GROVELAND — As much as the coaches and players try to downplay it as “just another CAL game,” the ALS Cup is still massively emotional for both the Newburyport and Pentucket programs.
Unfortunately for the Panther girls, things didn’t go their way this year.
But it wasn’t just a disappointing, 3-0, loss to their rival Clippers in front of a record 2,500 fans last Friday. This year’s ALS Cup also marked Pentucket’s first setback of the season, as heading into the game the Panthers were an undefeated 9-0-2 and had allowed just six goals all season.
How would the team bounce back from something like that?
Well, it’s safe to say the Panthers have put it well behind them!
After running past Triton earlier in the week to the tune of a 6-1 win, Pentucket took it to Amesbury at home Friday afternoon with a 10-0 thumping. Winning back-to-back games, with a goal differential of plus-15, is exactly what the doctor ordered, as the Panthers (11-1-2) are putting in their final preparations to gear up for a postseason run.
“After last Friday, we were focued on these two games this week because we needed to bounce back,” said Pentucket coach Andy Casey. “We won 6-1 on Monday and then again today, so I’m definitely really happy with their effort. That game (the ALS Cup), they play up a lot physcologically, but they’ve really rebounded from it.”
Right from the jump, Pentucket took it to Amesbury (2-10-1).
Star striker Sabrina Campbell created a couple of good chances early, but on one of them Amesbury keeper Sadie Bolth (12 saves) went low to make an excellent kick stop. However, it always felt like a matter of “when” and not “if,” and Campbell eventually broke through when Bethany Cloutier sent her a nice through-ball and she buried the chance.
A couple of minutes later, Campbell again had the ball on her right foot in front of the net, and she sent a nice cross-body shot that slid its way into the left side of the goal. She then used her electric speed to track down a deep pass on the left sideline, split two defenders to come back middle and then dished a pretty pass to a wide-open Sydney Trout who buried her look.
In total, Campbell finished with 4 goals and 2 assists for the game.
“We’ve been working a lot on our possession drills and also our shooting, because we weren’t able to finish a lot of our opportunities in the ALS Cup,” said Campbell, who is now up to 17 goals on the season. “We just need to continue finishing like we have been and keep controlling possession.”
Meaghan Grenham scored to make it 4-0 Pentucket at halftime, and the junior would add a pair of goals after the break to complete the hat-trick on the day. Trout also buried her second goal of the game in the second half, and Cloutier sent in a pretty floater that just barely found its way in between the outstretched keepers hands and the crossbar. Senior captains Lia Goodwin and Grace Pherson also played well for Pentucket defensively.
The Panthers came in at No. 11 in the latest Division 3 power poll released on Friday, and are still well in line to host a first-round playoff game.
“All season long we’ve been really ruthless in the final third, and I think you saw that today,” said Casey. “We have a lot of quality everywhere on the field, but we’re particularly talented in the forward areas. I’ve got kids on JV that would be on most other varsity teams in the league, but we just can’t get them in. But we’re great up top, and we’ve got some really talented, experienced seniors in the back.”
Despite the score, Bolth still played well in net for a young Amesbury squad. Senior captains Lidya Belanger, Sarah Chace and Anna Tessmer were strong in the midfield and gave great effort all game, and freshman Lyvia Busch has come in and given the team a spark.
“It’s not easy or fun to play in these types of games, but we’ve been on both sides of it over the years,” said Amesbury coach Adam Thibodeau. “But these girls give it their all every day and are warriors. The effort was there today. They didn’t quit.”
Pentucket 10, Amesbury 0
Goals: Sabrina Campbell 4, Meaghan Grenham 3, Sydney Trout 2, Bethany Cloutier
Assists: Campbell 2, Cloutier 2, Jamie Dahlgard, Trout
Saves: P — Emma Breen 2; A — Sadie Bolth 11
Amesbury (2-10-1): 0 0 — 0
Pentucket (11-1-2): 4 6 — 10
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