(Amesbury MA) Amesbury started tourney play with a 4-2 D4 North quarterfinals win over Winthrop tonight.
The Indians will play Essex Tech in the semi-finals next Monday (2PM) on Whittier’s new turf field.
Junior Alyssa Pettet paced the Indians (12-1-6) with two first-half goals while her sophomore teammate MK McElaney added a goal and two assists.
Junior Maura Dorr (with over fifty career goals) added two more to her total for Winthrop.
Amesbury applied most of the pressure during the game, but Coach Adam Thibodeau wasn’t pleased with his team’s style of play in the early going.
“We hadn’t played for a while (eight days) and it showed in the first 10-15 minutes,” he recalled. “We didn’t have the energy, so we relied on long balls. We should have been passing to feet and sending players into space.”
“Passing to feet,” and “sending a player into space” kicked in for the Indians at 25:14 as Lilly O’Neill and Alyssa Pettet worked together on a nifty give-and-go.
“Lilly sent a pass between the sweeper and stopper,” recalled Alyssa, “and I just needed a step to be in on goal.”
Amesbury’s first goal was Alyssa’s 20th.
Nine minutes later the Holy Cross commit had her 21st off MK McElaney’s corner kick.
“MK and I have done a good job of connecting on CK’s,” said Alyssa. “She places them perfectly.”
“It was a great kick by MK,” added Coach Thibodeau. “She’s been working on it all year.”
Three minutes later the Vikings (11-9) came very close to cutting into Amesbury’s 2-0 lead.
However, senior Ashlee Porcaro (Cape Ann League All-Star) saved the day for the Indians.
On the near-goal, defender Meg McElaney, goalie Alli Napoli, and prolific scorer Maura Dorr became entwined. The ball got behind them and was heading for the goal. Suddenly, out of nowhere came Ashlee to clear the ball away at the last second.
Afterwards, Ashlee (14 in the picture above) downplayed her part: “I was just at the right spot at the right time. Things happen. We practice for mistakes like that.”
“That non-goal would certainly have been nice,” said Winthrop coach Tracey Martucci. “It would have changed the tempo.”
But the goal didn’t happen.
“Ashlee made a huge play,” added Coach Thibodeau. “She recognized the hole there and played it perfectly.”
Recently returned sophomore Avery Hallinan increased Amesbury’s lead to 3-0 seven minutes into the second half. MK’s lead pass to space was all that speedy Avery needed to break free and score.
“Avery has been out since Columbus Day when she rolled her ankle,” said Coach Thibodeau. “It was great to have her back.”
Maura Dorr was carefully marked by Amesbury throughout the game, but she found a chance to possess the ball and face the goal with thirteen minutes left and capitalized.
Winthrop, however, could not narrow the two-goal deficit the rest of the way.
MK McElaney’s rebound bullet from straight away stretched Amesbury’s advantage to 4-1 early in the last five minutes. MK moved up full-speed on the long rebound and two defenders turned their heads as the ball whizzed by them and into the upper center of the net.
Maura was able to pick up her 2nd goal of the game in the closing seconds after a dangerous play infraction by the Indians led to an indirect kick from very close to the Amesbury net.
“The referee called it a dangerous play which was why it wasn’t a penalty kick,” said Coach Thibodeau. “One of our players had fallen and landed on the ball. It was the right call.”
Coach Martucci: “We played well but Amesbury is a great team. Their speed put a lot of pressure on us.”
Alyssa Pettet: “When I play striker, I move wherever I want. When I feel we need more help on defense I move back. We wanted to finish more opportunities today.”
Alyssa on Holy Cross: “They are at my club games and showcases. They see me play center defense in club. They give me pointers and encouragement.”
In nineteen games the Indians have scored thirty-two goals. Alyssa has twenty-one of them.
Today’s four goals are the most Amesbury has scored in a game this season. The same was true last year against Winthrop in the Indians 4-0 First Round victory.
Maura Dorr holds the all-time scoring title at Winthrop and is only a junior. It is interesting that the school scoring record was held by Coach Martucci before assistant coach Julie Dawson broke the record. Now it belongs to one of their current players, Maura Dorr.
Junior Julia Campbell replaced All-CAL goalie Alli Napoli in the latter part of the second half. “We had a lead and the grass was wet,” explained Coach Thibodeau. “I wanted to give Julia minutes. She’s been working hard all season.”
The Vikings reached the quarterfinals when Maura scored in overtime against Mystic Valley.
Don’t ask me about the lights at Landry Stadium.
(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)