Girls’ soccer: Coe-Brown reaches first championship game

The Concord High girls’ soccer team celebrates after beating Nashua North in a penalty-kick tiebreaker during a first-round Division I tournament match on Oct. 25 at Memorial Field.

The Concord High girls’ soccer team celebrates after beating Nashua North in a penalty-kick tiebreaker during a first-round Division I tournament match on Oct. 25 at Memorial Field. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

Coe-Brown defender Maggie Escabi battles with Hollis-Brookline’s Marleigh Kreick for possession during the D-II championship game in Exeter on Sunday.

Coe-Brown defender Maggie Escabi battles with Hollis-Brookline’s Marleigh Kreick for possession during the D-II championship game in Exeter on Sunday. Chip Griffin / Photos by Chip

Hopkinton midfielder Keegan St. Cyr heads a ball at the Gilford goal as Lizz Holmes lands on the ground near the end of the team’s D-III girls’ soccer semifinal at Manchester Memorial on Nov. 1.

Hopkinton midfielder Keegan St. Cyr heads a ball at the Gilford goal as Lizz Holmes lands on the ground near the end of the team’s D-III girls’ soccer semifinal at Manchester Memorial on Nov. 1. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

By ERIC RYNSTON-LOBEL

Monitor staff

Published: 11-09-2023 4:06 PM

Modified: 11-10-2023 10:37 AM


Girls’ soccer stood out this fall as the Monitor coverage area’s deepest sport.

In Division II, three of the four teams to reach the semifinals came from the Concord area. In Division I, Concord narrowly lost in the quarterfinals after an exciting first-round win, and in Division III, Hopkinton came just short of reaching the championship game after a 1-0 loss to Gilford in the semifinals.

Here are three notes from an exciting season of girls’ soccer:

Coe-Brown reaches first championship game in school history: The Bears headlined an incredibly deep Division II that saw all five area teams make the playoffs. After beating No. 6 Milford, 4-1, in the quarterfinals, Coe-Brown took down No. 7 Pembroke, 2-0, in the semifinals before a 2-1 loss to No. 1 Hollis-Brookline in the championship.

“I’m just proud of the girls in general,” head coach Josh Hils said after the loss to Hollis-Brookline. “This team just had such a resolve, and we knew that Hollis-Brookline was going to be a good game. You don’t go undefeated (by accident), but I think we gave them one heck of a game in a title match.”

Throughout the season, senior Somer Loto helped guide the way for Coe-Brown, scoring 12 goals and adding 15 assists. She was one of the team’s five seniors who helped establish the bedrock to put the program in position for this level of success.

“Most of the seniors in this group have been with us since freshman year on varsity, so they really established a culture, they established the way to do things, and our juniors have learned from them over the last three years of what we want to do and how we want to do it,” Hils said.

Coe-Brown finished the season 14-4-1.

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Hopkinton can’t get past Gilford in semifinals: The Hawks faced the Golden Eagles three times during the 2023 season; Hopkinton lost each time, including 1-0 in the Division III semifinals on Nov. 1.

Still, the program dominated throughout most of the regular season, finishing with a 12-2-2 record and outscoring opponents 72-20 entering the playoffs.

Hopkinton won its first-round game against No. 14 Mascoma Valley, 9-1, and its quarterfinal match with No. 6 Trinity, 3-0.

“Sometimes you play better and things don’t go your way. I thought overall, they did great,” head coach Mike Zahn told the Monitor after the Gilford loss. “I don’t think Gilford expected us to play as well as we did because they had already beaten us twice this year. But they’re a good team and defending champs so they were obviously not going to back down easy.”

The Hawks will lose seven seniors from the 2023 roster: Keegan St. Cyr, Lizz Holmes, Ally Duval, Sarah Chodosh, Katie Brown, Greta Baker and Izzy Afflerbach.

“It just would’ve been nice to move onto the final and to get to that point, but for me, the girls really showed me tonight that they belong here and, if things went our way, they belonged in the final, too,” Zahn said. “But it didn’t go our way. It went Gilford’s way.”

Concord rides strong defense, timely offense to successful season: The Crimson Tide loved playing nailbiters in 2023; 13 of the team’s 18 games were decided by two goals or fewer, including Concord’s first-round playoff win over No. 11 Nashua North that came in penalty kicks.

Although the Tide’s season came to an end following a wild 3-1 loss to No. 3 Bedford on a cold, rainy Sunday night in late October, Concord still finished the season 13-4-1 with lots of reasons to feel optimistic about its 2023 season.

“Just extremely, extremely proud and happy for these girls,” head coach Andrew Mattarazzo said after the Tide beat Nashua North on Oct. 25. “These girls have definitely put in the work and the effort and the time, and it’s showing right now. To show the grit, to show the maturity is a huge thing in girls’ high school sports, and I think this team has it.”

Senior Whitney Vaillant led the way for Concord on the field throughout the season, finishing her final year with the Tide by scoring 12 goals and adding six assists.

Vaillant is one of nine seniors graduating off the team, along with Kelley Mikelson, Amanda Vezina, Anna Makee, Rachel Gridley, Sophia Anderson, Sandrine Basita, Raegan Wessling and Emma Roberge.