WORCESTER — The Newburyport girls’ soccer team capped an undefeated season Saturday with its first state championship since the Clippers won back-to-back titles in 2007 and 2008.
Senior captain Jaycie Triandafilou’s goal in the sixth minute was all the Clippers (21-0-2) needed to defeat Granby, 1-0, and capture the Division 3 state championship.
“Jaycie, she’s a motor up front,” said Newburyport co-coach Kevin Sheridan. “When you’re separating from the defender [while] carrying the ball, that’s a statement.”
The Clippers barely allowed Granby to get a touch on the ball. They were most dangerous on crosses and corner kicks. Triandafilou’s goal came off a corner kick delivered by senior Amy Sullivan.
If not for Rams senior goalkeeper Brittany Hauschild, Newburyport easily could have run up the score. Aside from three shots that hit the crossbar and another cleared off the goal line by a Granby defender, Hauschild made six saves and intercepted a handful of crosses.
“In the second half we started to control the game, which is big for us,” said Sheridan. “That’s the way you should win a championship, with control.”
Granby (18-4-1) sent nearly every player into the Clippers’ end late in the game, knocking Hail Mary passes into the cluster of bodies. Newburyport’s back line, led by senior captain Aly Leahy, handled the assault.
“[Leahy] really dictates what happens in the backfield,” said Clippers co-coach Robb Gonnam. “She makes her fullbacks’ job a lot easier. She’s tough on them but it’s a lot better when you have someone directing traffic.”
With all of Granby’s field players in Newburyport’s end, the Clippers took off on breakaway runs with less than two minutes to go. Triandafilou and senior forward Annie Bresnahan both had golden opportunities but Hauschild made the saves.
The shutout was the 18th of the season for Lily Donovan, who recorded two saves. Also a senior captain, Donovan has only allowed five goals in 23 games this season.
A championship of their own has been a goal of Newburyport’s 10 four-year varsity seniors since they were just ball girls watching the 2008 team win, Gonnam said.
“They said, ‘When it’s our turn, we are going to win this.’ ”