High schools: Concord field hockey loses in semis; Hopkinton girls’ soccer advances

  • Concord’s Jordan Cromwell moving the ball down the field while being defended by Dover’s Jeannine Turgeon ALLIE ST PETER / Monitor staff

  • Concord’s Emmanuelle Beaujouan and Dover’s Charlotte Morin competing for the ball ALLIE ST PETER—Monitor Staff

  • Concord’s Maria Armaganian advancing the ball while being defended by Dover’s Jeannine Turgeon ALLIE ST PETER—Monitor Staff

Monitor staff
Published: 10/28/2020 4:20:51 PM

The post-game talk was brief, and that made sense considering what had just happened on the artificial turf at Bill Ball Stadium.

There wasn’t much separating Concord and Dover in Tuesday night’s Division I field hockey semifinal. There wasn’t much the Crimson Tide could have done about Dover’s game-winning goal with 2:59 left on the clock. And there wasn’t much Concord coach Andy Briers had to say to his players as they gathered in a socially-distanced circle beneath the lights in Exeter after their season-ending 3-2 loss, the Tide’s only defeat in this strange and shortened season.

“It’s incredibly tough because it is their first loss so they’re not used to it and it’s an incredibly competitive team, so it’s tough coming off the field with those emotions and then knowing what to say,” Briers said. “Sometimes there are things you can change stuff that happens on the field, but that last goal was a very good goal and there’s just not much you can do about that.”

Dover’s Jeannine Turgeon, who will be playing Division I college field hockey next year at Columbia University, scored the game-winner off a perfectly executed corner. Turgeon had taken the insert on Dover’s previous two corners, and scored with a rocket shot on one of them, but this time the ball went to Meghan Fitzgerald. With the Tide’s defense focused on Fitzgerald, she slipped a pass to her left to Turgeon and Dover’s senior captain sniped a shot into the right side of the net to send her team to the finals.

The Green Wave (8-2-0) will meet Windham in the championship game on Sunday. Windham, the team that beat Concord in last year’s D-I title game, blanked Bishop Guertin, 3-0, in Tuesday’s other semifinal to earn a chance to defend its crown.

The Tide (10-1-1) applied more offensive pressure throughout its semifinal game and the numbers showed it with Concord holding significant advantages in both shots (7-3) and corners (9-3). But that was part of the plan for Dover, which invited the pressure with a defensive formation that could absorb it and also spring free for a counter attack.

“It’s super tough against a team that’s playing a formation like that,” Briers said. “It’s really difficult to penetrate and attack against that.”

The Tide kept prodding at the Green Wave defense in the first half as Concord backs Grace Leonard and Madison Raymond kept the ball pinned in Dover’s end while Alice Rosenberg, Emma LaRiviere and Emma Beaujouan were searching for the touch that would lead to a goal. But the counter-attacking advantages of the Green Wave’s formation showed up before the Tide could score against it.

Dover pounced on a turnover at midfield and quickly got the ball ahead to Jessica Couture, who used her speed to wheel behind the Concord defense. At the end of her long run Couture sent a well-timed pass to Trixie Williams, who scored to give the Green Wave a 1-0 lead with 5:54 left in the second quarter. The Tide had two corners and two good chances to tie the game in the last 1:10 of the quarter, but Dover took that one-goal lead into halftime.

Concord continued pressuring as the second half started and Kait McKinnon earned the Tide an early corner after a series of slick moves down the left side. But again the Green Wave defense held strong and with 9:00 left in the third Turgeon doubled Dover’s lead when she blasted a shot directly off a corner insert that seemed to shoot past Concord goalie Rhyden Wheldon before she could even flinch.

The second goal put the Tide in a difficult spot, but overcoming difficulties was something Concord did all season.

“They scored lots of good goals this year, they played as a team and, I think most importantly, they took any sort of fluctuating change in stride,” Briers said. “We had a lot of those this year, and they just didn’t mind and they went with the flow.”

Going with the flow got the Tide right back in Tuesday’s game with a goal that came only 1:13 after Turgeon’s first score. Concord’s Maria Armaganian, who was all over the field in a fitting conclusion to her superb high school field hockey career, blasted a shot from near the top of the circle and Beaujouan tipped it past Dover goalie Hayley Tosh.

The Tide maintained possession and pressure from there and found the equalizing goal 6:52 into the fourth quarter after a string of three corner chances. Beaujouan inserted all three corners to Armaganian and the Concord captain passed off on the first two, but when Dover played her to pass on the third, Armaganian took advantage of the opening and ripped a reverse shot into the goal to make it 2-2.

“Maria improvised really well on that corner and hit the target, and I think that just shows the class of player she is,” Briers said.

The Green Wave, to its credit, responded with energy to that tying goal and quickly earned the corner that led to Turgeon’s game-deciding score and Briers’s short post-game talk.

“It’s tough because our players shouldn’t be down on themselves, they played really well and they’ve done so all season,” Briers said. “So, it is a successful season, it’s just not quite the result we wanted as a team.”

Girls’ Soccer

Hopkinton 9, Mascoma 0

Key players: Hopkinton — Ashlee Brehio (2 goals, assist), Elise Miner (goal, assist), Annie Higginbotham (goal, assist), Jessie Carney (goal, assists), Madison Carmichael (goal, assist), Brooke Carlson (goal), Elizabeth Holmes (goal), Kally Murdough (goal), Sarah Chodosh (assist), Caitlin Clark (assist); Mascoma — Madisun LaCasse (strong midfield play), Emma Bill (fearless in goal)

Highlights: Hopkinton scored the first eight goals in just 28 minutes of game time. Keegan St. Cyr, Emily Fleegle and Beth Taylor all shared time in goal to earn the shutout for the Hawks, who will play the winner of Thursday’s Kearsarge at Newfound game in Sunday’s quarterfinals.

Coach’s quote: “The Hawks made the long trip north to secure their first playoff win against first year girls’ varsity team Mascoma. The Royals put in lots of effort and the entire game was played with a high level of sportsmanship. It was good for the Hawks to work on ball movement and get the entire roster good minutes in the game.” — Hopkinton’s Mike Zahn

Records: Hopkinton 4-4-2; Mascoma 0-11-0

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