Tag Archives: McKenna Hallinan

Amesbury girls win D4 title defeating Millbury 57-31

Amesbury wins the Division 4 girls title
Amesbury players in front of the student section afterwards

(Lowell) Mission accomplished.

“This was our goal and we worked so hard this season to get here,” said Amesbury senior Liv DeLong afterwards.

The Amesbury Indians are the Division Four girls’ champs for the 2021-22 season.

They made it happen this afternoon at the Tsongas Arena by defeating Millbury, 57-31.

Ashleigh Lagor (13 points)

After a close first quarter (7-6), the Indians found their scoring touch and continued with a persistent man-to-man defense.  That combo enabled Amesbury to outscore the Woolies 50-25 over the last three quarters.

“After the first quarter they were better than us in each quarter after that,” said Millbury coach Steve Reno post-game.  “To be fair, that was probably accurate.”

“We’re not that disappointed with the result,” Coach Reno added.  “We needed a perfect game to beat them.  We needed to make every shot and every free throw and hope they had a rough night.  That didn’t happen.”

The key to the Indians point production was patience. 

“We worked together passing as much as we could and found the open shot,” said McKenna Hallinan.

Gabby Redford (14 points)

Gabby Redford (14 points) broke open a 16-13 game hitting three 3’s and adding a layup assisted by McKenna Hallinan.

Gabby’s hot shooting gave Amesbury it’s first ten-point lead (27-17) four minutes into the second half.

That lead would grow.  As Millbury’s 2-3 zone got stretched to cover outside shots, Avery Hallinan took over the inside.

“Once we started making shots, it opened up Avery inside,” explained Amesbury coach Dollas. 

Layce Hermans connected from long range to get the Woolies inside of ten points (29-20) with three minutes left in the third quarter. 

Avery Hallinan (20 points)

After that a steady flow of Amesbury’s multi-passes led steadily to Avery Hallinan finishes around the basket.

“They played a zone, so you need ball movement to get it inside for a one-on-one,” said Avery (20 points). 

“You know what happens when it’s one-on-one inside,” Avery added with a smile afterwards.

“The zone worked for a while, but they kept isolating Avery (Hallinan) down on the block,” recalled Coach Reno.  “Ash (Lagor) did a good job on her for three quarters, but she had eleven points in the last quarter.”

McKenna Hallinan defends

While the Woolies defense wavered, the Amesbury defense didn’t.  That combination transformed a 29-20 game into a 44-22 game over the next 4 ½ minutes of playing time extending into the fourth quarter.

“We got up by twenty and got to chill out for the end of it,” said McKenna Hallinan.  “It was a lot less stressful.”

“What Gabby and McKenna did defensively on #10 (Bianca Vincequere) and #11 (Ashleigh Lagor) was great,” said Coach Dollas.  “Those two young Millbury players were terrific with a bright future.”

The biggest cheer of the game?  It wasn’t when the game was over, although that was loud.  It was when the coach’s daughter (Emma) banked in a three-point shot in the last moment.

Emma Dollas 3-pointer excited the Amesbury faithful
Layce Hermans heads for the hoop

“It was her first points of the season,” said Coach Dollas afterwards with a smile.

Sophomore Ashleigh Lagor led #10 Millbury with thirteen points.  The Woolies (19-6) are in the Southern Worcester County League.

Sami Kimball (10 points) joined teammates Avery Hallinan and Gabby Redford in double figures for the #4 seed Amesbury.  The Indians (21-4) are in the Cape Ann League.

Sami Kimball blocks a shot

Coach Dollas had nothing but praise for his four seniors (Avery Hallinan, McKenna Hallinan, Gabby Redford, Liv DeLong): “They are competitive in everything.  They came to play every time.  For them to be healthy after all the games and minutes they put in shows that they were taking good care of themselves.”

Coach Reno: “We wanted to drive-and-kick and make three’s.  However, we couldn’t get to the paint, and we knew that if we did their size would be trouble.”

Sami Kimball: “We put it together.  All our practicing paid off.  It’s a really big moment for us and the school.”

Gabby Redford: “I’m so happy we did it.  I knew we could do it.  We passed the ball and we worked as a team.  Our defense was really good.”

Avery Hallinan

Avery Hallinan: “It is probably the best feeling I’ve ever had.  It was great to bring the championship home.  We settled down in the second half.  We realized that it was our game if we moved the ball around and hit our shots and layups.”

Liv DeLong: “To win a championship has been the goal of the four of us since second grade.  It’s bittersweet now however because basketball is over.”

Coach Dollas: “I don’t ever expect to have four seniors like our four.  They are truly extensions of the coach.”

AHS seniors Liv DeLong, Avery Hallinan, McKenna Hallinan, Gabby Redford
Katelyn Gasco surrounded

Avery Hallinan scored at least twenty points in all five of Amesbury’s tournament games.  She will be playing at Endicott next year.

Gabby Redford will be playing basketball at Framingham State.  McKenna Hallinan will play soccer for UMass Boston.  Liv DeLong is committed to play softball at BU next year.

A foursome truly blessed with athletics skills and a commitment to get better.  They combined to deliver a state championship to Amesbury on this happy afternoon for the town.

Amesbury   7   15   16   19   =   57

Millbury      6     8      8     9   =   31

(The pictures will enlarge.)

Millbury Woolies post-game
Late-game battle on the boards
Gabby Redford goes baseline
Sami Kimball (10 points)
Ashleigh Lagor looks for a passing lane
Bianca Vincequere guarded by McKenna Hallinan
Avery Hallinan in from the left side
Avery Hallinan looks to pass
Millbury box
Amesbury box

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Amesbury reaches D4 state final after defeating South Hadley 61-57

Amesbury advances to the Division 4 state final
Avery Hallinan (29 points)

(Framingham MA) How would Amesbury handle adversity?

For all three tournament games, the comfortable leads came early, and the game endings were anti-climactic.

Then there was tonight!

Amesbury was down by nine (28-19) one minute into the second half and then in the fourth quarter Avery Hallinan fouled out with five minutes left.

But Amesbury showed comeback skills and survival skills and defeated South Hadley, 61-57, to gain the Division 4 state finals to be held this weekend at Tsongas Arena (Lowell).

Kacie Levrault (17 points)

Avery Hallinan (29 points) was the key piece in Amesbury’s turnaround third quarter.

South Hadley played man-to-man defense so Amesbury responded by spreading the court keeping Avery close to the lane.  Avery started to take advantage of the inside coverage and put a 16-point quarter together.

Her traditional 3-point play with 1:50 left in the quarter put the Indians in the lead (35-33) and completed a comeback from a 28-19 deficit at the start of the quarter.

“My first half wasn’t good at all,” said Avery, “but in the third quarter we pulled it together.”

Avery Hallinan had 16 points in the 3rd quarter

“Our third-quarter run was key,” said Amesbury coach Gregg Dollas.

After the Tigers (17-8) tied the score at 37-37 on two Olivia Marion free throws, Avery was able to pick up a remarkable six points in the final nineteen seconds.

To get the points Avery spun into a layup and made two free throws on Amesbury’s next possession. When the Tigers tried a last-second shot from the other end there was a traveling call with 1.5 seconds left.  That gave McKenna Hallinan time to get a pass in close to her sister near the basket for another layin.

The Indians (20-4) led, 43-37, after three quarters.

Liv DeLong

Things got even better for Amesbury in the first two minutes of the final quarter.  A three by Avery and a left-all-alone layup by Liv DeLong and the Amesbury lead was ten points (48-38).

The margin started feeling a bit comfortable but that comfort was short-lived.

Why?

With five minutes left Amesbury’s 29-point scorer fouled out. Where would the Amesbury offense come from the rest of the way?

Junior Sami Kimball was twice set up for layups, first by Gabby Redford and then by McKenna Hallinan.  After McKenna added two free throws Amesbury had increased its lead (54-43) by a point without Avery and there were less than two minutes left.

Olivia Marion (14 points)

Comfortable lead now?  Hardly!

The team from the Suburban Conference began to drain three’s and send Amesbury to the foul line.

Two of the three-pointers were Kacie Levrault’s (17 points) and the other two came from Alex Jackson and Olivia Marion.

But the Indians had answers.  They made free throws.  In the final 1:44, Amesbury made nine-of-ten from the line.  McKenna was seven-for-eight in the final quarter.

“It was a little nerve-wracking without Avery out there,” said McKenna (10 points). “I was really focusing on my foul shots.”

McKenna Hallinan (10 points) was 7-for-8 from the line in the final quater
Loose ball

“Everyone stepped up without Avery,” said Coach Dollas.  “Maybe doing that will help us in the next game.”

The Tigers ran off twelve unanswered points starting at the end of the first half and extending into the third quarter.  Amesbury’s 19-16 lead turned into a, 28-19, deficit.

This collection of good offense and defense featured three’s by Alex Jackson and Kacie Levrault as well as inside scores by Drew Alley, Talia Uribe, and Kacie Levrault.

Drew Alley (9 points)

“We got beat by a good basketball team,” said South Hadley coach Paul Dubuc afterwards.  “There was a three-minute span where it got dicey.  Some things went against us, and we didn’t turn the tide.”

In fouling out, Avery did get a five-minute rest but it wasn’t one she enjoyed at all.  “It was NOT fun getting a rest,” she said.  “I like being on the court better.  It was stressful.  I think I almost had a heart attack!”

“But my teammates did a great job,” she added.  “McKenna hit some big free throws at the end.”

Liv DeLong: “I’m so proud of our team.  I had to keep my hands down because they were calling a lot of fouls.  I was confident that we’d be okay after Avery fouled out.  We were going to get the win for her.”

Alex Jackson

Gabby Redford: “We played together as a team.  Our defense had to be solid to beat them.  Avery had a very good game, but I was confident that we could do it without her.”

Sami Kimball: “My nerves were going on those layups I had.  I was afraid that I would miss them, but I didn’t.  South Hadley was short but very quick.”

Coach Dubuc: “We’re very proud of our kids.  We’re just sorry that we don’t have another game.”

Coach Dollas: “We had to play with a lot of guts at the end of it.  We just didn’t shoot well for the majority of the game.  We needed all of that ten-point lead at the end.”

Sami Kimball (9 points)

Senior Olivia Marion (14 points) had all of her points in the second half.

The Tigers were very good at running organized offense against Amesbury’s man-to-man defense and turning up quality inside shots.

Amesbury had the size and passing skills to keep South Hadley’s full-court pressure from bothering them too much.

There was plenty of active crowd support for both teams.  And both sides had things to cheer about.

Amesbury   13   6   24   18   =   61

South Hadley   10   13   14   20   =   57

(The pictures will enlarge.)

Gabby Redford
Sami Kimball layup assisted by McKenna Hallinan
Avery Hallinan
Defensive coverage
McKenna Hallinan
Gabby Redford and Talia Uribe
CC Gurek
Angie Bessone
Celebrating a win
Amesbury box
South Hadley box

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Amesbury reaches D4 Final Four with 56-37 win over Hamilton-Wenham

Amesbury reaches the Final Four in Division Four
Avery Hallinan (25 points)

(Haverhill MA) On January 21st, Hamilton-Wenham defeated Amesbury, 51-45.

That result transformed both teams.

The Generals realized that if they played their best, they could knock off a very good team.

For Amesbury, it alerted them to what can happen if they don’t play very well.

This afternoon at Whittier, the Indians were on their game and never gave Hamilton-Wenham a chance.

Jane Maguire (15 points)

Amesbury won, 56-37, and are now in the Division Four Final Four. They will face South Hadley on Tuesday at Framingham at 5PM.

“We thrive on man-to-man defense, but Amesbury is absolutely the worst team for us to try to match up with,” said HW coach Mark Cole afterwards.  “They’re big and they can shoot.”

Senior Avery Hallinan continued her post-season dominance with twenty-five points matching her total in Amesbury’s previous game with Frontier.  In the tourney opener vs Cape Cod Academy, Avery collected thirty-three points.

In transition Avery has been gathering points driving.  In Amesbury’s half-court offense, she has set up down low and feasted on single coverage.

Avery Hallinan in close to the basket with single coverage
AHS coach Gregg Dollas

“Our loss to them earlier made me anxious about this game,” explained AHS coach Gregg Dollas afterwards.  “Our girls, though, always come to play and I knew that they weren’t going to let another loss happen.”

“We said coming in that we can’t get behind,” explained Coach Cole.  “We’ve got to come out of the first quarter even.”

Just the opposite happened.  Amesbury rolled off to a 12-1 lead (14-4 after a quarter) and it was clear that the HW defense was in trouble.

“The big thing was ball movement,” recalled Avery Hallinan.  “In the loss to them, we were forcing too many shots and passes.  Today we worked it in, and we worked it out and got shots from everywhere.”

HW coach Mark Cole

While Avery had a ten-point first quarter, the Amesbury defense concentrated on talented HW senior Jane Maguire.

Jane had five three’s in the win over Amesbury in January.

“We focused on covering the three because that’s their specialty,” said McKenna Hallinan.  “Jane (Maguire) is a great player.  We play her in soccer too.”

Gabby Redford covered Jane most of the game.  “I tried to stop her from getting off three’s,” said Gabby. 

Jane led the Generals (17-6) with fifteen points and did make three 3’s.  However, many of those points came in the second half when Hamilton-Wenham already had a twenty-point deficit.

Avery Hallinan goes baseline

The Indians (19-4) doubled up HW in the second quarter (24-12) on a Liv DeLong triple.

McKenna Hallinan’s two free throws in the third quarter increased the margin to twenty points (44-23) with 1 ½ minutes left in that quarter.

The rest of the game saw bench clearings for both squads.

Junior Sami Kimball had eleven points to go with shot blocks and rebounds.  “It’s such a great moment,” she said, “to get to the Final Four.  I’ve been dreaming about this since I was in middle school.  We learned from our loss to them and really played as a team.”

Kailee Whelan

Liv DeLong added ten points.  “We worked the ball to each other and spread the court.  They had trouble guarding Avery and Sami.”

McKenna: “We focused on getting the ball inside because when we beat them, they couldn’t cover our bigs.”

Coach Dollas: “We played defense from start to finish.  All five of our starters were phenomenal.  Cali (Catarius) came off the bench and held her own.”

McKenna Hallinan

Coach Cole: “The one team I didn’t want to play until the finals was Amesbury.  I think that the winner of today’s game will win the whole thing.”

An active crowd attended supporting their respective schools. 

Amesbury has now won ten of their last eleven games.

HW finished winning ten of their last twelve games.

“If anyone had told me that at the start of the season that we would win seventeen games, I would have told them that they were nuts,” said Coach Cole.  “But we got better and after our Amesbury win, we gained the confidence that took us three rounds into the post-season.  I’m very proud of what we accomplished.”

Amesbury   14   13   19   10   =   56

              HW   4   10   10   13   =   37

(The pictures will enlarge.)

Game ends
Ellie Marden
Michaela DeSimone
Christa Coffey pressured by Avery Hallinan
Gabby Redford
Lily Cassidy
Sadie Gamber and Gabby Redford
Avery Hallinan in alone
Jane Maguire and McKenna Hallinan
Battle for control
Sami Kimball blocks a shot
Final Four banner

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Amesbury downs Manchester-Essex 58-38

Gabby Redford (22 points)
Avery Hallinan (18 points)

(Amesbury MA) “We couldn’t find the basket and they couldn’t miss,” said Manchester-Essex coach Lauren Dubois.

“We came out on fire,” said Amesbury coach Gregg Dollos.

The Indians (13-3) put the Hornets (3-12) away early and coasted to a, 58-38, win on Tuesday night.

Amesbury played a tight half-court, man-to-man defense and didn’t hesitate to initiate fast breaks.  In their half-court offense, the passes were quick, and the layups and open looks were plentiful.

“We’ve been slowing down and not moving the ball enough lately,” explained senior McKenna Hallinan afterwards.  “We want to pass quickly and get open shots and that’s what we did tonight.”

Amelia Donnellan (7 points)

The Indians got off to an impressive 12-0 lead in the first 4 ½ minutes.  Senior Liv DeLong was the key in the fast start.  Liv nailed a jump shot (from McKenna), a layup (from Avery Hallinan), and then put in a rebound.

Emma Fitzgerald broke the ice for the Hornets and then Amesbury went off on another run of unanswered points.

This time it was fifteen straight.  Avery Hallinan and Gabby Redford did most of the scoring damage for the Indians.

Avery found room in the lane for four layups.  Gabby put in a rebound, connected on a three (from Sami Kimball), and hit a runner in the lane.

Gabby Redford gets in with a left hand

Avery finished the night with eighteen points while Gabby led all scorers with twenty-two points.

“They’re a great team with a lot of weapons on the offensive end,” said ME coach Lauren Dubois.

“They went box-and-one on Avery, but other players scored and then Avery started to score,” recalled Coach Dollos.

“We did what we had to do,” he added.

The two long runs of consecutive offense by Amesbury put them in front, 27-2, early in the second quarter.  The Hornets didn’t have the firepower on this evening to get much closer.  Both coaches substituted liberally thereafter.

McKenna Hallinan

“We have been trying to fix the problems we’ve been having,” said McKenna.  “We want to make fewer mistakes with the playoffs coming up.”

The Indians are in Division 4 and according to the most recent MIAA power ratings are in third place.  The top thirty-two teams make the playoffs.  The higher seeds get the crucial home games in tourney play.

I asked McKenna about her sister reaching 1000 points: “It was great that Avery got 1000.  I got to assist on the basket that she got it on and that was the best part.”

Calista Lai

Coach Dubois: “We wanted to make sure that we were fighting all the way through tonight and we were.”

The Hornets have beaten Swampscott twice and also have a win over Georgetown.

Amesbury has won five straight.

Amesbury   23   19   10   6   =   58

ME                 2    17    9   10   =  38

(The pictures will enlarge.)

Manchester-Essex box
Amesbury box
Manchester-Essex break in
Rebound battle
Amelia Donnellan splits two Amesbury defenders
Cali Catarius
Tight Amesbury defense
Sami Kimball looks to pass
Arm grab in the lane
Mercedes O’Neil
Avery Hallinan layup
Gabby Redford

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Amesbury defeats Manchester-Essex 2-0

Avery Hallinan had a goal and an assist for Amesbury
MK McElaney

(Amesbury MA) “MK (McElaney) gives great corners and they always somehow come to my head,” said Avery Hallinan.

Twice this afternoon in the first half, the Indians turned set plays into goals and defeated Manchester-Essex, 2-0, at Cashman Elementary School.

Avery ended up with an assist and a goal.

“This was the best we’ve looked for a while,” said Amesbury coach Adam Thibodeau afterwards.  “We worked together as a team.  We defended as a team.  It was old-school Amesbury.”

Another tough outing for the Hornets (2-10-1).

Their inability to score goals this season has offset their hustle and strong goaltending (Madi Cook).

Emalia Collins (11) shoots at GK Zena Fitzgerald

The Hornets have been limited to four total goals in this season’s thirteen games. In the last nine games they have scored only once.

ME had several glittering chances today (as my pictures will show) but came up empty.

Senior Emalia Collins had a break-in from the right late in the second half that Amesbury GK Zena Fitzgerald turned away.

A goal there and that 2-0 Amesbury lead would have been cut in half and the momentum would have shifted to the Hornets.

“A 2-0 lead is the scariest lead to have,” said Coach Baker.  “We just needed a goal.”

Cali Catarius and Riley Doherty

“Zena has kept us in every game this year,” said Coach Thibodeau.  “We have had a string of very talented goalies at Amesbury.”

Amesbury (6-6) had defeated Manchester-Essex, 2-0, over a month ago with two second half goals.

“It took us a while to score last time,” recalled sophomore Cali Catarius.  “This time we scored early.”

Seven minutes into the first half, MK McElaney sent a deep free kick toward the ME goal.  As the kick came past the far post, Avery Hallinan slid in between two defenders to head the ball.

I thought Avery had headed the ball into the net because of the instant celebrating.  Wrong.  Avery had indeed headed the ball but back toward the front of the net.

There stood junior Lidya Belanger.  Off Lidya’s shinguard went Avery’s header and into the net.

“That first goal was almost mine,” said Avery, “but it’s okay.  I’ll take the assist.”

Lidya Belanger scored her first goal

“Lidya was in the right spot,” said Coach Thibodeau.  “The best goals are when you don’t have to shoot.”

It was Lidya’s first career goal.

Near the end of the first half, MK McElaney lined up a corner kick.

“We noticed last game with Manchester-Essex that the back post was a little open,” said Coach Thibodeau.  “We want to create chaos in front of the net.”

The Cashman field is narrow and reaching the far post for a strong kicker like MK is a regular occurrence.

This time Avery was in the midst of several Hornets defender but elevated to redirect MK’s corner kick into the ME net.

“We’ve gotten killed on set plays this season,” said Coach Baker.

McKenna Hallinan breaks in

In the second half, the Amesbury senior trio of Avery & McKenna Hallinan and MK McElaney put pressure on the Manchester-Essex defense several times.

“We’ve been playing together for probably ten years,” recalled Avery.  “We work well together.”

Manchester-Essex GK Madi Cook was left to face Amesbury attackers alone several times but earned a second-half shutout.

Riley Doherty: “Defensively, we held our own.”

Cali Catarius: “I am okay with playing anywhere.  (Cali had been a striker.)  We played well through the middle.  Our passes were better than in previous games.  Riley and I are a very good team back there.  We’re working on turning and playing the ball up the field.”

Stella Mitchell and Sarah Baker

Coach Baker: “We have a great bunch of girls.  It’ll get better.  We just didn’t do as well in the final third of the field as we would like.  Our passing was an issue and they capitalized on our mistakes.”

Avery Hallinan: “We were a lot more focused today.  All of us hustled.”

Cali was part of the Amesbury softball team that lost the one-run heartbreaker to Turners Falls in the state finals in June.  “That still is a sensitive subject,” said Cali when I asked her if she had gotten over that loss.  “We’ll get them next year.”

Avery Hallinan: “I want to play basketball in college.  I like UMass Boston (her sister McKenna is going there for soccer), Endicott, and St. Joe’s.”

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

Ema O’Neil and Lidya Belanger
McKenna Hallinan and Amelia Donnellan
Loose ball in the ME end
Avery Hallinan gets a head on the first Amesbury goal
Amesbury GK Zena Fitzgerald sees a shot by Libby Lawler
Kendall Newton (16) in on the right for a shot
Riley Doherty
Ella Arntsen and Lidya Belanger
Kendall Newton and Chloe Molin
Libby Lawler and MK McElaney
Golden chance in front for the Hornets
Amelia Donnellan and Bayleigh Shanahan
Header by Avery Hallinan (11) headed for the net for the second Amesbury goal
Emma Dollas
Save by Manchester-Essex GK Madi Cook
Avery Hallinan (left) and Lidya Belanger (12) celebrate goal

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Alyssa Pettet (3 goals) leads Amesbury by Georgetown 6-1 in season opener

Alyssa Pettet (5) had three goals vs Georgetown. Megan Skahan (21) defends

Alyssa Pettet splits the Royals defenders

(Amesbury MA) Senior standout Alyssa Pettet scored three times in the first half leading Amesbury to a 6-1 win over Georgetown on Monday afternoon.

The Indians (1-0) rode Alyssa’s twenty-two goals last season to the D4 state semi-finals.  In the process she gained recognition in New England and will play for the Holy Cross Crusaders in 2021.

“Alyssa’s ability to run off the ball makes her so special,” explained AHS coach Adam Thibodeau post-game.  “She requires so much attention that she opens up the field for her teammates.”

Containing Alyssa became extremely difficult for the Royals (0-1) when defender Erin Irons went out with a sprained ankle just four minutes into the game.

Alyssa Pettet and Erin Irons early in the game

“Erin is not someone we can replace,” said assistant Georgetown coach Kevin Fair, who was filling in for head coach Colleen Gibbs.

The Royals trailed by four at halftime but were the better team for most of the third quarter.

“Our compete level was good, and we finally got a goal for our efforts,” said Coach Fair.

The Royals goal was set up by freshman Kayla Gibbs (coach’s daughter).  “She made a nice steal and put a beautiful ball to sophomore Carena Ziolkowski for the scoring play,” said Coach Fair.

There were other chances for the visitors to Landry Stadium but netminder Julia Campbell was “fantastic” according to her coach.  “She had new players in front of her and she communicated well with them,” added Coach Thibodeau.

GK Mary Surette and Callie Catarius

The Georgetown goal seemed to wake up the Indians.  In the final two minutes of the third quarter, MK McElaney and Callie Catarius elevated the Amesbury lead to, 6-1, and stopped any comeback plans the visitors might have had.

“It was a good first game for us,” said Alyssa Pettet afterwards.  “A lot of times against Georgetown we kind of struggle because they clump things up so much in the back.  But this time we found space.”

Alyssa finished with three goals, an assist, as well as two hit crossbars.  The girl can play!

Maddy DiPietro shoots

Two of Alyssa’s goals in the first half came after she had drawn penalties from the Georgetown defense.  One earned her a penalty kick and the other a direct kick from a short distance.  She collected goals in both instances.

Royals keeper Mary Surette had a busy afternoon.  She, in fact, was injured in the final quarter and was carried off the field by Coach Fair.

McKenna Hallinan followed Alyssa’s successful penalty kick with a long-range goal in the first quarter.  Goalie Mary Surette came out to kick a ball away and it went directly to McKenna.  The AHS junior wasted no time in taking a high shot on goal that Mary couldn’t recover to save.

Alyssa had her goal off the direct kick in the second quarter.

She also added another one in that quarter.  This time she made a long run down the right side with defenders on either side.  She got in close to goal with defenders still nearby and found room to squeeze a shot into the net.

MK McElaney (19) reacts to the goal she just scored

MK McElaney had one of Amesbury’s two goals in the third quarter.  Alyssa Pettet set it up with a kick from the side that went past several players into the middle in front of the net.  MK came down the middle and one-timed a shot for a score.

Later in that quarter, newcomer Callie Catarius hit a long-range shot from the right.

“Callie is a good counterpart to Alyssa,” said Coach Thibodeau. “She can score.”

The grass at Landry Stadium was long and it affected play.

“I love Cashman because it’s a hard, fast surface,” explained McKenna Hallinan.

The Indians practice at Cashman.

Coach Fair: “We had a couple of defensive breakdowns.  We have to do a better job of marking people.  I loved the effort, though.”

Avery Hallinan (11) shoots

McKenna Hallinan: “It was nice to be able to play.  I wasn’t sure it was going to happen.”

Looking forward to next Saturday (10AM) when Newburyport comes to Landry.  That one will feature two players (Alyssa Pettet & Allie Waters) who are committed to Holy Cross.

“The Holy Cross coach has already asked for the film from that game,” said Alyssa.

Georgetown had two close games with Amesbury last season but have lost ten of their last eleven to the Indians.

Ideal soccer weather with plenty of sun.

The pictures will enlarge if you click on them.

I am on Twitter (McClellandPeter) and Instagram (McClellandMiscellanea).  This story will be on my WordPress blog (McClelland Miscellanea).

Rylie Lasquade

action in front

Sydney Aldrich (2) in on goal

Julia Mabius and Alyssa Pettet

Callie Catarius

Alyssa Pettet’s direct kick that became a goal

Elle Schneider and Sydney Aldrich

Alyssa Pettet over GK Mary Surette

Ella Marinopoulos watched by Riley Smith

McKenna Hallinan and Sarah Chace celebrate a goal

Taylor Wight

MK McElaney

GK Mary Surette reaches for Alyssa Pettet’s PK

Georgetown coach Kevin Fair

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Terrific defense gets Amesbury past Winthrop (50-28) and into D3 North title game

Plenty of pressure applied game-long by Amesbury on Winthrop

Alli Napoli couldn’t keep herself from smiling as both fan groups chanted her name

(Wakefield MA) Everyone knew her name.

There was chanting and singing. All in Alli Napoli’s direction.

And she smiled through it as Amesbury ousted Winthrop from the D3 North tournament with a 50-28 win on Tuesday night.

The Indians (20-2) get a rematch on Saturday against #1 seed St. Mary’s at the Tsongas Center. At stake will be the Division 3 North title.

The Amesbury defense was active and effective all night long.

“Everyone we used played good defense,” said Indians coach Gregg Dollas post-game.

And who could argue? Amesbury held the Vikings (15-8) to only a point over the final seven minutes of the first period and went off to a 16-3 lead. Winthrop never recovered.

Maura Dorr and Avery Hallinan battle for a rebound

“We struggled to score,” said Vikings coach Joe Lowe afterwards. “It’s been that way all year.”

Alli Napoli (11 points) had two baskets, three assists, and several steals in the breakaway first quarter.

“Alli had a terrific game,” said Coach Dollas.

The Indians played very little half-court offense because their defense was so disruptive. On this night their on-ball defense was influential in creating twenty-four Winthrop turnovers.

“If we can’t score in the half-court, we’ll struggle to generate pressure,” said Coach Lowe. “They played well defensively so they were part of the reason we had trouble scoring points.”

Amesbury was up, 24-13, at the half.

Alli Napoli on the fly

The Indians put their defense/offense neatly together some more in the third period. In the first five minutes Amesbury went on a 13-3 run and stretched their advantage to 37-16.

Alli was again in the middle of the good play. The AHS senior sparked the offense and defense. She also made a long pass to a cutting Gabby Redford that had “next-level” written all over it.

“They’ve been doing that all year,” said Coach Dollas. “I’m going to miss that next year.”

Great crowd interaction during the third quarter. Winthrop had plenty of active fans. When Alli went to the free throw line they started chanting her name, trying to throw her off. Meanwhile, the Amesbury fans also started chanting her name at the same time.

Alli laughed about it afterwards: “Maybe it was because it was my 18th birthday? It’s fun to play in front of a big crowd.”

After Amesbury got the twenty-one point lead (37-16) the Vikings suddenly found their touch from beyond the arc.

Maura Dorr (11 points)

Maura Dorr, Julia Marccocio, and Caroline Earl produced consecutive 3-pointers. Winthrop was suddenly within twelve (37-25) 2+ minutes into the final quarter.

Coach Dollas reinserted some of his starters and the Vikings run ended. The Indians tallied that next ten points, including two baskets by Avery Hallinan (18 points), and they coasted in from there.

Avery Hallinan: “We always focus on turning our defense into offense. We don’t run sets very often.”

McKenna Hallinan: “We had to push the pace. We knew that they weren’t as quick as us. We tried to make it a track meet and run and score as much as we could.”

Alli Napoli: “Every practice it’s defense, defense, defense. He (Coach Dollas) drills it into our heads.”

Avery Hallinan (18 points) guarded by Maura Dorr

Coach Dollas on the Winthrop crowd: “The girls loved the Winthrop crowd. I was proud of the group Winthrop brought. They had fun and that’s what we’re here for.”

Coach Dollas on facing St. Mary’s: “There was a 45-point differential last time we played them. We may have to work on some defense! We’ll go out there and try to knock down one of the top private schools in Massachusetts.”

McKenna Hallinan on the St. Mary’s rematch: “We’re hoping to play our best and see where that takes us.”

Great lighting at Wakefield High School.

Maura Dorr made All-Conference in the Northeastern Conference. Caroline Earl and Luly Pulsifer were All-Stars.

Alli Napoli, Avery Hallinan, and Gabby Redford were honored by the Cape Ann League.

Amesbury’s two losses have been to Pentucket (#1 seed D2 North) and St. Mary’s (#1 seed D3 North).

In Winthrop’s D3 North quarter-finals win over Whittier, Lily Polsifer had twenty points while teammate Maura Dorr had sixteen points with fourteen rebounds.

Winthrop box

Amesbury box

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

Maura Dorr gets a block in front of the Amesbury bench

McKenna Hallinan

Sadie Kermelewicz

Izzy Cambece

Lily Pulsifer

Freshman Maddie Stiglets in the air

Avery Hallinan guards Maura Dorr

McKenna Hallinan in the lane

Carolyn Kinsella

Gabby Redford lines up a shot in front of the Amesbury crowd

Alli Napoli waits for a pass

 

 

 

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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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Flannery O’Connor (24 points) drives Amesbury past Lynnfield 65-50

Flannery O’Connor (24 points) surrounded by Pioneers

Alli Napoli double-teamed

(Haverhill MA) There had been six lead changes and seven ties.

Then senior Flannery O’Connor took over in the third quarter.

The Cape Ann League All-Star engineered a run of nine unanswered points and a slim one-point lead (36-35) moved to a breathing-room 45-35 score.

The second-half surge of points was too much for foul-prone Lynnfield to overcome and they fell to (18-4) Amesbury 65-50 on Wednesday night at Whittier.

“We hung around for three quarters,” said Lynnfield coach Peter Bocchino afterwards.  “We ran out of gas in the fourth quarter.”

The Pioneers (14-9) did get within eight (51-43) with 5 ½ minutes to go in the game.

Ciara Sullivan

But then junior Alli Napoli set up teammate Ciara Sullivan for consecutive three’s and Amesbury’s double-digit spread was restored for good.

Tori Morelli and Cate MacDonald

Continuous fouling by both teams ruined any chance for patterned offense to be on display.  There were plenty of one-on-one’s which turned up fouls or layups.

Alli Napoli (Amesbury) and Tori Morelli (Lynnfield) were both in early foul trouble and on their respective benches for much of the first half.

The missing twosome were usually steadying influences on their teams and without them, the play was often ragged in the first half.

“I liked the way that the girls stayed composed with Alli out most of the first half,” said Amesbury coach Gregg Dollos.

Amesbury had a six-point lead (23-17) with two minutes left in the half but a three by freshman Riley Hallahan and a layup by Grace Klonsky and Lynnfield was back tight, 23-22, at the half.

Amesbury was 19-for-27 from the foul line

The Pioneers had a four-point lead (29-25) three minutes into the second half but two free throws by Alli Napoli and a layup by Flannery O’Connor, that Alli assisted on, and the teams were tied.

Three free throws by Melissa Morelli (14 points) had Lynnfield within one (36-35) with only three minutes remaining in the third quarter.

This was when Flannery took over and led AHS to separation.  Part of the nine-point run was a triple (McKenna Hallinin) set up by Flannery.

Lynnfield played a zone defense and Amesbury struggled to get open looks.

“They were playing a zone,” said Flannery afterwards.  “Moving the ball makes that defense work.  I try to find cracks and dive into them.”

Faced with tight coverage whenever she touched the ball, Flannery was quick to find open teammates.

McKenna Hallinan looks to the hoop

The Hallinan twins (Avery and McKenna) brought energy, points, and defense.  The two freshmen helped carry the scoring load for the Indians in the first half.

Avery ended the game with twelve points while McKenna totaled nine.

Freshman Cate MacDonald tallied twelve points for LHS.  “Our freshman (Cate) came to play tonight,” said Coach Bocchino.  “She got a learning experience.”

I was impressed with the ball-handling of sophomore Grace Klonsky.  Several times she took the ball the full length of the court for a score.

Amesbury will now face St. Mary’s (Lynn) at the Tsongas Arena on Saturday.  The Spartans had a decisive win over Amesbury during the regular season.

Lynnfield had two easy tourney wins before facing Amesbury in the D3 North semifinals.  The Pioneers downed Charlestown 53-9 and Greater Lawrence 69-43.

Peter Bocchino was the CAL coach-of-the-year.

Mary Bullis and Riley Hallahan

Lynnfield had been 5-52 over the previous three seasons.

The Pioneers tourney win over Charlestown was their first since 2009.

Despite missing most of the first half, Alli Napoli finished with eleven points.

The Pioneers missed thirteen free throws.

Amesbury box

Lynnfield box

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

McKenna Hallinan

Alli Napoli

Alli Napoli moves into an open space

Caroline Waisnor sets to receive a pass

Flannery O’Connor in traffic

Grace Klonsky

Grace Klonsky and McKenna Hallinan

Melissa Morelli and Avery Hallinan

 

 

 

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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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