Sports

Swampscott girls soccer has extra incentive

The Swampscott High girls soccer team has a few things it would like to accomplish this season. One is to win the Northeastern Conference South title after getting nipped by Danvers and the other is to go deep in the tournament. The latter is a result of losing to Wakefield in a shootout in the first round of the tournament.”We had a promising year last year, but we could get out of that first round,” Swampscott coach Fred Day said.”It was so tight (in the tournament) last year. Everyone was beating everyone by one goal, or in overtime.”This year’s seniors also have a little extra incentive to finish up strong. When they were freshmen, the Big Blue lost to Danvers in the Division 2 North final.The loss was particularly heart-wrenching because the game went to two overtimes and 20 penalty kicks.Day’s senior contingent includes captains Skylar Sabbag, a midfielder; defender Sarah Burnham and forward Marissa Gambale, as well as goalie Tara Nimkar and forward Megan Dawley.Day also has a solid group of returning juniors led by midfielder Casey Connolly, forward/midfield Jen Cleary; center midfielder Erin Langan; midfielder Mallory McDonough; defender Robin Herlihy; defender Madison Sheffer; defender Monique Leau; midfielder Zoemma Warshafsky and midfielder Nicole Fee, who was pulled up from junior varsity last year. Sophomores Carley Hayes, Lisa Gambale and Rikki Langan could also made some noise this year.The Big Blue are also in a good position for the future given the fact Day expects another 20 or so freshman to come out for the team.”It looks good,” Day said. “We’re very hopeful. We take kind of a blue collar approach in that we really work hard, don’t get too high and don’t get too low. We’re hoping this year we can get by Danvers and maybe get a title.”BISHOP FENWICKThe Crusaders are coming off a successful 16-4 in 2007, but they’ll have a few big holes to fill with the graduation of center midfielder Melissa Garabedian and defender Maddy Bissaillon. Garabedian is now playing a Merrimack College and Bissaillon is playing at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell.Coach Karen Guillemette does have talented group of returning players, however, led by senior captains Bianca Gallo and Christina Vellucci. Both are outside midfielders. Guillemette is also counting on help from sophomore center midfielder Kristin Verrette, junior forward Ellen O’Leary; sophomore Brittany Dolan and junior goalie Jill Dean.With only three returning seniors, Guillemette said she’s looking at a fairly young team. Still, she expects to be in the mix in the fight for a league title. The Crusaders won the Catholic Central League crown last year.”I think we’ll be competitive in the league again,” Guillemette said.The Crusaders will once again have a tough non-league schedule with games against Peabody, Danvers and Newburyport, among others.”It’s not going to be an easy schedule,’ Guillemette said.DANVERSThe Falcons will try and defend their Division 2 North and Northeastern Conference South title, but they’ll have to do with a slew of new faces. Danvers lost 15 players to graduation including two All-New England players – stopper Casey King and center midfielder Katelyn Hartnett.The Falcons also lost thre-time all-state player Jackie Gauthier, a four-time Northeastern Conference All-Star forward now playing at Salem State College, as well as team leading scorer Ashley Sullivan.On the plus side of the ledger, captain and midfielder Lindsey Dattoli is back. She’s a three-year varsity player. Senior midfielder Liz Burgess and senior keeper Kasey Kellard are also back. The Falcons also had a strong junior varsity team.”How good we’ll be and how well we’ll do in the conference will come dow to how quickly we come together. We’re going to be a very, very young team. It all depends on how quickly they step into those roles.,” coach Jim Hinchion said.Danvers opens its season against Swampscott on Friday, Sept. 5.

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