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STATE CHAMPS!

  • The ConVal unified soccer team won the state championship over Exeter on Sunday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The ConVal unified soccer team won the state championship over Exeter on Sunday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The ConVal unified soccer team won the state championship over Exeter on Sunday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The ConVal unified soccer team won the state championship over Exeter on Sunday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The ConVal unified soccer team won the state championship over Exeter on Sunday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The ConVal unified soccer team won the state championship over Exeter on Sunday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The ConVal unified soccer team won the state championship over Exeter on Sunday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The ConVal unified soccer team won the state championship over Exeter on Sunday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The ConVal unified soccer team won the state championship over Exeter on Sunday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The ConVal unified soccer team won the state championship over Exeter on Sunday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—



Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Monday, November 06, 2017

The game-winning goal in Sunday’s unified soccer championship was a thing of beauty, but it was ConVal’s insurance goal that impressed head coach Dick Ellingwood the most. Up 1-0 over Exeter late, Dalton Coyne crossed the ball over to his brother Dylan, who punched the ball past the keeper for a two-goal lead that the Cougars wouldn’t surrender.

“I think that was the prettiest goal, maybe all year,” said Ellingwood. “That’s what we’ve been trying to teach the kids, to work together, to find each other. I think it showed today.”

After advancing to the semifinal in 2016, the Cougars set a preseason goal to play at least one more game in 2017. And though they achieved that goal on Thursday by beating Londonderry to advance to the finals, the ConVal team didn’t stop there.

“They understood that we couldn’t be satisfied just getting here,” Ellingwood said. “They just wanted it so bad.”

It was senior forward Dalton Coyne who put ConVal on the board first. In the second quarter, Dalton raced up the sideline and fired a shot from the right side of the goal. Exeter’s keeper stopped it, initially, but Dalton roped in the rebound and put it between the goalie’s legs for a 1-0 lead.

“That was awesome,” Dalton said after the game, from the victorious ConVal sideline. “After that I was like ‘We’ve got to hold onto the lead now, we’ve just got to hold onto it.’ I knew it was going to be a very physical and a very tough game. They were awesome but we just had to hold onto it.”

Hold onto it they did. The game got more intense as the minutes ticked away. Exeter tried, in vain, to get the ball past ConVal goalie Andres Tourgee, but he wouldn’t budge.

With nothing but seconds left on the clock, ConVal subbed in defender Frank Dinino, who promptly made a play on the ball that stopped Exeter in their tracks and sealed the deal.

It was the team’s first title since the program was founded in 2014, concluding a perfect, undefeated season. It was also ConVal’s first team sports title since 2013.

Senior Emily Edick was nearly breathless and speechless, overcome with emotion after the big win. Edick said she and her teammates had hoped to win a title this year, and upon doing so?

“Happy,” Edick said. “Excited.”

For some players, scoring a hat-trick or a game-winner is cause for celebration. For others, simply making a kick is a victory. Winning a state championship is a whole next level.

“We have some awesome talent here, really awesome talent,” said Dalton Coyne. “I love playing with these guys, I wouldn’t want anybody else to play for.”

All the joy of the athletes was echoed by the partners, who dedicate their own time to a sport where they can’t legally score a goal, instead facilitating their teammates. Partner Bronwyn Tyler-Wall gave all the credit to the athletes.

“They work harder than we do,” Tyler-Wall said. “It's awesome for them since most of our players are seniors so it's an awesome final goodbye, end on a high.”