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Division III powers Bow, Hopkinton meet in dramatic 1-1 tie

  • Hopkinton's Riley McNicholas and Bow's Luke Laboe race toward the ball in the game between the schools at Bow High School on Tuesday, October 8, 2013. The game ended in a tie after two overtimes. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

    Hopkinton's Riley McNicholas and Bow's Luke Laboe race toward the ball in the game between the schools at Bow High School on Tuesday, October 8, 2013. The game ended in a tie after two overtimes.

    (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

  • Hopkinton celebrates after Nick Fleury, left, scored a goal for their team in the game against Bow with less than a minute on the clock on Tuesday, October 9, 2013. The game ended in a tie after two overtimes.  <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

    Hopkinton celebrates after Nick Fleury, left, scored a goal for their team in the game against Bow with less than a minute on the clock on Tuesday, October 9, 2013. The game ended in a tie after two overtimes.

    (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

  • Hopkinton's Riley McNicholas and Bow's Luke Laboe race toward the ball in the game between the schools at Bow High School on Tuesday, October 8, 2013. The game ended in a tie after two overtimes. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)
  • Hopkinton celebrates after Nick Fleury, left, scored a goal for their team in the game against Bow with less than a minute on the clock on Tuesday, October 9, 2013. The game ended in a tie after two overtimes.  <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

BOW – The Bow boys’ soccer team was 15 seconds away from doing what no team had done all year – shut out Hopkinton. The Falcons defense had been physical and diligent all game, and then it slipped.

“I’m very proud them, we were shutting out a team that’s been scoring at will,” Bow Coach George Pinkham said. “And then we made a mental mistake, and we’ll have to learn from that.”

When the Hawks earned a corner kick in the game’s final moments, Bow was slow to react and set up its defense while Hopkinton’s Zach Rouleau quickly placed the ball and delivered the kick. The well-placed cross slipped through the scrambling Falcons and found the foot of Nick Fleury, who didn’t miss.

“I knew we only had seconds to spare,” Fleury said. “So I just tried to get my foot over the ball and hit it as hard as I could.”

The shot stayed low and tucked inside the far post to tie things at 1-1, which is how it ended after the two overtime periods. The draw is the first blemish on the Hawks record (10-0-1), and even though it could have been a better result for Bow (10-1-1), the Falcons did earn a some redemption from their 2-0 loss at Hopkinton back on Sept. 18.

“I thought we got our butts kicked,” Hopkinton Coach Scott Zipke said. “Bow played much better than they did the first time we faced them … We’ll take the 1-1 tie, it’s always good when your team can score in the last minute, it’s exciting, but hopefully going forward we’ll be ready for good physical play and this can be a little wake up call for us.”

There’s no doubt the Falcons used their loss to Hopkinton as a wake up call.

“We were definitely more ready this time than we were before,” said Bow senior Chris Ketcham, who scored the Falcons goal. “I think we were more mentally prepared. We weren’t really expecting how difficult it was going to be, so this time our heads were in the game.”

Bow used that readiness, the wind at its back and the offensive push from Ben Maurer, Corey Plumb and Ketcham to tilt the field in its favor during the game’s first 20 minutes. The Hawks settled into their passing game after that, and had more than their share of possession time, but that didn’t translate into enough scoring chances.

“We see we have that skill and we can pass the ball around, but whoop-de-do if you can pass the ball around in the middle third of the field if you can’t go to goal and take shots and produce dangerous chances,” Zipke said.

The Bow defense, led by Mitchell Blair, Thomas Poulin, David Merchan and keeper Tim Bradley (seven saves), deserves plenty of credit for quieting the Hopkinton offense, which was averaging 4.4 goals per game coming into the contest. On the other end, the Hawks back of line of James McCluskey, Liam McNicholas, Matt French and Wes Rose made sure keeper Robbie Ferguson (six saves) didn’t face any tough shots in the first 40 minutes and the top two teams in Division III went into halftime, 0-0.

The Hopkinton defense showed some cracks in the second half, however. Bow just missed scoring on a corner kick seven minutes into the second half and two minutes later Luke Laboe created a wide open chance for Ketcham, but the shot sailed over the crossbar. The cracking defense finally broke in the 53rd minute on a Bow counter when a Maurer header found Ketcham, who guided a left-footed shot to the far post for the opening goal.

“I was freaking out about that first one, so I needed another chance to redeem myself,” Ketcham said.

The Hopkinton offense had some near misses of its own in the second half as Doug Fleury, Brian Hauschild and Riley McNicholas found a few ways inside, around and over the Falcons defense, but the final touch was never right. Ketcham had two more close calls himself in the latter stages of the second half, including one off the post, but the score stayed at 1-0 until the Hawks miracle in the final minute.

“That was definitely disappointing,” Bow captain Sam Cheney said, “but you’ve got to give Hopkinton credit, they worked hard out there. They’re a good team and our best competition, so it’s always fun to play them, but you can’t slack off.”

Cheney got his team fired up after it gave up that late goal, and the Falcons controlled play in the first 10-minute overtime. The Hopkinton offense took over in the second overtime as Riley McNicholas, Doug Fleury and Rouleau all produced quality shots, but Bow’s Bradley was there to save them all.

“We just weren’t going to the goal hard until overtime, and against a good team its going to take a bunch of good chances to punch one home,” Zipke said. “So we got three or four chances, but it just wasn’t enough.”

(Tim O’Sullivan can be reached at 369-3341 or tosullivan@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @timosullivan20)

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