Leahy, typically the last line of defense in front of goalkeeper Lilly Donovan, stepped up and buried the penalty kick to give the Clippers a 2-0 lead.
Five minutes later, Newburyport had another scoring chance when Carly Brand made a run toward the right sideline before sending a crossing pass in front of the net. Maryam Moshrefi nearly buried the shot, but instead, settled the pass, and found Bresnahan 20 yards out from the net. Bresnahan finessed the ball to the top right corner of goal for the game’s final score.
“I wanted to take the ball and attack the box, either to get a foul or get a goal,” Bresnahan said. “I got a foul once and got a goal the next time. It ended up being successful.”
The Clippers thrived in penalty-kick situations last night just two days after they beat Lynnfield in a shootout after 100 minutes of scoreless soccer. Gonnam breathed a sigh of relief after Bresnahan’s third goal, which was the first non-penalty kick goal for the Clippers in nearly 150 minutes of play.
“I was glad to see the regular goal instead of just the penalty kicks,” Gonnam said. “Their goalkeeper (Julia Schneider) was really good. We saw her make some magnificent diving saves on Saturday. She made another one against Abbie (last night).”
The Clippers will return to the Division 3 state championship game for the first time since 2008, when they finished off back-to-back championship seasons with a team that included Jillian Kinter, Laura Muise and Taylor Bresnahan. Leahy, who was a seventh-grader at the time, served as a ball girl for that team.
“We watched them, and we wanted to be like them,” Leahy said. “Now we’re finally here.”
Abbie Bresnahan believes this year’s team has a chance to be viewed as the best of all the state champions. The 2007 team suffered one regular-season loss; the 2008 team two.