Second-half surge lifts Pioneers to victory

LYNNFIELD — The Lynnfield girls soccer team may have walked away with 4-1 over Newburyport but Wednesday’s game at Pioneer Stadium was anything but easy for the Pioneers. The game was tied at 1-1 through the 55th minute, but in the end, it was the Pioneers who made the most of their chances, popping in three unanswered goals in the next 17 minutes to seal the win.

“It was a good game,” Lynnfield coach Mark Vermont said. “A three-goal win wasn’t indicative of the game that this was. I thought we did a nice job capitalizing on the chances we had. Amberly McCarter made a couple of beautiful saves at the end of the game there. She came up big.”

McCarter made several big saves while Lynnfield’s defense, led by centerback Liz Sykes, played solid from start to finish. Vermont was impressed with the way his midfield controlled play as well.

“The defense did a nice job,” Vermont said. “Newburyport did a good job of putting us under pressure at times, but we settled in and held on.  And in the midfield, we really controlled play. Tori Morelli and Julia Colucci played well in the middle. They really controlled the middle of the field which helped.”

Lynnfield had four different goal scorers with Anna Radulski, Adriana Parisi, Abby Lucich and Ashley Mitchell each scoring once. Mitchell also had two assists while Radulski and Anna Maria Ferrante added one assist each. 

Newburyport brought pressure in the opening minutes but the Pioneers’ defense held strong. Sykes broke up a few Clipper possessions and Lauren Mitchell blocked a Clippers’ shot to help keep the game scoreless.

Midway through the first half, the Pioneers capitalized on a corner kick. Ashley Mitchell set things up with a perfectly placed ball that landed in front of Radulski and the sophomore got a quick shot off her right foot to put Lynnfield ahead 1-0 with 14:03 left in the half.

The Clippers responded just over 10 minutes later. A misplayed ball slipped passed McCarter into the net with to tie things up before the break.

Lynnfield put plenty of pressure on Newburyport in the second half. The Pioneers, which had nine corners to the Clippers’ one, found themselves with three corner opportunities but missed the mark on each after solid defense from Newburyport.

With just over 25 minutes remaining, the Pioneers finally cashed in on a corner. Ashley Mitchell played the ball to Radulski, who ripped a shot that deflected off Parisi into the net to put the Pioneers ahead 2-1.

But Newburyport wasn’t going to go out quietly. The Clippers forced a handful of chances, including a scrum in front of the Lynnfield net where McCarter made a pair scrambling saves to keep the Lynnfield lead intact.

From there the Pioneers’ offense made things easier on their goalkeeper. Mitchell broke down field and laid a perfect pass in front of Lucich who scored her first goal of the season to give Lynnfield some breathing room with a 3-1 lead in the 68th minute.

“It was 2-1 at the time and Amberly made those big saves that really changed the game,” Vermont said. “Then we pop in the goal to make it 3-1. That was huge.”

With just under nine minutes to play Anna Maria Ferrante kicked a nice pass to Ashley Mitchell, who scored to cap the 4-1 win.

“Things came along for us in the second half,” Vermont said. “We were moving well and things started to come together. We were moving the ball well and I was really pleased with the passing.”

The Pioneers (3-2-1) will have another tough test Friday (3:45) at Pentucket.

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