---- — North Andover boys soccer was able to post two goals in the first 15 minutes of play before losing its tempo in a foul-filled battle against Jeremiah Burke.
Surviving a penalty shot goal from the Dorchester school, the Knights got an important score from Dennis Graef off a rebound of his own free kick to lock up a 3-1 first-round tourney victory.
Mike Skarabelis put second seed North Andover on top to stay with his first-half markers.
The Knights dodged a bullet when their six-man wall blocked a Burke free kick at the top of the penalty area that could have tied the game. From there, goalie Marc Patnaude (five saves) stood tall and blanked the 15th seeds the rest of the way.
Next up on North Andover’s Division 2 North tourney run is a home quarterfinal date tomorrow at 7 p.m. against No. 7 Winchester, which edged 10th seed Beverly, 2-1 in overtime.
Pentucket boys soccer quickly took charge, getting goals from Trevor Collins and Matt Farrell in the first five minutes of play, then rode an outstanding team synergy to a 4-0 first-round victory over Dracut.
“From the defense to our transition game to our offense, everything was clicking and everybody was playing well together,” said Sachem head coach Christian Langlois.
Farrell, recently named to the All-Cape Ann League team, scored twice in the victory.
All-CAL goalie Cody Sedler made eight saves and didn’t allow any rebounds for easy second-chance shots for Dracut to pounce on.
The top seed in Division 2 North, Pentucket will host Salem tomorrow in quarterfinal play. It will be decided today whether the game will be played at Haverhill Stadium as yesterday’s tourney opener was.
Once Kylie Regan scored in the second half, Central Catholic’s offense soared to a 6-1 girls soccer tourney victory over 19th seed Lexington.
“We were dominating the entire game but our early shots were all going over the net,” said Central head coach Casey Grange as her squad trailed 1-0 at halftime. “Once Kylie got us on the board, the floodgates opened.”
With center-midfielder Alexa Poulin driving the offense, Courtney Walsh registered a natural hat trick in a seven-minute span that locked up the victory for the No. 3 Raiders, who will host No. 6 Winchester tomorrow at 7 p.m. at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
Playing with increased pressure in the second half, sixth seed Winchester jumped on an attempted clearing pass by No. 11 North Andover, scoring on a header with 4:40 left to take a 2-1 Division 1 North first round victory.
The Knights (12-6-1) shook off an early Winchester lead to knot the count when Alana Houlihan sent in a quality corner kick that Leah Chittick skied over the defenders to head into the net 21 minutes into play.
“We had a pretty good season,” said North Andover head coach Bud McCarthy. “It was a new league for us this year (the MVC) and new challenges, but I think we proved that we can play with any of these teams.”
Another Andover-Chelmsford field hockey game, another battle.
The two MVC teams split their regular season matchups and battled evenly in Division 1 North first round action yesterday. It took a successful penalty corner with no time remaining in overtime for fourth-seed Chelmsford to prevail, 3-2.
Briana Smith and Meagan Keefe scored for the No. 5 Warriors, but a golden opportunity to take the lead in the second half went for naught as Andover missed on a penalty stroke.
Keefe was a force up front, drawing several corners, while Weezie Gross and Jackie Torres dominated midfield play. Sweeper Emily Gibson also played an outstanding game for Andover, which finished its season at 14-3-3.
Just like this year’s regular-season nail-biter, North Reading boys soccer went toe-to-toe with a strong Rockport squad in the playoffs.
Unfortunately, a Rockport player was able to get to a free kick before the Hornets did, heading the ball in midway through the second half for a 1-0 victory.
North Reading’s best chances to score came early and late. In the opening 10 seconds of play when a weird deflection ended up at leading scorer John Braga’s feet, but the Viking goalie was able to make the save. And with 10 minutes left in the game, David Donegan labeled a 23-yard free kick for the top corner of the net but Rockport’s keeper leapt and got enough on the ball to tip it over the net.
Goalie Josh Intorcio stood tall, keeping his team in the game with two spectacular saves early in the second half. He got valuable defensive help from sophomore Alex Brown as well as seniors Max Carlson and Mike Vittiglio.
Less than a day after eliminating Methuen, Haverhill found itself exiting the Division 1 North volleyball tourney via a 3-0 loss to a Reading squad that drew a bye into quarterfinal play.
Alex Itsaka (14 blocks and four aces), Allison Lahiff (seven kills) and Morgan Arsenault (eight assists) did their best to help the fifth-seeded Hillies stay close but No. 4 Reading was just a little stronger.
Reading will face the winner of tonight’s Andover-Dracut matchup on Wednesday.