Swampscott’s offense comes alive in second half, Big Blue defeat Magicians

Swampscott's Sydney Cresta was named NEC South Most Valuable Player. (Item File Photo)

SWAMPSCOTT — Scoring consistently has been a struggle for the Swampscott field hockey team over the course of this season. Thursday afternoon, however, showed the Big Blue are tough to beat when the offense is at its best. The No. 6 Big Blue scored three times in the second half to take down No. 11 Marblehead, 3-0, in the first round of the Division 2 North tournament. Two of Swampscott’s three goals came on corners, which is an area coach Jamie Spano and the Big Blue have been working on improving all season.

“It was a great game for us, and we were finally able to score on those two corner chances,” said Spano. “We got off to a slow start, but in the second half we knew what we needed to do and our girls were able to go out there and get it done. Our hard work is finally paying off.”

Swampscott was led by Maddie O’Brien, who netted two goals in the win. Ashley Marston added one goal, while Sydney Cresta had two assists and and Olivia Fillenworth had one assist. Goalie Jillian Flanders played a great game in net.

For Marblehead, Charlotte Plakans, Bella Corsini, Madi Monahan, Josie Friedman and Amanda Schillinger played well in the loss.

“The girls all played their hearts out today, and we had our opportunities over the course of the game,” said Marblehead coach Linda Rice Collins. “We just couldn’t connect when we needed to.”

The Big Blue took a while to get themselves going but they still managed to put a lot of pressure on the Marblehead defense. Despite a number of quality scoring chances, however, the first half ended in a scoreless tie.

Marblehead came out in the second half and was aggressive on offense for the first 10 minutes, but Swampscott weathered the storm defensively. Then, with about 17 minutes left in the game, the offense came alive for the Big Blue.

It started when Swampscott was awarded a corner with just over 17 minutes to go. O’Brien got things started by sending a pass out to Fillenworth, who proceeded to take a shot on net. The shot was a bit wide, but luckily O’Brien was in the right place and the right time and redirected the ball right into the back of the net for a 1-0 lead.

It took nearly 15 minutes for the Big Blue to score again, but when they did it came on another corner. O’Brien once again started the play, but this time she sent a pass out to Cresta. And just like for the first goal, O’Brien got herself into position in front of the net and redirected the shot into the back of the net to make it 2-0.

Swampscott was able to seal the win with a goal a few minutes later when Marston scored after a perfect pass from Cresta with just over one minute left in the game.

While the loss certainly stings for Marblehead (9-8-1), Rice Collins knows that the Magicians will be back.

“Most of this team is sophomores and freshmen, so they’ll be back,” said Rice Collins. “It’s a team that’s been developing over the years, and I think they’ll be ready to take an even bigger step next season.”

For the Big Blue (11-2-6), their attention now turns to unbeaten No. 3 Manchester-Essex (14-0-5) in the quarterfinal round Sunday (TBA).

“It’s tournament time, whoever shows up that day is going to win,” said Spano. “Everyone has a good team this time of year, so if we can keep playing offense like we did in this game and keep up our defensive pressure, we’ll be in good shape.”

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