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PKs send Amesbury by Manchester-Essex and into D4 state semi-finals

Dasa Hase and Gracie Doherty

Alyssa Pettet kicked home the game-winner in the shootout

(Lynn MA) I struggled all afternoon trying to guess how this game was going to go.

I tried the Manchester-Essex end at the start because Amesbury had beaten them twice during the season.

That put me out of close range as the Hornets dominated the first half and had a goal (Mia Cromwell at 17:16)) to show for it.

Second half I favored the Amesbury end because that was where ME had spend a lot of time in the first half.

Alli Napoli leaves the goal with Rachel Albertazzi (10) near the ball

That put me long range as Amesbury scored (McKenna Hallinan at 35:43) and carried the play in at least half of the second half.

In the final twenty minutes, both teams had chances but the goalies (ME’s Kara Glynos & Amesbury’s Alli Napoli) made plays.

Overtime?  Not yet.

In the final five minutes of regulation, the Indians were called for an infraction in the box.  Suddenly there would be a penalty kick (far from where I was standing!).

Mia Cromwell tried to go to the left corner with her PK but GK Alli Napoli lunged that way and the game continued.

Now we had overtime.

Ashley Flood (20) and Alyssa Pettet (5)

Last year, Amesbury defeated Manchester-Essex in double overtime in the same D4 North title game.

Both teams had chances to end it in the overtimes.  Amesbury’s Alyssa Pettet came very close in the first OT but the game continued as no one was found who could finish for either team.

That opened the door for the dreaded shootout.  The pressure, the lonely walk to the penalty line, and the elation/agony with the result.

The two goal scorers (Mia Cromwell & McKenna Hallinan) shot first.  Mia froze GK Alli Napoli with a shot to the right.  (In the PK at the end of regulation she had gone to the left and Alli was there.) McKenna’s shot against Leilani Brown was high to the left.

Bella Hadaegh & Gracie Doherty shot second. Bella also tried to go right but hit the crossbar.  Gracie scored past Kara Glynos on a grounder to the left.

Grace Doherty PK

So after two rounds the score was tied.  Who expected this after these teams were tied after eighty minutes of regulation and twenty minutes of overtime??

Maya Baker and Avery Hallinan were in the third round.  Maya shot up the middle and Alli Napoli hardly moved to save it.  Avery shot to the right and it slipped by ME GK Leilani Brown.  Advantage Amesbury.

Maya Baker PK

Avery Hallinan PK

The last round this game would need to reach an outcome had Sofia Gillespie and Alyssa Pettet in it.  Sofia’s shot went over the top and that gave the CAL Player-of-the-Year a chance at the game-winner.  She shot hard to the upper left by GK Kara Glynos and Amesbury had a 2-1 win in PKs.

Alyssa Pettet PK

With the victory the Indians (14-1-6) capture the Division 4 North title again and will face Millis (again) on Wednesday night (5PM) at Manning Field.

The Hornets’ goal in the first half was nicely set up.  “Maya (Baker) and Mia (Cromwell) worked a nice give-and-go on that one,” explained ME coach Luke Cosgrove afterwards.  Mia ended up with a good look and drove her shot to the right side.

Mia Cromwell shoots

ME celebrates Mia Cromwell goal

Junior Dasa Hase started the play by getting the ball from the left wing into the middle to Maya. Dasa’s corner kicks were threatening all game long.

The Indians’ goal in the second half resulted from a halftime adjustment in their corner kick formation.  Alyssa Pettet normally draws two and three defenders and usually heads close to the goal when a corner kick heads that way.

“Avery (Hallinan) suggested that having Alyssa go away from the goal would open up the front of the goal,” said Coach Adam Thibodeau.

“I ran Alyssa’s route,” explained Avery, “and no one was on me as the corner kick (MK McElaney) came in.  I tipped it and then McKenna (Hallinan) put it in.”

Avery “insisted” that the shot would have gone in without her sister McKenna’s “help.”  My pictures tell me, however, that McKenna’s part was essential.  She dove feet first into a ball that was just about to be cleared out and sent it into the left corner of the net.

Avery (11) about to deflect to McKenna (1) in front

McKenna sees the ball near the goal line

McKenna kicks ball into corner by a defender and GK Kara Glynos

McKenna’s goal signaled by official

One thing that was certainly agreed on was the extraordinary game Alli Napoli had.  “Alli is an outstanding athlete, “said Coach Thibodeau.  “She took the team on her back today.  She was disappointed with the first goal.  She has forty-nine career shutouts for a reason.”

Waiting for the shootout

Amesbury doesn’t give up many goals (16) but they also don’t score very many (35).  “We’ve had six ties this year, so we have been preparing our penalty kicks for a while,” explained Coach Thibodeau.

Senior Gracie Doherty spent most of the afternoon chasing talented Dasa Hase around.  “She’s good with the ball and very fast,” said Gracie.

On her successful penalty kick: “I wanted to take my time and try to get it into a corner.”

Coach Cosgrove: “Amesbury was very good.  The D4 North was a showcase-and-a-half.  #5 (Alyssa Pettet) was phenomenal.  Almost unstoppable.”

Avery Hallinan didn’t practice yesterday.  “My ankle is killing me,” she said post-game.

On her successful PK: “I walked up and my stomach dropped.  I shot it and thought, ‘Okay, it went in!”

Bella Hadaegh and Lily O’Neill

Alyssa Pettet’s game-winning penalty kick was her 4th of the season.  “PK’s are very tough mentally,” the Holy Cross commit said afterwards.  “You have to tune out everything that is happening.”

On Alli Napoli: “I was confident with her in net in the shootout.  She’s so athletic that she would probably be good in any sport she tried.”

Alli may have seemed calm on the field but she wasn’t.  “I was nervous out there all the time,” she said.

McKenna Hallinan on the goal she scored: “Avery’s shot was NOT going in.  It was a twin-to-twin effort.  We have twin telepathy.  We love our twin-twin moments.”

The Hornets (11-4-5) alternated goalies.  Junior Leilani Brown was in net for the first half and the first overtime as well as for the first and third PK.  Senior Kara Glynos guarded the goal in the second half, second overtime, and the second and fourth PK.

Overcast conditions with light rain after the game was over.

Tough day for Manchester-Essex.  Their boys’ soccer team lost to Burke in the game before the Amesbury girls soccer game.

(Many of the pictures are long range.  Essential that you click on them to see them enlarged.  Some, also, are a bit blurry because of the distance away that they were taken from.)

Sophia Carter (13), Lily O’Neill (16), MK McElaney (14), Gabby Smyth (17)

Alli Napoli above the crowd

Coach Adam Thibodeau with captains and trophy

Amesbury goal celebrated

Amesbury celebrates goal

Amesbury team celebrates win

Amesbury team picture with banner

Amesbury trophy raised

Dasa Hase and MK McElaney

Gracie Doherty (18) and Maya Baker (1)

Coach Luke Cosgrove with ME captains and trophy

Maddy DiPietro ready to head

 

 

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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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