In April, the Manchester Essex girls lacrosse team handed Newburyport a rare loss in Cape Ann League play in a highly competitive, one-goal game. On Tuesday night at Hyland Field, the Clippers returned the favor.
In a back and forth contest that may be a preview of what’s to come in the Division 2 North State Tournament, last year’s two sectional finalists waged another competitive battle, with the visiting Clippers using a second half surge to pull out a 10-9 win.
With the victory, the Clippers move to 11-3, the Hornets fall to 11-5.
“It was a good game to have played going into the tournament, and we learned from it,” Hornets head coach Nan Gorton said. “This is what you live for as an athlete, to play these types of games, win or lose.”
Manchester Essex took a 6-5 lead into the half, but it was Newburyport that came out firing in the second half as Isabel Hulse tied the score and Katelyn Hadden, who led all scorers with six goals on the game, scored two straight goals to give the Clippers an 8-6 lead.
A Cecelia Mastendino goal for Manchester Essex cut the deficit to 8-7, but Hadden found the back of the net two more times to build Newburyport’s biggest lead of the night, 10-7.
Drew Charlton scored the final two goals of the game for Manchester Essex, cutting the Clipper’s lead to 10-9. But Newburyport successfully bled the final four minutes off the clock, allowing Manchester Essex one final possession with under a minute to work.
“We just kept fighting,” Newburyport head coach Catherine Batchelder said. “I thought our defense played amazing in the second half against a very strong attack. (Hadden) played tremendously and our best player, Maggie Pons, took a lot of contact to open her up for success.”
The Hornets broke out to an early, 2-0 lead on goals from Charlton and Emma Cochand, but Hadden scored twice to tie it at two.
Manchester Essex’s Lily Athanas and Newbuyport’s Samantha King traded off two goals to make it 4-4 before the Hornets finished the half strong with a goal from Abby Lantz and Brigid Edgerton. The Clippers, however, went into the break with momentum on a late first half goal.
While the Hornets had the lead at the half, they thought they could have played better.
“We made some fundamental errors in the first half,” Gorton said. “WE tried to do a little too much with our throws and we committed some abnormal turnovers.”
Manchester Essex finishes up the regular season on Thursday at Pentucket (3:45 p.m.).