Published in the November 9, 2017 edition

SENIOR Meredith Griffin (4) takes control as she separates a Swampscott opponent from the ball while Alyssa Prusik (8) looks on. (John Friberg Photo)


NORTH READING — The 11th seed Swampscott Big Blue scored in the waning seconds of double overtime to hand the 6th seed Lady Hornets a gut wrenching 2-1 home defeat in the first round of the Division 3 North State Sectional on Friday night. Junior Mia DeNofrio scored for North Reading. With the loss, the Hornets will fail to reach the North Final for the first time since 2013.

NRHS came out strong and controlled the first ten minutes. They created a few quality chances but couldn’t find the scoring touch. The rest of the first half would be played around the midfield and the game remained scoreless at halftime.

SENIOR Jerlin Kaithamattam (7) wins this “header battle” in a soaking rain against Swampscott in the D3N tournament at Arthur J. Kenney Field. (John Friberg Photo)

At the start of the second half it was the Big Blue’s turn to control the run of play. But they were held of the scoreboard and in the 53rd minute, the Hornets struck. On the play, senior captain Juliette Nadeau corralled a long pass, patiently dribbled to the top of the box and sent a terrific pass to DeNofrio who ripped a beautiful shot into the upper far corner of the net for the goal.

Unfortunately, the lead lasted less than a minute and a half when Swampscott’s Hailey Bernhardt delivered a free kick that somehow slipped between junior Alyssa Crugnale’s legs to tie it up. After the tying goal, neither team could generate much offense and the game ended up heading to overtime.

Both teams were cautious to start the first overtime period, but towards the end of the first overtime, senior Jerlin Kaithamattam streaked toward the box all alone but was ruled offside and the game went to a second overtime.

The second overtime was a defensive struggle and it looked like the game was destined for a shootout. But in the final seconds, Swampscott’s Sarah Tribendis headed home a free kick to break North Reading’s heart.