Tag Archives: MacKenzie Currie

Ipswich sweeps Pentucket on the road in season opener for both teams

Megan Reading (23), Anna Mossler (11), Meghan Wallace (27)

Lou Roesler – 9 digs for Ipswich

(West Newbury MA) Some might call it rebuilding.

Others might prefer reloading.

Ipswich girls’ volleyball started their 2021 season with a three-set sweep over Ipswich (25-15,25-18,25-12) on Monday night.

The Tigers (1-0) reached the Division 3 state semifinals last season.

“We graduated seven seniors from that team (16-7) but the newcomers to this year’s team blew us away in practices and in the game today,” said senior captain Lou Roesler.

Rachel Alleva

“It was a great season opener,” said Ipswich first-year coach Staci Sonke post-match.  “Obviously we had a little bit of rust to shake off because a lot of these girls hadn’t played in six months.  We had four really good seniors (Jillian Gregory,Anna Mossler,Gabrielle Ring, Lou Roesler) giving us a good foundation out there tonight.”

Pentucket is only in its second season of having a team.  With plenty of enthusiasm, but little experience, the Sachems took their lumps going 0-16 in that first season.

Starting this season with the likes of talented/experienced Ipswich was not an ideal matchup for the home team.

But they gave it their best and had good starts in all three sets.

Pentucket coach John McNamara

“We battled, but we gave away a lot of points,” said John McNamara, Pentucket’s first-year coach.

“Ipswich is very good,” he said. “They’re solid.  We had stretches where we made multiple mistakes in a row and all of a sudden you spot them six points.  They’re going to keep that lead.”

“Pentucket gave us a good run in the first set,” said Coach Sonke, “and it was nice to get our groove back in the 2nd and 3rd sets.”

“We’ll get better,” said Coach McNamara, “but we have a lot of work to do.”

Coach Sonke also saw work ahead for her team.  “There are still things to improve on.  The idea is to stay consistent out there.”

These are some of the Ipswich numbers: Jillian Gregory 6 aces, Kendra Brown 7 assists, Meghan Wallace 6 kills, Lou Roesler 9 digs.

Ipswich coach Staci Sonke

Lou Roesler: “I was really excited to get back on the court after Covid.  During the summer, I set my expectations low and prepared myself for no season.  The reality that we would actually play came around Christmas.  I have been accepted at a number of colleges.  I am interested in humanities and environmental studies.”

It was interesting to see senior basketball players, Megan Reading & Mackenzie Currie, giving volleyball a try for the first time for Pentucket.

This story will be linked on Twitter (@mcclellandpeter) and pictures will appear later on Instagram (mcclellandmiscellanea).

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

Macey Rodrigues-Cowl leads the Sachems onto the court

Arielle Cleveland and Mackenzie Currie

Megan Reading

Ready for a return

Meghan Wallace

Arielle Cleveland block

Jillian Gregory

Meghan Wallace (6 kills)

Block at the net

Nicole Zahornasky

Kendra Brown (7 assists)

Ally Cacciapuoti

Anna Mossler dives

Anna Mossler and Meghan Wallace at the net

Lou Roesler – backrow hit

Anna Mossler serves the match winner

 

 

 

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Pentucket avenges earlier loss winning Kinney Division title 34-23 over Newburyport

Pentucket wins the Kinney Division (CAL vs Cancer) tournament

Emma Foley and Arielle Cleveland

Makenna Ward surrounded by Sachems

(Newburyport MA) Just over two weeks ago, Newburyport got the best of Pentucket.

The game was fast, and the points were flowing.

Against most teams, that works in the Sachems favor.  But it didn’t against Newburyport and a 58-54 loss resulted.

“We probably over-coached last time,” said Pentucket coach John McNamara after tonight’s 34-23 win.

“We went back to our basic man-to-man principles for tonight’s game and didn’t do anything fancy,” he explained.  “We just kept kids in front of us.”

The victory won the Kinney Division (CAL vs Cancer) tournament for Pentucket (12-1).

The formerly undefeated Clippers (11-1) were done in by a three-point second quarter and a two-point third quarter.

Mackenzie Currie (11 points) 5-for-7 from the line

After those two scoring famines, Newburyport was behind, 23-13, and could not generate enough offense to make things interesting in the final quarter.

“You have to give Pentucket credit,” said Newburyport coach Karen Grutchfield afterwards.  “They played harder than we did.”

“It was frustrating to miss so many layups and free throws,” added Coach Grutchfield.

Poor free throw shooting may have been the key to the loss.  The Clippers were only able to make three-of-sixteen from the stripe.

In the win at Pentucket, the Clippers sealed that one by making eight free throws in the final forty seconds.

“A lot of our shots were off tonight,” said senior Abigail Gillingham.  “We haven’t played this way all season.”

The Clippers did start off well.  Sophomore Emma Foley hit two jump shots during an eight-point first-quarter run to put Newburyport in front 8-3.

Arielle Cleveland (10 points) 6-for-10 from the line

Pentucket took the lead, 11-10, in the second quarter after Arielle Cleveland (10 points) cashed two free throws.

Arielle ended the Sachems second-quarter scoring connecting a long pass to Greta Mauer for a layup.

Pentucket’s halftime lead was 16-11.

“We were confident that if we tweaked our defense enough, we could contain them,” said Coach McNamara, “the question was whether we could score enough points.”

The Clippers had been putting up plenty of points all season, so a five-point deficit at halftime seemed like a minor obstacle.

An Abigail Gillingham jumper (from Leah Metsker) made this a one-possession game with six minutes left in the third quarter.

Whether it was poor offense or great defense is speculation.  The fact is that Newburyport didn’t score a point in the final six minutes.

Abigail Gillingham (9 points) shoots over Mackenzie Currie

Pentucket used this time to build up a ten-point lead (23-13) by quarter’s end thanks to an Arielle Cleveland free throw and two other layups from the Sachems senior.

Arielle’s last basket was a runner in the lane just before the quarter ended.

Arielle (10 points) played only four minutes in the first meeting between the two teams.

“It hurt us last time not having Arielle,” said Coach McNamara.  “She can handle the ball and score baskets. We were thrown for a loop a little bit when we lost her last game.”

The Clippers were able to get within six points twice in the final quarter.

“I was proud of the way we kept pushing, even to the end,” said Abigail Gillingham (9 points).

Abigail’s jump shot (assist Jackie Doucette) put Newburyport within six (25-19) with five minutes left.

Abby Dube made the only three of the game

Abby Dube answered for Pentucket (assist Arielle Cleveland) with the only three either team would make during the entire game.

Abigail then had a free throw and a jump shot from the corner (assist Makenna Ward) to narrow things to, 28-22, with three minutes remaining.

Pentucket, however, built their lead back up by getting points on three straight possessions (Audrey Conover free throw, two Mackenzie Currie layups) and shutting out the Clippers during this segment.

The margin was now eleven (33-22) in the closing minute and Pentucket had the victory.

Greta Mauer: “This was our second time playing them.  We had to bring it to them, and we did.”

Greta Mauer lines up a shot

Mackenzie Currie (11 points): “It was hard to turn around from the Lynnfield game yesterday, but we all stepped up in some way.  For a very weird season, it was a good way to go out.”

Coach Grutchfield: “There were no easy shots in this one.  It was a hard one to end on.”

Coach McNamara: “This was only the third time we’ve ended a season with a tournament win.  The other times were state championships.  We have five seniors who contributed so much to the program.”

The Sachems defense limited sophomores Jackie Doucette and Deidre McElhinney to two points each.  In the first meeting, Jackie had twelve and Deidre eleven.

Newburyport box

Pentucket box

The link to this game will be posted on Twitter (@mcclellandpeter).  It also should appear in Mascores.  Pictures should be posted on Instagram (mcclellandmiscellanea) on Friday.

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

Arielle Cleveland guarded by Jackie Doucette

Makenna Ward drives to the basket

Emma Foley in for two

Anna Affolter in the lane

Audrey Conover elevates to defend

Greta Mauer gets a layup

Gabby Loughran block

Jackie Doucette pressures Arielle Cleveland

Makenna Ward

Emma Foley (7 points)

Audrey Conover and Deidre McElhinney

Mackenzie Currie

 

 

 

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Pentucket’s efficient defense leads to 42-23 win over Amesbury

Megan Reading (10 points) turns defense into a layup

McKenna Hallinan tries the baseline against Gabby Bellacqua

(Amesbury MA) “This was the cleanest game we’ve played defensively this season,” said Pentucket coach John McNamara post-game.

“What we talked about they executed really well,” he added.

The Sachems (9-1) challenged every Amesbury pass, dribble, and shot and coasted to a, 42-23, win on Friday night.

The Indians (7-3) went down, 9-1, in the first quarter and never recovered.

“Pentucket is very good,” said AHS coach Gregg Dollas afterwards.  “They’re very organized.  Very structured.  We just couldn’t gather ourselves.”

“We’ve had four practices in three weeks,” added Coach Dollas, “and at times in this game that lack of practice showed.”

Avery Hallinan shoots as Arielle Cleveland defends

That lack of practice was most apparent in Amesbury’s turnover number.  The Indians lost the ball on twenty-eight possessions without getting off a shot.  Plenty of wasted opportunities for Amesbury.

“We had way too many turnovers,” admitted Coach Dollas. “Plenty of silly passes and things like that.”

Senior Megan Reading led all scorers with ten points including several outside shots.

“My teammates made drives which set up the rest of us for nice open looks,” explained Megan.

And there were plenty of those open looks for Pentucket.  Amesbury was blessed that the Sachems were off from the outside and hit only four 3’s.

The Indians had as many three’s as Pentucket.  The home team had long one’s from McKenna Hallinan, Liv DeLong, and Meagan McAndrew in the last quarter.

Arielle Cleveland covered by Gabby Redford

Two years ago, Pentucket won at Amesbury by only two points.  Four years ago, it was a three-point game.  As a result, the one-sidedness of today’s game was surprising.  However, Covid-19 has taken the “normal” out of everything, including basketball.

“Amesbury is a good team,” said Coach McNamara.  “The score doesn’t indicate it.  They got off to a slow start and we were in control most of the way.”

The Sachems lead was 21-10 with three minutes left in the first half.  The next seven points belonged to Pentucket.  Freshman Gabby Bellacqua drained a three.  Senior Greta Mauer stole a pass and went for a layup.  Sophomore Audrey Conover drove from end-to-end.

This offensive collection elevated the Pentucket advantage to 28-10 in the early part of the second half.

Mackenzie Currie (9 points) splits Gabby Redford and Liv DeLong

Mackenzie Currie (9 points) and Arielle Cleveland (8 points) were the other two top scorers for the Sachems.

Gabby Redford paced Amesbury with six points.

When McKenna Hallinan got into early foul trouble, Gabby took over the point.  “I thought that Gabby stepped up in terms of controlling the ball,” said Coach Dollas.

The Indians three losses have been to Newburyport (twice) and Pentucket (once).  Neither of those teams are in Amesbury’s division in the Wednesday/Friday tournament of this coming week.  You have to like their chances.

Pentucket’s only loss has been to Newburyport.  Those two teams could well be facing each other for a second time in next Friday’s divisional championship.

Arielle Cleveland (8 points) breaks in with Ciara Sullivan in pursuit

In the February 3rd meeting, Pentucket’s top scorer (Arielle Cleveland) missed most of the game with an injury.  The Sachems squandered a lead in the last minute, falling, 58-54.  A rematch with the undefeated Clippers has “must-see” written all over it!

Megan Reading (senior): “I want to study kinesiology or exercise science. I want to get into the sports medicine field.”

Megan’s top school choice is Michigan.  “I have been accepted at Delaware, Maryland, Temple, and Penn State so far with a few more to hear from.”

Megan explained that her knee injury played a part in her interest in sports medicine.  “I got to experience that side of things with the injury.”

In the closing seconds of the game, reserves Ally Cacciapuoti (Pentucket) and Meagan McAndrews (Amesbury) nailed three’s.

Amesbury box

Pentucket box

The link to this game will appear on Twitter (mcclellandpeter) and Mascores.  Tomorrow I plan to post pictures on Instagram (mcclellandmiscellanea).

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

Emma Dollas looks for a pass

Emma Lopata (44) guards Liv DeLong

Ciara Sullivan shoots in the lane

Gabby Redford finds a lane

Abby Dube defends Alyssa Pettet

Ciara Sullivan looks to the rim as Mackenzie Currie defends

Bethany Cloutier gets a layup

Gabby Redford looks to pass as Audrey Conover defends

Alyssa Pettet trapped by Mackenzie Currie and Arielle Cleveland

Lana Mickelson to the basket

Scramble for the ball

Abby Dube

Megan Reading

 

 

 

 

 

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Newburyport stays undefeated with exciting 58-54 win at Pentucket

Newburyport celebrates a rare win over Pentucket

Mackenzie Currie (18 points) heads into the heart of the Newburyport defense

(West Newbury MA) Pentucket doesn’t lose very often at home, or anywhere else, for that matter.

But the visiting Newburyport Clippers got that rare feat done, 58-54, on Wednesday night.

Both teams were undefeated and had large-margin wins over everyone else in the Cape Ann League.

“It was the win of the season for us,” said Newburyport senior Abigail Gillingham (10 points) afterwards. “They don’t expect anyone to come in here and give them a hard time.  We had the mindset that this was our game, and no one was going to take it away from us.”

Both teams were aggressive on offense (taking the ball to the basket) and defense.  There was never a chance that the 30-second shot clock would be used.

Two Mackenzie Currie free throws put the Sachems (7-1) ahead by two, 52-50, with 1:18 left.

“I thought we had enough to win,” said Pentucket coach John McNamara, “after we got the lead but give them credit, they knocked down free throws.”

Not only did Newburyport make free throws (eight in the final forty-four seconds) but even when they missed, they were able to immediately get the ball back and produce points.

Senior Leah Metsker (9 points) made her first attempt, missed the second but got her own rebound and earned two more free throws.  She made both and the Clippers led, 53-52.

Leah Metsker shoots a free throw

After a Pentucket turnover, Deidre McElhinney (11 points) was fouled.  She made the first, missed the second, but the Sachems lost the rebound out of bounds.

Deidre McElhinney shoots free throws

More chances followed for Newburyport at the line.  Leah Metsker made both and now the Clippers were up four, 56-52, with ten seconds left as the game got away from Pentucket.

Deidre McElhinney guarded by Greta Maurer

“I’m glad I could make some clutch shots,” said Leah.  “I tried hard to focus because the gym was so loud.”

“It was such a relief that we could finish it out,” added Deidre.

“Props to Leah and Deidre for making their free throws at the end,” added Abigail Gillingham.

Part of Pentucket’s defensive strategy was limit Abigail’s touches.

“We focused on her and gave up shots to other kids instead,” explained Coach McNamara, “but some of those kids made shots.”

Abigail Gillingham (10 points) guarded by Mackenzie Currie

Abigail didn’t even touch the ball for the first four minutes of the game.

Credit Mackenzie Currie for the tough defense on the NHS top scorer although she had plenty of help from nearby teammates.

Mackenzie led all scorers with eighteen points.  The Pentucket senior (going to St. Joe’s next year) hit two 3’s and went hard to the basket even against multiple defenders.

Sophomore Abby Dube tallied fourteen points including three 3’s.  Her last three was part of a seven-point run in the final quarter that gave Pentucket the 52-50 lead.

A key contributor for NHS was sophomore Jackie Doucette (12 points).  Jackie had a couple of three’s, as well as a full-court drive.

Newburyport coach Karen Grutchfield: “It was a nice team win.  I am so happy for Leah.  Shooting under those circumstances is hard, but she did it.  I thought that Emma (Foley) did a good job rebounding and scoring.”

It certainly didn’t help Pentucket to lose their top scorer (Arielle Cleveland) four minutes into the game.

Pentucket coach John McNamara

“Despite not having Arielle available, we still had a chance to win and didn’t,” added Coach McNamara.

Newburyport had lost seven straight to Pentucket dating back to February of 2017.

“We’re so excited to finally beat them,” said Leah.

The Clippers had only four turnovers in the second half while the Sachems had nine.

Jackie Doucette: “We’ve been preparing for Pentucket for a while.  We had a good idea of what they would do.”

Impressed with Pentucket sophomore Audrey Conover.  First time I’ve seen her play.

One of the advantages for coaches is that all of the Cape Ann League games are being filmed for the excluded public.  No need to do any in-person scouting.

Easy to imagine how noisy it would have been if folks could have attended.

Pentucket box

Newburyport box

The coverage of this game will be linked on Twitter (@mcclellandpeter) and be on my McClelland Miscellanea online blog.  Hoping to get it posted on Mascores too.  Pictures should show up on Instagram (@mcclellandmiscellanea).

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

Lana Mickelson

Jackie Doucette (12 points)

Deidre McElhinney breaks after a steal

Greta Mauer

Gabby Bellacqua, Abby Dube, Makenna Ward

Gabby Loughran

Deidre McElhinney passes out of a double-team

Abby Dube (14 points)

Mackenzie Currie

Audrey Conover and Deidre McElhinney

Emma Lopata

Deidre McElhinney

Mackenzie Currie puts Pentucket up by two

Jackie Doucette (12 points) shoots from long range

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pentucket holds off Masco 44-42 after eleven lead changes

A strong final quarter by Angelina Yacubacci helped Pentucket hold off Masconomet

Mak Graves led Masco with 16 points

(West Newbury MA) Masco led by nine after one period.

Pentucket led by one at the half.

Masco led by seven after three periods.

Pentucket led by two at the end (44-42).

Back and forth it went all night long.

There were eleven lead changes with at least two in each quarter.

It was anyone’s game right down to the last shot by Mak Graves (16 points).

The Sachems (19-1) played with fire in the last eleven seconds and didn’t get burned.

Pentucket had the ball with eleven seconds left and a two-point lead.

Angelica Hurley inbounds pass attempt was intercepted by Paige Richardson.

“I was so scared to throw it too far that I didn’t throw it far enough,” explained Angelica post-game.

That put Masco in possession and very quickly Mak Graves had the ball in her talented hands and she was stepping back beyond the arc.

Mak steps back beyond the arc

“My heart stopped, I’m not going to lie,” said Anna Wyner.

“I was petrified,” said Coach McNamara. “I thought she was going to pull up and shoot a three. They had the ball in their best player’s hands and that’s scary. I was happy when she drove because a two would let us keep playing.”

“It was nerve-racking with her at the 3-point line,” said Greta Mauer, “because you don’t know what could happen.”

Angelica, who had thrown the bad pass reacted quickly. “I knew that I had to play defense (on Mak Graves) and get the ball back,” she said.

When Mak stepped back, Angelica stepped forward to discourage a 3-point attempt.

Angelica Hurley steps out to discourage a 3-point attempt

Mak chose, instead, to drive baseline. The Pentucket defense closed on her and her shot missed. Angelica was there to secure the rebound and the game ended.

Mak decides to drive

Angelica secures the final rebound as the game ends

A collective sigh of relief and disappointment followed from both sides.

Liv Fillmore (11 points) shoots over MacKenzie Currie

Senior Angelina Yacubacci carried Pentucket down the stretch after she was a foul magnet early and spent much of the game on the bench.

“When she finally got in, she was a difference maker,” said Coach McNamara.

Angelina scored all her points (eight) in the final quarter.

In that productive quarter, Angelina got to the basket three times without charging and made two free throws.

On one of her missed free throws in the last thirty seconds, she stole the ball from the rebounder (Paige Richardson) to continue the Pentucket possession.

Tonight was Masco’s last game in the Cape Ann League and they played very well.

The Chieftains (11-6) took charges on the hard-driving Sachems and made shots early.

Seven straight points (Liv Fillmore three, Mak Graves jumper and layup) had Masco ahead 13-6 with 2 ½ minutes left in the first quarter.

MacKenzie Currie (15 points) takes a shot in the lane

Pentucket recovered nicely in the second quarter. Masco was held scoreless for the first six minutes while the Sachems put a ten-point run together. An old-fashioned 3-point play by MacKenzie Currie (15 points) started Pentucket on their comeback. Senior Hannah Lambert hit a triple and a fast-break layup. Abby Dube finished the run with a jump shot assisted by Alyssa Thompson.

The Sachems held a 22-21 halftime lead.

The Chieftains limited Pentucket to only five points in the third quarter and scored the last five points to create a 34-27 advantage after three quarters. Mak Graves hit a jump shot and assisted on Liv Fillmore’s 3-pointer to account for the closing surge.

The Sachems were down seven, but Angelina Yacubacci came to their rescue. “We played as a team in the 4th quarter,” she explained. “Each of us seems to take turns getting into foul trouble. We support each other from the bench even if we can’t be on the floor.”

But Angelina was now on the floor.

After a MacKenzie Currie jumper in the lane, Angelina sent MacKenzie away on a fastbreak layin. Angelina then twice successfully drove to the basket. Masco’s lead was now gone and Pentucket was up by one (35-34) with 5 ½ minutes left.

Masco stopped the bleeding with a Mak Graves layup and retook the lead.

Arielle Cleveland layup

Back came the Sachems. Angelina assisted on an Arielle Cleveland layup and MacKenzie followed with a drive to the hoop. Those scoring plays gave Pentucket the lead for good, 39-36, with 3:40 remaining.

Masco would get within two twice in the closing minute but Pentucket made enough plays to save the win.

“Give Masco credit,” said Coach McNamara. “They fought hard.”

The Sachems have now won sixteen straight. Last loss? To Masco, 56-51, at Masco.

“We’ve been preparing for this game ever since we lost to them,” said Anna Wyner.

Angelica: “We’re excited to win on Senior Night. We knew it would be a tough game. They are a very good team. Mak Graves kept me from doing a lot of things with her defense.”

Jenna DiPietro surrounded by Sachems

Coach McNamara: “It was really nice to beat them in their last CAL game. They have lost five games in the league this year which is a testament to how strong this league is.”

I asked the four Pentucket seniors about their college plans:

Angelica: I am going to St. Joe’s. I thought at first that the campus was too small but the coach there has been very encouraging. He came to our North Reading game which was important to me. I intend to go into the nursing program.”

Angelina: Not sure exactly. Probably somewhere local like Bridgewater State, Endicott, Keene State or UMass Boston. Won’t be playing basketball. I want to go into business.”

Anna Wyner: My top two choice are UVM and UNH. I am interested in the medical field. I have an interest in being a physician’s assistant.”

Hannah Lambert: “I want to study nursing. I am looking at Fairfield and James Madison.”

Full house at Pentucket for this game and they saw a beauty!

Pentucket box

Masco box

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

Angelina Yacubacci forces a turnover

Cally McSweeney

Greta Mauer

Hannah Lambert’s layup

Mak Graves guards Angelica Hurley

Maria Lantzakis draws a charge on Anna Wyner

Paige Richardson

Pentucket seniors honored

 

 

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Newburyport keeps ALS Cup with 3-0 win over Pentucket

Clippers celebrate a 3-0 shutout over Pentucket

Meaghan O’Leary sets up for a direct kick.

(Newburyport MA) She couldn’t have picked a better time.

Senior Meaghan O’Leary turned two direct kicks into the first two goals of her high school career helping Newburyport (7-4-2) shut out Pentucket, 3-0, on Saturday afternoon at Newburyport.

The win kept the coveted ALS Cup in the possession of the Clippers.

Pentucket (8-4-2) has yet to win the ALS Cup in the annual crowd-drawing event.

There was valid optimism that today might be the day for the Sachems’ drought to end.

Why?

Shot coming in

Pentucket had a 6-5 win over the Clippers on September 10th at West Newbury.  The Sachems were down twice by two goals in that back-and-forth contest but rallied to stun the visitors.

The Sachems could score (46 goals) and they had the character to rally back if necessary.

On this cloudy afternoon, however, the Clippers kept both of those things from happening.

“The differences this time,” said NHS coach Kevin Sheridan, “were the organization of our defense, the discipline of our defense, and the communication all the way from the keeper to the strikers in terms of who’s covering who.  That first game was a wakeup call for us.”

Sabrina Campbell (19) and Page Cole (24)

“We came out in the second half determined to crush any hope they had of winning,” explained captain Molly Elmore.  “There was no letup.  We played the full eighty minutes.”

“Newburyport was very organized and defended well,” said Sachems coach Dan Millard.  “We had scored forty-six goals but got none today.”

Eight minutes into the first half (32:19), Meaghan O’Leary’s direct kick from the right deflected off the fingertips of Pentucket netminder Ashlynne Reade to put Newburyport in front, 1-0.

The visitors had some good chances to tie the score in the first half.  The best may have been with less than two minutes when Sabrina Campbell sent a ball into the middle that GK Anneliese Truesdale caught with Mackenzie Currie bearing down on her.

“We were better in the first half than we were in the second,” recalled Coach Millard.

The Clippers were awarded two direct kicks within the span of four minutes in the second half.  Meaghan O’Leary cashed the second one at 25:41.

First goal – upper left corner

“We practice a lot of free kicks,” said Meaghan.  “We have about ten girls that can take really good ones.  I was lucky enough to be the one who stepped up.”

Meaghan’s second goal (25:41 – second half) was off a direct kick from straight away.  Both of her goals were driven toward the upper left side and deflected off GK Ashlynne Reade into the net.

Clippers celebrate 2nd goal

Another set play produced the third goal at 14:26. Senior Cricket Good had plenty to do with this one.  The St. Anselm’s commit came across from the right into the middle and fired a shot back toward the right post that GK Ashlynne Reade make a brilliant save on.  The deflection gave Newburyport a corner kick from the right corner.

Cricket’s 13th goal was off a corner kick with her left foot that was sent low toward the goal.  Ashlynne came out to get the ball, between two teammates, but the hard shot deflected off her hand into the net.

Cricket Good’s CK coming in

Down 3-0 with fourteen minutes remaining, the Clippers had the lead and the solid defense to keep the shutout.

Referencing the three goals on set plays, Coach Millard said, “There were things out of our control.”

Mackenzie Currie (9) and Izzy Kirby (13)

The key defensive player for the Clippers was sophomore Izzy Kirby. Izzy had the job of trying to contain high-scorer Mackenzie Currie.

Meaghan O’Leary: “#13 (Izzy Kirby) was unbelievable.”

GK Anneliese Truesdale: “Izzy was always there to help with Mackenzie.”

“When their top guns received the ball, we had them marked and we had help there as well,” said Coach Sheridan.

A large crowd enjoyed the middle game of today’s triple-header at Stehlin Field.  Only on a turf field could you play a football game and two soccer games, after a night of rain, and still have a great field in place.

GK Anneliese Truesdale up for a save with Mackenzie Currie (9) close by

Anneliese Truesdale: “In the beginning of the season I struggled with high shots but Coach (Sheridan) had worked a lot on it with me.  Give credit to Pentucket.  This is the toughest competition we’ve seen in the ALS Cup.”

Cricket Good: “We were expecting a ton of goals, but we did a good job of knowing their players this time specifically.  It could have been a closer game, but Anneliese had some amazing saves.”

Olivia Sullivan: “We knew what we had to do after the first game with Pentucket.  We came out with plenty of energy this time.  Everyone was focused in warmups.”

Molly Elmore: “Today’s game was bigger than us.  It was for a cause.  I have been going head-to-head with Jacey Jennings for a couple of years.  I tried to find her because she can be a big threat.  She has a good shot.”

Molly Elmore and Jacey Jennings

Coach Sheridan: “Pentucket is a really good team.  We expected them to come out firing in the second half and we knew we had to match them.  It was a great statement game for our girls.  They are thrilled to maintain the cup.”

The Clippers have now won four straight and allowed only one goal during the win streak.

You couldn’t help but notice how dangerous Mackenzie Currie can be.  The combination of size, strong shot, and hustle make her a constant threat.

Cricket Good received a yellow card in the second half.  She was sent off in the first half. “The first time off I said that I’d keep my mouth shut and figure it out,” she said. “There’s still work to be done.”

Yellow card for Cricket Good

Both teams are in Division Three.  “I’m hoping that maybe we can play them again in the tournament,” said Coach Millard.  The Sachems have already made the tourney.  The Clippers need a win or two ties in their remaining schedule to also qualify.

Another Division Three Cape Ann League team is Lynnfield.  They have beaten Newburyport twice and Pentucket once.

That 6-5 win in September was the first time Pentucket had defeated Newburyport in NINE years.  From 2013-2018, in twelve meetings with the Clippers the Sachems had scored only TWO goals. That is why that 6-5 win sent the message that things had changed in West Newbury.

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

Annabelle Sylvanowicz and Olivia Sullivan

Anneliese Truesdale, Meaghan O’Leary, Katie Gallagher

GK Annaliese Truesdale corrals a loose ball

Deidre McElhinney (8) and Katelyn Sudbay (21)

Deidre McElhinney

Kinneal Dickens

Sage Seymour sang The National Anthem

Molly Elmore will attend Sacred Heart (Fairfield CT) next year

Molly Elmore and Jacey Jennings

Olivia Coletti and Syiera Campbell

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Pentucket double-team

MacKenzie Currie had ten points off the bench for Pentucket

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Maddi Doyle uses a Liv Cross screen

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

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

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

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

Sophie DiGrande shoots against Liv Cross

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

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

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

Senior Grace DiGrande paced SHS with eleven points.

Sophomore MacKenzie Currie had ten points for Pentucket.

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

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

MacKenzie Kearney and Sophie DiGrande

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

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

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

Pentucket box

Swampscott box

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

Angelica Hurley and Nikki Rosa

Angelica Hurley in the open

Anna Wyner guarded by Katie Watts

Jess Galvin

Katie Watts

loose ball

Maddie Doyle brings pressure to Sophie DiGrande

Sophie DiGrande tries to get the ball back from Angelina Yacubacci

Nikki Rosa and Angelica Hurley

 

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