BYFIELD — Growing up playing defense, Jack Fehlner hasn’t scored too many goals in his soccer career. The sophomore probably wasn’t expecting that to change in his first-ever varsity soccer game, but about 12 minutes into Newburyport’s season, he got the ball nearly 30 yards out and decided to try his luck.
“I wasn’t even supposed to be on the right side, but coach had me take a throw-in down there,” Fehlner said. “Max Gagnon passed me the ball and I decided to take a rip, and thankfully it went in.”
Fehlner delivered an absolute boomer straight into the upper right corner of the net, an exclamation point on what turned out to be a dominant overall performance by the Clippers against rival Triton. Newburyport went on to win Wendesday’s opener 4-0 thanks in large part to the performance of talented newcomers who look to see their roles increase substantially from last year.
Sophomore Brady O’Donnell got things started in the eighth minute when he finished a cross from Harry Costello for Newburyport’s first goal of the season. Fehlner’s rocket followed shortly after, and as time went on the Clippers also got standout showings from new freshmen Will Acquaviva, Henry Acton and Jamie Brooks, sophomore defender Graham Smith and plenty of others.
“What a rip by Jack there, that was great,” said Newburyport coach Shawn Bleau. “Looking at the people that contributed, much of them weren’t starters. Brady got the ball from Harry Costello on the right side, a good slot in, those two kids who were both coming off the bench last year. And Jack, he got brought up at the end of the year but he didn’t play with our back line and he’s stepping up, he’s been a great addition to our back line.”
Newburyport was playing without senior captain Cam McDermott, and fellow senior Russell Bleau was just getting back after missing the end of the preseason with an injury. Regardless, the Clippers dominated the possession battle, maintaining control for at least 80 percent of the game. On the few occasions Triton did threaten, Newburyport’s defense was able to sort things out without too much difficulty.
“In the back we were doing a lot of talking, moving people around, everyone was moving and being aggressive,” said Graham Smith, a first-year starter on defense as a sophomore.
Newburyport led 2-0 at halftime and tacked on two more second half goals from senior tri-captain Tyler Koglin and junior Owen Spence. Senior goalie Stefan Berlind, making his first varsity start after taking over for reigning Daily News Boys Soccer MVP Aiden Guthro, only needed to make one save in his 60 minutes of action, and reserve Tomas Jahn never had to touch the ball to split the shutout.
Triton goalie Mark Anthony Glickman, meanwhile, did a great job keeping his team within reasonable striking distance. The returning CAL All-Star made 12 saves on the day.
Newburyport (1-0) will stay on the road this Friday when it takes on Masconomet at 3:45 p.m., while Triton (0-1) will look to bounce back when it hosts Pentucket on Friday, also at 3:45 p.m.
Newburyport 4, Triton 0
Goals: Brady O’Donnell, Jack Fehlner, Tyler Koglin, Owen Spence
Assists: Harry Costello, Max Gagnon, Rajan Bista
Saves: N — Stefan Berind 1, Tomas Jahn 0; T — Mark Anthony Glickman 12
Newburyport (1-0): 2 2 — 4
Triton (0-1): 0 0 — 0