No. 7 Pittsfield falls short of D-IV title game in 3-1 loss to No. 6 Profile

  • Profile’s Cam Hoyt (left) and Pittsfield’s Casey Clark chase after the ball during the Division IV semifinals at Laconia High School on Monday. Pittsfield lost to Profile, 3-1. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

  • Pittsfield’s Cameron Darrah scores their lone goal on a penalty kick during the second half of the Division IV soccer semi-final at Laconia High School on Monday October 30, 2107. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Profile forward Rylan Grimard #12 fights for the ball with Pittsfield’s Casey Clark during the second half of the Division IV soccer semi-final at Laconia High School on Monday October 30, 2107. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Pittsfield’s Matt St. George avoids contact with Profile goalie Jordan Brusseau during the second half of the Division IV soccer semi-final at Laconia High School on Monday October 30, 2017. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Profile players surround Pittsfield’s Cameron Darrah during the second half of the Division IV semifinal at Laconia High School on Monday. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

  • Pittsfield’s Jesse MacGlashing leaves the field while Profile players celebrate behind him after the conclusion of the Division IV boys’ soccer semifinal match at Laconia High School on Monday. The Panthers fell to Profile, 3-1. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Published: 10/30/2017 11:22:48 PM

LACONIA – When Cam Darrah’s penalty kick hit the back of the net to cut Pittsfield’s deficit in half, it seemed the Panthers would test Profile down the stretch of the Division IV boys’ soccer semifinals at Laconia High School.

The Patriots had an immediate answer.

Profile’s Jeb Weinrich converted a penalty kick of his own only 53 seconds after Darrah’s score and the No. 6 Patriots never wavered to secure a 3-1 victory over the No. 7 Panthers for the program’s first championship appearance.

Profile will take on No. 5 Littleton – a 2-1 winner over previously undefeated No. 1 Portsmouth Christian Academy – on Saturday at Southern New Hampshire University starting at 11:30 a.m.

“They’ve had the confidence all season, as they deserve, to make it into the final,” Profile Coach Brent Detamore said. “To stop at any other game before the final would have been disappointing. They just want to keep playing. They don’t want it to end.”

Pittsfield (13-6) trailed 1-0 at halftime and an early goal in the second stanza created a steep climb for the Panthers to reach a second D-IV final in four seasons. But Pittsfield put some pressure on Profile (15-4) when Casey Clark sent a cross to Garrett Guerrero-Hadley, who was fouled in the box and provided the opportunity for Darrah’s PK goal with 18:35 to play.

“When we make it a 2-1 game, you’re really interested to see what the next 10 minutes look like,” Pittsfield Coach Derek Hamilton said. “How are both teams going to respond? Would we have an opportunity to carry momentum, maybe create some scoring opportunities? Maybe you see Profile play conservatively?”

Unfortunately for the Panthers, it was quite the opposite. Less than a minute later, Seamus Slattery drew a foul and set up Weinrich’s penalty kick to re-establish a two-goal cushion.

“They came back really quickly, created another scoring opportunity and pulled ahead,” Hamilton said. “Momentum kind of shifted right back to them in a matter of minutes.”

Profile dictated possession for the majority of the match and finished with the advantage in total shots (22-12), shots on goal (8-4) and corner kicks (11-3).

The Patriots struck first when Hanzon Hunt threaded a through ball to Jake Peterson. As the defense tried to catch up, Pittsfield goalkeeper Gavin Knight (five saves) challenged the run and got a good piece of the shot, but the ball had enough steam to trickle into the net for a 1-0 advantage with 18:34 left in the first half.

“Profile is very tactically organized,” Hamilton said. “They do a nice job of playing to feet and they do a good job of getting out wide and making some overlapping runs, and it really put a lot of pressure on us early.”

Six minutes into the second half, Profile’s Shamus McKim broke loose from the defense and slipped a shot to the left side of the net for a breakaway goal and a 2-0 lead with 33:47 to go.

“He was able to finish that and put it in the side netting,” Detamore said of the senior in his first year with the team. “That was great composure.”

Aside from the 53 seconds between the exchange in penalty kicks, Profile maintained the two-goal cushion the rest of the way.

“We made no foolish mistakes out of the back,” Detamore said. “Our defense has been solid all season and we’ve been putting away our opportunities when we have them, and we did that tonight.”

It was a disappointing end to a stellar season for the Panthers, who beat No. 10 Newmarket, 4-1, in the opening round before they traveled to No. 2 Lisbon and came home with a 3-2 upset.

Pittsfield was seeking its first boys’ soccer title since 1980, but Monday turned out to be the final soccer game in the high school careers of its seven seniors: Darrah, Knight, Guerrero-Hadley, Clark, Weston Lemay, Matt St. George and Tucker Wolfe.

It’s the most successful boys’ soccer class since Pittsfield lost in the championship three straight years from 2004-06.

“They’ve really put Pittsfield soccer back on the map. I mean four years ago, these guys were freshmen playing in a state final game as a 12 seed,” Hamilton said of the seniors. “They worked incredibly hard to get us back to this point and were really a resilient group over the course of the season.

“I can’t say enough,” he added. “Their work rate the past two weeks to get by a tough Newmarket team, to go up to Lisbon and come away with a ‘W’ against a tough 2 seed – it’s really a credit to them and the leadership they’ve shown. The work ethic they’ve modeled for our younger guys is hopefully going to be a testament for years to come.”

(Jason Orfao can be reached at 369-3338, or on Twitter @JasonOrfao.)

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