High schools: Pittsfield boys’ soccer hurts playoff seeding with loss

Monitor staff
Published: 10/21/2019 10:46:11 PM

Heading into Monday’s matchup against Concord Christian, the Pittsfield boys’ soccer team had a sense it would need to be near perfect.

The Kingsmen came in boasting a red-hot defense – one that has held opponents off the scoreboard over their last three outings – and Pittsfield, despite back-to-back wins, desperately needed another if it wanted any chance at hosting a playoff game when the Division IV tournament begins next week.

But a first-half deficit had the Panthers playing catch-up early, and with the team unable to crack Concord Christian’s back line, the Kingsmen left Drake Field with its fourth straight shutout after a 2-0 victory.

“I think we controlled the ball well through the midfield, but we struggled to get any real breakthroughs on the final third of the field,” said Pittsfield coach Derek Hamilton after the Panthers dropped to 7-6-2 and slid back to 10th in the standings.

“They did a good job of getting four, five, six guys behind the ball consistently, identifying their marks and staying tight,” Hamilton said.

The Panthers came out strong in the game’s opening minutes, but failed to take advantage of their scoring chances as several shots sailed over the crossbar.

“I’d say after the first 10 minutes of play, Concord Christian really controlled the tempo of the last 20-30 minutes of the half,” Hamilton said.

The Kingsmen (9-5-1) also scored during that stretch to take 1-0 lead into halftime.

It wasn’t long before Concord Christian was at it again, going up 2-0 early in the second half.

“They controlled the ball through the midfield, created an opportunity and we were just late to react and gave up an open look,” Hamilton said.

The defensive work of sophomores Joe Cote and Dalton Swenson helped keep the contest close, while senior striker Chandler Norris did his best to create opportunities and ignite Pittsfield’s attack.

The Panthers just could never find the back of the net.

“We had a good opportunity to breakthrough with about 10 minutes left and hit the ball right off their keeper,” Hamilton said. “Otherwise, that was probably the most quality opportunity we had in the second half.”

The Panthers now shift their full attention to Farmington – another key game for playoff positioning – for the regular-season finale on Thursday.

“The message to the guys is to take it one day at a time,” Hamilton said. “We have another game over at Farmington and we can’t get too caught up in what the pairings are until we take care of business.”

Boys’ Soccer

Milford 2, John Stark 1, 2OT

Key players: John Stark – Cam Doyle (G), Emmet Rinehimer (A), Orry Murdough (defense)

Highlights: Doyle scored with three minutes left in the game off an assist from Rinehimer to tie it at 1-1. Milford scored off a rebound in the second overtime period to leave with the win.

Coach’s quote: “We played hard and tough against a very talented Milford team. It’s not the result we wanted but I’m proud of the grit and heart that the boys showed in this game. We know we have two big games coming up this week to keep our playoffs hopes alive and we have to take care of business.” – Stark’s Gerry Allen

Records: Milford 8-3-3; John Stark 5-8-1

Girls’ Soccer

Hillsboro-Deering 1, Inter-Lakes 0

Key players: Hillsboro-Deering – Eva LaValley (G), Kendra Warren (A), Gracie Atkins (12 saves), Emily Howell (midfield), Morgan Racine (midfield), Abby VonDette (defense), Maggie Carter (defense), Abbie Johnson (offense), Madi Jones (offense)

Highlights: H-D scored the only goal of the game with less than a minute left using a corner kick from Warren that LaValley collected and poked into the net.

Coach’s quote: “Inter-Lakes played well and controlled the first half. We were on our heels. We were able to come out more aggressively in the second half and with more control, creating opportunities. Inter-Lakes has great anticipation and quick feet.” – H-D’s Susan Else

Records: Hillsboro-Deering 7-7; Inter-Lakes 7-7-1

Girls’ Volleyball

Winnisquam 3, Belmont 1

Key players: Winnisquam – Emma Richardson (16 kills,19 digs), Gabby Isabelle (13 kills, 17 digs), Chloe Colarusso (35 assists, 11 digs), Olivia Dill (16 digs), Emily O’Neil (9 kills, 11 digs, 5 aces), Leigh Brown (11 digs), Nicole Reusch (5 digs, 4 aces), Hanna Honeman (5 digs, 3 blocks, 2 aces)

Highlights: Belmont came out on fire and captured the momentum, building a 23-13 lead in game one. Winnisquam battled back to tie the game, 23-23, behind the strong serving of Reusch and net play of Richardson. The two sides traded points until Belmont finally pulled out a hard fought 31-29 lead. Winnisquam picked up its level of play over the next few sets and was able to build early leads and maintain them. Richardson played her best match of the season, leading the team in both digs and kills, while Reusch had her best serving and defensive performance of the season.

Coach’s quote: “Belmont has greatly improved since the beginning of the season and played with a lot of heart. They gave us a very competitive match. I was pleased with the way my team responded after losing the first set.” – Winnisquam’s Mike Livernois

Records: Winnisquam 13-2; Belmont 5-9

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