On to the D4 North finals for Manchester-Essex after 6-1 win over Mystic Valley

Dasa Hase (16) set up perfectly in front

Dasa’s shot splits Gianna Gray (23) and Rianna Griffiths (13)

Maya Baker had a goal and two assists for the Hornets

(Lynn MA) The starting time for Sunday’s Division 4 North finals between Amesbury and Manchester-Essex is 11AM.

I alert you to that because after seeing Manchester-Essex twice I know that they can strike early.

I saw it against Amesbury during the regular season; goal in forty seconds.

I saw it today in the D4 semi-finals against Mystic Valley: goal in twenty seconds.

And the Hornets (15-3-2) weren’t finished in either game.  Two more goals were scored against both teams in the next ten minutes.

Both of those games were history before halftime.

ME coach Luke Cosgrove put it succinctly: “We want to start fast, score goals, and keep it tight in the back.”  Mission accomplished against the #1 Eagles tonight in the D4 North semi-finals.

Dasa Hase and Jillian Bowen both scored twice for the Hornets.  Junior Maya Baker had a goal and two assists.  Lily Rhuda had a second-half goal for Mystic Valley.

Jillian Bowen (2 goals) about to take a penalty kick

Seedings can be misleading because they’re based only on a team’s record.  In other states they tweak the seedings based on the strength of schedules.

The team from Malden came in with an excellent 16-2 record.  They had allowed only one goal in their last seven games and had scored thirty-nine goals.

The problem for the Eagles was that they play in the Commonwealth Conference.  “We have a much weaker schedule,” said MV coach Lauren Henry afterwards.

Jade Cromwell (4) led a very solid ME defense

“We’re not used to facing a team like Manchester-Essex.  They were bigger, faster, and had a lot of skills.”

Manchester-Essex is in the Cape Ann League where very competitive opposition abounds and teams toughen each other up for tournament play.

The Hornets will face a familiar CAL foe in Amesbury on Sunday (Remember 11AM) in the D4 North title game.

I was very impressed with the passing skills of Manchester-Essex.  Teammates getting open were rewarded with feeds.

Right from the get-go, ME was unselfish.  Maya Baker brought the ball down the left side, drew defenders, and sent a pass past MV goal Gwen Rhuda to sophomore Dasa Hase in front.  Quick score, twenty seconds into the game.

Maya Baker shoots to score goal 2

Less than two minutes later Maya Baker broke down the same wing.  MV was now concerned about Hornets in the middle.  Maya shot, instead of passing.  2-0 with just over two minutes gone by!

I quickly realized that MV’s stats, coming in, would not mean much to this-night’s Hornets.

The ME offense was impressive, but their defense led by Jade Cromwell was just as good, keeping the Eagles in their own end for most of the first ten minutes.

At 27:43 Bianca Antonucci fouled Jillian Bowen in the box.  Jillian drove the penalty kick past GK Gwen Rhuda.  3-0.

Action near the MV goal

Mystic Valley started to be able to get the ball into the ME side of the field but often the Hornets responded with more scoring chances.  One of those was a marvelous setup by Dasa Hase for freshman Elorie Willwerth.

At 9:11 Dasa Hase finished off a lengthy breakaway with her second goal of the game.  4-0.

Five minutes later Maya Baker put an excellent pass in front to Isabel Musco that was finished at 4:18. 5-0.

Hornets coach Luke Cosgrove substituted frequently in the first half and continued to do that in the second half.  “Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy.”

Jillian Bowen managed to come out of this trio of Eagles for a shot and a goal

Senior Jillian Bowen tallied ME’s 6th goal ten minutes into the second half.  She put on a dribbling clinic (as my picture shows) through several Eagles to get into a shooting position.  “It was a team effort to get the ball up there,” Jillian explained.  “I took my space and took my shot when I had it.”  6-0.

Mystic Valley finally scored four minutes later.  “Shelagh Downes was outside the box,” recalled Coach Henry.  “She kicked it into the box and Lily Rhuda was fortunate enough to be right there and kicked it over the goalie’s head.”

Coach Cosgrove describing Jillian Bowen: “She has played well every week, every game.  She’s been doing it since preseason.  It’s great that she’s getting rewards for her hard work.”

Lily Rhuda (4) and Claire O’Brien (5)

The Hornets are undefeated in their last ten games dating back to a 3-0 loss to Division 2 Masconomet.

Jillian: “We know Amesbury pretty well.  It’s going to be a battle.  A quick start will be best for us.  We’ve have been preparing all season for them.”

Coach Cosgrove: “We split with Amesbury during the regular season but we’re a different team from game one (loss to Amesbury).  We’re more experienced.  We’ve had more time together and be able to coach them up and find our strengths and use them.”

College plans?  Jillian: “I have verbally committed to play soccer at St. Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Indiana.  I have a lot of family connections out there.  I am planning on doing a five-year engineering program.”

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

Rowan Schanley (30) elevates to avoid GK Gwen Rhuda

Rachel Albertazzi (10) dribbles into shooting range

Reaction to first goal

Madison Lawler (15) and Gianna Gray (23)

Kate Story

Jillian Bowen chased by Eagles defenders

Isabel Musco drives home a goal after being nicely set up by Maya Baker

Gwen Rhuda chases a loose ball

Dasa Hase shot at MV goalie Gwen Rhuda

Dasa Hase on the move

Dasa Hase after scoring the 4th ME goal

 

 

 

 

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Gracie Doherty goal against St. Mary’s brings Amesbury to D4 North finals

Amesbury team celebrates winning the D4 North semi-finals

Chelsea Lynch (12) and Gracie Doherty (18) celebrate the goal

(Lynn MA) Amesbury’s next opponent might want to check to see who hasn’t scored for the #6 Indians so far and keep an eye on them.

Twice in this year’s D4 tournament, non-scorers have broken through for Amesbury.

Today in the D4 North semi-finals, it was junior Gracie Doherty.  In the D4 North First Round it was senior Sara Johnson.

Sara’s goal was part of a 4-0 win over Winthrop.

Goalie Alli Napoli on the ground. Kayla Demers in the air. Meg McElaney nearby.

Gracie’s goal today at Manning Field was all there was as Amesbury took out St. Mary’s 1-0.

That win gets the Indians (14-3-4) into the D4 North finals for the third straight year.

To hear senior Emma DiPietro tell it, the win was nice but not enough. “I got a taste of winning these last three years and I don’t want to lose again.  I think that we’re ready to win the whole thing.”

To get the state title Amesbury will need three more wins starting with the Manchester-Essex/Medway winner on Sunday at Manning Field.

The Indians are undefeated in their last ten games since losing to Manchester-Essex in October.

I saw St. Mary’s play Amesbury in the tournament last year at Landry Stadium in Amesbury.  I was unimpressed.  The final was only 2-0 but the Spartans displayed a game-long inability to generate any sort of an attack.

Riley Lynch (11) and McKenna Hallinan (1)

Today I saw a different team of Spartans.  For a little over a half, the play was in the middle of the field or in the upper half of the Amesbury end.

“We had a great first half, “recalled St. Mary’s coach Jim Foley.

There weren’t golden chances, but the Amesbury attack was seriously limited by St. Mary’s.

“We started off with two great chances in the second half,” said Coach Foley.  One was off a free kick by Joslyn Deschenes and the other came when Kayla Demers got in close.  Amesbury goalie Alli Napoli handled both advances.

And then Amesbury took over.

Sara Johnson (6) dribbles ahead

“We didn’t play our game in the first half,” explained Amesbury coach Adam Thibodeau.  “We were playing as individuals.  I told them at halftime that if they didn’t play as a team the season could be over.  Our seniors stepped up because they don’t want it to be over.”

Amesbury had a great chance in close after nine minutes in their resurgent second half and then senior Emma DiPietro put two long shots on net during the next two minutes.

The pressure on St. Mary’s (13-7-1) was building.  Every clearance was being put back into scoring areas by the Indians.

The persistent pressure led to a free kick.

Alyssa Pettet took the kick from straight away.  Her kick came toward Spartans goalie Adrianna Bowker.  Chelsea Lynch was nearby contesting the oncoming shot.

The long shot bounced off the St. Mary’s goalie and right to junior Gracie Doherty.

Gracie put a charge into a shot and it hit the crossbar and caromed right back in her direction.

Gracie reacted by leaning into a header that settled in just under the crossbar at 27:27.

Sherly Feliz (24) and Emma DiPietro (11)

“What a time for Gracie to get her first goal,” said Coach Thibodeau afterwards.  “On championship teams you need goals to come from all over.”

Gracie’s reaction to scoring such a big goal wasn’t too surprising: “I was shocked that it went it!”

I assumed that St. Mary’s would start to press Amesbury with so much time remaining.  They called a timeout after the goal, but their offense never got started.

“We really didn’t get any looks after those plays in the beginning of the second half,” said Coach Foley.

Amesbury has now shut out St. Mary’s three straight years in the tournament. They are also unscored on in this year’s D4 North tournament.

It was not a lack of effort on the Spartans’ part.

The Indians had that “team” thing going defensively.  The long balls to no one were limited.  Instead, teammates were passed to and better control kicked in.

“Defense wins championships,” said Coach Thibodeau.

McKenna Hallinan gets point-blank attempt

Emma DiPietro: “We don’t give up.  We came back stronger.  We have always been kind of a second half team.  In the locker room we said, ‘This is it.  All or nothing.”

Certainly, an advantage for the Spartans was that even though they were the lower seed (#10), they ended up with a home game late in the tournament.  They have played twelve games at Manning Field this season.

I was very impressed with defender Morgan Mackey in the first half. She prevented the speedy Indians from getting any breakaways.

Ball in the middle

Gracie Doherty’s goal was unassisted although as Emma DiPietro explained, “she assisted herself.”

Not to be forgotten on the eventual game-winner was the terrific send-in by free kicker Alyssa Pettet.

Ten minutes after the Doherty goal, McKenna Hallinan broke in for as clean a look as you could hope for.  Spartans goalie Adrianna Bowker should have been arrested for unarmed robbery after she deflected McKenna’s shot wide.

Coach Thibodeau: “A culture was created on the soccer team three years ago.  It wasn’t about winning.  It was about doing the best we can.  That approach has gotten us to the North finals three straight years.”

Coach Foley: “We couldn’t clear it out on their goal.  Amesbury is a very good team.  Adam (Thibodeau) does a great job.  We’ve lost to them three years in a row.”

Fight for the ball

The weather was nice.

The parade of planes flying over, heading to Logan, always interests those of us who seldom hear/see planes of their size.

Despite the 3:30PM start, there was a good crowd in the stands.

Amesbury is in the Cape Ann League.  St. Mary’s is in the Catholic Central League.

College plans?  Emma DiPietro: “I have applied to go to Boston University.  If I go there, I will try to play some club or intramural soccer.  I am interested in studying biology and specializing in genetics.”

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

Amesbury GK Alli Napoli leaps to save

Chelsea Lynch (12) and Riley Lynch (11)

Sherly Feliz

High kick

Incoming

Joslyn Deschenes

 

 

 

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Lexington defeats North Andover 1-0 in girls soccer D1 North semifinals

Lexington and North Andover wait on a corner kick

Aleia Gisolfi-McCready had the only goal of the game.

(Lowell MA) Wait until she gets the hang of it!

Lexington’s Aleia Gisolfi-McCready admitted afterwards that she’s scared of heading the ball and doesn’t do it very often.

It showed.

With just over two minutes left in the first half, teammate Carolyn Lane sent a free kick toward the far post.  The ball went over the elevated Kirsty Carnan and right at Aleia.

Aleia ended up with a facial (“I got a fat lip out of it.”) but the ball went into the North Andover net.

That goal stood up and #8 Lexington won the Divison 1 North semi-finals 1-0 on Wednesday night at Cauley Stadium in Lowell.

The Minutemen (11-6-4) now move on to the D1 North finals on Saturday (2:15PM) at Manning Field in Lynn and will face #2 Brookline.

“It was an awesome win,” said LHS coach Alex Cram afterwards.  “I’m really proud of them.  They never stop.  It’s such a team effort with this crew.”

Regarding the goal: “Carolyn Lane takes our free kicks.  It was a little weird today because the corners here are short, so she had to adjust.  I think that Aleia’s goal went in off her nose.  Whatever works!”

Karen Oh (19) defends against Olivia Gotobed

Tough loss for North Andover.  The #4 seed could not put any serious pressure on Lexington. The tell-tale stat for NA (12-5-4) was that they never had a corner kick.

“We couldn’t figure it out offensively,” said Knights coach Lisa Rasanen.  “They (Lexington) won balls in the air.  We needed to play more balls through on the ground.”

Regarding the goal: “They sent everyone up.  They had one kicking and the other nine in the box. We couldn’t cover them all.”

Lexington’s Eliza Stokes has shutouts in all three D1 North tournament games.

The Knights may have had more shots, but Lex dominated the actual scoring opportunities.

Kirsty Carnan traps the ball

The sophomore/freshman combo of Aleia Gisolfi-McCready and Kirsty Carnan kept a very good NA defense busy.  Aleia and Kirsty displayed speed, dribbling skills, and persistence.

That the only score would require a skill that is yet to be developed by this twosome was the biggest surprise.

“I scouted North Andover and I told the kids that tonight’s game was going to be a fight,” said Coach Caram.  “They have great players and are dangerous up front.  Tonight, our defense was able to handle them.”

Coach Rasanen: “I just wish we were more intense in the first half.  In the second half we were more aggressive and took it to them but couldn’t figure out how to get the ball on goal.  It just wasn’t our night.”

Aleia Gisolfi-McCready: “This is my first year playing with Kirsty.  It has been nice having all the freshman on the team this year.”

Carolyn Lane gets ready for the free kick that led to the Lexington goal

North Andover is from the Merrimack Valley Conference while Lexington is from the Middlesex League.  The two teams met three years ago, and the result was a 1-1 tie.

The playing surface at Cauley Stadium was very fast.

The weather (50 degrees) was a nice change from the persistent rain I faced yesterday at Masconomet.

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

After the goal

Aleia Gisolfi-McCready chased by Rachel Hunt (22)

Aleia Gisolfi-McCready sets to shoot

Avani Kabra (8)

Carolyn Lane (6)

Emma Liporto

GK Eliza Stokes celebrates with the defense

Goalie Jordyn Apperti (green) above the crowd

Isabel Ceraso (Knights 6)

Molly Connolly

Rileigh Cinquergrano (7) passes to a teammate

Kirsty Carnan (14) threatens

Lexington celebrates

 

 

 

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Masconomet uses home-field advantage to oust Winchester 4-1 in D2 North q’finals

Matt Dzwil and Aedan Salvador realize that the first goal has just been scored

Joe Clark slides down and Josh Rubin (44) keeps going

(Boxford MA) Slip, sliding away.

Plenty of bad footing for both teams at Masco this rainy/sloshy afternoon but the Chieftains were used to it.

In fact, the #2 seed in Division 2 North chose to play on their grass field when they could have opted for a turf location.

Visiting Winchester was slow to acclimate to the uncertain surface and fell, 4-1, on Tuesday afternoon in the D2 North quarterfinals.

Winchester GK Francisco Lara saves in traffic

Matt Dzwil, Josh Rubin, Harry Kessel, and Matt O’Brien scored for Masconomet.  Aras Kaya tallied for Winchester.

Masco will now face #3 Concord-Carlisle on Friday night (6PM) at Woburn High School.

“Masco is very, very good,” said Sachems coach Vin Musto afterwards.  “They don’t have any holes.  We knew it would be a tough battle.”

The conditions, rain and mud, certainly affected Winchester.  “It was a tough place for us to play,” Coach Musto added.  “We like to keep the ball on the ground, possess, and connect passes.”

The Chieftains had two goals in the first half as Winchester tried to navigate through the worst of the field’s mud down the other end.

Harry Warshafsky (10) heads against James Kingston (7)

“We weren’t affected by the conditions and they were a bit,” explained Masco coach Jared Scarpaci.  “We capitalized because you can move the ball in this if you’re not afraid of it.  They were a little cautious.”

The Sachems (11-6-3) were a different team in the second half.  “We started to use the wings more because Masco is huge in the middle,” said Coach Musto.  “We attacked the wings.  We got behind them, and we had our chances.  We just didn’t capitalize.”

Credit Masco goalie Zach Rock. Three times in the final fifteen minutes of the second half the Sachems had golden chances.  “We had them on the ropes,” said Coach Musto.

Defender Harry Warshafsky: “Zach has been strong for us all year.  Our starting goalie (Mike Duest) went down with a concussion earlier in the year.  Zach stepped up and has been great.  He did the same thing last year in the states.  He continues to amaze us every day.”

Both teams had good chances to score.  “We play a formation that gives a lot of offense,” explained Coach Scarpaci.  “But at times we sacrifice some defense which can be risky.  Today it worked in our favor.”

Matt Dzwil scored first eighteen minutes into the game.  Josh Rubin had a corner kick and the ball caromed back to him.  He avoided one defender and put a high shot at the far post.  Both Matt Dzwil and teammate Aedan Salvador were on that post, but it was Matt doing the finishing.

Josh Rubin (44) lines up a shot as Will Rappole (5) comes to defend

Eleven minutes later Josh Rubin was in the box with several teammates during a throw in.  “We crashed the net and I was in the right place at the right time to put it in,” said Josh describing his part in Masco’s second goal.

Winchester called a timeout and I heard Coach Musto yell, “They don’t get a third goal!”  The team got the message.

The Sachems made adjustments at halftime that made them more of a threat to score.

“We felt in the second half that a third goal was going to be needed to stun the momentum if they got a first one,” said Coach Scarpaci.

Senior Harry Kessel took care of that.

Aedan Salvador found Harry to his left uncovered and set him up for a good look twelve minutes into the second half.  Harry’s goal put the Chieftains ahead 3-0.

Harry Kessel (7) shoots past Nate MacDonald notching Masco’s 3rd goal

Six minutes later the team from the Middlesex League got a goal.  It came off a direct kick by Will Hofheinz.  Aras Kaya turned that DK into a quick shot to the near side.

The next ten minutes Winchester knocked at the scoring door several times but GK Zach Rock kept them off the scoreboard.

“Zach had two that should have been goals,” said Coach Scarpaci.  “A good goalie has to make one or two saves like that to keep you alive and in it.  Zach did that today for us.”

Josh Rubin: “Zach saved us for sure.  One of their chances was a breakaway.”

Masco’s 4th goal, scored in the last minute, fortunately didn’t decide the game.  Matt O’Brien sent a 35-yard shot toward Winchester GK Francisco Lara.  Looked harmless enough.  Francisco came out to catch it on the fly and was victimized by the footing.  Down he went, and Matt’s shot sailed into the net.

Matt O’Brien shoots

Francisco Lara slips and a harmless shot goes in

Masco goalie Zach Rock at halftime

Masconomet (17-2-2) is undefeated in their last seventeen games.  They haven’t lost since September 12th.  One of the teams they lost to (North Andover) is the #1 seed in D2 North.  Those two could meet in the D2 North finals next Monday.

The numbers don’t lie.  Masco has a very good soccer program.  Since 2012, the team from Boxford is 113-16-9.

Winchester lost to Masco in the D2 North semifinals in 2016.

College plans?

Josh Rubin: “I have applied for early-decision to Colby.  I would like to play soccer there. I am really interested in doing something related to math.”

Harry Warshafsky: “I am not planning on playing soccer in college.  I am interested in business.  I have taken some business classes here at Masco and loved them.  I am interested in attending Syracuse, UMass, or possibly George Washington where my sister goes.”

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

Aedan Salvador (11) about to set up teammate Harry Kessel (7)

Aras Kaya (17) scored for Winchester

Coach Jared Scarpaci

Devin Ralph (6) turns the corner

Harry Kessel (7) celebrates goal with Aedan Salvador and Josh Rubin

John DeOliveira

Josh Rubin (44) leaps to avoid the sliding tackle of Sony Bizure (11)

Loose ball in the box

Masco captains – Josh Rubin, Matt Dzwil, Connor Fitzgerald

Nate MacDonald (4) between Matt O’Brien (12) and Aedan Salvador (11)

Pressure in the Masco end

Masco mud

 

 

 

 

 

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Amesbury advances 4-0 over Winthrop in D4 North First Round

Jenna Dorr (12) and McKenna Hallinan (1)

Chelsea Lynch (12) and Gemma Dimento (24)

(Amesbury MA) “They have the potential to go far again this year.”

That was the assessment Winthrop girls soccer coach Tracey Martucci gave of Amesbury after her team was overwhelmed, 4-0, by the Indians on Sunday night in the D4 North First Round.

The Indians were on the board (Sara Johnson) two minutes into the game and Chelsea Lynch added two more before halftime.  Avery Hallinan turned the 4th Amesbury goal seventeen minutes into the second half.

Amesbury (12-3-4) advances to the D4 North quarterfinals against Essex Tech on Tuesday night.

Maddy Creps had two assists.

The #6 Indians are now undefeated in their last eight games.

Last loss?  Manchester-Essex at home on October 9th.

I covered the 3-0 loss to the Hornets and was underwhelmed by what I saw of the Indians on that afternoon.  Amesbury coach Adam Thibodeau wasn’t too thrilled either, as I recall.

But today?  The Indians were off and running against the #11 seed and really never gave the visitors from the Northeastern Conference a chance.

“They were fast and aggressive,” said Coach Martucci.

Coach Thibodeau’s only complaint after the game was that his team didn’t score more goals.

I spent most of the game near the Winthrop goal and believe me, goalkeeper Gemma Dimento was amazing under fire especially in the second half.

“She (Gemma Dimento) made a lot of point-blank saves,” recalled Coach Thibodeau.  “Give her credit.  She only gave up one goal in the second half.”

Miya Grein (2), Julia Macoccio (16), and Olivia Holmes (7) face a free kick.

Two of the recent games I’ve covered have been scoreless until the final minutes.  Amesbury would have none of that today.

“We wanted to score early and get the momentum,” said senior Chelsea Lynch.  And that they did.

A Maddy Creps’ corner kick bounced back to senior Sara Johnson and she found a place in the net just below the crossbar.  The game wasn’t even two minutes old.

Led by sophomore Alyssa Pettet, the Indians kept the pressure on the Vikings defense.  Alyssa was exceptional at controlling the middle of the field and creating offense for teammates or herself.

“Alyssa was ranked one of the highest players in the Cape Ann League for a reason,” said Coach Thibodeau.  “She impacts games by playing at such a high level.”

Chelsea Lynch (12) surrounded by Vikings

The biggest threat to score in this game was Amesbury’s speedy Chelsea Lynch.  Twice she did score, and she also came close several other times.

On Chelsea’s first goal, she came in on the left and caught the far corner.  The second one was set up by a terrific pass from McKenna Hallinan.

“Day in, day out we work on breaking out wide and pushing upfield as a team,” said Chelsea. “We’re supportive of each other.”

That support was evidenced often because Amesbury had layers of defenders in place to turn back Winthrop’s attempts to clear from their own end.  Attempted clearouts were quickly turned into the next attack on the Winthrop goal.

Vikings GK Gemma Dimento held off Amesbury in the second half until a Maddy Creps’ corner kick was redirected by teammate Avery Hallinan midway through that half.

Avery Hallinan heads off a corner kick by Maddy Creps

Avery Hallinan drives home a header.

The #11 Vikings (Northeastern Conference) finish 10-8-1.

Alyssa Pettet (5) and Nora McCarey (25)

Amesbury will need to win two more games to reach the D4 North finals.  The opponent there might be Manchester-Essex.

“We had a couple of low spots in the season,” said Alyssa Pettet regarding the 3-0 loss to Manchester-Essex.  “We did beat them earlier in the season and we’d like to play them again.”  We’ll see on that one.

Chelsea’s college plans? “Looking at UMass Lowell or UNH.”

Alyssa caught me up on her sister Ashley who was a standout for Amesbury: “She’s playing at Brandeis on a team that has twelve wins.”

Reasonable temperatures (40’s) for a night in November.  I was covering a game in a driving rainstorm yesterday in New Hampshire.

Landry Stadium may be a nice place to play but taking pictures there at night requires equipment I’ll never be able to afford to own.  Maybe time for a new bulb or two?  But I whine!

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

Chelsea Lynch shoots

Alex Gibbons (8) and Emma DiPietro (11)

Chelsea Lynch after goal

Ella Marinopoulos (8) and Julie Marcoccio (16)

Gemma Dimento dives for a loose ball

Pressuring the Winthrop defense

Sara Johnson (6) scored the first goal

Sophia Carter

Jillian Johnson (10) and Gracie Doherty (18)

McKenna Hallinan (1) with two Vikings

Mia Grein (2), McKenna Hallinan (1), Jenna Dorr (12)

 

 

 

 

 

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Sunapee gets late goal to upset undefeated Newmarket 1-0 for DIV title

Sunapee coach Ike Jacopino with his captains

Junior Mike Mullen tallied the game-winner

(Hooksett NH) “We won this one for Ike.”

I heard that and, as an older person, could only think of President Dwight David Eisenhower.

But the Sunapee players were referencing Lakers Coach Jack “Ike” Iacopino.

The Lakers scored in the last two minutes and defeated undefeated Newmarket 1-0 on a wet Saturday afternoon at Penmen Field on the campus of SNHU to win the DIV championship.

Sunapee goalie Justin Claus (52) up to clear a corner kick

“We told him after the game that this one was for him,” said captain Lane Smith.  “The amount of work he’s put into this program.  No one deserves it more than him.” This was Sunapee’s first title.

Sunapee was an improbable DIV winner.  Why?  They had never won a title before.  Also, they had lost to the Mules twice during the regular season.

“Our defense won the game for us,” said a proud Coach Iacopino afterwards.

The Lakers (17-3) changed their approach during the second half of the season.  “We wanted to play good defense first and then see if we could create a few opportunities with Michael’s speed,” explained Coach Iacopino.  “Our defense has been excellent the last eight games (all wins).  I think we only gave up a couple of goals during that stretch.”

Coach Nate Dowst of Newmarket was on the wrong end of a second-half goal, that was called off, and later watched a miscommunication result in the late-game winner for Sunapee.

“Soccer can be cruel sometimes,” he said.  “I thought we had the go-ahead goal (29:29).  To me it looked onside, but they said it wasn’t.  But you’ve got to keep playing. They put us under pressure at the end and our mistake led to the goal.”

Junior Mike Mullen got that goal by going full speed and being in the right place at the right time.  “Fred (Holmes) tried to head the ball back to his goalie (Colby Foster) but it got past him,” explained Mike.  “It was just an open goal for me.”

Mike’s role for much of the game was to wait.  “My job was to play their mistakes on defense.  I only had a couple of opportunities since they had the ball at least 80% of the time.”

I reminded Mike that Sunapee had lost to Newmarket twice.  “I’ve been relating that to the Super Bowl in which the undefeated Patriots lost to the Giants,” he said.  Talk about a painful memory!

Fred Holmes (17) in position on a CK

I saw Newmarket defeat Epping 3-0 in October.  In that game I saw a team that really applies pressure.  I saw Lucas Russell turn throw-in’s into scoring chances.  I saw the Mules put shots on net and end up with numerous corner kicks.  Today was more of the same without any of the happy endings.

“We had plenty of set pieces but couldn’t quite get to a foot or a head,” recalled Coach Dowst.  “The difference wasn’t the quantity (Newmarket had 23 shots) but the quality of our shots.”

Brendan Kelleher (9) and Keenan Mills (6)

Credit that Sunapee defense.  “They were very good in the box,” said Coach Dowst.

“We went to every ball hard,” said Coach Iacopino.

“Our priority one was not to let them score,” said Lane Smith.  “We didn’t dominate this game at all, but we didn’t let in any goals.  In fact, we didn’t allow a goal in the playoffs.”

It did look, however, as if Sunapee had allowed a goal at 29:29 of the second half.  Mules junior Nick Berthiaume caught up to a ball on the left side, defended by Matt Nangeroni.  Nick got off a shot and it beat Sunapee GK Justin Claus.

“That was horrifying for us,” said Justin afterwards.  “It was a big moment for us when it was called offsides.”

As my picture shows, even the scoreboard person at the stadium thought it was a goal, but that quickly changed and Newmarket never could get a “1” on that scoreboard.

I was again impressed with Newmarket’s Fred Holmes.  Yes, I know he was part of the mix-up that led to the Sunapee goal, but beyond that Fred was all over the field defending and creating opportunities for the Mules.  On all the set pieces Fred left his normal defensive post and was in close to the goal.  During one memorable segment, in the first half, Fred was in the middle of the action on a Simon Cote free kick and then hustled all the way to the other end to clear the ball out of bounds with a sliding tackle.  The kid can play!

Brendan Kelleher (9), Parker Reed (11), and Jackson Cooney (3) face a free kick.

Mike Mullen’s goals was his 36th of the season. He also had nine assists.  Lane Smith had twelve goals and ten assists.

Although the loss would take a while to get over, Coach Dowst was optimistic about next season.  “We lose six seniors, but we return thirteen varsity players.  Hopefully we can work hard enough to get back here next year.”

The stadium was awesome.  Plenty of seats and also some places where you could watch in the rain…….and there was plenty of that going on.  The SNHU staff provided all the stats I needed in a very nice press box area.

I try, when I remember, to ask senior players what they will be doing next year.

Justin Claus: “I am interested in bio-medical engineering.  I’ve applied to UNH, UMaine, and UConn.”

Lane Smith: “I’m going to get to West Virginia to study business.”

Game Stats

(You definitely need to click on my pictures to get the full-size view.  The sequence on the Mike Mullen goal really requires an enlarged look that only a click will give you.)

Sunapee celebrates

Simon Chan in heavy rain

Pre-game light moment

Victory won

Trio after the ball

Nick Berthiaume shoots as Nick Nangeroni slides to defend

Mules celebrate apparent goal

Scoreboard has the Newmarket goal

Chin music – Jake Austin (6) and Josh Mastin (4)

Finalist – Newmarket

Josh Mastin (4) shot at GK Justin Claus

Keenan Mills (6) heads

 

 

 

 

 

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George Coryell OT goal gets Newburyport past Weston 2-1

Weston and Newburyport await a corner kick

George Coryell with Ryan Archer and Brady O’Donnell

(Newburyport MA) “On to Lynnfield!”

George Coryell said it to me after the game as the Newburyport Clippers took out Weston 2-1 in overtime on Friday afternoon.

The Division 3 First Round win moves NHS (10-4-5) on to a rematch on the road on Sunday against the Pioneers.

#1 seed Lynnfield promises to be a more motivated opponent than they were earlier this week in a 3-0 loss to the Clippers.  Entering that game, the Pioneers had already clinched the #1 seed whether they won or lost at Newburyport.  Sunday’s rematch should have a much higher intensity level.

Senior George Coryell had two goals for #8 Newburyport.  One tied the score in the second half and the other was the game-winner 5+ minutes into overtime.

GK Aiden Guthro and Brian Hall (7)

The Wildcats had dribblers, passers, and plenty of opportunities.  That they didn’t win was a surprise to Weston coach Andrey Asparouhov.  “We had control the whole game.  I still don’t know how we lost the game.  It’s unbelievable.”

The Wildcats (8-7-4) took a one-goal lead on a rebound conversion by Clayton Mullen with seven minutes left in the first half.

That lead looked to be enough, but not to Coach Asparouhov.  “We knew that we needed the second goal to close out the game, but we couldn’t get it.”

Newburyport coach Shawn Bleau changed the Clippers approach later in the second half.  “We went with an offensive lineup later in the second half and got a goal off it.”

Adrian Hadley (17) and Ronan Harrington (6)

Offensive lineup?  “It meant putting George (Coryell) up top with three forwards.”

George scored the tying goal and how it happened was even a blur to him when I asked him about it.

Teammate Jack Healy credited freshman Max Gagnon for setting George up for the second-half break in.  “Max placed the ball over the defense,” explained Jack.  “He did the same thing on the overtime goal.”

According to Coach Bleau, “Their keeper made an incredible save on George’s break-in in the second half. Then Ryan Archer put the ball back in the box and George finished it.”

Coach Bleau continued with the offensive attack in the overtime.  “It worked to get us the tying goal, so we decided to go for the win and not get to penalty kicks.”

Opening up the attack meant loosening up their defense but on this afternoon the strategy was gold for the home team.

George’s game-winner followed a foot race with defender Andres Castillo.  “We made a bad pass and they had the speed to take advantage of it,” said Coach Asparouhov.

I will guess, based on what Jack Healy told me, that Max was the interceptor as well as the one who sent George on his way to the game-winner.

George gained separation from his defender and slid the ball past onrushing Weston GK Edward Pomianek.

“It feels good to get a win in the playoffs,” said Jack Healy afterwards.  The Clippers lost 1-0 to Bedford in the first round last year.  Prior to that, the last Newburyport playoff win was in 2012.

“It was a team effort,” said George Coryell. “Everyone playing together and trusting each other.  We knew that these guys were good.  Now it’s on to Lynnfield.”

Newburyport goalie Aiden Guthro won’t have fond memories of the Weston goal.  On that goal, Brian Hall took a hard shot from the left.  The normally sure-handed goalie (Cape Ann League All-Star) had the ball go through his hands and there was Weston’s Clayton Mullen rushing in looking for just such a rebound.  In the net it went.  “I’m glad that the goal didn’t decide the game. Aiden will get to play some more,” said Coach Bleau.

The game was physical at times.  A number of times the Wildcats questioned non-calls.

Chris Connor (8) heads

With 7:24 left in regulation, the referee called time and brought the captains and the coaches together and sorted out how the rest of the game would, and would not, be played.  It seemed to settle things down.

Brian Hall (7) and Jack Healy (11)

On one of my pictures of George Coryell, in the final rush to get a shot the defender clearly has a handful of his shirt.

Very impressed with Weston’s Brian Hall.  The senior had the size and athleticism to create trouble in the box.  He was in GK Aiden Guthro’s space several times as my pictures show.

The teams did their post-game handshake after regulation instead of trying it after an exciting/devastating overtime ending.

Mild temperatures (50’s) with occasional drizzle.

Football game, also against Weston, was slated for later in the evening.

Weston plays in the Dual County League while Newburyport is in the Cape Ann League.

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

Aiden Guthro chases a ball in the box

Andres Castillo

Brian Hall chats with the referee

Celebrating the Weston goal

Clayton Mullen

 

 

 

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