High schools: Hopkinton edges Gilford, 2-1, in D-III boys’ soccer showdown

Monitor staff
Friday, September 15, 2017

HOPKINTON – For the last 12 years, Hopkinton and Gilford have ruled Division III boys’ soccer. They have won a combined nine titles in that span, three for Gilford and six for Hopkinton, with two of those six final wins coming against the Golden Eagles.

Not much has changed this fall. Both teams were undefeated coming into Thursday’s game, and they had outscored their opponents by a combined 39-4. The D-III titans delivered a game worthy of all the history and hype – a back-and-forth affair with dramatic saves, impressive goals and last-minute tension that ended in a 2-1 win for defending-champion Hopkinton.

“We had been playing some easy teams up to this game and we had gotten some easy wins, so I think we were all looking forward to this game, for sure,” said Hopkinton senior Gerry Donahue, who scored the game-winner in the 52nd minute. “We were really looking at their players, like (Tyler Hanf) and (Adam Donnelly), great players. But I think we prepared well for them, (Coach Scott) Zipke got us well trained for that, we worked hard in practice and we’re going to keep moving on from here.”

The Hawks (5-0) may have worked hard, and Gilford (5-1) may have arrived a little late for the scheduled 4 p.m. start, but it was the Golden Eagles who struck first. They missed a great chance in the first minute after some good passing from Hanf and Pat O’Connor, but they didn’t miss in the sixth minute when Donnelly beat the defense with his speed and strength and then hammered a cross through the box that Colton Workman got to with a well-timed boot for the 1-0 lead.

The Eagles kept pressing after that, but the Hopkinton back line of Dustin Rose, Derek West and Pete Sintros stayed steady and the Hawks eventually got on the front foot. Their best first-half chance came in the 24th minute when Donahue got free on a counter attack, but his shot skidded wide of the far post.

While Hopkinton had the possession advantage in the first half, it didn’t translate into any goals. Gilford defenders Sam Sawyer, Connor Leggett, Sandor Gamache and Christian Workman were solid in front of keeper Ethan Warren, and they all had plenty of help from the back-tracking midfielder and forwards.

“At halftime we talked about that, at times, they have 11 guys behind the ball,” Zipke said. “And we talked about that we can’t take three touches to shoot and we can’t beat six guys and then get tackled by the seventh, but we just need to get some balls on net.”

The Hawks heeded their coach’s advice. After a good clear from West, a strong holding play from Donahue and a quick pass from Shea Dickson, Hopkinton senior Max Rossignol found himself in some open space about 25 yards from the goal in the 50th minute. Rossignol unleashed a rocket shot that knuckled and then simply burned through Warren’s hands to tie things at 1-1.

“That was big for us, especially the power shot right through the goalie,” Donahue said.

Gilford quickly responded by earning a corner kick, but after Hopkinton keeper Sam Crawford punched the corner down, Zach Signor cleared it away and Gilford’s set play turned into a transition chance for the Hawks. Paul Molnar took a shot at the end of the break that Warren saved, but Donahue got through the scrum in front and tapped the rebound into the open net to give the Hawks a 2-1 lead.

It was a tough two minutes for the Eagles, but their response was excellent. Instead of hanging their heads, they took control.

“That was good to see,” Gilford Coach Dave Pinkham said. “I was really happy to see how much pressure we put on offensively. When you play against a good team you’re not going to have a lot of opportunities to score goals, but I felt like we created some very good opportunities against a good team.”

Zipke thought the same thing.

“We played really well for the first 52 minutes,” the Hopkinton coach said.

“After that I think we sat on our heels and held on for dear life. … It certainly had that feeling like any minute it was going to be tied up.”

Luckily for the Hawks, their keeper was holding on tight. Crawford missed the first four games of the season with a concussion, but his return couldn’t have come at a better time. The sophomore keeper finished with eight saves, including three spectacular ones in the second half. He had to leap to get a fingertip on a chip shot from Donnelly in the middle of the half, but the top highlights came in the 77th minute.

Gilford’s Ben Gardiner lofted a nice cross to the far post and Colton Workman connected with a flying header, but Crawford dove to his right and somehow stopped it. The Eagles were first to the rebound, but Crawford flung himself in front of that, too.

Those were the last gasps from Gilford … for now.

“When you’re against a really, really good team this early in the year your goal is to see if you can compete with them,” Pinkham said. “It’s not so much the winning or the losing, even though you’d love to win the game, you have to come out and see if down the road are you going to be able to compete with them.”

The Eagles definitely proved they can compete with Hopkinton. And the Hawks proved they can pull out tight games against a talented opponent.

“Any time you get a win against a quality team like Gilford, any time you get a win against a team that’s undefeated to that point in the season, it’s awesome,” Zipke said. “It was a big game.”

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


Belmont 2, Campbell 0

Key players: Belmont – Nate Sottak (goal), Hunter Dupuis (goal), Brendan Kelly (assist), Jake Deware (8 saves), Nolan Gagnon (forward), River Mathieu (midfield), Angelo Papadopolis (midfield)

Highlights/key moments: Sottak scored in the first half to give the Raiders a 1-0 halftime lead and Dupuis netted a goal in the 61st minute.

Coach’s quote: “We moved the ball really well tonight. Our ability to change fields and put pressure on their defensive backs was the catalyst for our early lead and our insurance goal.” – Belmont’s Mike Foley

Records: Belmont 4-1-1; Campbell 3-4-0

Hillsboro-Deering 7, Franklin 0

Key players: H-D – Jacinto Caceres (3 goals, assist), Ben Ketterer (goal, assist), Cam Jones (goal, assist), Kieren Kenny (goal), Teghan Auger (goal); Franklin – Christian Shepard (midfield) Logan Hannigan (striker)

Highlights/key moments: Caceres scored three goals in a 12 minute span in the first half to lift the Hillcats over the Tornadoes.

Coach’s quote: “We mixed up the scoring. We had some kids score who don’t usually get that opportunity. We possessed the ball well and played well with it.” – H-D’s Glenn Winters

Records: H-D 3-2-1; Franklin 0-5-0

Pittsfield 3, Wilton-Lyndeborough 2, OT

Key players: Pittsfield – Matt St. George (2 goals), Cam Darrah (goal, 2 assists)

Highlights/key moments: With the score knotted 2-2 in overtime, the Panthers score the game-winner in the 98th minute. Garrett Guerrero-Hadley threw a long ball into the box, Darrah flicked it past the goalkeeper and St. George was there to put it in the back of the net to knock off one the top teams in D-IV

Coach’s quote: “Today’s win was a total team effort. Our backs were strong defensively, our midfielders worked to win 50/50 balls and our strikers created several scoring opportunities. I’m proud of the guys for maintaining a high work rate over 98 minutes of play.” – Pittsfield’s Derek Hamilton

Records: Pittsfield 5-1-0; Wilton 5-1-1


Kearsarge 6, Kingswood 0

Key players: Kearsarge – Emily Folcik (2 goals), Kaylyn Storozuk (goal, assist), Alexis McConnell (goal, great defense), Payten Hebert (4 saves, stopped PK)

Highlights/key moments: The Cougars found their scoring touch, netting four goals in the first half.

Coach’s quote: “It was nice for us to get some scoring. We had been playing well, but have had some trouble scoring.” – Kearsarge’s Travis Dezotell

Records: Kearsarge 2-3; Kingswood 0-4

Belmont 6, White Mountains 0

Key players: Belmont – Juju Estremera (3 goals), Gabby Day (2 goals), Rebecca Fleming (goal), Emma Cochran (7 saves)

Highlights/key moments: Freshman Day scored her first career varsity goals and freshman goalkeeper Cochran saved two breakaways down the stretch to lead the Raiders to a decisive victory over the Spartans.

Coach’s quote: “Overall it was a complete game, especially in the second half. They worked really hard.” – Belmont’s Mark Dawalga

Records: Belmont 3-0-2; White Mtns. 4-3-0

Prospect Mountain 4, Gilford 1

Key players: Gilford – Sophie Leggett (goal)

Highlights/key moments: The Timberwolves scored two goals in each half to top the Eagles.

Coach’s quote: “Prospect Mountain is a good team that was able to finish off of both set pieces and well-executed runs.” – Gilford’s Tom Raymond

Records: Prospect Mtn. 3-2; Gilford 2-4


Hanover 3, Merrimack Valley 1

Key players: MV – Meg Dougherty (goal), Alani Ramas (defense), Reilly Swislosky (forward)

Highlights/key moments: Hanover won its third straight game, while the Pride dropped its second straight game.

Coach’s quote: “Once again, we fought until the end but didn’t come out on the winning end. We’ll just keep practicing hard and trying to improve on the things we’re doing.” – MV’s Kim Kenney

Records: Hanover 3-1-0; MV 0-4-1


Concord 193, Nashua South 199, Timberlane 210

Key players: Concord – Matt Burns (37), Evan Makris (38), Jeremiah Barry (38), Sean McDonough (40), Ryan Merchant (40)

Highlights/key moments: The Tide swept a tri-match at Green Meadow Golf Club in Nashua. Nashua South’s TJ Gillis (34) was the medalist.

Records: Concord 8-2; Nashua South 4-8; Timberlane 7-3

Milford 227, John Stark 228,
Pembroke 233, Bishop Brady 237

Key players: John Stark – Ryan Rothdiener (39), Tyler Hazzard (47), Joe Simeone (47), Joel Hawkes (47), Kyle Hagman (48); Pembroke – Justin Legere (38, medalist), Sean Moore (45), Steven Cavanaugh (50), Dom Riccio (50), Garrett Frew (50); Bishop Brady – Nick Grimbilas (40), Maryanne Wiley (44), Meghan Haley (49), Arthur Snow (51), Matt Cherian (53)

Highlights/key moments: Legere earned medalist honors, but the Generals were the top local team at a four-team match at Amherst Country Club

Records: Milford 8-4; John Stark 5-7; Pembroke 1-8; Bishop Brady 1-14