The Newburyport field hockey team will enter this year’s Division 2 North tournament with slightly less pressure than the last two seasons.
The biggest difference is this year’s team will not enter the postseason as the Cape Ann League Division 1 champion, as Masconomet captured that honor this season with a nearly perfect 15-0-3 record. That could be a welcome relief to the Clippers, who have fallen in the Division 2 North semifinals each of the last season while carrying the burden of being the CAL’s top representative.
“I do feel like we have less pressure because we graduated our four backs last year,” said coach Lauren Hefferan. “We didn’t win the Cape Ann League, it took us a while to get going. We’ve been playing from behind a lot this year.”
This season, the Clippers (13-2-3) earned the No. 4 seed in the bracket, drawing 13th seed Wayland (5-6-5) in an opening-round matchup tomorrow (4:30 p.m.) at Amesbury Sports Park. Newburyport, playing as the No. 2 seed last season, beat No. 10 Wayland 3-2 in the quarterfinal.
The Clippers will be looking to make a deep tournament run this season to punctuate a three-year run of marked success. The Clippers have gone 43-4-8 over the last three regular seasons and 3-2 in the postseason.
“We have a young team,” Hefferan said. “It’s going to be up in the air how we play. We’ll try to play our own game and keep our heads strong. Sometimes, we haven’t played that way against some harder opponents. Sometimes, we panic, so I want them to have fun, and finish the year however we finish the year.”
The only other local field hockey team scheduled to play in the postseason is Pentucket, which drew the No. 10 seed in Division 2 North. The Sachems (9-8-1) will visit No. 7 Lynnfield tomorrow at 2:15 p.m. Lynnfield (11-4-3) tied Pentucket 0-0 in the lone meeting between the teams this season Oct. 1.
In a reflection on the team’s record, Newburyport had the most selections to the CAL All-Star team with four. Newburyport senior Paige Hefferan was named CAL Division 1 Player of the Year, and was joined by seniors Kate McCauley, Lea Tomasz and Kendra Dow on the league all-star team.
“All four of those girls love to play,” Lauren Hefferan said. “Those are four very competitive kids who want to play, and they want to win. Everybody wants that recognition, but it’s not why they play.”
Pentucket seniors Tori Spofford, Ellen Gulezian and Jenna Raimondi were also named to the all-star team. Triton juniors Emily Hirtle and Kerstin Darsney earned the same honor. Amesbury’s Amanda Schell, Ashley Valme and Cassie Shultz were voted all-stars, along with Georgetown’s Katheryn Gibb and Kinsey Brennan.
Boys soccer awards
Pentucket boys soccer coach Christian Langlois earned the top honor among local coaches and players by claiming the CAL Division 1 Coach of the Year award. Pentucket finished 14-2-2 after graduating its top scorer in Colin Macdonald.
Pentucket also had three players named to the all-league team — Cody Sedler, Matt Farrell and Zack Chapman. Newburyport’s Jordy Steelman and Adam Traxler took home similar honors. Georgetown’s Andrew Nowak was the final local all-league selection.
CAL All-Star selections included Amesbury’s Mike Gilday and Shane Hague, Georgetown’s John Laut and Jared Warren, Newburyport’s Allan Eagan and Alex Salah, Pentucket’s Ben Craig and Triton’s Matt Kelly and Dalton Tztitzon.
Girls soccer awards
To the victor goes the spoils, and the Amesbury girls soccer team certainly reaped the benefits of putting together a 15-0-2 record this fall. Amesbury coach Cathy Berry was named CAL Division 2 Coach of the Year, and senior Megan Cullen received Player of the Year honors.
Cullen’s fellow seniors Emily Martin and Erin Leary joined her as all-league selections. Newburyport’s Aly Leahy, Jaycie Triandafilou and Bella Palma were also named all-league players, along with Georgetown’s Jamie Block and Pentucket’s Alex Moore. CAL All-Star selections included Triton’s Shannon Dube and Casey Ross, Newburyport’s Jackie Krusemark and Katie Gorenflo, Georgetown’s Kristin Hogan and Jensena Moner, Pentucket’s Sam Bomba and Haley DesRosiers and Amesbury’s Hannah Zannini and Taylor Tagliente.