(Byfield MA) The Triton field hockey defense has been very good and that held true this afternoon against Newburyport.
The Vikings (12-3-2) recorded their eighth shutout of the season, 1-0, against Newburyport (5-7-3).
“We know that our defense is pretty strong (eleven goals against in seventeen games),” said Triton coach Donna Andersen. “It’s the frontline we’re working on.”
The Vikings frontline didn’t score in this one, but they did set up junior Sammy Kelly (center midfielder) with the game winner in the third quarter.
On the Triton goal, junior Riley Bell broke loose down the left wing and moved in for a close shot. Newburyport GK Jane Mettling kicked the shot away to the top of the circle.
“The ball came out to me,” recalled Sammy, “and I hit it right back toward the goal.”
Sammy’s quick shot surprised the Clippers defense and went into the left corner.
“We just weren’t ready for the ball going to the top spot,” said Newburyport coach Jessica Philbrick afterwards.
Sammy’s goal at 13:37 of the third quarter was her first of the season.
“Sammy saw the shot coming out and came into the top of the circle and took it over,” said Coach Andersen. “It was a good follow-up to pressure.”
Riley Bell picked up the assist.
“Riley is a good hard worker on the left wing,” said Coach Andersen. “She’s done some really nice things for us. She’s also scored a few goals.”
The Clippers lost to Triton, 2-0, in the season opener in September.
“Compared to our first game with Triton, we were like two different teams,” said Coach Phillbrick. “Today we played with confidence and made some good passing connections throughout the whole game.”
Newburyport has won four of their last six games, scoring sixteen goals and only giving up two goals.
“We’ve improved as the season has gone along,” added Coach Phillbrick. “It is better to peak at the end of the season.”
Newburyport applied pressure early in the first quarter as junior Lilly Ragusa centered a pass across in front of Triton goalie Sophia Chapman. No one was there to collect for the Clippers.
There were six corners in the game and neither team did much with them. Newburyport had their first and only one at 8:24 of the first quarter.
Triton had the next five corners including two in the second quarter and two in the third quarter.
“We clearly struggled to put the ball in the net,” said Coach Anderson. “Scoring is a little tricky right now.”
Newburyport’s best chance may have been early in the second half. Sophomore Delaney Woekel was able to get very close to the Triton goal but couldn’t get a shot off.
Less than a minute later (13:37) Sammy Kelly tallied the game’s only score.
The Vikings had several other good scoring chances in the third quarter, but Newburyport GK Jane Mettling turned them away each time.
The Clippers had the better of the scoring opportunities in the closing quarter but the Vikings defense, led by Neila Jones and Devyn Karpenko, kept the shutout for Triton.
Triton is currently ranked fourth in Division 3 while Newburyport is ranked ninth.
“We’re 4th in the standings,” said Coach Anderson. “Things could be worse.”
“I’m looking forward to seeing how we’ll do in the playoffs,” said Coach Phillbrick.
There are no sectionals in this year’s playoff setup. Previously, Cape Ann League teams would face each other in the North sectional. Now it is possible that the most successful of the CAL teams might not see each other until the state finals.
Triton recently played, and lost, to CAL division leaders Ipswich and Pentucket by a 1-0 score each time. “I thought that we were fairly even with Ipswich,” recalled Coach Anderson. “Pentucket outplayed us. They completely dominated us in the second half.”
Coach Phillbrick: “I keep reminding myself this year that a lot of my players may not be young to varsity but because of last year’s seven-versus-seven format didn’t get as much playing time as they would in a normal season.”
Triton senior Maddie Hillick had both goals in the Vikings, 2-0, win over Newburyport in their first meeting.
Triton won nine of their first ten games while Newburyport was 1-5-3 in their first nine games.
It was cold (high 40’s) at Triton but thankfully the normal wind there never showed up.
The brilliant foliage in the Triton area appears in several of this entry’s pictures.
(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)