Bow soccer back in D-II final after shutting down Hollis Brookline

  • Bow’s Jocelynn Anderson clears the ball away before Hollis Brookline’s Teresa DeMaio crashes into her during Thursday’s Division II girls’ soccer semifinal in Exeter. Third-seeded Bow won, 2-0, to advance to Sunday’s championship against No. 1 Hanover. TIM O’SULLIVAN / Monitor staff

  • The Bow girls’ soccer team celebrates after Anna Lafreniere’s second-half goal during Thursday’s Division II girls’ soccer semifinal against Hollis Brookline at Bill Ball Stadium in Exeter. Third-seeded Bow won, 2-0, to advance to Sunday’s championship against No. 1 Hanover. TIM O’SULLIVAN / Monitor staff

  • The Bow girls’ soccer team celebrates after Anna Lafreniere’s second-half goal during Thursday’s Division II girls’ soccer semifinal against Hollis Brookline at Bill Ball Stadium in Exeter. Third-seeded Bow won, 2-0, to advance to Sunday’s championship against No. 1 Hanover. TIM O’SULLIVAN / Monitor staff

  • Bow’s Anna Lafreniere (center right) and Hollis Brookline’s Madeleine Harley (center left) appear to mirror each other after vying for the ball during Thursday’s game. TIM O’SULLIVAN / Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Published: 11/7/2019 9:35:13 PM

EXETER – In the final minutes of the first half, Bow senior captain Lindsay Burnham sent a short pass to sophomore Madison Roberge. The ball came with a message.

“Lindsay just passed it to me and she said one-time, so I hit it one-time, because I always listen to her,” Roberge said.

The obedient shot from the right wing sailed just under the crossbar, giving the Falcons a lead they would hold to the end of Thursday’s Division II girls’ soccer semifinal against No. 2 Hollis Brookline. Third-seeded Bow (16-2-0) got a second-half goal from Anna Lafreniere to claim a 2-0 win and a spot in Sunday’s championship against top-ranked Hanover.

“We never gave up. Hollis played us tough, they came at us in the beginning and we were kind of on our heels, but we recovered and found our game,” Bow coach Jay Vogt said. “They’re a pretty direct team, so we just talked about dropping back and being ready for that, and I thought the defense did a great job.”

The Cavaliers (14-2-2) had more opportunities in the first half, most of them created by the leg of senior Tasha White. She was dangerous from any distance, crossing balls into the box or space, or simply blasting knuckling shots at Emma Wilke. The Bow keeper was up for it, punching or smothering the crosses, and stopping the shots any way she could.

“Emma was fantastic in net,” Vogt said. “On a tough night she made some good saves for us.”

The Bill Ball Stadium turf was slick with constant rain, and the ball skipped off it with pace, but it never slipped past Wilke.

Aggressive play from sophomores Lyndsey and Isabella LaPerle helped Bow counter the momentum generated by White and Hollis. The Falcons generated more pressure as the half wore on, and they were rewarded with Roberge’s goal, which boosted halftime morale.

“Everyone was pumped up in the locker room,” Roberge said.

Still, Hollis Brookline was hungry to start the second half and created a dangerous amount of pressure. But Wilke did whatever it took to keep the ball out of the net, and the defense, anchored by Taylor Burnham and Chloe Binder, eventually pushed the Cavaliers away from the Bow goal.

“I thought we were very organized,” Vogt said of the Falcons defense. “We dealt with the ball coming in through the air hard on the wet surface, and getting a foot on it and knocking it back out.”

Eventually they started to do more than knock it about. Bow began playing out of the back, stringing passes together and controlling the game with its possession.

“We got better in the second half about trying to play to feet,” Vogt said.

That all led to a corner kick in the 71st minute after a shot from Roberge was deflected wide. Gracie Bresson took the corner and sent a tempting ball to the far post. That’s where Lafreniere was crashing, and the senior timed her leap just right and redirected the ball past Hollis keeper Christina Balsamo to give the Falcons some insurance with 9:53 left on the clock.

“We’ve been working a lot on corner kicks and trying to get a head on the ball or something on the ball, and (Lafreniere) did,” Vogt said.

Sunday’s championship matchup was predictable. The last two titles have gone to the two final teams – Bow in 2017 and Hanover in 2018. And they played to a scoreless draw in last year’s semifinals before the Marauders won on penalty kicks.

When the two teams met this season in Bow on Oct. 22, the Falcons took an early lead before Hanover’s Charlotte Johnson headed three corner kicks for goals and the Marauders held on for a 3-2 win.

“We’ve got to work on the corner kicks, but I thought it was a great game,” Vogt said after the Oct. 22 meeting. “At times we had it, at times they had it, back-and-forth, which is what I expect with Hanover.”

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



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