The Amesbury girls soccer team and Newburyport have seemed to be on a collision course for a second meeting this season ever since the Indians posted a 3-0 victory over the Clippers Oct. 5 at Landry Stadium.
We are now on the brink of seeing the teams clash for a second time. First, Amesbury (15-0-2), the top seed in the Division 2 North tournament, must beat No. 8 Belmont this evening (7 p.m.), and fourth-seed Newburyport (14-2-2) must also defeat No. 12 Bishop Fenwick this afternoon.
If the two local teams — both higher seeds — emerge as winners today, Amesbury and Newburyport will meet in the Division 2 North semifinal later this week.
It seems somewhat fitting that for Amesbury to achieve its goal of winning a sectional title, it has to go through Newburyport to earn it. The Clippers won sectional titles in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2011, posting a 16-1 record in North postseason play between 2006 and 2011.
For Amesbury, on the other hand, it’s been a steady climb. The Indians went 12 seasons between state tournament appearances before returning in 2010. Last season, the team suffered a devastating season-ending ACL injury to this year’s Cape Ann League Player of the Year Megan Cullen. Still, Amesbury chipped away at its second consecutive tournament berth, setting the stage for what has transpired this season.
The Indians posted their first undefeated regular season in school history, and make no mistake, they will be considered the favorite if they square off with Newburyport in the semifinal round. Amesbury’s victory over Newburyport in October was convincing, as is any 3-0 win in soccer. The Indians closed out the regular season with shutouts in their last three games. Amesbury tied Ipswich in its opener Sept. 13, and then posted its second tie against Hamilton-Wenham Oct. 1. Ever since, the team is 10-0, and has outscored opponents by a score of 33-7.