High Schools: Damon Smith leads Pembroke past Bow in battle of D-II boys’ soccer powers

  • Pembroke’s Damon Smith (9) controls the ball between Bow defenders during a 2-1 win over the Falcons on Friday afternoon. Richard Miyara photos / NH Sports Photography

  • Rich Miyara—

  • Bow’s Chris Gallier (8) heads the ball in for a goal to cut Pembroke’s lead to 2-1, but the Spartans held on for a victory in a boys’ soccer match featuring two of Division II’s top teams. Richard Miyara photos / NH Sports Photography

Monitor staff
Saturday, October 07, 2017

BOW – The Spartans had already beaten Bow once this season. Still, the Pembroke boys’ soccer team felt like it had something to prove during Friday’s rematch between the two Division II powers.

“This was a big game for us and we came out wicked hard,” Pembroke senior Damon Smith said. “We knew these guys were in first and definitely a team to beat.”

That effort led to two first-half goals, including a wicked one from Nolan Sykes, and eventually to a 2-1 win over the Falcons. The decision pushes Pembroke to 11-1-1 and into second place in D-II, behind only Windham (11-1-0). The loss drops Bow (10-2) to third place and snaps its eight-match winning streak which began after a 1-0 loss on Sept. 1 at Pembroke.

Facing the only team to beat them should have given these Falcons plenty of motivation, but that’s not what their coach saw in the first half.

“I laid into them pretty good at halftime, but we didn’t deserve to be on the same field as Pembroke in that first half. It was ridiculous,” Bow Coach George Pinkham said. “This (Bow) team is a good team, but it can be a top-four team with a chance to win a championship if they bring that passion and energy with them. But tonight Pembroke was an excellent team, and that’s why they beat us, and they deserved it, no question.”

One of the Bow players who did play with high energy from start to finish was sweeper Ben Guertin, and he was needed in the game’s first minute to defend the hungry Pembroke attack. The Spartans kept pushing in the opening minutes and nearly scored on a pretty combination play from Cam Rivard, Matt Ferguson and Connor Manteau, but Manteau’s shot clanged off the post.

Pembroke eventually broke through in the 17th minute when Smith was quick to a loose ball and headed it past a charging Joe Rychwalski, Bow’s keeper.

“We’ve been trying to do these looping runs, and that’s what I did, and we had a guy put it in and it was just little bit short,” Smith said. “But the defender flicked it up and I was just there to put it right in.”

The Falcons nearly tied things up in the 25th minute when Chris Besho set up Max Elsasser, two more Bow players who brought passion for most of the game, but Elsasser’s shot went off the post.

The Spartans countered off that miss, with Josh Dion driving the charge. He eventually found Manteau, who fed it to Smith, who delivered a pretty cross to the far post. The finish, however, was even prettier as Sykes volleyed it back across the goal mouth and into the side netting, leaving Rychwalski no chance.

“He had a hat trick in practice this week, so he’s been stepping it up,” Pembroke Coach Peter Bisson said of Sykes, a junior sub for the Spartans. “He was a striker at JV last year and so he came up here and he started playing (outside midfield) this year and I feel like every game he’s getting a little bit more confidence and knowing that position better.”

That 2-0 lead stood until halftime, but what changed in the second half was Bow’s energy. After watching the Spartans control possession for the first half, and hold a 5-2 shot advantage, the Falcons took it over in the second half and outshot the Spartans in those second 40 minutes, 5-3.

Smith admitted that his Pembroke team got “a little comfortable” with its lead, but the Spartans also showed a team-wide toughness on defense. Pembroke keeper Tyler Smith, one of the best in the state, was quick off his line and the back three of Justin Smith, Jake Mavity and Andrew Nedeau were physical and smart. But the Spartans also got great defensive work from midfielder Kobie Valdes and Ferguson, a forward with an incredible work rate.

“I thought we played well as a team every way today,” Bisson said.

The Falcons finally broke through in the 71st minute when Besho put a free kick to the far post that was headed home by Chris Gallier, Bow’s senior captain midfielder who was at the heart of his team’s improved second-half possession.

After that, Pembroke tightened the defensive screws for the final nine minutes to finish the game and claim its seventh straight win.

“I’m very happy with where we are as a team,” Damon Smith said. “We work really hard, so this feels good.”

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


Concord 3, Keene 2

Key players: Concord – Sujan Gurung (goal, assist), Sebastian Pardo (goal, assist), Josh Adams (goal), Chea Chebo (assist), Liam Devanny (7 saves)

Highlights/key moments: The Tide struggled early in this one, falling behind 2-0 through 17 minutes of play. Gurung was able to breathe some life into Concord with his goal off an assist from Pardo, cutting the deficit to 2-1 heading into halftime. Pardo scored the equalizing goal in the 61st minute off a feed from Chebo, and Gurung set up Adams for the go-ahead goal in the 85th minute.

Coach’s quote: “It took us a while to get off the bus, but they showed some character after that. Keene pushed us all game long.” – Concord’s Scott Dunlop

Records: Concord 9-3; Keene 5-7

John Stark 2, Goffstown 1, 2 OT

Key players: John Stark – Jake Reynolds, Evan Nelson (2 assists), Patrick Kalob (goal), Johnathan Rizzitano (goal), Jared Peterson, Tyler Restuccia (defense), Chase Patterson (strong in goal)

Highlights/key moments: Goffstown came out strong from the opening whistle and scored in the 15th minute. John Stark tied the game off a goal by Kalob 10 minutes into the second half. Rizzitano scored four minutes into the second overtime period off a rebound.

Coach’s quote: “I love this team. They’re resilient and never give up. We made a few adjustments at halftime that helped contain Goffstown and they never stopped working.” – John Stark’s Jeff Vogt

Records: John Stark 8-3-1; Goffstown 5-7-1


Concord 5, Keene 1

Key players: Concord – Grace Devanny (4 goals), Abby Crawford (goal)

Highlights/key moments: Devanny found the net four times in the first half to give Concord a commanding lead while bringing her season total to 16. Crawford scored on a free kick with about 20 minutes left.

Coach’s quote: “We are excited to get back into our winning ways. We need to remain sharp moving into the playoffs with only four games left in our season.” – Concord’s Phil Tuttle

Records: Concord 8-4; Keene 3-6-1

Coe-Brown 4, St. Thomas 1

Key players: Coe-Brown – Kiley St. Francis (goal, assist), Emily Olofson (goal), Corrine Fernald (goal), Lauren Curtin (goal), Amelia Brackett (defense), Megan Edgecomb (defense), Emily van Gerena (5 saves)

Highlights/key moments: Coe-Brown capitalized on a direct kick by St. Francis that found the net in the seventh minute to put the Bears on the board.

Coach’s quote: “We have been making improvements each of our last four games to get where we need to be for making the playoffs. Today was another step forward for us.” – Coe-Brown’s Josh Hils

Records: Coe-Brown 5-7-1; St. Thomas 3-8

Hopkinton 5, Somersworth 0

Key players: Hopkinton – Megan Ellsworth (2 goals), Taylor Signor (goal, assist), Grace Clark (2 goals, assist), Lyndon Flanagan (assist)

Highlights/key moments: Hopkinton peppered 23 shots on goal and the Hawks won their fifth game in their last six.

Coach’s quote: “The Hawks controlled most of the game but it took them 53 minutes to score the first goal. Somersworth was aggressive to the ball and worked hard to mark players until the very end.” – Hopkinton’s Lauri Izzi

Records: Hopkinton 9-2-1; Somersworth 0-13


Concord 49, Spaulding 34

Key players: Concord – Isaac Gladey (18 carries, 236 yards, 4 TD), Zach Miles (2 passing TDs, rushing TD), Jacob Knowles (receiving TD), Evan Berube (receiving TD)

Highlights/key moments: After losing its first four games of the season, the Crimson Tide has now posted back-to-back wins. Concord opened the scoring with a 25-yard touchdown pass from Miles to Knowles. Gladey scored twice in the second quarter as the Tide took a 19-14 lead into halftime. Spaulding took a 20-19 lead early in the third, but Concord answered with two touchdown runs from Gladey. The teams traded touchdowns after that, the final one coming on a sneak from Miles with 4:25 to ice the road win.

Records: Concord 2-4; Spaulding 0-6


John Stark 2, Littleton 0

Key players: John Stark – Melina Jackson (7 saves), Rebecca Wetherbee (goal), Kasey Arnold (goal), Elizabeth Aubin (assist), Delaney Forrestall (assist), Abbey Jensen (defense), Tyler Descoteau (defense)

Highlights/key moments: The Generals took a 1-0 lead into halftime after a strong performance by Jackson in net. Wetherbee gave Stark a 2-0 lead in the second half and the Generals held on to the end.

Coach’s quote: “Our team played a very intense, all-around game today.” – John Stark’s Dennis Pelletier

Records: John Stark 3-10; Littleton 2-10

Kearsarge 1, Laconia 0

Key players: Kearsarge – Jordan Pollard (midfield), Chase Lennon (midfield), Audrey Kenyon (goal), Megan Norris (assist), Rachel Swindell (defense)

Highlights/key moments: A strong carry by Norris up the wing led to a nice cross feed to Kenyon who put it away for the Cougars.

Coach’s quote: “We did our best to prep for a faster game on turf and it was great to see them apply some of the things we focused on.” – Kearsarge’s Dianne Chadwick

Records: Kearsarge 3-9; Laconia 2-10

Berlin 4, Bishop Brady 1

Key players: Bishop Brady – Isabella Payne (goal), Emma Windsor (7 saves)

Highlights/key moments: Berlin took a 1-0 lead into halftime and buried the Giants with three more goals in the second half.

Records: Berlin 8-5; Bishop Brady 4-8

Monadnock 2, Bow 1

Key players: Bow – Brenna Novakoski (goal), Dillon Hicks (assist), Courtney Baer (20 saves)

Highlights/key moments: Monadnock scored two minutes into the game and rode that lead to the final horn. Hicks set up Novakoski off a corner, cutting the lead to one. Bow held Monadnock scoreless in the second half but could not tie it up.

Coach’s quote: “This was our last home game and senior recognition day, so we were hoping for an upset. That early goal stunned us, and even though we regained our composure, we were not able to get the tying goal.” – Bow’s Rebecca Cleary

Records: Monadnock 10-2; Bow 6-6

Stevens 3, Pembroke 0

Key players: Pembroke – Ali Corriveau (offense), Laurel Klawes (defense), Kim Dugan (defense)

Highlights/key moments: Pembroke controlled a good portion of the first half but allowed three goals to slip by that the Spartans could not make up.

Coach’s quote: “We are disappointed that we didn’t win this game. These girls played really well against a tough team. They hustled to the ball, played well on defense and generated good offense.” – Pembroke’s Aimee Monterio

Records: Stevens 9-4; Pembroke 3-9

Hopkinton 1, Newport 0

Key players: Hopkinton – Katie Meserve (goal), Bekah Underwood (assist), Fiona Beane (assist)

Highlights/key moments: Hopkinton scored the game-winner with one minute left in the game.

Coach’s quote: “I am so proud of these girls, they worked hard for sixty minutes and we were finally able to convert all that effort into a goal.” – Hopkinton’s Amanda Bacher

Records: Hopkinton 7-5; Newport 3-8


Concord 3, Keene 0

Key players: Concord – Mia Harmon (11 kills), Maria Wimpey (11 kills), Abby Rochette (25 assists), Brenna Vandersea (15 digs)

Highlights/key moments: Concord earned its third straight sweep with 25-17, 25-21, 25-13 scores.

Coach’s quote: “This was a better Keene team than I have seen in years. Concord’s defense, led be Brenna Vandersea and Paige Weatherbee, has been outstanding the last few matches.” – Concord’s Jonathan Flower

Records: Concord 11-2; Keene 3-10

Gilford 3, Kingswood 0

Key players: Gilford – Brooke Beaudet (12 kills, 8 digs, 3 aces), Maggie McNeil (5 kills, 9 digs, 5 aces), Abby Warren (4 kills), Lindsey Sanderson (4 kills), Abby O’Connor (2 kills, 2 blocks), Lexi Boisvert (2 kills,7 digs, ace), Karly Sanborn (16 assists, 5 digs), Naomi Eldridge (8 assists, 2 aces), Kasey Moore (8 digs), Bailey Hildreth (5 digs)

Highlights/key moments: The Golden Eagles won for the 10th time in 11 matches with this 25-16, 25-10, 25-15 decision. As a team, Gilford finished with 45 digs, 28 kills and 11 aces.

Records: Gilford 10-2; Kingswood 1-11

Pittsfield 3, Mascoma 0

Key players: Pittsfield – Arianna Cyr (4 digs, 11 kills, 4 aces), Emily Dunagin (5 digs, 11 assists, 4 aces)

Highlights/key moments: The Panthers started a little slow after a long bus ride, but then came on for a 26-24, 25-19, 25-10 win.

Coach’s quote: “This ties the most wins the girls have had in over a decade, and they are playing well enough to hopefully make the playoffs.” – Pittsfield’s Paul Strickhart

Records: Pittsfield 4-5; Mascoma 3-9

Farmington 3, Hillsboro-Deering 0

Key players: H-D – Lydia Powell (8 digs), Kimmie Rodier (kill, ace, 2 digs), Meg Wheeler (kill, 2 aces, 4 digs), Kenzie Murdough (2 assists, 2 digs, ace)

Highlights/key moments: The Hillcats fell in straight sets, 25-9, 25-15 and 25-21.

Coach’s quote: “Farmington is always a great team and offers a great deal of skill. Our girls improved each set and came close in the third, but couldn’t quite clench a win.” – H-D’s Nicole LaRoche

Records: Farminton 9-0; H-D 3-9