The Lynnfield volleyball team continued its string of solid play Thursday night, as the No. 2 Pioneers defeated No. 11 Melrose, 3-0, in the Division 2 North semifinals at Stoneham High. The Pioneers, who took the match by set scores of 25-22, 25-21, 25-13, had to work for everything in this one.
“That was a really good team we played, and we came together at the end to get the win,” said Lynnfield coach Brent Ashley. “The biggest thing about us is making sure we know what to do when the ball comes our way, and all our work in practice has really been paying off.”
The Pioneers were led by the strong play of Sam Lebruska, Melissa Morelli, Mackenzie Schena and Sam DeGeorge throughout the match.
The first set was a back-and-forth affair, with Lynnfield getting out to an early 11-6 lead before Melrose came back to tie it at 18-18. But the Pioneers were just too consistent out there, and after a big block by DeGeorge Lynnfield took the opening set.
The second set was much of the same to begin with, as the two teams were tied at 2-2, 4-4, 5-5 and 6-6. But after that Lynnfield took control, extending its lead to 20-14 eventually. Although Melrose did battle back to make it 24-21, a kill by Lebruska ended the set in Lynnfield’s favor.
The third set was close at the beginning, but eventually the Pioneers got into a rhythm and ended the set on an 11-2 run to win the match.
Next up is the Division 2 North finals against No. 12 Burlington Saturday (3). The Pioneers, who have played three games in the past five days, are ready to push through to the end.
“The girls aren’t done, they’re not ready to stop,” said Ashley. “They said that they’ll take a rest on Sunday, so we’re going to go full speed until then.”
Danvers 3, Masconomet 1
The Danvers girls soccer team’s state title defense remained alive after Thursday night’s 2-1 win over Masconomet in the Division 2 North semifinal at Manning Field.
Freshman Arianna Bezanson was the star of the game for the Falcons, scoring Danvers’ first two goals.
“Arianna’s kind of been doing it all year for us,” Falcons coach Jim Hinchion said. “She’s a freshman but she’s been playing at such a high level through her club career, through her whole soccer career. She plays like an upperclassman. The girls really rely on her when we need a goal and she came up big tonight. She had a terrific game.”
Junior Abigail Cash added one goal. Junior goalie Kylie MacCormack made three saves.
Masco, the top seed in the bracket, entered the game undefeated and scored a quick goal in the opening minute. Elena Lindonen fired a shot into the back of the net to give the Chieftains a 1-0 lead.
“We’ve seen Masconomet, we scouted them and they can play,” Hinchion said. “They have a couple players on that team that are just super dangerous. When they cut through your team that quickly, it was scary. We basically spotted them a goal. But I was really happy with our fight from that point on. We woke up and started to play after that.”
That’s how it stayed until Danvers knotted up the score with five minutes left in the half on Bezanson’s goal.
The two teams went into the locker room tied at 1-1 at recess.
After a stretch of back and forth play in the second half, the Falcons took their first lead of the game. Bezanson snuck past the Masconomet defense and booted her second goal of the game with 24:15 remaining.
Cash’s goal with 3:30 left put the game out of Masconomet’s reach and sealed the 3-1 win.
Danvers advances to Monday’s sectional final where the Falcons will take on the winner between No. 3 Concord-Carlisle and No. 2 Winchester.
“We’ll continue to work in practice,” Hinchion said. “We’ll work on the little things, we’ll try to rest as much as we can.
“It’s the tiny little details at this point and we’ll continue to work on them. Whoever we get next, we know we’ll be in for a fight but we’re happy for the opportunity.”
Watertown 2, Lynnfield 1
The 2018 Lynnfield field hockey team is going to remember this game for a very long time.
With a little more than 10 minutes to go in regulation, the Pioneers had a 1-0 lead on a goal by Ashley Barrett over nine-time defending state champion and top-seeded Watertown Thursday night in the semifinals of the Division 2 North tournament at Reading High.
One unlucky bounce of the ball let the Raiders back in the game after a ball hit a Pioneers player in the box, giving Watertown a penalty stroke. Watertown made good on the shot to knot the game at 1-1.
Both teams had scoring chances over the final 10 minutes, but Lynnfield goalie Emily Dickey and counterpart Lainey Andrade were up to the task. Dickey made two incredible saves down the home stretch, one on a penalty stroke and the other about a minute later when she batted a ball out of midair with her stick to keep it a 1-1 game.
The teams battled to a scoreless sudden-death 10-minute 7v7 overtime period.
But Watertown finally broke through with the game-winner with 8:55 go go in the second overtime.
“I couldn’t ask any more from these kids,” said Lynnfield coach Mamie Reardon. “We really wanted this game but Watertown knows how to win. Ashley and Brianna (Barrett), Lily Rothwell upt top and Maddie Murphy all played great. When Ashley got us that first goal, it just felt like Christmas morning, it was such a great feeling.”
That’s putting it mildly as Watertown has lost just one game since November, 2008.
With the win, the Raiders advance to the North championship game against No. 3 seed Manchester-Essex on Saturday at North Andover (TBA).