BYFIELD — With 10 starters returning from last year’s sectional quarterfinalists, there was plenty of optimism at Newburyport heading into a new field hockey season.
And the Clippers offense might have raised even more expectations in Thursday afternoon’s opener, compiling four goals — a total reached only twice during an 11-8-1 campaign a year ago — in a one-goal victory over the Vikings.
“That was a good fresh start,” said junior Callie Beauparlant, whose two goals aided the win. “Last year, it was a little rough start, but in our first scrimmage (this year) we just came out on fire. I think we work really well together.
“I didn’t really have too many expectations coming in. I just wanted to go with the flow and see what the team looked like, and hope for the best as always. And the flow seems to be going pretty well. We’ve been doing great in scrimmages, but of course Triton is a huge win for us because they’re one of our main rivals.”
The Clippers needed only 3:24 to open their first lead of the game when Beauparlant broke free the final 10 yards for an easy score. They grabbed a two-goal lead when senior tri-captain Julia Tribastone converted a pass from sophomore Emily Fuller with 17:15 left in the first half.
“I am so proud of this team,” Newburyport coach Jessica Delacey said. “Today was a team effort. All of our plays throughout the whole game were really a result of great passing connections from multiple players. And it wasn’t just the same players the whole game which is nice to see. It was across the field … it was from all different places.”
Triton closed the deficit to one with 12:41 remaining when senior forward Sarah Burd took control in the middle of a scrum. But a put back by Beauparlant with 3:33 left gave Newburyport a 3-1 lead at intermission.
The Clippers took their biggest lead 11 minutes into the second half when Fuller provided the set up pass for Isabel Hulse.
“Isabel Hulse is a really good offender,” said Beauparlant, who had seven goals last year. “For a sophomore, she’s looking great. And we have (Tribastone) coming down the sidelines, and we need that speed. She gets us all up there and ready to shoot. One of the big reasons we’re always attacking the net is because of our speed.”
Triton senior Gianna Conte, who is committed to play at UMass Lowell, showed off her skills down the stretch with two goals. The first came 37 seconds after Newburyport’s final score. While her second score made the score 4-3, it was with only 29 seconds remaining.
“We remained calm and patient with the ball,” Delacey said. “We had composure and were looking across the field and figuring out who the open player was. We were very patient even when we were dribbling, especially our wings.”
Newburyport 4, Triton 3
Goals: Newburyport — Callie Beauparlant 2, Julia Tribastone, Isabel Hulse; Triton — Gianna Conte 2, Sarah Burd
Assists: Newburyport — Shannon Brennan, Emily Fuller, Tribastone
Saves: Newburyport — Gabbie Taynor 13; Triton — Riley Keeler 4
Newburyport (1-0): 3 1 — 4
Triton (0-1): 1 2 — 3