It took exactly 104 seconds for Amesbury to secure its second consecutive Division 4 North sectional championship at Manning Field in Lynn.
In the second minute, Indians junior Chelsea Lynch struck with a well-placed poke from the top of the keeper’s box. A half-minute later, sophomore teammate Madelyn Creps matched her with an 18-yard side-footed strike of her own, enabling the Indians (16-5-1) to breeze to a 6-0 victory over 13th-seeded St. Joseph Prep and earn a state semifinal berth Wednesday at 5 p.m. against South champion Millis at Manning Field.
“Part of our game plan is to try and push it with speed, to see if we can catch defenses early,” said coach Adam Thibodeau, “To get the first goal really took the pressure off, and I think that second goal allowed us to settle in.”
The Phoenix (11-8-3) slowed the opposition’s rapid scoring at moments, but were never able to match with marks of their own. Amesbury senior captain Ashley Pettet added a third first-half goal in the 13th minute via a one-woman counter attack.
After a short lull, the Indians would proceed to tack on three more second-half goals for good measure.
“These girls have been battle-tested all year long, coming out of the [Cape Ann League],” Thibodeau said. “For us to get a game where we can dominate from end-to-end is rare, but it’s good when it can happen.”
Division 3 North
Newburyport 1, Swampscott 0 — Senior Samantha Kelleher buried a 26th-minute volley off a bouncing cross from junior midfielder River Sava to propel the Clippers (16-3-3) to their second consecutive North sectional title at Manning Field, where Newburyport will return Tuesday to face South champion Archbishop Williams.
After Kelleher missed a scoring opportunity 10 seconds into the game, Swampscott (12-8-2) nearly found itself with an early score of its own when freshman striker Mackenzie Kearney was taken down in opposing keeper’s box. But junior Haley Bernhardt’s penalty kick only found the crossbar.
Opening the match with a breakaway down the dead center of the field, Kelleher rifled a shot from the top of the box; quick reflexes from junior Big Blue keeper Nikki Rosa prevented the opening score though.
“The girls went forward with it after receiving the [opening] pass, and we had a great opportunity,” said Newburyport coach Kevin Sheridan. “It certainly would have been nice to start off with a goal ten seconds in.”
The Clippers continued to apply pressure, finally striking paydirt with Kelleher’s game-winner.
“It was a nice cross, but it was tough to finish, especially in a championship game,” coach Robb Gonnam said. “You’ve got to time it just perfect, and get the body positioned perfect. But she did a fantastic job with it.”
Division 4 South
Millis 4, Coyle & Cassidy 0 — Kaylee Francis scored two goals, just before and after halftime, for the second-seeded Mohawks (15-2-2) in a sectional final victory at Whitman-Hanson.
“I didn’t want our season to end and I knew that someone needed to put goals in the net,” said Francis, who helped her team punch its ticket to the state semifinals for a date Wednesday against North champion Amesbury at Manning Field. “I think, as a team, we can win it all.”
With two minutes remaining before halftime, Francis plowed her way through several defenders and finessed a lob over Warriors goalkeeper Margaret Chamberlin.
Francis’s second goal came just after teammate Taylor Davis struck first blood in the 36th minute. Forward Meaghan Hourigan delivered a perfect pass to Davis, who wasted no time ripping a one-touch shot from 20 yards out.
Kylee Vaillancourt punctuated the victory for Millis with a goal in the 72nd minute, solidifying the shutout win.
“The way we’ve been playing, I feel very confident that we’re going to go in, compete hard, and play very consistent, just as we’ve been doing this entire season,” said Millis head coach Steve Bailen.Ethan Schroeder reported from Lynn, Mike Kotsopoulos from Hanson.