NHIAA Boys' Soccer: Salem begins by beating Bedford
SALEM — Usually having young, inexperienced players on your roster is a handicap. For the Salem Blue Devils soccer team on Friday, it was not.
Salem jumped out to an early lead and rode it to a 2-0 season-opening victory over Bedford at Salem High Friday.
The freshman duo of forwards Andrew Fischera and Christian Moreno gave Salem all the offense it needed.
"The start was great, more than I can hope for, with two freshmen linking up twice," said Salem coach Anthony Karibian.
Just a few minutes into the game, Fischera took a feed from Moreno and shot it past Bedford goalie Josh Reeks to give Salem a 1-0 lead.
About 10 minutes later, Fischera put a shot on goal that Reeks seemed to have wrapped up. But it came loose and Moreno was on top of it and drove it into the net.
That would end the day for Reeks. Bulldogs coach Stuart Pepper put Nick Barnard in net.
"To their credit, I think they were the better team today" said Pepper about the Blue Devils. "They started a lot stronger. We were raw and a bit scattered."
With the 2-0 lead, the Blue Devils were able to keep eight defenders back for most of the game, leaving little room for Bedford to operate.
"We wanted to play straight up," said Karibian "But as the game went on, they pushed forward and we had to match their pressure."
Any shots that the Bulldogs could muster came from outside and senior goaltender Kevin Strout had little trouble stopping.
Strout made eight saves to earn a shutout in his first varsity start.
Pepper said the Bulldogs were missing several starters. Add the loss of eight seniors and this Bedford lineup lacked experience.
"These are things we can work on and I'm confident we can be better," said Pepper.
Even with an emphasis on defense, Salem still had several good scoring chances in the second half, including one shot that caromed off the crossbar late.
Barnard made some acrobatic saves to keep the Bulldogs within two goals.