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Soccer Roundup

Georgetown pulls off the daily double

Newburyport also claims title

By Nick French, Seth Lakso and and Craig Forde
Globe Correspondents / November 13, 2011

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Manning Field in Lynn got a double dose of a Royal celebration as the Georgetown boys’ soccer team took down Lynnfield, 2-0, to capture the Division 3 North sectional final, just 2 1/2 hours after the Georgetown girls claimed their title.

Following an uneventful first half, Royals forward Matt Bitchell, who was blanketed by the Pioneers all game, was determined to make things happen in the second half.

Just two minutes in, he got his chance. Forward Ryan Browner worked defenders near the top of the box and then slipped the ball to Bitchell, who blasted it to the back of the net to put the Royals up.

A 10-minute delay to repair a large divot on the field seemed to be the only thing that slowed Bitchell and the Royals, whose defense was exemplified by Kevin Morrissey’s shutting down Lynnfield leading scorer Marco Addonizio.

“He’s the best one-on-one defender I’ve had around,’’ said Georgetown coach Chris DiFranco.

With 11 minutes remaining, forward Max Harper pushed a through ball past the Lynnfield defense that found a streaking Bitchell, who beat his man and deposited his second goal of the game.

“Matt kept telling me to get the ball to him,’’ said Harper. “So I just did a nice roll up for him and he was fast enough to get to it and it went right through the keeper’s legs.’’

A humble Bitchell responded, “I just had to finish them. It’s all on everyone else.’’

The Royals’ victory was sweet redemption over their Cape Ann rival, who beat them in last year’s tournament.

Division 3 North girls Georgetown 5, St. Mary’s 1 - After not allowing a goal in three postseason games, the Royals found themselves in unfamiliar territory - trailing, 1-0, midway trough the first half.

The Royals responded to adversity in fine fashion, reeling off five unanswered goals to claim their second North sectional championship in three years.

“I think we were a little tight coming out,’’ said Georgetown coach Colleen Gibbs. “But we definitely pulled it together. [St. Mary’s] scored a great goal. We just needed to mark up a little bit tighter.’’

After the Spartans’ Brianna Anderson found the back of the net in the 16th minute, Kristin Hogan led the Royals’ comeback with the next two goals.

The midfielder tied the match in the 23d minute with a leftfooted shot that beat freshman keeper Katie Donnelly.

Donnelly started in place of Bailey Bruckmann, who had her jaw broken in Tuesday’s win over Greater Lowell.

“That first goal gave us so much confidence,’’ said Hogan. “We were able to head into halftime tied instead of down, 1-0. It was like a new game.’’

Hogan’s next strike came nine minutes into the second half, when she beat Donnelly from a tough angle from the left side.

From there things were all Georgetown.

Jennifer Migliaccio and Sheridan Holland both found their way into the scorer’s book with goals in the 58th and 62d minutes, respectively.

Devin Cudmore added the final goal with seven minutes remaining. Royals keeper Jamie Block turned away nine shots to record her fourth win of the postseason.

“It was great we had some players that don’t normally score step up and get goals for us,’’ said Gibbs. “We’re a small town, we’ve come to play with 17 girls all season.’’

Georgetown will play the winner of today’s Dover-Sherborn-Norwell game in the state semifinals.

Division 2 North girls Newburyport 1, Stoneham 0 - After a two-year hiatus, the Newburyport girls are back where they belong as sectional champions after a thrilling 6-5 penalty-kick win at Manning Field.

“It’s always good to be back on top,’’ said Newburyport coach Robb Gonnam, whose team captured state titles in 2007 and 2008.

After scoreless regulation and overtime, affected by a stiff wind that seemingly tilted the field, penalty kicks loomed.

Newburyport’s Ally Leahy scored first, and keeper Lilly Donovan stopped Stoneham’s first attempt. Both teams traded goals until the fifth shooter. The Clippers had a chance to put the game away but the ball rolled wide. Stoneham’s Betsy Albiani stepped up and tied the shootout at 4 to force sudden death.

Donovan kept her team alive with a clutch save in the sixth round, diving to her right. In Round 8, Amy Sullivan drilled a goal into the bottom right corner, and Donovan made another sprawling save to clinch the win.


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