High Schools: Concord boys spoil Hanover’s perfect season, but settle for 0-0 tie
Concord knew it would be facing the toughest test of its season against the undefeated and untied Hanover boys’ soccer team yesterday at Memorial Field. But the Crimson Tide wasn’t losing any sleep over the matchup.
“I actually went to bed early,” Concord senior Augustine Fornor said. “I wanted to get myself mentally ready to play my best.”
The extra rest paid off for Fornor. The center back led the Tide’s defensive effort and helped Concord do two things no other team has done all season – shut out the Marauders and keep them from winning. The Tide (10-2-2) owned the early play and opportunities, and Hanover (13-0-1) took control after halftime, but in the end both teams had to settle for a 0-0 tie.
“We were prepared and we were pumped. We just wanted to come out and spoil their perfect season,” Concord keeper Andrew Grondin (five saves) said. “And they’re not 14-0.”
“We played very well in the first half. I thought we showed how well we could play against the best team in the state,” Tide Coach Scott Dunlop said. “And then I felt things swung the other way in the second half. We just got on our heels and kind of bent but didn’t break. But I’m very pleased with the performance.”
While no other team has even played within one goal of Hanover – which has outscored its opponents by a combined 50-3 – Marauders Coach Rob Grabill wasn’t ready to concede that Concord gave his team its toughest match of the season.
“It was a good, tough contest, but I don’t want to get into characterizing whether it was the toughest or not,” Grabill said. “This is what we really hope for at this time of the year when you get down to the end and you start playing games that have a tournament feel to them against some of the better teams.”
The Tide looked like the best team on the field in first 15 minutes of the game. Concord earned a pair of corner kicks in the first two minutes, pressured and controlled the midfield behind the quick feet and anticipation of Matt Chartier and Danny Nkhalamba, and looked dangerous with Mohamed Mohamed attacking in the center and Issac Dugas and Kyler Thayer working the wings.
“It really took us a while to get into the game and full credit to Concord for that,” Grabill said. “They were knocking on the door.”
They almost went through the door in the 25th minute after a corner kick from Nkhalamba got directed toward goal, but Hanover midfielder Tomas LaPorta was on the goal line to prevent the score. The Marauders settled down in the latter stages of the first half, but the Tide still went into halftime with advantages in total shots (4-2), shots on goal (2-0) and corner kicks (3-0).
The run of play shifted as soon as the second half began as Hanover started winning the 50/50 balls and controlling possession while Concord was the team having to overcome a mistake here and a missed pass there. But the Tide’s back line of Fornor, Gaston Arocena, Dan Vignati and Emmanuel Smith was constantly in position to deny Hanover that final scoring touch.
The Marauders had the second-half edge in shots on goal (2-1) and corner kicks (2-0), although the total shots were all even (3-3). But that changed during the two 10-minute overtimes as Hanover generated five total shots (the Tide had one) and two great chances – a shot from Rocco Linehan bounced just wide in the seventh minute of the first overtime and after a scrum in front off a corner kick, Thayer and Vignati blocked a point-blank blast that would have ended things in the second minute of the second overtime.
“I’m happy with the team right now. (Hanover) is the number one team in the state and we put up a good fight against them,” Fornor said. “It’s not the result we’re looking for, but it can do.”
Pembroke 4, John Stark 2
Aaron Locke scored two goals in four minutes to spot the Spartans (10-2-1) a quick lead at John Stark (6-7-1). Pembroke extended its lead to 3-0 in the 20th minute through Parker Heath’s goal.
Brandon Dugay pulled one back late in the first half for the Generals, but Spencer Nowe restored Pembroke’s three-goal lead in the 49th minute.
Will Pineault added a late score for Stark. Cam Williams and Kyle Clements had assists, while Ryan Nelson and Jackson Easter played well.
Heath, Jeremy Caruso and Brendon Pettigrew added assists for Pembroke.
Merrimack Valley 3, Plymouth 1
The Pride (4-10) kept its playoff hopes alive with a road win over Plymouth (4-9-1), which has lost four straight.
Jarrett Davis got the scoring going just 12 seconds into the game after he pounced on a Plymouth turnover. Griffin Bastian and Tim Bortnick each got goals in the second half, with Davis adding an assist on Bortnick’s score.
Hudson Aldrich made nine saves behind the sturdy defensive duo of Johnathin Bailey and James Shattuck. Ben Davis and Adrian Bolte were strong in the middle.
Concord 3, Timberlane 1
The Crimson Tide (6-7) got a valuable road win over Timberlane (6-7-1) after taking a 2-0 lead at halftime.
Caroline Andy and Claudia Roy each scored in the first half. The Owls got on the board in the second half and pressured Concord, but the Tide stood strong defensively and got four important saves from a solid Becky Weld in goal.
Ellie Pope scored the third Concord goal.
John Stark 2, Pembroke 1
The Generals (4-7-3) scored two goals in the second half after Pembroke (8-6) got on the board first.
The Spartans scored their goal off of a free kick, but Stark answered quickly with a goal off of a diving header by Jocelyn Dimond from a Jordan Shatney cross. Danielle Galli scored the winning goal after outhustling her defender.
Kelsey Johnstone, Chloe Loos, Savanna Labounty and Liz Brandt secured the defense for Stark, while Maddison Janelle had an outstanding game in net.
Merrimack Valley 1, Plymouth 0
Emily Mulleavey scored the lone goal of the game in the 36th minute to lead the Pride (7-3-4) to a home win over Plymouth (6-9).
MV goalkeeper Mary Mullen was stellar in net with 11 saves.
Hollis-Brookline 3, Concord 1
The Crimson Tide (8-7) fell at home to a hot Hollis-Brookline team (7-8) that has won four straight matches, 25-14, 25-18, 21-25, 25-17.
Freshmen Lauren Hatch (11 kills, four digs) and Caitlyn Shea (12 assists) starred for Concord, while Molly Emerson added two kills.
The Hillcats (2-10) lost at home in four games to Wilton-Lyndeborough (6-8) on Wednesday, 25-20, 25-8, 19-25, 25-23. The Warriors snapped a four-game losing streak.
Virginia Philbrick led H-D in kills with eight and added five aces, while Emily Hatcher had six kills and four aces. Dakota Anderson (five digs) and Hannah Pepper (12 assists) also played well.
Milford 1, Bow 0
Milford (5-8) scored the only goal of the game with under five minutes left to spoil Bow’s final home game of the year.
The Falcons (3-11) had some scoring opportunities and held the Spartans to minimal offense until the closing stages.
Bow was led by its six graduating seniors: Hannah Berman, Sarah Davis, Katie Lawson, Caitlin Meaney, Sierra Welch and Elizabeth Walmsley.