DANVERS — Whenever the Beverly and Danvers High field hockey teams meet, it’s usually a close, hard-fought contest.
This was not one of those times.
Unbeaten Beverly scored five times in the first half en route to a decisive 6-0 victory. In doing so, the Panthers posted their sixth shutout of the season and seventh straight win.
Junior co-captain Nicole Woods, who was all over the field making great passes, put her team on the board off a corner less than four minutes into the game after taking a pass from Kate Silvestri.
“Woods did a good job starting us off, and Silvestri had a strong game on the right side,” said Beverly head coach Tricia Murphy, whose team is the four-time defending Northeastern Conference champions. The only goal they’ve allowed all season came in a 2-1 victory over Peabody.
“We only lost one person on offense from last season, so we expected that to be our strong point. Our defense is all new, but they’ve been able to manage the ball well and stop it before it gets to our goalie.”
Junior goalie Felicity Otterbein wasn’t very busy in the Panther net yesterday, but came up big when she had to. Murphy also singled out Camden Vitale and Amanda Marshall for their outstanding defensive play.
Beverly quickly built up the lead when forward Katie Pietrini scored the next two goals to make it 3-0. She carried the ball down the left wing on both occasions and got off great shots. Her first goal was set up by co-captain Natalie Shea; the second came in a scramble in front of Danvers goalie Gabi Torchia (with Livvy Konaxis assisting).
“This team is awesome,” said Woods, who scored her fourth goal of the year. “We know we have a huge target on our backs as NEC champs, but we just have to do what we need to in order to keep it going. We don’t care how the goals come as long as we can score, and it doesn’t matter who gets them.