(Newburyport MA) The Newburyport Clippers had lost to North Reading on October 25th.
It was their only loss (so far) this season.
That history played a part in Newburyport’s 1-0 win over North Reading tonight.
“We came out ready to play,” said Coach Shaw Bleau. “We carried the momentum, finally got a goal, and held them off.”
“The last time we played them we took our only loss,” recalled Max Gagnon. “We wanted revenge.”
Playing with more determination was one thing but the key to the Clippers’ win tonight was neutralizing Hornets’ standout junior Josh Stanieich.
“They (Newburyport) did a great job of taking away what we like to do,” said NR coach Mark Bisognano. “They took away our best player (Josh Stanieich). They man-marked him out of the game. It was good strategy. It’s what I would have tried to do against us.”
Coach Bleau identified that player doing the marking. It was junior Will Thoreson.
“Will stayed all over him,” said Coach Bleau. “He marked him as best he could right out of the game.”
Will told me that he had been assigned to mark other players before tonight.
“It’s kind of my trademark now,” Will said. “It’s pretty much a basketball defense. I have to see the ball and the man at the same time.”
Josh Stanieich warranted all the attention because his goal had beaten the Clippers on October 25th. Also, Josh had the game winner in North Reading’s tournament win.
Will’s defense helped limit Josh to just one shot.
“He had one clean shot early on and it went 15’ over the bar,” said Will. “That was the only one he had.”
The Clippers (18-1-1) applied plenty of pressure on the Hornets (10-5-3).
Every throw-in by senior Jack Fehlner landed in the box area and kept NR goalie Kieran Gorgenyi very busy.
The Clippers weren’t shy about substituting, either.
“We kept putting in subs to keep the pressure on,” said Coach Bleau. “We stayed after it.”
Newburyport got its only goal two minutes into the second half.
Will Acquaviva put a cross in front of the North Reading goal and it was deflected in off a Hornets’ defender.
“You let a guy get to the end line and you’re in a lot of trouble as a defender,” said Coach Bisognano recalling the goal. “He (Will Acquaviva) hit a good smart ball across the face of the goal, and it ended up in the back of our net.”
Will Acquaviva was quite certain that teammate Caelen Twitchell would have gotten the goal if the defender hadn’t deflected it.
“I was coming to the near post on the right side and the goalie was there,” said Will. “I cut it back past him and Caelan (Twitchell) was there. The defender didn’t have many options. If he didn’t touch it, Caelan would have.”
“You keep pressuring a team and hope you’ll get a break and I think that we got one on that goal,” said Coach Bleau.
The Hornets turned up the pressure after the Newburyport goal.
“We created a few chances late when it became desperate times,” said Coach Bisognano.
“North Reading gave us our only loss this season,” said Coach Bleau. “They defend really well. They’re very organized and dangerous at the same time. We knew that we couldn’t go to sleep on them.”
#6 Newburyport will travel Saturday to face #3 Norwell at 5PM.
“Coach (Bleau) saw Norwell play the other night,” said Max Gagnon.
The Clippers are 10-0-1 at home. The tie was with Pentucket.
Good crowd with active support for both teams.
Will Thoreson: “He (Josh Stanieich) tries to beat you one-on-one. I tried to keep him to his weak foot.”
Coach Bisognano: “I’m glad that we have a Cape Ann representative in the final eight. Of course, I hoped it would be us! We thought that we had another shot at an upset.”
Jack Fehlner: (He has committed to play baseball at Roanoke College.) “My sister goes to James Madison in Virginia. When we moved her in, I went to a prospect camp down there. I met the Roanoke coach. I toured the campus and liked it down there.”
(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)