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Bow defeats Pembroke 2-1 in overtime for its first championship since 2017

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  • The LaPerle twins (Lyndsey, No. 3, and Bella, No. 2) lead the celebration of the Bow girls soccer team after defeating Pembroke Academy 2-1 in overtime to win the D-II State Championship on Sunday in Exeter. GEOFF FORESTER photos / Monitor staff

  • The LaPerle twins (Lyndsey #3, Bella #2) lead the celebration of the Bow girls soccer team after defeating Pembroke Academy, 2-1 in overtime to win the D-II State Championship on Sunday, November 7, 2021 in Exeter. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Lyndsey LaPerle (No. 3) celebrates with her sister, Bella, after she scored the Division II championship game-winning goal in overtime against Pembroke Academy on Sunday in Exeter. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

  • Bow teammates surround Lyndsey LaPerle as she falls to the ground after scoring the winning goal in overtime against Pembroke Academy, 2-1 in Exeter on Sunday, November 7, 2021. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Pembroke goalie Brook Davidson blocks a header by Bow forward Bella LaPerle as Pembroke defender Britney Hill goes up to defend during the first half on Sunday.

 Monitor staff
Published: 11/7/2021 6:16:11 PM

EXETER – Lyndsey LaPerle found herself in the situation she had been trying to reach all afternoon.

Bow’s junior forward had been mostly contained throughout Sunday’s match against Pembroke, but with the clock dwindling in overtime, she finally had her chance.

On an inbounds pass into a crowd of players from both teams in front of Pembroke’s net, LaPerle’s foot connected with the ball. All she could do after the shot was hold her breath, and then as she watched the ball fly into the back of the goal, deal with the blow of being tackled by her teammates both on the field and on the bench.

LaPerle’s goal gave Bow what it had been after since the opening days of the preseason.

A championship.

The Falcons’ 2-1 win over the Spartans in the Division II state championship on Sunday at Bill Ball Stadium will be one they’ll remember for years to come, and it’s certainly one that LaPerle will hang onto.

“We’ve been working our butts off the last four months,” she said. “We just wanted it, every time we practiced and played.”

The work put in over those four months was something that for nearly the entire game was put into jeopardy, however.

Bow’s offense had been bottled up by a tough Pembroke defense as the Spartans consistently managed to not only contain Bow’s chances, but prevent them before they even happened.

Pembroke’s defense was led by a rotating cast of players highlighted by senior captain Adrienne Dorr. The Spartans defense often throughout the game closed in on the Falcons ball handler with as many as three defenders with the center defender as the main opposition. The other two were in place for the inevitable pass that was made to relieve pressure and this formula worked not only defensively, but to set up the offense as well.

The Spartans (18-1) forced turnovers near midfield and then sent the ball through the middle of the field, trying to create breakaway opportunities as their forwards had played back. They were able to consistently draw shots on net, and eventually it paid off after senior Cierra Hill scored on a header from Dorr’s corner kick in the 51st minute.

After that opening goal, Pembroke coach Jessica Kaufman-Desrochers had the hopes that it could hang on for another 26 minutes to cap off what would’ve been an undefeated season.

“It’s been such a blessed season,” she said. “I do feel like the two best teams (in the division) were here today.”

That hope was well-justified as it looked like the Spartans would hold through, but until the whistles are blown, it’s not over.

Bow coach Jay Vogt preached the mindset of belief to his team before the match. The Falcons only loss during the season was to Pembroke in a 3-2 game back in mid-October. Following that goal, the power of belief began to show in their play.

Where passes were once being intercepted, they now arrived to their target. Where shots were blocked by the swarm of Spartans’ defenders, they were now forced to be saved by goalie Brooke Davison. Where chances were erased before they could develop, they were now finished.

The peak opportunity for Bow was in the 79th minute when it was awarded a corner kick. Seconds shrank on the clock, the ball was sent in and Bella LaPerle fired a shot off the deflection to score the equalizing goal with only moments to spare in regulation.

“Last 10 minutes of the game we didn’t have very many chances even though the ball was in our half,” she said. “We had one opening and we had to make it count.”

Cheers from the Bow fans echoed throughout the stadium while the whispers from Pembroke supporters were heard in the calmness following the celebration. The Falcons, who were in desperate need of energy, found their swagger when they needed it most.

As the overtime period began, Bow came out and looked like it has all season. Sending passes from the outside in while generating quality shots on goal from the middle of the field. A renewed sense of energy flowed through both the players on the pitch and the bench as cheers of support were called out before and after good moments.

When the cheers rang loudest, however, was after LaPerle scored the game-winner with 2:20 left in overtime and cemented the Falcons’ comeback.

Bow, which has won its sixth championship in school history, now heads into the offseason on a high note both with the title and the avenged win.

“They just found a way and they never gave up,” Vogt said. “That’s what we’ve been doing all year, just fighting through it.”

Matt Parker bio photo

Matt Parker is a sports reporter at the Monitor and started in August 2021. He is an Ohio native and relishes being from the Buckeye state. A proud graduate of Ohio University located in Athens, Ohio, he served as the sports editor for the student-run newspaper, The Post, from 2019-20. When not at a game or chasing around a coach, you can catch him playing his guitars or looking for the next Peanuts memorabilia piece to add in his growing collection.

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