

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Newburyport plays ‘best match’ sweeping Hamilton-Wenham 3-0

(Newburyport MA) “It was the best Newburyport match that I’ve watched since we started,” were the happy words NHS coach Lori Solazzo had for her team’s performance afterwards.

Newburyport girls celebrate their third win of the season

“They were communicating,” said the 4th year coach.  “They were in it together.  One girl went for a ball and there was another one was behind her. They were really focused in on this match.”

Sophia Messina and Isabella Toledo

The Clippers (3-2) never gave Hamilton-Wenham a chance in the first two sets (25-7 & 25-13).

Then there was the third set.

The Generals ended up losing that one, 27-25, but HW coach Jen Flynn was pleased with how they played.

“I think that they did a great job coming back the way they did after the first two game,” said Coach Flynn.  “It showed grit and a desire to win.”

Coach Solazzo had high praise for senior Sydney Yim (Purdue commit) post-match.  “Her setting (15 assists) was amazing tonight.  We can’t have the hits we get without her.  She’s awesome.  She was nearly flawless in tonight’s game.”

Junior Ava Hartley was one of those benefitting for Sydney’s setups.  “She always gives me nice setups in the perfect spot every time.  We did a 5-1 tonight so she was setting all of us up.”

The Generals (3-2) were far from perfect in the first two sets.  Balls fell in and there were few successful spikes.

Sydney Yim

Everything changed in Game 3.  “Hamilton-Wenham is usually a pretty good matchup,” explained senior Kate Sarras.  And right she was in the third game.

HW cut down the miscues and led by setter Emma Day and hard-hitter Mia Flynn gave the Clippers a run for their money.

HW had a 23-20 lead before Newburyport called a timeout.  Back came the Clippers to tie the score.  HW twice after that had game point (24-23 & 25-24) but the Clippers put three straight points together to end a very exciting game.

“A lot of people stepped up for us tonight,” said sophomore Viive Godtfredsen (ten kills).  “We struggled against Triton the other night, but we proved ourselves to be better than that tonight.”

Newburyport’s serving was very good.  “We talked about service runs and how important they are,” said Coach Solazzo.  “It changes the match when you decrease your unforced errors.”

“We’ve been working on our serving and our service receiving a lot in practice,” explained Ava Hartley, “and it showed tonight.”

Charlene Fibbe hustles after a ball

Coach Flynn: “The Newburyport program has gotten better each year that I’ve watched them with Lori (Solazzo) coaching.  The core of their whole team has been raised over the last couple of years.”

Coach Solazzo: “We had a lot to come back from after the Triton loss.  Since then, we’ve had a lot of conversation on what we needed to do to get better.”

Coach Flynn: “I have a different mindset this year.  Every second we can be playing is a bonus. We’re trying to have fun being together.  We try to pull positives from every experience we can.”

Senior Kate Sarra: “We played well and our energy was up.  In the fall, I’ll be attending Eastern Connecticut State.  I expect to study Sociology and minor in Psychology.  I am hoping to play volleyball there.  I’m currently talking to their coach.”

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

HW coach Jen Flynn
Violet Landymore
Hannah-Marie Akoury and Grace Roebuck
Laney Lucci
Mia Flynn
Viive Godtfredsen spikes
Ava Hartley
Sydney Yim and Sophia Messina at the net
Mia Flynn returns
Action at the net
Emma Day sets up Isabella Toledo
Setter Emma Day
Viive Godtfredsen
Viive Godtfredsen had ten kills
Sydney Yim sets up Viive Godtfredsen
Mia Flynn spikes
Senior Kate Sarra

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Triton continues solid season with win over Pentucket

Evelyn Pearson spikes against Pentucket
Mia Berardino had a night of aces and spikes.

(Byfield MA) Triton was upbeat.

It was Senior Night.

And the Vikings (3-1) played extremely well defeating Pentucket (0-3) on Wednesday night at Triton by a 3-1 count.

“Molly (Kimball), the setter, and Mia (Berardino) was a 1-2 combination that we couldn’t handle very well,” said Pentucket coach John McNamara afterwards.

Mia had spikes tonight, but it was her serves that gave Pentucket their biggest trouble.

Putting those things together enabled the home to team to run points together and build up sizable leads.  On this evening, Pentucket was unable to respond.

“Returning serves is one of the hardest things to learn,” explained Mia post-match.  “We know what it’s like to have trouble with it.”

“They picked us apart with serves,” said Coach McNamara.  “You have to get the ball in play.”

The Vikings won the first two games, 25-15 & 25-11. 

The substitutes for both teams played most of the third set and Pentucket held on for a 25-21 victory.  This was the second time this season that they have won a game.

Coach McNamara calls the wins, “baby steps” and “things we can build on.”

The Vikings really put everything together in the final game.  The spikes were there and the serves handcuffed Pentucket.  A 5-5 tie turned into a run of nine unanswered Triton points with Mia Berardino serving.  Mia, Evelyn Pearson, and Jessica Manganello had successful hard hits.  The final was 25-10.

“Mia and Evelyn play off each other as the outside hitters,” said Triton coach Karen Christian.  “There’s never a letup in any rotation.”

Second year Pentucket shows its hustle

“Mia seems to be improving every day,” added Coach Christian.  “She gets to the short balls that we have trouble with.  She’s able to make a bad set into a good attack.”

“It was nice to get the win on Senior Night,” said senior Evelyn Pearson.  “This was the first Senior Night that we’ve won since I’ve been here.”

Junior Molly Kimball complimented both Mia and Evelyn: “I’ve been playing everything with Mia since 4th grade.  We work really well together.  Evelyn is another one of those I can trust giving the ball to.  She usually gets the point for us.”

“It was good to get kids playing in tonight’s game who haven’t been in that much before,” added Coach Christian.

Vikings at the net blocking

Five Triton seniors were honored before the game.

I caught up with Pentucket seniors Mackenzie Currie and Megan Reading afterwards.  Both have been key basketball players and both decided to give volleyball a try for the first time in their senior years.

Mackenzie: “Volleyball is very different from basketball.  It is not an easy game. I just wanted to try something new my senior year.  The hardest part for me has been learning all the rules.  It’s not like basketball where there are set plays and you can scout the other team.”

Megan: “It has been interesting to play volleyball.  I have enjoyed learning the game.  You just can’t grab the ball, like in basketball.  I saw volleyball as another chance to be on a team and connect with more girls before I graduated.”

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

The link to this story will be on Twitter (@mcclellandpeter) and the pictures should come later on Instagram (@mcclellandmiscellanea).

Molly Kimball sets
Megan Codair sets for Pentucket
Shot falls in among the Sachems
Arielle Cleveland spikes for Pentucket
Evelyn Pearson finishes
Mia Berardino spikes
Arielle Cleveland spikes
Jillian Sheehy finds an opening
Izzy Oldoni and Evelyn Pearson
Trinity Cole
Senior Em Hoggard
Megan Reading and Arielle Cleveland
Megan Codair
Molly Kimball sets up her teammates

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Thoughts on Katherine Quigley’s interview in today’s Newburyport Daily News

Losing is not easy.

Immediately after a tournament loss at Lowell High School I asked the losing coach for, “her take on what had happened.” She replied, “We lost,” and then gave me a look which suggested that my next question could well be the last question I ever asked!

The coronavirus has made “losers” out of all of us.

We’ve had 2+ weeks to settle into the new reality and many of us haven’t settled well.

We’re missing people and we’re missing things.

The hardest part about all this is that the end of it is totally uncertain. Therefore, putting dates on events like the senior prom, graduation, or a field trip to somewhere is foolish. Why make “promises” under these conditions? Yet the MIAA insists on doing just that by making post-CV scheduling plans. Shame on them IMO.

Katherine Quigley

The first question we ask those who are away from us these days is, “How are you doing?” Everyone has an answer and a story. Katherine Quigley of Triton responded to that question in today’s Newburyport Daily News.

It was good to see that Katherine can see the Big Picture despite all the interruptions she’s facing. “I do understand,” she said, “that the world is in a pandemic and losing these things to save lives and ‘flatten the curve’ is worth it.”

Filling an uncertain amount of time while being housebound is not easy. We’re used to time constraints. Things having a beginning and an end. What pressure do I have to get anything done when the next day I’m in the same setup?

But these are times when some folks separate themselves from the rest of us. They find something to do on their own. They get themselves engaged with a task of their own choosing and busy themselves doing it. They’re not bored. They’re not stagnant. And the time goes by productively. Easy for me to write!

I trust that the teenagers interviewed by the NDN will realize that though their lives are roughed up, it is even more of a troubling time for the adults in their lives. I can’t imagine how parents are coping all these days with school-aged kids at home.

When the school bus finally shows up at the end of the CV, the kids will run to get on the bus and the parents will not try to slow them down!

Nice to see that Katherine is staying positive with the underclassmen on the softball team. Older siblings can make a difference at home.

I have seen Katherine pitch a lot of games. She is very good at it and committed to it. She’s also way too polite when interviewed afterward! I trust/pray that the CV will end and that Katherine and the rest of us will get our away-from-home lives back again. I would also ask Katherine to take good care of a couple of my former students in the meantime that are also known as her parents.

 

 

 

 

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Schools will not reopen

Schools will not reopen

Churches will not reopen.

Restaurants will not reopen.

Someone has to say it. This is our future.

Unless, of course, social distancing ends. And what are the chances of that happening?

In half a month, social distancing has gone from being considered a joke to now being close to a law.

I leave my house to go for a walk and see my neighbors keeping away from me, crossing the street to avoid being close to me.

There’s something in me that wants to be cavalier and return to the way things were. To take my chances.

I was working in close quarters with kids. I was attending church several times a week. I was occasionally eating out. But now each of those activities could prove fatal. I may not be afraid myself, but would I want to be responsible for bringing a fatal disease onto someone else? Definitely not.

And so, I optimistically cooperate, but after nearly two weeks, I see no end in sight.

I try to imagine what would have to be true for parents to feel comfortable enough to send their children back into the intimacy of a public/private school. Wouldn’t the fear of getting the virus have to end? How close is that? Each day there are stories and numbers shouting that there is no control.

Nice picture today in the Newburyport Daily News of the Rail Trail. Dogs and families were out of the house, getting some exercise and fresh air. Except that the story that went with the picture was that the mayor of Newburyport was threatening to close the Rail Trail because the social distancing rules weren’t being followed.

Hampton Beach is now closed to the public for the same reason.

Things are not trending away from social distancing. Just the opposite, so it seems.

Yet we’re supposed to believe that schools/churches/restaurants will reopen on a certain date in the near future? Are you naivete enough to believe that we are now capable of putting a date on when this crisis ends?

We must get the virus under control, and so far it hasn’t happened. There appears to be treatment available for most of the afflicted but not a means to prevent folks from being afflicted.

Promising reopening dates based on where we currently are is pure folly.

My advice: Pray for a miracle but also prepare for a very long haul.

 

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