Tag Archives: Owen Kruez

Swampscott stuns Newburyport 6-5

Swampscott celebrates the upset
Jack Russo scored the game winner

(Newburyport) He was going down as he let the shot go and it went in.

Not only did it go in, but Jack Russo’s goal was the game winner for Swampscott.

The Big Blue stunned Newburyport, 6-5, on Thursday afternoon.

It was the Division Three opener for both squads.

Swampscott moves on to face Pentucket on Saturday.  The Panthers had a 13-4 win over Big Blue on April 2nd.

The ways things turned out didn’t surprise either coach.

“We’re battled tested with Danvers, Beverly, Marblehead, and Masco so we knew we were capable of doing it,” said Swampscott coach Geoff Beckett afterwards.

Harrison Kinne carries

“In the tournament at the end of the year, anyone can beat anybody,” said Newburyport coach Josh Wedge post-game.

The result was surely a surprise to those doing the MIAA power rankings in Division Three since (12-7) Newburyport was the #8 seed and (10-8) Swampscott was the #25 seed.

Newburyport took a one-goal lead three straight times and Swampscott followed by doing the same thing.

The team behind always caught up until Jack Russo gave Big Blue a 6-5 lead with 5:15 left in the final quarter.  The Clippers weren’t able to get the equalizer in the several opportunities they had.

“Our defense was amazing,” said Swampscott goalie Aidan Breault.  “We gave up only one goal in the second half.”

Aidan Breault (9)

Aidan made some key saves but added, “I couldn’t have done it without the defense in front of me.”

The Clippers ability to score goals took a hit in the first quarter when senior Jonny Groth was injured and never returned.

“When Jonny, our best middie went down that was tough,” said Coach Wedge.  “He was our senior leader all year on offense.”

Big Blue took the lead for good on Jack Russo’s goal in the fourth quarter.

“I was trying to push top-side,” recalled Jack regarding his game winner.  “I saw the goalie slide, so I gave a nice little swim move and honestly prayed and it went in.  I was falling and I tried to use my momentum to put it in the net.”

“Swampscott is a very athletic team,” said Coach Wedge, “and I knew that they would give us problems if we didn’t execute.”

Cole Mellett with the ball

“To win we had to put forty-eight minutes together,” said Coach Beckett.  “We probably played about forty-five minutes but luckily it was enough.”

Senior Ryan McHugh opened the scoring for Newburyport but Cole Hamernick answered for Swampscott in the first quarter.

Coach Wedge called a timeout with fifty-six seconds left in the first quarter and his team came out and scored (Ryan Philbin) ten seconds later.

The back-and-forth continued in the second quarter.  Big Blue’s Jason Codispoti tied the game at 2-2 before Owen Kurez put the Clippers ahead again. 

Jack Russo went over the top of a defender to tie the game at 3-3 with seven minutes left until halftime.

Jack Hadden

Harrison Kinne poured in from the left and Big Blue had its first lead of the game, 4-3, with 5:52 left in the 2nd quarter.

Newburyport’s Jack Hadden made a long run to tie things (4-4) at the half.

I expected the higher seed to string goals together and gain some separation in the second half.

It didn’t happen.

“Our stick skills were a little sloppy,” said Coach Wedge.  “We had opportunities that we just dropped.”

Swampscott wasn’t playing very well either.

“We let them hang around in the third quarter with a lot of turnovers,” said Coach Beckett.

Goals by Cole Hamernick (Swampscott) and Ryan McHugh (Newburyport) kept things even when the third quarter ended.

Ryan McHugh had 2 goals for Newburyport

Only one goal was scored during the twelve-minute final quarter, and it was by Jack Russo.

“Their goalie (Ryan Portalla) was playing good all day,” said Jack, “so I finally got one by him.  Newburyport is a well-coached, great team.  #1 (Jack Hadden) is a heckuva player.”

Jack Russo saw plenty of Jack Hadden as the two of them tangled numerous times in Swampscott’s offensive end.

Christian Urbano and Harrison Kinne each had two assists for Swampscott.

Aidan Breault not only had a big game in net, but he also wasn’t hesitant to carry the ball into the other end.

“I got bored down there sometimes,” he laughed, “so I’ve got to run it up and make a play and try to set up the offense.”

Plenty of good weather this afternoon.

Newburyport   2   2   1   0   =   5

  Swampscott   1   3   1   1   =   6

Ball on the turf

Newburyport defenders in pursuit

Jack Russo and Jack Hadden get entangled

Jason Codispoti scored twice for Swampscott

Player in the air

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Newburyport rallies past Pentucket 8-6

(Newburyport) “The start was rough,” said Newburyport Clipper defender Jack Hadden afterwards, “but I kept reminding the guys that it wasn’t over yet.”

“It was only 3-0 so there was obviously a comeback waiting,” he added.

Evan Napolitano takes a shot
Newburyport rolled after the first quarter

And there was as Newburyport (2-1) regrouped and went on to defeat Pentucket, 8-6, on Friday night.

“Pentucket is tough, and they won’t give you anything,” said Clippers coach Josh Wedge post-game.  “I don’t think we were fully ready to earn anything at the start of the game.”

In the first eight minutes, Pentucket (1-1) had unanswered goals from Joe Turpin, Ben Turpin, and Evan Napolitano.

“We came in confident because we won our opener on Saturday,” explained Pentucket coach Dan Leary.

Picking up the ball

Coach Leary wasn’t fooled, however, by the early three-goal lead.  “Newburyport is a very talented team,” he said.  “Being down three is nothing to them.”

In the second quarter, the Clippers showed the quality that enabled them to reach the D3 state semifinals last season.

“I was happy with how we played defense after that first quarter,” said Coach Wedge.

The Newburyport defense was tighter and shots on goal became tougher and tougher for Pentucket to create.

Will Gagnon and Nolan Cole

Cam Tinkham, Jack Hadden, and Jon Growth produced scores and had the game tied 3-3 at the half.

Ben Turpin notched his second goal just 1 ½ minutes into the second half and Newburyport needed to regroup again….which they did.

The next five goals belonged to the Clippers.

“We started slowly (again) but gradually found our rhythm,” said Coach Wedge.  “It wasn’t perfect by any means.”

Logan Jones

Ryan McHugh (3) and Owen Kruez (2) were the five-goal finishers for Newburyport.

“As the game went on, we got a little tired and made some mental mistakes in transition that hurt us,” added Coach Leary.  “A talented team like Newburyport will make you pay when you do that.”

“We just couldn’t stop the bleeding,” added Coach Leary referencing the Clippers run to an 8-4 lead.

Henry Hartford and Nolan Cole scored for Pentucket in the last thirty seconds of the game when things were a bit disorganized.

Ben Turpin and Nolan Cole

“In that second-to-last goal there were eleven players on the field,” said Coach Wedge.

“We have a lot of inexperienced guys,” said Coach Wedge.  “We are dressing twenty-nine players and sixteen are either freshmen or sophomores.  But we’re a scrappy team and we play good defense most of the time.  Our team is really good at picking the ball off the ground and we fight pretty hard for it.  What we don’t do enough of is valuing the ball.  Too many bad passes and dropped passes.”

Coach Josh Wedge

“We never quit today,” said Coach Leary.  “That’s all I can ask for.  Our team is always fired up to play Newburyport.”

There will be a rematch at Pentucket later in the season.

Coach Wedge: “Dan (Leary) does an unbelievable job.  I think he’s the most underrated coach around here.  They have low numbers but they’re ultra-competitive.  They know how to play the game.”

I asked Jack Hadden about his choice of the University of Albany to play lacrosse. “The minute I stepped onto the campus I know it was the place for me.  The team and the coaches were so welcoming.  At 12:01AM on September 1st, the first day they could recruit me, they reached out to me.  That meant a lot.  It was an obvious choice for me.”

The weather at Stehlin was pleasant with sunshine and temperatures near sixty.  I nearly froze at Pettingell the day before.

Newburyport   0   3   4   1   =   8

Pentucket         3   0   1   2   =   6

(The pictures will enlarge.)

Angus Webster
Coach Dan Leary
Duncan Coir
Joe Turpin chased by Brian Lucy
Cam Smith
Ryan Portalla
Jon Groth takes a shot
Cam Tinkham
Ball on the turf
Jack Hadden goal celebrated
Owen Kruez and Will Gagnon
Battle in front
Will Gagnon and Nolan Cole
Evan Napolitano chased by Clippers
Jon Groth in the middle
Ben Turpin

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