Sports

Danvers defeats Peabody, inches closer on NEC Title

Peabody's Hailey Baker (left) battles the defense of Danvers' Lauren Clement (right) during Monday's game at Coley Lee Field. (Item Photo by Owen O'Rourke)

PEABODY — A late Tanners rally fell short as the Peabody girls soccer team fell 2-1 to Danvers Monday night at Coley Lee Field.

“We were really working hard tonight,” Peabody coach Dennis Desroches said. “You have to understand, and I tell these girls, ‘we’re a young team.’ We have five freshmen out there, four sophomores, a couple juniors and Danvers has almost 80 percent of its roster back.”

Despite a strong start to the game, the Tanners couldn’t add a goal until the final minutes.

“They scored on a corner with a header, which is a mistake on our part, other than that we held them to one goal,” Desroches said. “The flip side to that is we have to generate more shots, we didn’t put many on goal. We were down in the zone and kind of hesitated a little. Is that our youth? I don’t know, but we have to be more aggressive and put more balls on goal.”

Danvers goalkeeper Kylie MacCormack had a huge game in net for the Falcons.

“Kylie made a couple great saves,” Danvers coach Jim Hinchion said. “She did terrific, a fantastic game from her. She put her body on the line today.

“I’m proud of the girls,” Hinchion added. “We’ve watched Peabody and they’re a young team that’s maturing now. We played well, we certainly didn’t play our style of the game, but we definitely played well enough to be in it right at the end.”

Peabody came out firing in the first half before being awarded a free kick just outside the Danvers box six minutes into the game. Aja Alimonte took the shot, which curved right into the right post of the net to miss a goal by inches.

The Tanners had several more similar chances on free and corner kicks in the next 20 minutes but just couldn’t find the back of the net.

“A goal could have changed the momentum there,” Desroches said of the early opportunities. “We had the balls out in front, the corners and a couple shots weren’t on goal. If we were able to put one in early it may have been a little different but to just hold them to one goal until that corner I cant really complain.”

With 15:26 to play in the first half, Reese Pszenny dished a pass to Arianna Bezanson who ripped a shot inside the Peabody box to put Danvers ahead 1-0 before the half.

The Falcons looked much better in the second half, controlling much of the play, until they scored again with 32:06 left in the game. Riley Baker sent a corner kick in front of the Peabody net and Pszenny finished the play with a beautiful header goal to extend the Danvers lead to 2-0.

“She was our player of the game,” Hinchion said of Pszenny “That goal was gorgeous, she played with poise today and was calm on the outside. As the game was a little bit helter-skelter and panicked pace, she slows it down.That might’ve been our best goal of the season.”

Under two minutes to play, the Tanners were able to get on the board when a loose ball made it past MacCormack and Erin Kidd finished the play with a goal to put Peabody back in the game. Danvers’ defense held strong to hold on to the 2-1 win.

Danvers (13-2-1) has a chance to clinch the NEC with wins in its last two games against Medford and Somerville. Peabody (8-6-1) will host Somerville Friday.

“The nice part is this is a great lead up game to the tournament for us,” Desroches said. “Beverly and Danvers in our last two games, there’s no better way to enter the tournament. In my mind they’re just as good as anyone in that Division 1 bracket and Division 2 bracket. It only prepares us and we were one goal games with both of them.”

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