High schools: Concord girls’ soccer ties Bedford in ‘first big game of the season’

  • Concord forward Whitney Vaillant is thwarted by Beford goalie Zoe Santos at the end of the first half at Memorial Field in Concord on Thursday, October 15, 2020. Concord came back to tie Bedford, 1-1. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Concord forward Whitney Vaillant is thwarted by Beford goalie Zoe Santos at the end of the first half at Memorial Field in Concord on Thursday, October 15, 2020. Concord came back to tie Bedford, 1-1. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Concord midfielder Mary Martinson hops over a Beford player during the first half at Memorial Field on Thursday, October 15, 2020. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Concord forward Whitney Vaillant is thwarted by Beford goalie Zoe Santos at the end of the first half at Memorial Field in Concord on Thursday, October 15, 2020. Concord came back to tie Bedford, 1-1. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Concord forward Whitney Vaillant is thwarted by Bedford goalie Zoe Santos at the end of the first half at Memorial Field in Concord on Thursday. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Published: 10/16/2020 3:53:34 PM

With a fewer games and opponents on the COVID-adjusted schedule, the Concord High girls’ soccer team knew it had faced limited competition this season. That changed on Thursday against Bedford.

“For us I think we would say that was our first big game of the season,” Concord coach Phil Tuttle said. “We were looking pretty good going into this game (six wins in six attempts), but this one was like the first real challenge from a team that historically has given us a battle.”

The Crimson Tide had some nerves in the face of that challenge. That showed in the first half as Bedford carried the play and scored the only goal on a corner kick. But Concord shook itself at halftime, controlled the second half and got its own goal off a corner kick to earn a 1-1 draw at Memorial Field.

“This has been the hardest team we played against,” said Tide junior Mary Martinson, who took the corner that led to Concord’s goal. “We started slow, I think we were maybe a little nervous, but we knew we could compete with them and I think we brought it to them in the second half. Hopefully we can continue that in all the next games we have coming up. I think we’re in a good place as a team.”

There will be plenty of competition in those upcoming games. The Tide (6-0-1) travels to Bedford (3-3-1) on Saturday at noon as the two teams wrap up their home-and-home series. After that, Concord ends the season with two games against undefeated Manchester Central (8-0-0) before the open Division I tournament with randomly seeded localized brackets begins on Oct. 27 or 29.

“It’s been good playing against the same team two games in a row, we can see how we played the first game and what we can do better,” said Concord senior captain Allison Yanski, who knocked in Martinson’s corner kick for the goal.

What the Tide can do better on Saturday against Bedford is the same thing it did in the second half – dictate play and build offense by playing to feet and possessing. The Bulldogs did more of that in the first half and they were rewarded when a corner kick curled into the back of the net for a 1-0 lead, just the second goal Concord had allowed all year.

The Tide nearly equalized late in the first half, but Bedford keeper Zoe Sanots was in good position for a tough-angle shot from Whitney Vaillant, and then Santos sacrificed her body by diving on a loose ball, and staying on it, at the top of the box just before Vaillant got there and was trying to poke it free.

Concord came out firing in the second half and Avery Fitcher, who was dangerous all game, nearly scored on a free kick in the first minute after halftime. After nine more minutes of good Tide pressure, Martinson hit a corner kick to the far post that went in as Yanski and a Bedford defender caromed into it.

“I think it was almost in the goal and then (Yanski) tapped it in,” Martinson said. “I’m just happy someone was there. It was nice to finally get one off a corner.”

Bedford had two good chances off of set plays after that, but right back Lillian Rienstra blocked one shot before it could reach keeper Emily Mickelson, and Yanski stopped another.

With less than five minutes remaining, Vaillant was taken down just on the edge of the box and Concord was awarded a penalty kick. But the second official called off the PK and conferred with the official who initially called it ... and then they re-awarded the Tide the PK.

“Everyone thought it was in the box, I don’t know what the other ref saw, but I’m glad we fought for it and got that,” Martinson said.

Chloe Morgan took the PK and hit a clean ball to the upper left, but Santos guessed right and made a fantastic diving save.

“I thought Chloe hit it really well, it just didn’t go in for her,” Tuttle said. “She’s scored a lot of them for us in the past, but that was just a huge save by (Santos). She was great.”

Girls’ Soccer

Bow 1, Merrimack Valley 0

Key players: Bow — Kristina Pizzi (goal), Steph Gosselin, Sara Gagne, Makayla Murray, Kelly Harris, Chloe Binder, Addie Trefethen

Highlights: Pizzi took advantage of an MV mistake, stealing an errant back pass and scoring on a perfect breakaway shot with four minutes left in the first half. Bow keeper Caylin Benson saved a breakaway bid from the Pride late in the second half to preserve the win and the shutout.

Coach’s quote: “Good, hard fought match with MV, just like Monday’s game (a 1-1 tie). Our defense did an excellent job limiting their opportunities and the midfield did a better job distributing the ball. The girls worked hard today as a team and were rewarded with a win. ” — Bow’s Jay Vogt

“Besides the first two minutes at the start of each half, I thought we played great today. We settled in and generated some quality chances. Our midfield and defense were excellent. Not giving up many quality opportunities and doing well in staying in possession. We pressed late and had some good looks, but just couldn’t find the back of the net. Great game by both teams.” — MV’s Nick D’Agostino

Records: Bow 6-0-2; Merrimack Valley 3-4-2

Pembroke 4, Hopkinton 2

Key players: Pembroke — Adrienne Dorr (2 assists), Cierra Hill (goal), Hannah Brown (goal), Nikki Nedeau (assist), Hannah Picott (goal), Kyla Chase (goal), Emily Weldon (assist), Britney Hill (stingy defense); Hopkinton — Ashley Brehio (2 goals)

Highlights: Brehio gave Hopkinton a quick lead with two goals in the first five minutes, but the Spartans got one back before halftime and then scored off two Dorr corner kicks in the 43rd and 44th minute to take control on the way to the win.

Coach’s quote: “Hopkinton adjusted their game plan and was able to play into the wind and catch us on our heels early on. Very proud of our girls, however, for rising to the challenge and keeping heads held high to overcome. Brooke (Davison) made some key saves to keep us in the game and as a team we never stopped working to find the net in excess in the second half. A proud coach moment for sure.” — Pembroke’s Jess Kaufman

Records: Pembroke 7-2-0; Hopkinton 2-4-2

John Stark 2, Hillsboro-Deering 1

Key players: John Stark — Meghan Mefford (goal), Diana Stafford (goal), Megan Rousseau; Hillsboro-Deering — Eva LaValley (goal), Lexi McClure (defense), Kaylea Davison (defense), Emily Howell (midfield), Abby VonDette (midfield), Abbie Johnson (striker), Gracie Atkins (13 saves)

Highlights: The Generals took a 1-0 lead in the eighth minute before LaValley tied it up in the 23rd minute. The Generals found the game winner a few minutes later when they pounced on a loose ball in the box.

Coach’s quote: “This was a team effort for the girls who played hard on the field without any let up. The game went back and forth fairly equally. We are proud of these Hillcats.” — H-D’s Susan Else

“The girls settled too much in the first half but moved the ball around so much better in the second half. They just couldn’t get the finishing touch to increase the score. (Hillsboro-Deering’s) VonDette and Levalle are are great combination up top that need to be watched, and McClure is just about everywhere in defense but makes beautiful runs on the fly so is a dangerous player offensively. (For Stark), Rousseau and Mefford ruled the outside today and Arden Ulmer, Hayleigh Dennis and Ali Hardcastle did a great job in the center. Brooke and Madison Porth locked down the outside defense and Sam Veilleux and Presley Gaberseck stayed focused and locked on their players.” — Stark’s Chris Pike

Records: John Stark 2-6-0; Hillsboro-Deering 2-4-0

Boys’ Soccer

Bedford 2, Concord 0

Key players: Bedford Concord — Abbas Abdulrahman (5 saves), Alejo Caceres (midfield), Brandon Comire (defense)

Highlights: Bedford scored early in the first half, the first goal Concord has allowed all season. It stayed 1-0 until halftime, and the Bulldogs scored again early in the second half to set the tone for the remainder of the match.

Coach’s quote: “We were inconsistent in our play in the first half. The second half we were able to play more to our abilities and created some chances. ” — Concord’s Scott Dunlop

Records: Bedford 5-1-1; Concord 6-1-0

Bow Falcons 3, Merrimack Valley 2

Key players: Bow Falcons — Matt Selleck (goal, assist), Connor Wachsmuth (2 assists, defense), John Salerno (game-winning goal); Merrimack Valley — Mason Boudreau (goalie)

Highlights: Selleck’s great through ball put Salerno in on goal for the game-winning score with about 20 minutes left on the clock.

Coach’s quote: “No goals in a 0-0 tie at MV on Monday, but five goals between the same two teams three days later in Bow. Go figure. The only way to explain it is very simply put … that’s the game of soccer.” — Bow’s George Pinkham

Records: Bow Falcons 5 - 0 - 3; Merrimack Valley 4 - 4 - 1

Hopkinton 5, Pembroke Academy 0

Key players: Hopkinton — Bryce Charron (2 goals), Quinn Whitehead (goal), Thomas Hoffman (goal), Spencer Burdette (goal)

Highlights: After losing to Pembroke on Monday, the Hawks bounced back in a big way at home on Thursday on their Senior Night. Charron, assisted by Garrett Fitzgerald, opened the scoring in the 31st minute and then made it 2-0 just three minutes later. Whitehead, assisted by Ethan Molnar, pushed it 3-0 early in the second half. Hoffman scored unassisted before Burdette added the goal of the night after he took a pass from Rory Campbell, took a touch past a defender and then flicked it into the side netting with the outside of his foot. Center back Josh Duval anchored Hopkinton’s defense and Aidan Burns made one diving save to earn the shutout.

Records: Hopkinton 2-5-1; Pembroke Academy 2-7-0

John Stark 5, Hillsboro-Deering 0

Key players: John Stark — CJ Brennan (3 goals), Riley Brooks (4 assists), Nate Restuccia (first varsity goal), Anthony Bencosme (first varsity goal); H-D – Logan Clough (goalie), Evan Winters (offense)

Highlights: After a scoreless first half, the Generals erupted for five goals in the second half.

Coach’s quote: “Good to see our young guys get us started today after a very slow start. It put some life into our team and we played much better from there on out. Great contributions from several different players on our team today.” – Stark’s Gerry Allen

“Hoping to see a little more chemistry with the young team by seasons end.” – H-D’s Glenn Winters

Records: John Stark 5-0-3; Hillsboro-Deering1-5-0

Coe-Brown 4, Pittsfield 0

Key players: Coe-Brown — Hogan Cain 7 saves

Coach’s quote: “Pittsfield competed well today and were able to put some shots on target early on. It was a wake up call. Our boys were putting in the effort but slipped into old habits of playing one-dimensional and not working as a team. We were up 2-0 when Pittsfield was awarded a PK. The shot was put wide. That could have been a momentum swing, so we feel fortunate. Once they found our rhythm after about 20 minutes, defense was much more effective and offense much more productive. It was nice to see them really starting to employ the ideas we’ve been working hard on in training. Next step is consistency.” — Coe-Brown’s Christian Gompert

Records: Coe-Brown 5-3-0; Pittsfield 1-6-0

Bishop Brady 4, St. Thomas Aquinas 2

Key players: Bishop Brady — Nate Steigmeyer (2 assists), Nick Steigmeyer (goal, assist), Evan Haas (goal, assist), Miles Lavoie (2 goals); St. Thomas Aquinas — Marcus Broom (goal), Vinnie Simonelli (goal)

Highlights: Haas gave Brady a 1-0 lead in the 27th minute on Thursday, but the Saints tied things up five minutes later and the score stayed 1-1 until halftime. Nick Steigmeyer connected on a one-time volley off a throw in from his brother Nate to put the Giants back on top early in the second half, but against St. Thomas answered to tie. Lavoie broke the tie with a pair of goals in a seven-minute span to give Brady the win in Dover.

Coach’s quote: “It’s been a while since we’ve had a full, healthy squad on the field, so we knew we would have to make some adjustments and shift some guys around. The boys did a great job adapting to those changes and were able to secure the win. Very proud of them! Again, a huge shout out to our supportive parents who have logged a lot of miles to help the boys have the chance to play this fall – Thank you!” — Brady’s Mike Ling

Records: Bishop Brady 4-3; St. Thomas Aquinas 1-6-0

Field Hockey

Merrimack Valley 4, Bow 0

Key players: Merrimack Valley — Caitlyn Fortier, Taylor Bailey and Sadie Barton played solid in the midfield. Reilly Swislosky (goal), Kalee Keyser (goal), Brittney Thoroughgood (goal), Alexa Prewitt (goal)

Highlights: The Pride dominated possession and had a 12-2 advantage in corners. Keyser gave MV a 1-0 lead in the first quarter on an assist from Taylor Bailey, who was solid in the midfield all game along with Sadie Barton and Caitlyn Fortier. Swislosky made it 2-0 when she scored on a shot from the top off a corner after the second quarter time had expired. Prewitt scored off a rebound from another corner with five minutes left in the game and Thouroughgood scored unassisted with 20 seconds left.

Coach’s quote: “It was great to see four different players put one on the board tonight. I thought we played aggressive in the circle, and our midfielders made some necessary stops to keep the momentum in our favor throughout the game. We are excited to start playoff hockey next week.” — MV’s Jen Colgan

Records: Merrimack Valley 3-3-2; Bow 0-6-0

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