Two-time defending champ Hopkinton beats Belmont, 4-0, in D-III semis

  • Lizz Holmes (right) takes a shot that turns into the final goal in Hopkinton’s 4-0 win against Belmont in Thursday’s Division III girls’ soccer semifinals in Hopkinton. The two-time defending champion Hawks will try to make it three straight in Sunday’s 2 p.m. championship game in Litchfield against Campbell. JEFF SULLIVAN /

  • Hopkinton’s Maddy Follansbee (right) keeps her eye on the ball and Belmont’s Sierra Bourque (left) during Thursday’s Divsion III girls’ soccer quarterfinal. Hopkinton won on its home field, 4-0, and will now travel to Litchfield for Sunday’s 2 p.m. championship game where it will be looking for a third straight title.  JEFF SULLIVAN /

  • Hopkinton’s Annie Higginbotham takes a shot during Thursday’s Division III girls’ soccer semifinal against Belmont. Higginbotham had an assist as the Hawks rolled to a win and a spot in Sunday’s 2 p.m. championship game in Litchfield against Campbell. Hopkinton will be looking for a third straight D-III crown.  JEFF SULLIVAN /

Monitor staff
Published: 11/6/2020 10:45:51 AM
Modified: 11/6/2020 10:45:36 AM

Hopkinton may be the two-time defending Division III girls’ soccer champs, but that didn’t mean much to the D-II teams that rudely welcomed the Hawks into inter-division play this year.

With schedules prioritizing location over division due to coronavirus concerns, Hopkinton played eight of its nine regular-season games against D-II teams. The Hawks went just 2-4-2 in those contests, which were the first eight games of their season, but they haven’t lost since.

After taking their lumps and learning some lessons against those bigger D-II schools, Hopkinton won the final game of its regular-season against its first D-III opponent, Hillsobo-Deering, 3-0. Since then, the Hawks have claimed four straight playoff wins (one by forfeit), including Thursday’s 4-0 semifinal against Belmont, to reach a third consecutive D-III final. Hopkinton (7-4-2) will defend its title on Sunday at Campbell (7-5-0), which beat Raymond, 2-1, in Thursday’s other D-III semifinal.

Freshman Keegan St. Cyr gave Hopkinton a lead just 2:30 into the semifinal against Belmont (9-3-0) on a left-footed laser shot. The Hawks scored another before halftime and added a pair of insurance goals in the second half.

Ashlee Brehio, who had four goals in Hopkinton’s 5-0 quarterfinal win against Kearsarge, finished with two goals and assist on Thursday. Lizz Holmes also had a goal and Annie Higginbotham had an assist. Kally Murdough and Maddy Follansbee played tough defense in front of keeper Emily Fleegle, who earned the shutout.

“It was a weird vibe at the game today and it was a rretty underwhelming game of soccer for a semifinal,” Hopkinton coach Mike Zahn said. “Lots going on in the world today, but hopefully this is a bright spot for the girls to feel good about what they have accomplished this season. Obviously it’s good to get the win against a great group of Belmont girls, but hopefully we can bring more energy on Sunday in the final.”

Division II volleyball

The John Stark volleyball advanced to to the D-II final after St. Thomas had to forfeit the semifinal due to coronavirus concerns at the Dover school. The Generals (8-3) will travel to two-time defending-champion Gilford (10-1) for Saturday’s 6 p.m. championship game.

This will be the first finals appearance for Stark. Gilford, on the other hand, has won five of the last 10 D-II titles and has 16 championships in all.

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