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High schools: Hawks soar past White Mountains to reach D-III quarterfinals

  • Hopkinton’s Madison Carmichael (22) takes a shot and scores over the top of White Mountain’s goalie Carissa Challinor to put the Hawks on top, 2-0, during Tuesday’s Division III tournament game in Contoocook. RICH MIYARA / NH Sports Photography

  • Hopkinton’s Loren Charron (10) takes a shot while being tightly guarded by White Mountain’s Olivia Shallow (3). RICH MIYARA / NH Sports Photography

  • Hopkinton’s Lillie Presti (in green) collides with White Mountain goalie Carissa Challinor during Tuesday’s Division III tournament game in Contoocook. The Hawks defeated White Mountains, 4-1, to advance to Friday’s quarterfinal. RICH MIYARA / NH Sports Photography

Monitor staff
Published: 10/29/2019 9:31:46 PM

Hopkinton girls’ soccer coach Mike Zahn remembers playing White Mountains back in early September. It was just the second game of the year and it resulted in a runaway win for the Hawks, as well as one of their largest margins of victory during the regular season.

On Tuesday, a much-improved Spartans team came back to Contoocook looking to pull off an upset in the first round of the Division III tournament. And while the No. 11 Spartans fell short against the sixth-seeded Hawks, the team left a strong impression on Zahn.

“It was a 7-1 (win) back then and I felt like today, I was kind of like, ‘Man, where did some of these girls come from.’ They showed up today ready to battle and I thought they did a great job,” Zahn said.

It just wasn’t enough to unseat the defending champs.

It took awhile for Hopkinton to get rolling, but once it did, the goals came fast.

Four different players found the back of the net for the Hawks (13-4), who scored twice in each half and continued to play lights-out defense to advance to the next round after knocking out White Mountains, 4-1.

“I would have liked to score a little earlier on and settle in, because I think my team, once we score that first one or two, we definitely settle in and things start to open up for us,” Zahn said. “But it was fine the way things worked out. I wasn’t too nervous or anything like that in terms of feeling like we were in a bad position at any point in the game.

“Our girls, we didn’t veer from the game plan in terms of possession, moving the ball around and finding open spaces against them,” Zahn said. “We didn’t want to give them any breathing room, either. Pressuring the ball was key today to make them cough up the ball.”

Hopkinton will host No. 14 Somersworth in the quarterfinals on Friday.

It’s a bit of a surprise home playoff game for the Hawks after the Hilltoppers upset No. 3 Campbell, 2-1 – but it’s no easy matchup, especially after Somersworth beat Hopkinton, 1-0, on Oct. 16.

“They beat us two weeks ago at their place, which hurt us big time in the standings and for our confidence,” Zahn said. “When I let our girls know after the game tonight, they actually cheered because they wanted revenge on Somersworth.”

Unable to find their scoring touch through the first 18 minutes against the Spartans, the Hawks turned to sophomore Loren Charron.

The dynamic winger took a through ball from teammate Eleanor Owen, made a few touches inside the 18-yard box and delivered a strike past White Mountain keeper Carissa Challinor to put the Hawks up 1-0 in the 19th minute.

It was a team-leading 17th goal for Charron, who made the switch from right back to forward this season and has played a huge role in Hopkinton’s attack.

“I needed the speed up top this year and a little bit more attacking danger up there, so she was able to fit seamlessly in that position,” Zahn said. “It’s hard for the opposition to kind of figure out what to do with Loren.”

When opponents attempt to key in on Charron, the Hawks have plenty of other playmakers to turn to.

One being freshman Madison Carmichael, who’s gone up and down from JV to varsity as a swing player this season, but made her presence felt against the Spartans by subbing in for Charron and scoring in the 39th minute off a pass from sophomore Annie Higginbotham.

“(Carmichael) hasn’t been able to play as many varsity games as I’d like because JV needed her more, so this was a good game for her to get that confidence back and get back up to speed at the varsity level,” Zahn said.

Hopkinton continued to pile on in the second half.

Sophomore Jess Carney made it 3-0 in the 53rd minute after playing a cross from Charron. Meanwhile, the Hawks’ back line of Owen, Kally Murdough, Lilia Klingler and Maddy Follansbee, as well as goalie Emily Fleegle, continued to show why Hopkinton was one of the hardest teams to score against in the division.

The defense posted nine shutouts during the regular season, and nearly had another until the Spartans struck for a goal from Alyssa Fryman in the 59th minute off a throw-in.

The Hawks, though, erased that goal quickly with one of their own a minute later when junior Brooke Carlson scored off an assist from Carmichael.

“Each game that goes along, (the defense) just gets more confident in terms of being a back line and they’re very composed,” Zahn said. “When we have the ball in possession, it’s hard to get the ball from them because they swing it around the back and try to find openings going forward. And any balls that come in, they don’t let players turn around and are quick enough to read the game and cut off any angles.”

The Hawks are confident that if they can get past Somersworth, another finals appearance awaits them.

“Put us on turf, it’s a true surface and if you can pass well and you’re fast, then you’re a good team on turf,” Zahn said. “And that’s what we are.”

(Jay McAree can be reached at 369-3371, or on Twitter @JayMcAree.)

D-III girls’ soccer tournament

No. 4 Belmont 4,
No. 13 Derryfield 1

Key players: Belmont – Sana Syed (G), Katie Gagnon (G), Rebecca Fleming (G), Kailey Gerbig (A), Gabbi Day (G)

Highlights: Syed got the Raiders going early, scoring on PK in the 12th minute. Derryfield, though, found a way to tie the game 10 minutes later as the two sides went into the half all square at 1-all. Belmont struck for three scores in the second half, getting a free kick goal from Gagnon in the 41st minute from 25 yards out, another score from Fleming set up by Gerbig just outside the 18-yard box and one final tally from Day in the 67th minute.

Coach’s quote: “Our two seniors (Syed, Gagnon) really stepped up today. It took a total team effort. Give Derryfield credit, they never quit. We knew this was going to be a tough game as they beat us earlier in the year. Very proud of the team effort today.” – Belmont’s Mark Dawalga

Records: Belmont 13-3-1; Derryfield 6-10-1

Field Hockey

No. 5 Concord 2,
No. 8 Merrimack 1

Key players: Concord – Maria Armaganian (2A), Erin Doherty (G), Kait McKinnon (G)

Highlights: Both teams applied strong pressure throughout the first half until McKinnon opened the scoring for the Tide. Merrimack hit back halfway through the second half, tying the game at 1-all, but a poised pass by Armaganian to Erin Doherty resulted in the game-winning goal for the Tide. Concord now progresses to the D-I state championship game where it will take on No. 2 Windham at Bedford High School on Sunday at 4 p.m.

Records: Concord 12-4; Merrimack 10-7

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