Boys’ soccer: No. 2 Bow explodes for two goals late, Falcons survive strong effort from No. 7 Coe-Brown

Luke Hartshorn celebrates his goal that put the Falcons ahead 1-0 late in the second half against Coe-Brown during Friday’s Division II quarterfinal.

Luke Hartshorn celebrates his goal that put the Falcons ahead 1-0 late in the second half against Coe-Brown during Friday’s Division II quarterfinal. CHIP GRIFFIN / Photos By Chip

Bow’s Ethan Anderson and Coe-Brown’s Liam White race for the ball during the Division II quarterfinal on Friday.

Bow’s Ethan Anderson and Coe-Brown’s Liam White race for the ball during the Division II quarterfinal on Friday. CHIP GRIFFIN / Photos By Chip

Coe-Brown’s Travis Shultz tries to take the ball away from Luke Hartshorn during Friday’s Division II quarterfinal at Bow.

Coe-Brown’s Travis Shultz tries to take the ball away from Luke Hartshorn during Friday’s Division II quarterfinal at Bow. CHIP GRIFFIN / Photos By Chip

By ERIC RYNSTON-LOBEL

Monitor staff

Published: 10-27-2023 7:40 PM

BOW – The game felt destined for overtime. Scoreless for more than 75 minutes, Friday afternoon’s Division II quarterfinal between No. 2 Bow (15-1-1) and No. 7 Coe-Brown (9-8-1) easily could’ve gone either way. Both goalies, Alex Readel for the Bears and Aaron Barrieau for the Falcons, had made several key stops to keep both teams off the scoreboard.

With under five minutes remaining, Bow midfielder Luke Hartshorn finally buried a shot behind Readel to put the home team ahead, 1-0. Shortly thereafter, senior midfielder Colby Smith added another goal to pad the lead and ultimately push the Falcons onto the semifinals with the 2-0 win.

Here are three notes from Friday’s matchup:

Bow weathers strong game plan from Coe-Brown

When these two teams met during the first week of the season on Aug. 31, Bow dominated to the tune of a 5-0 win. This time around, though, the Bears put forth a sturdy performance, particularly on defense.

As a result, Bow head coach Josh Smith decided to adjust the team’s offensive formation in the second half, bringing a third player onto the front line. 

“The longer it went, the more that (Coe-Brown was) going to grow in belief and think that they could pull the upset today,” Smith said. “They had a good game plan, and they played well, but we didn’t want to let it get that far.”

Smith hopes for crisper play next week

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Having the first-round bye like the Falcons did can be a double-edged sword, Smith explained, because while it’s a great opportunity for players to rest and recover from any injuries, it also creates the likelihood for more rust out of the gate. 

The latter certainly showed itself, especially early.

“We just need to tighten up, be a little bit more organized, be a little bit more patient moving the ball around, creating better chances,” Smith said of his key adjustments for the team moving forward. “Just being a little bit sharper all around is a big focus for us.”

Friday’s win may not have been the Falcons’ best performance in a strong 2023 season, but it was enough to survive and advance.

“It was good for us to be here and get a good test from a well-coached team,” Smith said.  “When we get to Tuesday, we’ll be ready.” 

Inconsistent season for Coe-Brown sees promising conclusion

The postgame dejection emanated from the Bears’ sideline. Some players keeled over, while others made their rounds for hugs. For 80 minutes, they played their hearts out, but in the end, they had no win to show for it. For a team that endured so many ups and downs throughout the season, though, the intensity and effort Coe-Brown put on display left head coach Christian Gompert pleased with how things came to an end. 

“The whole year, we’ve been wanting to put in a performance both on the field and on the sideline where everybody’s engaged, everybody’s fired up, and we finally found it,” he said. “We’re just so proud of these kids. It’s not the result that we wanted. It would be fun to keep dancing. … They believed in themselves today, and they took it to a very, very good team. Bow’s an outstanding team. They’re definitely one of the best teams we saw this year. We’re really happy with that performance.”

The loss ends the careers of the six seniors on the team, including Readel, whose play in net gave Coe-Brown a legitimate chance to win.

“He came up big,” Gompert said. “Watching the arcs of these kids from when they first came in the program to now is really special because you’re almost like a parent in some respects, and watching them grow into these men and put in performances like that. … We’re trying to be competitive – that’s on the surface, that’s on the scoreline – but we’re trying to give these kids a great experience and have a memory that they won’t forget, and I think we’ve done that, so I think that’s the definition of a success.”