Boys’ soccer: Bow’s Barrieau saves a pair of PKs as Falcons win semifinal match in a shootout
|Published: 10-31-2023 11:06 PM
NASHUA – Over 110 minutes of soccer meant players were on the field long after the sun went down and the temperature dropped, making for cold conditions on the pitch. The ice in Aaron Barrieau’s veins was even colder.
Barrieau made two saves in a shootout and 11 saves in regulation as the No. 2 Bow Falcons (16-1-1) defeated the No. 3 Kingswood Knights (13-3-2) in penalty kicks, 3-1, after 110 minutes of scoreless soccer in the NHIAA Division II boys’ soccer semifinals on Tuesday night at Stellos Stadium.
The Falcons will face the winner of No. 1 Lebanon (16-1-1) vs. No. 4 Oyster River (14-3-1) in the championship game on Friday night at Stellos Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:15 p.m.
Facing a penalty kick is nerve wracking in any scenario, even more so in a shootout in the playoffs with a championship game on the line. But Barrieau, a senior, faced his opponents with nerves of steel, diving to the lower right corner to make both saves, ending the Knights’ 12 match winning streak.
Kingswood’s Noah Silva netted the first goal on the opening shot in PKs, but that’s all the Knights could muster. Senior Colby Smith tied it up 1-1 for the Falcons before Kingswood’s Calvin Sanft hit the crossbar. Bow Junior Luke Hartshorn and senior Wes Michaelis struck the back of the net with both of their attempts, and Barrieau stopping Nathan Cloos and Troy Dow to decide the match.
“Aaron is one of the best goalies in the division,” Bow head coach Josh Smith said. “Getting into penalty shootouts with a kid like him, you feel really good. … We knew coming into this if we got down to penalties we’d feel really good about Aaron there.”
“I hate doing those as much as any other keeper,” Barrieau said. “I was able to get zen and go to my happy place.”
Barrieau was able to clear his mind for penalty kicks, but he had plenty to think about in the 80 minutes of regulation. Although neither team had anything to show for it on the scoreboard, both teams played aggressively from the outset, pushing the pace of the game and creating opportunities on both ends of the pitch.
The Knights outshot the Falcons, 20-15, getting 11 shots on target compared to Bow’s five, meaning Barrieau was the busier keeper between him and Kingswood’s Ben Libby (five saves).
Carter Weiss had Bow’s best chance in the 25 minute when he hit the crossbar, while Hartshorn had three narrow misses in the first overtime.
The best chance for the Knights came in the 69th minute when Brody Copenhaver sent a rocket of a driving free kick from a short distance that Barrieau was able to block with his chest, but couldn’t get his hands on it. The rebound went right to a Kingswood player in the box, but his strike sailed wide from point blank range.
Kingswood attempted to run the ball mostly through senior forward Dominic Alberto, who has more than 20 goals to his name so far this season. But as they’ve done all season, Bow’s all-senior back line of Eli Berrigan on the right flank, Wes Michaelis on the left and Brodie O’Neil in the central defense, was able to shut him down.
“Sometimes you can man mark guys in certain games, but we didn’t feel like we wanted to do that,” coach Smith said. “We wanted to do that as a group, so we relied on each other to step up in those moments when called upon to do that.”
The Falcons have relied on each other to get this far and now they’re playing in their first title game since 2020. One more victory and Bow will have its first D-II title in program history.