SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

October 23, 2012

Danvers girls soccer holds off Swampscott for NEC title

By Gianna Addario Staff Writer
The Salem News

---- — DANVERS— With all the success the Danvers High girls soccer team has been having this season, it’s only fitting that it captured the Northeastern Conference Small title at home last night.

It wasn’t the easiest of wins as the Falcons held off visiting Swampscott, 2-1, but it’s exactly the kind of victory that prepares a team for postseason action.

“Swampscott defended us tough. That was a physical game,” said Hinchion. “It was like watching a tournament game out there. We stayed composed, though. The girls have a lot of confidence and have played in a lot of close games this season. We’re at a point where we feel confident closing out games.”

The Falcons (12-1-1 NEC) have now recorded eight shutouts. Since losing their opening game of the season to Andover (2-0), they’ve gone 12-1-2 and have allowed just 11 goals through 16 total games.

Danvers certainly dominated possession in the opening minutes, throwing everything they had Swampscott’s way. The intensity paid off as senior captain Jackie Morse found junior Kylie Plaze up top for a breakaway goal. Plaza used her speed to get by Big Blue defenders and shoot top shelf to give the Falcons a 1-0 lead with 12 minutes to play in the first half.

“This game almost mirrored the first time we played them at their place,” said Hinchion, referring to his team’s 3-0 victory in Swampscott earlier this fall. “They came in with a lot of defensive posture. We didn’t get a lot of good looks at first, although we were in their end for a good deal of that half. Anytime you get the first goal in really opens things up, and to get it before halftime was huge for us.”

Swampscott (7-5-3) had a few scoring chances as well thanks to striker Erin Cassidy, who shot just wide of the goal. The Big Blue came close to scoring with just under two minutes in the half off a corner kick, but the ball hit off the Falcons’ crossbar and the referee signaled to play on.

Just seven minutes into the second half, Shannon Pohle took the ball the length of the field and made a cross inside to Chrissy Gikas for a shot, but Big Blue keeper Sam Rizzo came up with save— only to have Delaney Zecha connect on the rebound to put Danvers up, 2-0.

Cassidy, who was still working hard to put on her team on the board, came out after colliding a Danvers player. Minutes later, however, she got an open look as Danvers keeper Leah Ciampa came out of her net to cut off a potential shot. Cassidy made a move to the right side and danced right around a sliding Ciampa for a wide open goal.

“Besides the fact that she’s one of our team’s captains, she’s a warrior out there,” Swampscott coach Francesco Recchia said of Cassidy. “She never stops trying; she’ll get hurt and she wants to go right back in. By her doing that, it pushes her teammates and motivates them.”

The Big Blue are looking for just one point to clinch a playoff berth, while Danvers has already secured itself a postseason berth.

DANVERS -- The Danvers High girls soccer team hosted its annual Breast Cancer Awareness Game last night. The Lady Falcons got together with the Swampscott team to raise money, which will be donated to finding a cure. Both teams sold pink T-shirt ahead of time and sported pinks socks during the game. The two opponents came together for the important cause and fight against cancer. "For us to be able to participate in this game was awesome," said Swampscott head coach Francesco Recchia. "We've been wearing pink since the first week in October. The coaches are even wearing the pink armbands in support." Both teams donned pink warmup shirts, and Danvers pinned pink ribbons to their jerseys during the game. "It feels great to be apart of something like this," said Danvers junior Kylie Plaza. "I had a friend a couple years back pass away from cancer, so just to be able to support the cause is a huge honor." Danvers head coach Jimmy Hinchion was very proud of the way his girls stepped up to organize the event. "They put a ton of effort raising money and getting the student body out to the game," explained Hinchion. "That disease hits everyone at one time or another, whether it's directly or indirectly. I know a lot of the teams are doing the same thing, and I'm proud of them. "That's the real thing; soccer's just a game, but this thing is about life."