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October 5, 2021
Danvers 6 - Marblehead 0

The Danvers Varsity Girls Soccer Team hosted Marblehead Tuesday night for their annual Danvers Youth Soccer night.  The 3rd grade DYS players showed up in their blue and white uniforms and got to walk out to the field with the Varsity players during introductions.  Then at halftime, the youth players got to scrimmage each other on the varsity turf in front of the large crowd.


"DYS night has become a great tradition over the years.  All of my current players participated when they were younger.  It's an awesome experience for the 2nd graders and just as rewarding for the Varsity players.  It's so awesome to see them being introduced together.  They young girls also made a ton of noise for our Team in the stands which we certainly appreciated  We hope they keep coming to as many games as possible!"


Danvers came into the match having just tied Peabody 2-2.  Marblehead came in with a 6-1-1 record and were looking to knock off the Falcons.  Danvers came out intense and composed and used their skill on the ball from the opening whistle.  The hosts enjoyed a big advantage in territorial play spending most of the first half on the attack.  Whenever the Magicians did get possession, the Danvers defense was there to end the attack.  Center backs and captains Gabby Chisholm and Emma Dunn stood out on defense with their strong play in the back and their aggressiveness towards all 50 / 50 balls.  12 minutes in, a Marblehead clear found the foot of junior right back, Mikayla Shaffaval.  Shaffaval hit a beautiful shot from 20 yards out that found the back of the net for the early lead.


"We spent a good portion of practice yesterday on shooting from distance and building up the confidence to take those kinds of shots.  It was great to see Mikayla score on that shot and it really got our momentum going."


12 minutes later Danvers was awarded one of 8 first half corner kicks.  Gabby Chisholm hit a beautiful cross that senior captain Reese Pszenny slammed into the back of the net with a beautiful header for the 2 goal lead.


"That was an amazing goal.  We've been talking a lot about corner kicks in practice and at games lately and I feel we did an awesome job on them tonight.  Gabby's serve was perfect and Reese rose above the defense and headed the ball down across that goal line with power.  She's really gifted at winning balls in the air and she's super dangerous on corners."


Danvers got 1 more before halftime when junior forward Ellie Anderson combined with Pszenny to set up senior captain Arianna Bezanson for her first goal of the game.  Danvers out-shot the visitors 13-1 in the first 40 minutes and the Falcons got steady play from junior Ryley Crosby at left back and junior Teagan Price at center mid.  Sophomore Reese Holland played very well on defense coming off the bench and giving the team an intensity lift.  


Danvers got their 4th early in the second when Bezanson was taken down in the box and awarded a penalty kick.  She calmly found the back of the net for her second of the game.  2 minutes later Danvers was awarded a direct kick from just inside their own half.  Gabby Chisholm's long arching kick took a high bounce that played off of the Marblehead keeper's hands and went into the net for the unassisted goal.  Late in the half Danvers was awarded their 10th corner kick of the game.  This time it was junior Cali Abbatessa that served the ball perfectly to the back post where classmate Ellie Anderson was there to head it in.


"That was another beautiful goal.  Cali really serves the ball well and she hit that one perfectly.  Ellie was in the right place and did well to head it home.  That was an outstanding play all around."


When the final whistle blew, Danvers won the game 6-0 to improve to 8-0-2 on the season.  Junior Emily Goddard made 3 saves on the day to post the shutout.  With the win, Danvers qualified for the State Tournament for the 31st straight year, dating back to 1991 when now Junior Varsity Coach Jerry Hills was the Varsity Coach with son Shawn assisting him.


"31 straight years is an amazing stat.  That's always a goal of us coming into the season - to qualify for the tournament.  I'm happy that the girls got that done early in the season and it's awesome that we've kept that streak going that stared with Coach Hillsy back in the early 90's."


"This was a real solid win for us tonight.  Marblehead came in with a very good record and had played some strong teams very tough.  I thought my 4 Captains were just outstanding tonight.  Their leadership along with their outstanding all around play really got us going.  Emma was awesome in the back tonight.  She was determined to win every ball in her area and she made some great defensive tackles.  She also did well on all balls in the air which she excels at.  Gabby also defended terrifically and also had that great corner kick assist and long unassisted goal to aid our offense.  Reese's header goal and assist were a big spark for us offensively.  Reese is playing at such a high level now and she's definitely a headache for opposing teams to deal with.  Ari was steady as usual offensively and in the midfield.  She always finds a way to get our attack going and tonight was no difference.  She really is almost impossible to stop.  Even with defenses geared towards keeping her from scoring, she still finds a way."


Danvers will travel to Masconomet Thursday afternoon in what could be considered the game of the year.  The Falcons won the first match 3-1 on opening day.    

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