Category Archives: Whittier Tech

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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Whittier gets 2-1 walk-off versus Essex Tech in D3 North First Round

Whittier coach Cheryl Begin celebrates the walk-off win with the Beauchesne sisters

Winning pitcher Nicole Verrette struck out nine and scattered four hits

(Haverhill MA) Whittier Tech defeated Essex Tech for the third time this season.

This time the score was 2-1 in a Division 3 North First Round game on a sunny/cloudy/drizzly Saturday afternoon at Whittier.

The ending was dramatic as Olivia Beauchesne’s two-out blast in the bottom of the seventh inning (over RF Hannah Lilly’s head) delivered teammate Kayle Hobbs from 3B with the game winner.

The Wildcats trailed 1-0 in the second inning as senior Anna Cloutman brought in freshman Hester Murphy with an RBI single that was nearly caught by WT rightfielder Eliza Slocum.

Whittier (19-2) tied things in the fourth inning.  Kaley Thibault walked to lead the inning off and later scored on Alyssa Wilson’s sharp single to CF.

I was impressed with both pitchers.  Whittier sophomore Nicole Verrette K’d nine Hawks and allowed four hits.  Four of the Hawks outs in the last two innings were strikeouts.  Essex Tech freshman Sheree Fallon struck out only two but limited WT to four hits.

CF Allison Vienneau makes a great catch for ET in the first inning

Several defensive gems by ET (14-8) kept them in the game against a team that already had 8-3 and 6-1 wins over them this season.  In the first inning, CF Allison Vienneau made a back-to-the-infield, catch deep in center field.  I’m guessing that the shot by Allison Beauchesne would have left a fenced-in outfield.  Hester Murphy had two sparklers at 3B.  Both were line drives.  The first one (in the 2nd inning) was turned into a double play.  The other one (in the 7th inning) was hit by Nicole Verrette.  Hester’s catch on that one was the second out of the inning.

Kayle Hobb’s base-running in the walk-off inning was very important.  After singling, Kayle went from first to third on a grounder to third.  That infield grounder by Kyleigh Campbell pulled in 3B Hester Murphy and Kayle saw the base uncovered as she rounded second.  Shortstop Emily Brown covered 3B but the throw from 1B Caitlyn O’Shea was high and Kayle was in safely.  The next batter (Nicole Verrette) whacked a line drive to 3B Hester Murphy and Kayle resisted the impulse to take off for home on contact.  It would have been an inning-ending double play if she had.  Next batter Olivia Beauchesne then delivered the long hit to right field to win the game.

Olivia Beauchesne’s game winner was hit a long way

I believe that Olivia’s hit to right would have left the fenced-in parks I’ve seen.

Essex Tech’s four hits came from junior Hannah Lilly (2), and one each from freshman Hester Murphy and senior Anna Cloutman.

Kayle Hobbs had two of WT’s hits.  Freshman Alyssa Wilson and senior Olivia Beauchesne had one each.

The solid pitching and sound defense made this a game that lasted just over an hour.  Good thing because the game no sooner ended when it started to drizzle.

Special thanks to Whittier AD Kevin Bradley for helping me get to the correct field.  I was unknowingly heading for the Whittier/Bishop Fenwick baseball game which started at the same time as the softball game.

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.  Retweeting the coverage is greatly appreciated.)

Nicole Verrette

Whittier shortstop Kelleigh Greaney

Essex Tech CF Allison Vienneau

Hester Murphy steals second base

RF Eliza Slocum nearly catches Anna Cloutman’s sinking liner

Hester Murphy scores the Essex Tech run

Hannah Lilly makes a play in RF

3B Hester Murphy sets to throw to 1B

Kaley Thibault ties the game for Whittier in the 4th inning

IB Caitlyn O’Shea tosses to 1B

ET freshman pitcher Sheree Fallon allowed only four hits.

ET coach Jody Norton

ET catcher Allison Sholds

Kayle Hobbs gets to 3B on some very aggressive base-running

WT coach Cheryl Begin talks to Nicole Verrette in the 7th inning

 

 

 

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Whittier drops Newton South 64-49 in consolation game of IAABO Board 130 Basketball Classic

Michaela Martin (18 points) sees an opening to the basket

Michaela Martin (18 points) sees an opening to the basket

Emily Chang (23 points) fires a three

Emily Chang (23 points) fires a three

(Danvers MA)  Whittier overpowered Newton South, 64-49, in the consolation game on Monday afternoon in the IAABO Board 130 Basketball Classic held at St. John‘s Prep.

Sophomore Emily Chang of Newton South led all scorers with twenty-three points including six three’s.

Juniors Michaela Martin (18 points) and Kayla Riley (17 points) paced Whittier.

The Wildcats (15-6) dropped a tight one (40-38) to Boston Latin on Sunday in the opening round.  In that game, Whittier had chances down the stretch but didn’t finish.  A lot of Whittier’s problems were caused by 6-2 Maggie Mulligan.  The BL senior registered a triple double (12 points/19 rebounds/10 blocks) in the Wolfpack win.

Newton South did not have a shot blocker of Maggie Mullins (going to UMass) caliber and so Whittier spent most of this afternoon driving with confidence to the basket.  Whittier’s inside shots didn’t always go in but fouls were called (26) and free throws were awarded (44).

Newton South (5-13) was content to fire from long range and they did make eleven 3’s.  Impressively effective from downtown was Emily Chang who had the green light every time she saw daylight.

The Wildcats had the lead (7-5) five minutes into the first quarter before the Lions struck from long range three times over the next four minutes.

Jessa Rubera breaks in

Jessa Rubera breaks in

Emily Chang connected twice and senior Jessa Rubera once, as part of 15-2 Newtown South surge.  Lauren Levey hit a jump shot and an old-fashioned three at the end of that run.

So, one minute into the second quarter NS was in front, 20-9, and hardly looking like a team with only five wins this season.

But that terrific four minutes of Lions’ shot making shut down for the next five minutes.   The NS lack of offense was not related to turnovers, the Lions just kept missing.

Meanwhile, Whittier started to roll up the points.  There were 3-pointers and layups (Kayla Riley & Michaela Martin had both) as well as free throws (five).  By the time NS got a stop-the-bleeding three by Emily Chang the Wildcats had put together a run of seventeen unanswered points.

Kayla Riley (17 points) sights the basket

Kayla Riley (17 points) sights the basket

The lengthy point splurge gave Whittier the lead, 26-20, with 2 minutes left until halftime.  The Wildcats would keep the lead the rest of the way.

The Lions moved back within two (31-29) one minute into the second half but Whittier followed with nine straight points to boost their margin to double figures (40-29) with 2:25 left in the third quarter.  Samnell Vonleh, Andrea Terranova, and Michaela Martin turned up layups in the run.

Newton South was unable to get closer than seven points the rest of the way.

Whittier ended up winning by fifteen but when you look at their free throw stats you can envision what could have been.  The Wildcats made only twenty-one of forty-four free throw attempts!

Whittier is in Division 4 while the other three girls’ teams in this tourney are in Division 1.  The Wildcats have played a number of higher division teams this season.  Sometimes facing tougher opponents pays off when tournament time rolls around.

The Wildcats were 22-2 last year and lost to Fenway in the Division 4 North final to Fenway.  It looks as if Whittier will again have to go through (15-2) Fenway to get the D4 North title.

Whittier box

Newton South box

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

Dominique Ortiz leans into Lauren Levey

Dominique Ortiz leans into Lauren Levey

Samnett Vonleh (#24)

Samnett Vonleh (#24)

Michaela Martin covered by Emily Chang

Michaela Martin covered by Emily Chang

Xciana Flores gets fouled by both Shayla Kelly and Lauren Levey

Xciana Flores gets fouled by both Shayla Kelly and Lauren Levey

Emily Chang (#12) tries to catch Kiana Guadaloupe

Emily Chang (#12) tries to catch Kiana Guadaloupe

Roni Tamir caught in a Whittier trap

Roni Tamir caught in a Whittier trap

Andrea Terranova heads for the hoop

Andrea Terranova heads for the hoop

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Danvers reaches Division 4 North finals (again) after defeating Whittier 69-51

whda A11 Eric Martin defended by Ryan Grant

Nick Bates (19 points) goes for the block against Justin Reyes (22 points)

Nick Bates (19 points) goes for the block against Justin Reyes (22 points)

Justin Reyes soars for two over Nick McKenna

Justin Reyes soars for two over Nick McKenna

(Byfield)  Another convincing win for Danvers as they defeat Whittier, 69-51, in the Division 3 North semifinals at Triton on Tuesday night.

The Falcons will face the winner of the Wayland/North Reading game at the Tsongas Center on Saturday for the D3 North championship.

Last year in the North semifinals, the Falcons rallied from a ten-point deficit in the final 1:28 to shock Wayland.  That would surely be an interesting rematch in the North finals this time around.

Danvers (21-3) led from wire-to-wire against Whittier (20-3).  Their attack was well-organized and productive.

The Falcons took on the outside what the Wildcat defense gave them and it was plenty.

When the Wildcats tried to protect the inside from the penetrating attempts of Eric Martin, choice outside goodies turned up for Nick Bates, Nick McKenna, and Vinny Clifford.

Danny Connors (13 points) inside for two

Danny Connors (13 points) inside for two

When the fifth starter (Dan Connors) had solo coverage near the hoop the Falcons would find him.

With good-look outside shots appearing regularly, Danvers was able to put together consecutive runs of points in each of the first three quarters.  The trio of runs doomed Whittier.

Whittier was two dimensional (Ryan Grant and Justin Reyes) and despite getting forty-two points between them, they were mostly of the highly-contested, low-percentage variety.  Thus the Wildcats could never put more than two baskets together in a row while the outcome was still in question.

The first Danvers’ run (five points) came right away – Danny Connors putback of a rebound and a Nick Bates three.  This segment put the Falcons in front, 5-0.

Nick McKenna (13 points) defended by Ryan Grant (20 points)

Nick McKenna (13 points) defended by Ryan Grant (20 points)

The Danvers lead after a quarter was 15-11.

The Wildcats were only down four (19-15) after a Ryan Grant (20 points) layup.  Then the second Falcon run (eleven points) happened.  Vinny Clifford (14 points) started it with a jump shot.  Nick Bates (19 points) added a three (his second) before Nick McKenna (17 points) made a jumper in the lane and two free throws.  The last two points were by Nick Bates on an assisted layup from Eric Martin.

This run sent Whittier to a fifteen-point deficit (30-15) with 1:47 left in the second quarter.  The Wildcats closed to nine (33-24) as Justin Reyes (22 points) nailed a buzzer-beater off the backboard to end the first half.

Whittier started the second half with a Justin Reyes free throw but then came Falcon Run #3 (fourteen points) and this one took the outcome mystery out of this game.

Vinny Clifford (14 points) fires a three over Nathan Frongillo

Vinny Clifford (14 points) fires a three over Nathan Frongillo

Remarkably, four different Danvers’ players (Vinny Clifford, Nick McKenna, Nick Bates, and Danny Connors) hit three’s in this segment.  Danny’s was an old-fashioned three and he followed those points with a layup.

The four 3-point baskets were all assisted – three by Eric Martin and one by Nick Bates.  It was terrific basketball to watch………..if you were wearing Danvers blue.

Those 2 ½ minutes of pure Danvers offense elevated their spread to twenty-two (47-25) with thirteen minutes of basketball left.  The Wildcats would “win” the rest of the game, 26-22, but the cows had left the barn.

Clearly there was a contrasting style of play between the teams.  Whittier was all about Justin Reyes or Ryan Grant (20 points) creating openings for themselves.  Justin’s quickness and Ryan’s dribbling enabled them to do just that on occasion.  Most of the Whittier turnovers (they had eighteen by my count) came from trying to set up teammates.

Danvers, on the other hand,  ran organized offense with plenty of passes and movement.  Eric Martin had the ball to start almost every possession and his ability to set up teammates was excellent as shown at the start of the second half.  Whittier coach Tom Sipsey ran a number of defenders at Eric but with little effect.  Danvers had only three turnovers when this game was still competitive.

The Triton gym was packed with plenty of support for both teams.  The chanting was above board after the, “You’re all ugly,” attempt was squelched.

Eric Martin passes

Eric Martin passes

Danvers made eight three’s in the game while Whittier had four.

Danvers state-final opponent (St. Joe’s of Pittsfield) from 2012 is still alive in the West.

Justin Reyes and Ryan Grant were co-MVP’s in the Commonwealth Conference this year.

Vinny Clifford had four 3’s in the second half.  He had seven 3’s last game against Minutemen in the quarterfinals.

Danvers Boxscore

Whittier Boxscore

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

Justin Reyes gets inside

Justin Reyes gets inside

Ryan Grant goes baseline

Ryan Grant goes baseline

Ryan Grant, Eric Martin, Danny Connors

Ryan Grant, Eric Martin, Danny Connors

Nick McKenna (13 points)

Nick McKenna (13 points)

Justin Reyes fouls out

Justin Reyes fouls out

Eric Martin defended by Ryan Grant

Eric Martin defended by Ryan Grant

Andrew Wells

Andrew Wells

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Undefeated Whittier wins easily over Greater Lowell 70-40 in girls basketball

Michaela Martin (24 points) gets in close as Catherine Sweeney tries to avoid fouling

Michaela Martin (24 points) gets in close as Catherine Sweeney tries to avoid fouling

Andrea Terranova (8 points) looks for an opening

Andrea Terranova (8 points) looks for an opening

(Haverhill)  Undefeated Whittier was terrific on both ends of the court and gained its fifteen win routing Greater Lowell, 70-40, in Commonwealth Conference action on Tuesday night.

Whittier has two losses on their record but those were exclusion games (don’t count in the standings) with Division 1 Brockton.

The way this game went was a big surprise because in an earlier meeting in January, the Wildcats (15-0) needed a strong final quarter to get a, 53-47, win.

This time any doubts about the outcome were settled by halftime as the home team led, 36-18.

The Gryphons (13-4) had serious trouble with the Whittier pressure from beginning to end.  I counted thirty-six turnovers against the visitors from Tyngsboro.  Seven of those mishandles were turned into instant layups.

Kayla Riley tries to split the Greater Lowell defense

Kayla Riley tries to split the Greater Lowell defense

The Wildcats were willing and able to use their speed on almost every possession.  They broke out after rebounding and many times outnumbered the defending Gryphons as a result.

Trying to play catch-up defense led to many GL fouls.  The Gryphons leading scorer, Catherine Sweeney, was a foul magnet and ended up playing very few minutes in the first half.

Greater Lowell, despite six turnovers, was in front, 5-4, in the first four minutes.  The rest of the first quarter, however,  was all Whittier as they went on a 10-2 run.

Sophomore Michaela Martin (24 points) turned two steals into baskets and also had a free throw during the surge.  The Wildcats led, 17-7, after a quarter.

Whittier’s advantage was, 30-18, with three minutes to go in the second quarter.  The Wildcats then did all of the scoring (six points) the rest of the quarter to extend their lead to, 36-18.  A successful jump shot by Samnell Vonleh (12 points) and two more layups for Michaela Martin produced the six points.

Taylor Sweeney (17 points)

Taylor Sweeney (17 points)

Taylor Sweeney (17 points) tallied eleven of her points in the first half for Greater Lowell.

The Gryphons had thirteen turnovers in the third quarter and their deficit reached twenty-six (54-26).

Kiana Guadaloupa connected on consecutive three’s in the final quarter.

Both teams are in Division 4.  It would be easy to see Whittier as one of the top D4 seeds in the post-season tournament.

I covered Whittier’s home loss in the first round last season to Georgetown.

The speed of Whittier was impressive.

The Wildcats have one senior (Jose Sanchez).  Most of the Whittier point producers were sophomores.

Samnell Vonleh (12 points) defended by Catherine Sweeney

Samnell Vonleh (12 points) defended by Catherine Sweeney

Sophomore Samnell Vonleh (6’4”) is developing a touch around the basket.  She can already rebound and block shots.  I saw her brother (Noah) play for New Hampton Prep in their win at Brewster Academy.  Noah has committed to Indiana.

Greater Lowell has now lost two straight.  They had a seven-game winning streak before the losses.

Whittier coach Kevin Bradley did the pre-game introductions.

Whittier box score

Greater Lowell box score

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

Kiana Guadaloupa hit consecutive long shots

Kiana Guadaloupa hit consecutive long shots

Kayla Riley shoots in traffic

Kayla Riley shoots in traffic

Amanda Gage gets two

Amanda Gage gets two

Samantha Som breaks in

Samantha Som breaks in

Greater Lowell coach Brian Martin

Greater Lowell coach Brian Martin

Michaela Martin and Amanda Gage

Michaela Martin and Amanda Gage

 

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Ipswich boys soccer advances in Division 3 North defeating Whittier 4-1

Ipswich (in white) put plenty of pressure on Whittier netminder Jon Hewey.

Ryan Law (two goals)

(Ipswich) The Ipswich Tigers (#14 seed) boys soccer team dominated Whittier (#19 seed) from beginning to end and defeated the visitors, 4-1, on a cloudy Friday afternoon in Division 3 North MIAA tournament play.

The Tigers (8-6-4) now advance to a First Round game with #3 seed Lowell Catholic on Sunday afternoon (1PM) at Rivier College in Nashua, New Hampshire.

Whittier (7-10-2) qualified for the tournament by winning the small division of the Commonwealth Conference while Ipswich needed to win its last two regular season games to qualify.

Ipswich, playing its final home game of 2012, put shots on Wildcat goalie Jon Hewey early and often.  The senior net minder was the reason the final deficit was only three.

The Tigers had goals from Ryan Law and David Dick in the first half.  Slater Sullivan and Ryan Law tallied in the second half.

Sean Whooley (14) chases Jacob Fudge (23)

Even though the final margin was three goals, this was a 2-1 game at halftime because late in the first half Jacob Fudge scored for Whittier.  Jacob broke free down the right side and beat Tiger goalie Erik Fyrer to the far corner.

In a one-goal game anything can happen.  Right away in the second half Jacob had a good look at the equalizer, but this time the Tiger goalie made the save.

Thereafter it was the Tigers back to pressuring the Wildcat end.  Ipswich had three corners and two direct kicks in the next seven minutes.  Slater Sullivan cashed in the second direct kick (by Sam Benford) at 29:48 to give the Tigers a two-goal edge.

Eleven minutes later (18:49) senior Ryan Law put in a rebound of a shot by David Dick to make it 4-1.

In the first half, Ryan Law opened the scoring for Ipswich (11:44) benefiting from a beautiful setup by sophomore Sam Benford.

David Dick fires a shot.

Two minutes later (9:39) David Dick struck a shot on net low that GK Jon Hewey went down for.  The shot bounced over the Wildcat goalie’s hands to give Ipswich a 2-0 lead.

The Tigers were very much in control of the center of the field most of the game thanks to the tireless, aggressive play of Slater Sullivan, David Dick, and Sean Whooley.

Busy day at the site of the game – boys tournament soccer game (2:30), girls tournament soccer game (4:15), and football game (7).

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

Matt Jaeger

first half Ipswich goal

Slater Sullivan (goal scorer)

Dan DAgostino (5) and John Manning (22)

Zach Eliopoulos (7) and Jake Greene (20)

Wildcat goalie Jon Hewey

incoming shot

Chris DiNocco breaks in

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Whittier rallies to defeat Ipswich, 20-18, in overtime football

Wildcat Jesus Sanchez (4) sweeps to the corner for the game-winning, two-point conversion

Henry Sacco scores a nine-yard touchdown for Ipswich in the second quarter.

(Haverhill) If you’re looking for a game with plusses and minuses for both teams, this was the one.

However, in the end it was Whittier coming away with the biggest plus defeating Ipswich in overtime, 20-18, on a lovely Saturday morning/afternoon in Haverhill.

Both teams had been trounced in their openers (Ipswich lost to Pingree 34-7.…Whittier was belted by Stoneham 34-6) and have never played each other before.

Ipswich (0-2) came in with experience (fifteen seniors) while Whittier (1-1) had a roster loaded with underclass athletes.

Ipswich was excellent in the first half getting a 12-0 halftime advantage.  Whittier had those two touchdowns back midway through the final quarter and nearly won the game in the last second.  A blocked field goal attempt on the final play of regulation sent this one to OT.

In overtime a team gets four downs from the 10 yard line.  New this year is that if a team scores, they must go for a two-point conversion.

In their overtime series, Ipswich ran Derek Chamberlain off right tackle three straight times.  He reached the two yard line on the first, scored on the second, and was stopped short by Jake McCartney on the two-point conversion try.  This put Ipswich up 18-12.

Justin Reyes catches a TD pass from Connor Bradley in overtime

In OT, Whittier fumbled the first snap and fortunately (for them) senior Sam King made the recovery.  Next play QB Connor Bradley lofted a “jump ball” pass to leaper Justin Reyes over two defenders to tie the score.

On the game-deciding extra point, sophomore Jesus Sanchez swept right into the corner to win the game for Whittier.  (Whittier had tried that same play after their first score in the third quarter and it had been stopped cold.)

Ipswich tallied on two straight possessions in the second quarter.  Wingback Henry Sacco finished a 71-yard drive with a score from fifteen yards out for the first touchdown.  Derek Chamberlain (eighty-six yards in fourteen carries) ended a 55-yard drive from nine yards rushing over right tackle to give Ipswich a 12-0 advantage.

Watching the two Tiger extra-point attempts I recalled a quote from Ipswich Coach Ted Flaherty in the Ipswich Chronicle – “We do some unusual things on special teams.”  No sign of a center anywhere in either attempt.  On one try the ball went back to reserve QB Eddie Flaherty and the other to QB Kyle Blomster.  Both wanted to pass but a block and a sack ruined the attempts at trickery.

In that first half Whittier spent most of the time on defense.  On offense they had a couple of first downs and never seriously threatened to score.  They did try a couple of “jump ball” passes to Justin Reyes and Jaylin Deveau but couldn’t connect.

Ipswich failed to capitalize on their first possession in the third quarter and in my opinion this was the turning point in the game.

During that possession the Tigers had a long run (40+ yards) by Derek Chamberlain called back on a hold (Chris McCormack).  The Tigers recovered from that setback when Kyle Barber broke loose for 23 yards and Wildcat Brandon Lyons added fifteen yards for a hit out of bounds.

Ipswich was now first and ten from the Whittier 17.  They would reach the ten before getting a delay of game penalty and seeing Kyle Blomster’s 4th down pass sail over the head of Nate Glaster.

Jaylin Deveau (behind 83) finishes an 85-yard TD run in the third quarter

Turning point?  You bet as Whittier took over and on the first play Jaylin Deveau cut through the line on the right and headed down the sidelines for an electrifying 85-yard score with 2:59 left in the third quarter.  The extra point rush attempt by Jesus Sanchez failed but the momentum had swung to the Wildcats.

Next possession, early in the final quarter, Ipswich had Whittier pinned back at midfield with a 4th-and-16. However, defensive back Nate Glaster got caught watching the quarterback (Connor Bradley) as Brandon Lyons raced ten yards behind him.  Connor’s pass was on target and Brandon scored easily to tie the score with 6:28 left.

Nate Glaster (hands raised) block extra point attempt

Ralph Francesconi’s kick attempt was blocked by Nate Glaster to keep the score tied at 12.

On their next possession, Tiger Kyle Barber tried (unsuccessfully) to pass instead of punt on fourth down and Whittier was able to take over on their own 46 with four minutes left.

They would get down to the Tiger five before a big defensive play by Andy Connor pushed the Wildcats back to the ten.  Ralph Francesconi’s game-winning field goal attempt from there was blocked as time ran out.

Ipswich hosts Triton on Friday night (7PM) while Whittier will travel to Georgetown on Saturday afternoon (1PM).

Connor Bradley (eight of fourteen passes -142 yards) and Brandon Lyons connected on a touchdown pass in the Stoneham loss in the Whittier opener.

The acoustics at Whittier were excellent and the booming voice of Wildcat coach Kevin Bradley was hard to miss.  His best material was directed at the officials – “Every time we have you it’s flag city.”  He did seem to talk the officials out of a pass interference call in the final quarter.

My GPS is good but when the bridge across from West Newbury to Haverhill is closed things got interesting.  I ended up taking a side trip almost to Building 19 to get across the Merrimac River.

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

Kyle Blomster hands off to Kyle Barber as Ben ONeil (63) leads the blocking

Jake McCartney (3) stops Derek Chamberlain (40) in two-point overtime try

Nate Glaster nearly scores over Doug Angus

Doug Angus tackles Nate Glaster

Derek Chamberlain (14 carries – 86 yards) breaks loose

Brandon Lyons beats Nate Glaster for a Wildcat TD

Derek Chamberlain scores in overtime

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