WESTFORD—Trailing 15-6 after four matches, North Andover needed a spark against undefeated Chelmsford yesterday in the first of several big Merrimack Valley Conference dual meets in the next two weeks.
And onto the mat trotted 106-pound senior captain Danielle Coughlin, ready to face standout freshman Griffin Murray, who was fourth at the Lowell Holiday Tournament.
Coughlin has gotten off to a relatively slow start this year, but she was up to the challenge against Murray. In an air tight match, Coughlin scored a reverse with 10 seconds left to capture an exciting 5-4 decision and spark the Knights (17-2) to a resounding 41-21 decision. North Andover later crushed Dracut (53-14) and Westford (62-18).
“I haven’t quite been on the ball but I felt good today,” said Coughlin, who was 3-0 on the day. “We’re getting to the grind of the season and I think we’re all coming together. This was a good win for us.”
Indeed, Coughlin’s win started a run of six straight wins against Chemsford and North Andover won nine of 14 matches overall, including four by pin and two by major decision.
And two of the non-pins came against two of Chelmsford’s best wrestlers. Once-beaten Fritz Hoehn scored a 15-5 major decision at 152 against Scott McQuaide and, despite moving up a class, once-beaten Brad Drover controlled Lowell Holiday Tournament placer Ben Melisi at 170.
Drover also later defeated another 170-pound Lowell Holiday placer, Dracut’s J.C. Hebert, 12-4, and handled a solid Westford wrestler as well.
“We’re starting to put things together,” said North Andover coach Carl Cincotta. “What I loved was when our guys beat their (Chgelmsford’s) good guys. Drover was awesome today.”
Recording consecutive first-period pins for the Knights against Chelmsford were Peter Taylor (113), Dan Villaba (120) and Nick Villaba (126) while Ryan Neals started the meet with a second-period fall. Red-hot Zane Mellilo had a solid 8-1 decision at 138.
“That’s a real tough team and they were a better team than us,” said Chelmsford coach Bruce Rich, whose club is now 17-1.
North Andover sweeps
Team scores: North Andover 41, Chelmsford 21;North Andover 53, Dracut 14; North Andover 62, Westford 18
North Andover vs. Chelmsford:
106: Danielle Coughlan (NA) dec. Griffin Murray 5-4; 113: Peter Taylor (NA) pin Mitch Ferullo 1:04; 120: Dan Villaba (NA) pin Tyler Carmoli 1:57; 126: Nick Vallaba (NA) pin Alyssa Soucy 1:18; 132:Nick Cincotta (NA) major dec. Jimmy Barry 17-3; 138: Zane Melillo dec. Jake Ahern 8-1; 145: David Goodall (Ch) dec. Cooper McLoud 4-3; 152: Fritz Hoehn (NA) major dec. Scott McQuaide 15-5; 160: Kyle McQuaide (Ch) dec. Nick Atwood 7-0; 170: Brad Drover (NA) dec. Ben Melisi 7-1; 182: Ryan Neals (NA) pin Orien Chun 3:44; 195: Sean Sauralt (Ch) dec. Owen Rosenberger 10-5 ; 220: Del Driscoll (Ch) pin Elijah Declet :54; HVY: Jake Murphy (Ch) pin Alex Inangelo 1:19
Records: North Andover 17-2