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High Schools: Pembroke girls’ soccer team upsets top-ranked Portsmouth in quarterfinals

The ninth-ranked Pembroke varsity girls’ soccer team had the tall task of handing top-seeded Portsmouth just its second loss of the season in the Division II quarterfinals yesterday, but the Spartans didn’t back down from the challenge, scoring a goal in the early stages of the game before finding the net again to put the match away with six minutes left after withstanding a high amount of Clippers pressure to win, 2-0.

Portsmouth (16-2) had its way with Pembroke (12-6) last month in a regular-season matchup that the Clippers won, 3-1, on the Spartans’ field.

“We’re a much different team between that (October game) and now,” Pembroke Coach Jess Croft said. “Different players have stepped up in new roles.”

For that game in October, the Pembroke strategy revolved around man-marking top Portsmouth striker Charlie Prevost, but the decision didn’t pay off as Prevost managed to score and the Clippers offense was able to shoot freely. The Spartans decided to take a different approach yesterday and not give so much attention to one player.

“We decided that we would focus more on just team defending and wouldn’t hyperfocus on one player,” Croft said. “Obviously (Prevost) needs a pass from someone, so we focused on winning the ball.”

For its adjusted strategy to pay off, though, Pembroke needed to generate offense at some point, and the team got just that in the early stages of the game. After a spell of possession that saw the Spartans work the ball up the field, Keerstyn Allen finished off the play to give Pembroke the early lead.

It was inevitable that Portsmouth would respond by turning up the heat offensively, and it was a long second half for the Pembroke rearguard.

“A 1-0 lead is the worst to have,” Croft said. “They were pressuring us a lot in the second half. We focused on being defensive, winning the ball and staying composed.”

Junior goalie Kristin Kezar saw her save total pile up as Portsmouth created a number of chances, and her great effort combined with the solidity of the Spartans back line responded to the challenge. The crew of Maxi Duclos, sweeper Molly Hamilton, Emma Foss, Peyton Plant and Skyler Carter was vigilant in keeping the ball away from its net.

“The whole defensive unit has been extremely solid for us this year,” Croft said. “They’ve jelled together and trust each other, and it showed today.”

All of Pembroke’s hard defensive work paid off in the 74th minute when sophomore Celia Sartwell, a midseason call-up from the JV team, connected off a corner kick to finally give the Spartans some breathing room.

The key to Pembroke’s playoff run so far has been to stay even keeled in the face of pressure from top teams.

“Our motto for the playoffs has been to just don’t have any doubts,” Croft said. “We might not get a lot of offensive opportunities, so make good on them. If you lose the ball, get back and get behind the ball.”

The Spartans now turn to the semifinals Wednesday at 6 p.m. at Bill Ball Stadium in Exeter, where they’ll face a familiar opponent in No. 5 Coe-Brown (12-4-2), which also upset its quarterfinal round opponent (No. 4 Alvirne) yesterday. The teams played two tight matches during the regular season, with the Bears winning in overtime at Pembroke in both teams’ opening game, and the Spartans returning the favor with a 1-0 win at Coe-Brown later in the year.

Pembroke just wants to focus on the small stuff.

“There’s no superstar on our team,” Croft said, “so we have to work together.”


No. 5 Coe-Brown 1,
No. 4 Alvirne 0

Emily Blad scored in the third minute of the game and the Bears defense took over from there, sending Coe-Brown (12-4-2) to a quarterfinal victory and into the final four for the first time in school history. The Broncos finished 12-5-1.

Kianna Daudelin got the scoring play started with a throw-in that Blad settled and poked past the keeper from about 10 yards out.

That’s the way it stayed, thanks in particular to the play of goalie Alley Savioli, sweeper Sarah Curtin and defender Ingrid Kinevich. Of Savioli, Coach Josh Hils said, “she made several terrific saves.” And of Curtin, who was assigned to defend Broncos all-state forward Tori LaRoche, the coach said, “she took her out of her game, and she’s definitely one of the top two or three forwards in (D-II).”

Savioli’s best save came with eight minutes left when Alvirne had a good stroke on a corner kick, but Hils said the goalie read it the whole way and made a diving save to her left. The desperate Broncos then had three corner kicks in the final two minutes but couldn’t put the ball in the net.

Coe-Brown faces No. 9 Pembroke in the semifinals Wednesday at 6 p.m.


No. 1 Bow 4, No. 8 Monadnock 0

Maddie Cheney headed in a corner kick from Lauren Scarpetti in the third minute of the second half, breaking a scoreless tie and sending the Falcons (18-0-0) on their way to a comfortable quarterfinal victory over the Huskies (11-4-2)

“At halftime, we just knew we needed to stay relaxed and composed,” Bow Coach Jay Vogt said. “We thought once we got that (we) would loosen up. And it worked out that way. ... It was good for us to deal with being under that pressure.”

Caitlyn Keenan scored the next two goals to put the game away, the first on a rocket shot from 20 yards out (assisted by Sarah Carlson) in the 52nd minute, the second off a feed by Maddie Lust in the 62nd minute. Lust then scored a goal of her own in the 64th minute when she one-timed a great pass from Lilly Naimie past the keeper.

Goalie Janna Corsetti lost her shutout bid when the Huskies scored with four minutes to play. Vogt credited Maddy Duffy, Julia Currier and Leeanna Cmar with doing a great job defensively, and Lindsey Vogt and Taylor Morris with providing energy up front.

The Falcons face No. 5 Raymond in the semifinals Wednesday at 6 p.m.

No. 3 Hopkinton 4,
no. 11 prospect mountain 0

The Hawks (14-2-2) dominated possession throughout the game and cruised past the Timberwolves (9-8-1) in a quarterfinal game.

Courtney Benson opened the scoring 21 minutes into the game, but the Prospect Mountain defense hung tough after that for the rest of the half.

Hopkinton broke it open as sisters Kelly and Lily Scammon scored goals off of corner kicks in the 42nd and 67th minutes, respectively. Meg Hemmerlein added the final tally in the 70th minute.

Tess Masci, Sabrey Montore and Caroline Sweny provided smothering defense all game.

Hopkinton takes on No. 7 Campbell in the semifinals Wednesday at 4 p.m. at Merrimack Valley.

No. 7 Campbell 3,
No. 2 Belmont 1

The Red Raiders (14-3-1) suffered just their third loss of the season and were upset victims in the quarterfinals. The Cougars improved to 13-4-1. No details were reported.

No. 5 Raymond 4,
No. 13 Hillsboro-Deering 0

The Hillcats couldn’t follow up their shocker over No. 4 Stevens with another upset in the quarterfinals. H-D finishes 8-9-1 while Raymond advances with a record of 14-4. No details were reported.


No. 4 Bishop Guertin 2,
No. 12 Concord 0

The Crimson Tide (8-10) couldn’t pull of a second straight tourney upset, falling on the road to the Cardinals (12-4-1) in the quarterfinals. No details were reported.


no. 1 Coe-brown 3,
no. 8 portsmouth 0

The Bears (16-1) beat the Clippers (10-8) in straight sets, 25-17, 25-13, 25-23, in the quarterfinals.

Megan Rouillard led the way with 12 kills, while Emma Easler was close behind with 11 kills. Debbie Peabody had 18 digs.

Coe-Brown plays No. 4 Gilford on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Pinkerton.


No. 3 Winnisquam 3,
No. 11 Newfound 0

The Bears (16-2) progressed past the quarterfinals with a sweep of Newfound (9-9), 25-16, 25-23, 25-7.

After a relatively straightforward first game, Winnisquam led 17-14 in the second before Newfound mounted a comeback attempt. Winnisquam stayed strong under pressure to win the game.

“I’m pleased with the poise we displayed (in the second game),” Bears Coach Mike Livernois said.

Winnisquam went on to run away with the third game, starting with a 10-point serving run by Dallis Austin to pull ahead.

“We shifted into a higher gear,” Livernois said about the final game.

Hannah Chapin led the team with 13 kills and added six digs, while Carissa Archibald (four kills) led the team in digs with 15. Bailey Long had seven kills, three digs and a key season-high five blocks, and Erica Doubleday had 26 assists and four digs.

Austin (seven digs), Mo Raymond (six digs, two kills) and Becky Rapoza (two kills, two aces) also played well.

Winnisquam will face No. 2 Sunapee (17-1) in the semifinals Wednesday at Plymouth State University at 5 p.m.

No. 2 Sunapee 3,
No. 7 Belmont 1

The Red Raiders struggled with unforced errors and lost in the quarterfinals, 26-24, 25-21, 23-25, 25-21, to close out the season at 12-6. Sunapee improved to 17-1.

Belmont’s leaders included Megan Bailey (ace, six kills, two digs, 36 assists), Alyssa Woods (ace, six kills, dig), Shannon Conway (six kills), Louisa Bergeron (11 kills) and Jessie Bergeron (ace, kill, 19 digs).

“Sunapee gave us a fight – they are a very scrappy and smart team,” Belmont Coach Melissa Miner said. “We struggled in the first three matches with a lot of unforced errors and serving errors, but we kept pushing on. I was hoping that with the experience that we had with five seniors that would be an advantage.”


Plymouth 36,
Merrimack Valley 6

With its first playoff date already stamped, Merrimack Valley (7-2) came out flat at Plymouth (8-1) and watched the Bobcats roll out to a 29-0 halftime lead.

Freshman Evan Martin scored his first varsity touchdown on a 35-yard run late in the game for the Pride, who also received solid games from Cole Martin, Ryan Head and linebackers Tristan McNeel and Buddy Hughes.

“We’ll put this behind us and be 100 percent all in,” MV Coach David Jackson said of his team’s Division II quarterfinal at Portsmouth.

John Stark 40,
Con-Val 6

Carson Dunn capped a record-setting career for the Generals (2-7) by rushing for more than 100 yards to bring his career total to a Stark record of 1,800 yards. He scored two TDs in the game, one rushing and one receiving.

Adam King also scored twice, once on the ground and the other on “an electrifying, zig-zag interception return of 50 yards,” Coach Jim O’Rourke said.

Cody Ledoux scored on a 4-yard run and Christian Coughlin caught a 60-yard TD pass from freshman Drew McQuarrie to round out the scoring.

Middle linebacker Kellan Brien led the team in tackles (as he did for the season) and Steven Wuebbolt, Andy Hewey and Jon Willey played well on the offensive line.

The Cougars finished the season 0-9.

Winnisquam 35,
Newfound 14

The Bears (4-4) wrapped up their regular season with a road win over Newfound (2-6), getting lots of offense from the Serrano brothers and a number of good defensive performances. After a scoreless first quarter, Winnisquam scored two touchdowns in the second and third quarters while holding Newfound to just two scores overall.

Christian Serrano got the ball rolling with two running TDs in the second, scoring on an 80-yard run and a 13-yard run. He added a 3-yard run TD in the third quarter to finish with 11 carries, 151 yards and three TDs. Andrew Serrano scored on an 8-yard run in the third and came away with 152 yards on 20 carries. Patrick Boyle added a late TD run, while Kyle Sawicki was a perfect 5-for-5 on extra point attempts. The offensive line had a strong day, making room for a number of successful runs.

Defensively, Dakota VanTassel (nine tackles, sack), Timothy Harmon (seven tackles, two interceptions) and Richard Mills (13 tackles, sack) made a number of plays for a unit that played well for the whole game.

Winnisquam misses out on the Division III tournament after finishing tied with Inter-Lakes on points (66 each) but having lost to the Lakers to fall in the head-to-head category.

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