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Jun. 26—NEWBURYPORT — It was not a relaxing game by any definition. Newburyport and Ipswich were as physical as you can get in high school girls lacrosse, the referees were constantly stopping play and the sizable crowd grew increasingly restless as the game went on.

In other words, it was an authentic playoff lacrosse atmosphere at James T. Stehlin Field on Friday, and Newburyport rose to the challenge to beat Ipswich 18-9 in the Division 2 North Semifinal.

“We haven’t had a game that tough yet, both atmosphere wise and with the stakes as high, so I think the girls did a great job blocking out all the noise and trying to stay true to our gameplan,” said Newburyport coach Catherine Batchelder afterwards. “Ipswich is a really good team, they definitely came in to play us hard and I thought our girls responded well.”

Though Newburyport faced unexpected hostility from the large Ipswich fan contingent unhappy with many of the calls, the Clippers largely controlled the game throughout and were not seriously threatened most of the way. Newburyport opened an early 3-1 lead by the end of the first quarter and then ran off four straight goals in the second to take a 7-2 lead into halftime.

After Sam King scored twice near the end of the third quarter to make it 13-5 the game seemed to be fully in hand, but then Ipswich star Riley Daly started making things interesting. The UConn commit erupted for three goals in 32 seconds early in the fourth quarter to make it a five goal game, forcing Batchelder to call a timeout to help her squad regroup.

“We made a change in the draw, which helped, and I told them our gameplan is not to let Riley go one-on-one, she’s way too good a player,” Batchelder said. “They needed to step up defensively and we did.”

Once Newburyport regained possession sophomore Anna Affolter answered Daly’s three-goal barrage with three straight scores of her own. She finished with five goals, and King wrapped up Newburyport’s scoring with two more goals down the stretch to give her six goals and three assists on the day.

Daly finished with six goals in her final high school game, and afterwards Ipswich coach Allison Tivnan heaped praise upon her senior.

“Riley is incredible, she was in it the whole time and had no doubt that we could come back,” Tivnan said. “She played amazing, she scored six goals and all the draw controls she had, she’s lights out for us all the time. We’ll definitely miss her next year, as well as all the seniors.”

Newburyport (15-0) will now advance to the Division 2 North Finals for the fourth straight season, and for the third straight season the Clippers will match up against CAL rival Manchester Essex. That game will be played at Newburyport High on Sunday at a time to be determined.

Ipswich wraps up its season at 12-2.


Newburyport 18, Ipswich 9

Division 2 North Semifinals

Goals: N — Sam King 6, Anna Affolter 5, Olivia McDonald 2, Izzy Rosa 2, Liberty Palermino, Emily Fuller, Anneliese Truesdale; I — Riley Daly 6, Skyler Moseley, Madelyn Duffy, Cayla Greenleaf

Assists: N — Fuller 4, King 3, Maddie Desimio-Maloney, Rita Cahalane, Lilly Pons, Affolter; I — None

Saves: N — Erin Osinski 1; I — Ashton Flather 6

Ipswich (12-2): 1 1 3 4 — 9

Newburyport (15-0): 3 4 6 5 — 18