High schools: Pembroke boys’ soccer defeats John Stark in battle of playoff contenders

  • Pembroke’s Damon Smith (9) and John Stark’s Jake Reynolds (18) battle for a free ball as Josh Dion (4) looks on Tuesday in Pembroke. RICH MIYARA / N.H. Sports Photography

  • Pembroke’s Josh Dion (4) dribbles up field against multiple Stark defenders during a Division II game in Pembroke on Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017. RICH MIYARA / N.H. Sports Photography

  • John Stark goalie Chase Patterson goes up to make a save while Pembroke’s Justin Smith (11) and Stark’s Aiden Moser (15) try to get a head on the ball. RICH MIYARA / N.H. Sports Photography

  • John Stark’s Patrick Kalob (10) celebrates the only goal for Stark, making it a 2-1 game, in a Division II matchup at Pembroke on Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017. RICH MIYARA / N.H. Sports Photography

  • Pembroke’s Damon Smith takes a shot during Tuesday’s game. RICH MIYARA / N.H. Sports Photography

Monitor staff
Published: 10/18/2017 12:07:35 AM

PEMBROKE – The Division II boys’ soccer tournament figures to be a beast. The top of the division is deep and talented with as many as eight teams capable of making their way to the finals.

Pembroke Academy and John Stark are two of those contenders, and they met on Tuesday in a match that previewed the kind of intense, quality soccer that will likely be on display come playoff time.

The Spartans (13-1-1) locked up one of the top two seeds with a 2-1 win against Stark (9-5-1), but both teams were grateful for a game that served as preparation for the playoff challenges to come.

“I would rather have this kind of game where we’re right in it and close than we beat someone 9-0, because that does nothing to get you ready for the tournament,” said John Stark Coach Jeff Vogt, whose team plays its regular-season finale on Thursday. “We’ve played Bow, who is number three (in the standings), we’ve played Pembroke, who is number two, beat one (1-0 over Bow on Friday) and played with the other one, so we’ve got confidence going into it, and that’s what matters.”

Senior Damon Smith, who scored both of Pembroke’s goals, said the Generals’ win against Bow helped motivate his team for Tuesday’s match. And once the whistle blew, Smith and the Spartans learned why Stark has been able to compete with D-II’s best.

“They marked up probably better than any other team we played,” Smith said. “I feel like they came in with a game plan to completely counter our formation. We like to possess it through the back, and they had three forwards marking us the whole time, so it was really hard to possess that way.

“It’s really good because playoff time every team is different, so mixing it up a little and having to play a different game is really good going into the playoffs.”

The Spartans didn’t have to worry too much about those three forwards for the game’s first 30 minutes because the Spartans kept the ball in Stark’s half for most of that time. Pembroke’s pressure came from everywhere as Smith, Josh Dion, Connor Manteau, Jackson Putnam and Matt Ferguson all got in on the act, but Generals keeper Chase Patterson made a brave point-blank save on Dion and the other shots missed the frame to keep things scoreless for the first 18 minutes.

But with 22:35 left in the first half, Smith was awarded a penalty kick after carrying the ball through traffic and into the box with a dizzying array of moves and speed. The foul was a borderline call, but it was the third time that Smith had drawn contact in the box, so the PK felt deserved and Smith made it count when he calmly guided the ball into the lower left corner for a 1-0 lead.

That advantage doubled 10 minutes later on what has to be one of Pembroke’s prettiest goals of the year. It started with Dion in his own end making a long, smart and accurate pass down the left sideline to Manteau. The junior forward cut inside, beat a defender and played it square to Smith, who spun the ball behind him to keep it away from the defense, drifted to the right to create an angle and chipped to the left corner to beat Patterson and give his team a 2-0 lead with 8:37 left in the first half.

That goal woke up the Generals, who increased their pressure for the final eight minutes of the half and pushed the game into Pembroke’s end. Forwards Evan Caswell and Jonathan Rizzitano and midfielders Jake Reynolds, Jared Peterson and Aaron Robertson were leading the charge for Stark, and it was Caswell who turned the pressure into a goal. The senior used his strength and speed to carry the ball down the right side and then sizzled a cross into the box that Pembroke’s Justin Smith, one of the top center backs in the state, poked at and sent looping over the head of his twin, Tyler, the Pembroke keeper, cutting the lead to 2-1.

“I just got caught up a little bit there and I had to reach back and the ball just caught a bump,” Justin Smith explained.

The Generals kept up the pressure and looked ready to tie things early in the second half, but Justin Smith made up for his own goal by stopping a pair of quick bids from Stark’s Patrick Kalob in the 45th minute. Stark maintained its pressure for most of the second half, but couldn’t find a way to solve the Smith twins and Pembroke’s two other back line defenders, Andrew Nedeau and Jake Mavity.

“With our three back it’s tricky defending (Stark) with three up top,” Justin Smith said, “but we got it right most of the time.”

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


Pinkerton 2, Concord 1

Key players: Concord – Alasdair Ferrier (goal), Taylor Silverstein (assist), Liam Devanny (3 saves), Aiden Desjardins (midfield), Daniel Aybar (def)

Highlights/key moments: Concord tied things up at 1-1 with a score from Ferrier, who beat two defenders before placing the shot on goal. Despite outshooting Pinkerton, 13-9, the Astros converted on a late free kick late for the eventual game-winner in a competitive contest between two of the top teams in Division I.

Coach’s quote: “We created many chances in the second half and played extremely well.” – Concord’s Scott Dunlop

Records: Concord 10-4-1; Pinkerton 11-4

ConVal 2, Kearsarge 1

Key players: Kearsarge – Mike Geary (goal), Owen Cottrill (assist)

Highlights/key moments: ConVal took a 2-0 lead in the first half that held up until Geary scored with 15 minutes left in the match. Kearsarge pressured for the equalizer, but ConVal keeper Mather Kipka made four saves in the final minutes to keep his team on top.

Coach’s quote: “It was a well-played game. The boys fought hard and didn’t give up. I was proud of the effort.” – Kearsarge’s Matt Burch

Records: Kearsarge 6-8-1; ConVal 9-6

Hopkinton 9, Conant 1

Key players: Hopkinton – Gerry Donahue (2 goals, 2 assists), Paul Molnar (goal, 2 assists), Zach Berliner (goal, assist), Corey Breault (goal, assist)

Highlights/key moments: The Hawks scored six first-half goals to take control early in this one. Eight different players scored for Hopkinton, including Berliner, who was making his first career varsity start. Sam Crawford played sound in net with two saves.

Records: Hopkinton 13-2; Conant 3-12

Belmont 2, Inter-Lakes 1, OT

Key players: Belmont – Griffin Embree (game-winning goal), Hunter Dupuis (goal), Zach Ennis (assist); Inter-Lakes – Alex Losada (goal), Ian Daly (assist)

Highlights/key moments: It was all Inter-Lakes for 65 minutes before the Raiders finally woke up. Belmont tied the game with 15 minutes left in regulation on a goal from Ennis and found the scoring touch again in the opening minutes of overtime on a penalty kick off the foot of Embree.

Coach’s quote: “They held the advantage for most of the first half and we were able to generate some nice chances in the second half.” – Belmont’s Michael Foley

Records: Belmont 10-4-1; Inter-Lakes 8-7-1

Laconia 2, Newfound 1

Key players: Newfound – Justin Shokal (goal), Cian Connor (great midfield play)

Highlights/key moments: The Sachems held a two-goal for most of the game before Shokal’s late goal brought Newfound to within striking distance.

Coach’s quote: “Laconia played with more composure and they took advantage of our mistakes. We struggled to gain momentum today.” – Newfound’s Jason Hill

Records: Newfound 5-9-1; Laconia 5-9-1

Mascoma 6, Franklin 1

Key players: Franklin – Christian Shepard (defense), Jacob Weaver (goal)

Highlights/key moments: The Golden Tornadoes struggled to limit Mascoma’s scoring in dropping their 15th straight game.

Records: Franklin 0-15; Mascoma 9-1-5

Hillsboro-Deering 10, Newport 0

Key players: H-D – Elijah Winters (4 goals, assist), Kieren Kenney (2 goals, assist), Julian Howell (goal, assist), Teghan Auger (goal), Thomas Ferguson (goal), Dylan Anwar (goal, assist), Jessie Lavoie (assist), Ben Ketterer (assist), Kadin Garvin (Assist)

Highlights/key moments: Winters scored twice in the first 16 minutes and Ferguson (H-D’s regular goalie) and Anwar scored their first varsity goals during this home win on Monday.

Records: Hillsboro-Deering 5-8-1; Newport 0-14


Gilford 2, Inter-Lakes 0

Key players: Gilford – Sarah Fillion (goal), Maddi Rector (goal), Hannah Perkins (shutout)

Highlights/key moments: Perkins picked up another shutout in goal for the Golden Eagles, who scored twice in the first half for the early cushion. Gilford continued its strong defense into the second half, holding a good Inter-Lakes team off the scoreboard.

Coach’s quote: “For 15 seniors it was a big win during their last regular season home game. I’m very proud of them all.” – Gilford’s Tom Raymond

Records: Gilford 8-7; Inter-Lakes 4-10-1

Raymond 2, Hopkinton 0

Key players: Hopkinton – Amelia Bassett (10 saves), Ellie Owen, Amelia Fitzgerald, Catherine O’Keeffe, Cathen Hall

Highlights/key moments: It was an evently matched contest, but the Hawks struggled to find any offensive consistency. Bassett did her best to hold Raymond scoreless until the 48th minute, but Hopkinton generated just four shots on goal.

Coach’s quote: “It was an even game of play between these two rival teams when it comes to intensity and passion, however creating offensive opportunities was in favor of Raymond tonight.” – Hopkinton’s Lauri Izzi

Records: Hopkinton 11-3; Raymond 15-1

Belmont 7, Berlin 1

Key players: Belmont – Makenzie Donovan (3 goals), Julianna Estremera (2 goals, 2 assists), Rebecca Fleming (2 goals), Brianna White (assist), Chloe Sottak (assist)

Highlights/key moments: Belmont won its sixth straight match and honored its three seniors – White, Sottak and Madeline Basha,

Coach’s quote: “It was a nice night for our three seniors and a good, all-around team win.” – Belmont’s Mark Dawalga

Records: Belmont 9-3-3; Berlin 3-12-1

Newmarket 5, Pittsfield 0

Key players: Pittsfield – Rebecca Smith (11 saves), Bryanna Morris (defense), Emily Thompson

Highlights/key moments: The Panthers held Newmarket scoreless for nearly the entire first half before giving up a goal on a rebound that opened the floodgates. The Mules went on to net four more scores in the second half.

Coach’s quote: “I thought we played a good first half and hung with them and even had a few chances to score. Time to focus on Thursday’s matchup and hope to finish the season strong.” – Pittsfield’s Jayme Kennedy

Records: Pittsfield 9-6; Newmarket 14-2

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