AMESBURY — That should make up for things.
The Newburyport boys soccer team has gotten the short end of the stick of late. First the team’s big ALS Cup night game was canceled in favor of a sparsely attended day game loss to Pentucket, then its senior day was washed away by Hurricane Sandy a week later.
But the Clippers (11-6-2) made up for all of that at the Amesbury Sports Park last night, beating Lynnfield 2-1 in a dog fight of a Division 3 North tournament quarterfinal, to advance to the semifinals for the first time in over six years.
Added to the euphoria was the revenge factor for the 10-seeded Clippers who were eliminated by the Pioneers (9-8-3) in the first round one year to the day, and Newburyport coach Shawn Bleau said he was glad to return the favor.
“It was definitely good to get them back,” Bleau said of the 15th-seeded Pioneers (10-8-3). “Lynnfield is one of the better teams in the league over the past 10 years now, and it’s a big win for our program to knock them off, definitely.”
Newburyport will meet the winner of last night’s game between 14th-seed Ipswich and sixth-seed Watertown in the semifinals later this week.
The game was a barn-burner, with both defenses coming up large. Newburyport started out on the attack in the first 10 minutes of play, then Lynnfield came at the Clippers hard. The Clippers changed the momentum at the halfway mark when forward Adam Traxler grabbed a hold of the ball from fellow co-captain Jordy Steelman, juggled it directly in front of Pioneer goalkeeper Joe Bassi, and found a hole to give Newburyport the 1-0 lead going into the half.
The second half saw Lynnfield scoring just five minutes in when Pat Kearney hit a dead-on shot up and directly off of Newburyport goalkeeper Matt Canning’s hands on a throw-in, killing whatever momentum the Clippers might have been trying to build.