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High schools: Late goal helps Concord boys secure spot in semifinals

Monitor staff
Published: 10/30/2016 12:03:29 AM

Liam Devanny was already planning for overtime in his mind. The Concord goalie had seen this story play out before when the Crimson Tide and Manchester Central met for a double overtime tie during the regular season: a ton of action, a ton of shots and no scoring.

“I actually was thinking just get it to overtime so we can try and finish there and then we can recuperate after the full 80 minutes,” Devanny said.

That overtime period never came. After 179 scoreless minutes between the two Division I programs over two games, the fourth-seeded Concord boys’ soccer team were the ones to snap the drought. After 15 shots and six penalty corners, Joshua Adams lobbed a pass over a Central defender into the box towards the direction of teammate Taylor Silverstein, who then deposited the ball into the back of the net with 59 seconds remaining to lift the Tide over No. 5 Central, 1-0, in the quarterfinals Saturday afternoon at Memorial Field.

It was the first win for Concord over Central in four years and the victory sent the Tide to the semifinals for the seventh time in 11 seasons.

“It’s been a long time coming,” Concord Coach Scott Dunlop said of getting past the Little Green. “We seem to get nipped in the end by them and this time we finally changed that. It came down to one play. (Manchester Central) is as good as anybody and it’s just what it comes down to in the tournament: someone’s gonna make one more play than the other side.”

It took nearly all game for Concord to finally get that play. A mistake for Central in is defensive third allowed Adams to gain control of the ball in the left corner, and with a quick flip, he chipped the ball up towards Silverstein. Central goalie Aidan Ryan had been on fire all day with double-digit saves, but when Silverstein took the pass and lined up for a close-range shot, there was nothing Ryan could do.

“I wasn’t thinking about overtime. I wasn’t preparing for it but I figured it could happen. We were still getting scoring chances, they were getting chances and I really thought we would score,” Central Coach Chris LaBerge said. “I thought we had one coming and it was just a matter of time but we had a little breakdown in the back, gave them the ball and (Silverstein) finished it.”

While Ryan was strong in net for the Little Green, his counterpart was just a little bit better. Devanny enjoyed a busy afternoon, turning back a number of quality looks from Central in the first half, and keeping it up for the final 40 minutes as the sophomore finished with 10 saves.

“He’s one of the best goalkeepers in the state and he’s a sophomore,” Dunlop said. “He came up huge for us in the first half.”

Devanny said the high-paced, action-packed nature of the contest only made him want to perform more.

“It’s pretty stressful and nerve-wracking but it’s fun though,” Devanny said. “You get the jitters and it makes you play better and harder … For the conditions, I thought we played very good on the ground. It’s usually hard with the rain but with our through balls we actually did pretty good.”

Early on with both teams moving the ball well, it appeared goals wouldn’t be hard to come by, but both keepers took turns one-upping the other. In the opening 10 minute of the contest, Central’s Zachery Elliot found himself a clean look before Devanny stepped in front of the shot. The rebound kicked out and a scrum in front of the net ensued, but it was Devanny there again to secure the second-chance shot. Moments later, Devanny would make a leaping grab to interrupt a Central cross off a corner.

With 13 minutes to go in the first half, it was Ryan’s turn to shine. Adams played a cross from the left corner to the middle of the box, but Ryan popped up to prevent Concord’s Ngongo Mungeta from heading the ball in. Ryan would do the same on a corner two minutes later to keep the game scoreless.

Central’s best chance at a goal came 24 minutes into the second half when Joshue Assantha had a one-on-one opportunity with Devanny, but blasted the shot attempt right into Devanny’s hands.

“We just haven’t been able to score goals all year,” LaBerge said. “It’s been our problem and that’s what did us in today. We had plenty of good looks for sure. You can’t hit it right at the keeper and expect to score goals.”

Concord now prepares for a semifinal clash with No. 9 Manchester Memorial on Wednesday at Bill Ball Stadium in Exeter. Memorial handed the Tide one of its three losses during the regular season – a 2-0 win on Oct. 12.

Regardless, Dunlop likes his team’s chances.

“One of the youngest teams I’ve had and they just continually work and are impressive with their effort and commitment to the style of play we ask them to play,” Dunlop said. “They’ve continually gotten better and the thing about these guys is they train every day like it’s the last day. They’ve been committed to it everyday of the season.”


No. 2 Pembroke 2,
No. 10 Souhegan 0

Key players: Pembroke – Glenn Dion (2 goals), Damon Smith (2 assists), Kobie Valdez (defense), Tyler Smith (goalie)

Highlights/key moments: The effort on the defensive end was a big reason Pembroke was able to punch its ticket into the next round and finish the year undefeated at home. The Spartans will take on No. 6 Goffstown in the semifinals on Wednesday.

Records: Pembroke 17-1; Souhegan 7-7-2

No. 1 Lebanon 2,
No. 8 Coe-Brown 0

Key players: Coe-Brown – Corbin LeBlanc (15 saves), Ethan Barbeau (defense)

Highlights/key moments: Lebanon pulled ahead early with two goals in seven minutes to end the first half. Coe-Brown finally got its attack working in the second half but couldn’t find the back of the net.

Coach’s quote: “Lebanon is the most talented team we’ev seen this year. They really don’t have weaknesses sob eating them demands a team’s best throughout. We didn’t bring our best soccer until the second half.” – Coe-Brown’s Christian Gompert

Records: Lebanon 16-1; Coe-Brown 10-7-1


No. 4 Hillsboro-Deering 1,
No. 5 Raymond 0

Key players: Hillsboro-Deering – Bridgette Winters (goal), Melissa Veitch (9 saves), Samantha Grondin (defense), Mara Grady (midfield), Izabella Warren (offense)

Highlights/key moments: It came down to the wire, but the Hillcats found a way to pull out the win as Winters netted the game-winning goal in the 76th minute. Hillsboro-Deering takes on No. 1 Fall Mountain in the semifinals on Tuesday.

Coach’s quote: “I am very proud of this team for putting the game we practiced onto the field today and playign with passion and heart.” – Hillsboro-Deering’s Susan Else

Records: Hillsboro-Deering 14-4; Raymond 12-6

No. 6 Belmont 4, No. 3 Hopkinton 3

Key players: Hopkinton – Ellie Morrall (goal, assist), Meg Ellsworth (midfield), Grace Clark (defense)

Highlights/key moments: The Hawks rallied from two down in the first half to take the lead on three unanswered goals. Belmont tied the game in the 70th minute and hit the game-winner with 14 seconds left. Belmont takes on No. 2 Campbell in the semifinals on Tuesday.

Records: Hopkinton 13-4; Belmont 12-4-2


Lebanon 21, Bow 20, OT

Key players: Bow –Nate Alford (25-yard TD catch), Matt Harkins (2 TDs), Mark Borak (30-yard TD catch), Mac Kimball (TD)

Highlights/key moments: Trailing 14-0 after the first quarter, the Falcons rallied back to tie the game in the third on a pass from Harkins to Borak. Lebanon scored first in overtime, setting up Bow for the potential game-winning drive. Kimball found the end zone to make it a one-point game, but the snap on the fake extra point try was high.

Coach’s quote: “We lost a heartbreaking very hard-fought battle. It was certainly a memorable last home game of the season.” – Bow’s Paul Cohen

Records: Bow 7-2; Lebanon 6-3

Sanborn 34,
Hillsboro-Deering/Hopkinton 21

Key players: Hillsboro-Deering/Hopkinton – Liam Flanagan ( 2 TDs), Caleb Yianakopolos (20-for-30, 242 yards, TD), Henry Yianakopolos (80-yard kick return TD)

Highlights/key moments: The Redhawks dominated the first half of play, getting a kick return touchdown from Henry Yianakopolos to start the game, but entered the third quarter in a 7-7 tie before giving up 27 second-half points.

Records: Hillsboro-Deering/Hopkinton 2-7; Sanborn 4-5

Merrimack Valley 38, Pembroke 0

Key players: MV – Ryan Neylon (3 TDs, 122 rushing yards), Evan Martin (TD, 54 passing yards, 93 rushing yards), Josh Farmer (9 tackles), Matt Jarvis (9 tackles)

Highlights/key moments: MV racked up all 38 points in the first half en route to a big win on senior day. Martin connected with Neylon for a 44-yard TD pass and Neylon added rushing touchdowns of 62 and 22 yards.

Coach’s quote: “They could of easily folded up the tent after we started 0-5 but they never gave up ... I’m real proud of the way they hung together.” – MV’s Jim Coll

Records: MV 3-6; Pembroke 1-8

Bishop Brady 24,
Somersworth 7

Key players: Brady – Rich Sullivan (2 TDs), Moses Murenzi (TD), Aidan Plumpton

Highlights/key moments: Brady trailed 7-0 at halftime but stormed back with 24 straight points to finish the season strong.

Records: Brady 7-1; Somersworth 4-4


No. 4 St. Thomas Aquinas 3,
No. 5 John Stark 0

Key players: Stark – Sarah Wagner (8 kills, 2 blocks), Hannah Chartier (6 kills, 1 ace), Cassidy Gilman (6 kills), Sydney Story (5 kills)

Highlights/key moments: The Generals lost the first and third sets 25-15 and 25-20, respectively, but gave St. Thomas all it could handle in the set two before the Saints won 25-23.

Coach’s quote: “I’m very proud of this team. They’ve played through injuries and adversity and never gave up. Hearts of champions.” – Stark’s Jeff McClellan

Records: Stark 13-5; St. Thomas 14-4

No. 2 Gilford 3, No. 7 Milford 0

Key players: Gilford – Karley Sanborn (28 assists), Cynthia Gagnon (15 kills), Maggie McNeil (9 kills, 12 digs), Stevie Orton (17 digs, 7 kills)

Highlights/key moments: The Golden Eagles only got stronger as the match went on, winning 25-19, 25-12 and 25-6. Gagnon had six kills in the third set alone and the team finished with 82 total digs. Gilford takes on the winner of No. 3 Somersworth and No. 6 Kingswood in the semifinals on Thursday at Pinkerton Academy.

Coach’s quote: “This was the best Gilford has played all season. They were very focused and very determined.” – Gilford’s Joan Forge

Records: Gilford 14-3; Milford 12-6

No. 2 Winnisquam 3,
No. 10 Portsmouth Christian 0

Key players: Winnisquam – Shannon Goodwin (13 kills, 3 aces, 9 digs), Talia DeBlasie (20 assists, 17 digs, 3 aces), Nicole Matcheski (9 kills), Aubrey St. Onge (12 digs, 6 assists)

Highlights/key moments: The Bears cruised to wins in sets one and three but had to come from behind in a 28-26 second-set win. Winnisquam plays No. 3 Farmington in the semifinals on Wednesday.

Coach’s quote: “Overall I was really happy with it and thought the girls played well. I was pleased with the intensity they came out with.” – Winnisquam’s Mike Livernois

Records: Winnisquam 16-1; Portsmouth Christian 10-8

No. 5 Moultonborough 3, No. 4 Inter-Lakes 1

Key players: Inter-Lakes – Jessalyn Brown (27 assists, 13 digs), Emma Wheeler (11 blocks, 7 kills), Maegan Bunnell (13 digs, 8 kills), Amanda Kurowski (8 blocks)

Highlights/key moments: Matched up against the Panthers for the third time this season, the Lakers lost the season series and a shot at the semifinals in four sets.

Coach’s quote: “I’m proud of my team’s performance in this pressure-filled, hard-hitting match.” – Inter-Lakes’ Randy Mattson

Records: Inter-Lakes 13-5; Moultonborough 14-4

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