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Conant takes out WLC

  • The Conant boys' soccer team hosted Wilton-Lyndeborough on Tuesday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant boys' soccer team hosted Wilton-Lyndeborough on Tuesday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant boys' soccer team hosted Wilton-Lyndeborough on Tuesday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant boys' soccer team hosted Wilton-Lyndeborough on Tuesday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Conant’s Gavin Motuzas tries to avoid drawing a foul call as he trips up WLC’s Dylan Pfeil. Staff photoS by Ben Conant

  • The Conant boys' soccer team hosted Wilton-Lyndeborough on Tuesday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant boys' soccer team hosted Wilton-Lyndeborough on Tuesday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant boys' soccer team hosted Wilton-Lyndeborough on Tuesday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—



Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Thursday, September 21, 2017

With his Conant boys clinging to a 2-1 lead in the waning minutes of Tuesday’s misty matchup with Wilton-Lyndeborough, head coach Dan Bemis’s heart skipped a couple of beats as he watched from the sideline. Despite a pair of balls off the Conant goalposts, the Orioles hung onto the one-goal lead and got revenge on the Warriors after an early-season overtime loss.

“Sometimes the post is your best friend, sometimes it's your enemy,” Bemis said. “Sometimes they make me want to take some blood pressure medication.”

With the Warriors pressuring the ball frantically looking for the equalizer, Conant’s Peyton Springfield booted a ball to clear the zone, but the kick went awry and flew past goalie Matt Chamberlain, catching the post and caroming harmlessly back out into the field of play. Mere minutes later, WLC star Jake Levert broke for the box, took a cross and banged a header goalward. Levert had scored on the same play in overtime in the first Conant/WLC game of the season, but this time, his shot found that same goalpost. That was the final scoring threat, and the Orioles won 2-1. The two teams only started playing each other last season, and each game has been decided by just one goal.

“Ever since last year, we’ve always gone neck and neck,” said Conant senior captain Ryan Smith. “Always physical games, always good competitors and it’s always a close game.”

Smith scored the game’s first goal, which stood as the only tally of the first half. In the second, WLC’s Dylan Pfeil wound up and fired a ball which deflected off Chamberlain for an initial save, but Jacob Boette found it and punched it home to tie the game.

“This game was amazing,” said WLC head coach Kristin Schwab. “Both teams played exceptionally well, harder than the first game where we beat them.”

Despite stellar defensive play by Owen McGettigan and an advantage in shots on goal thanks to the play of Levert (who “put his heart and soul into it,” Schwab said), Conant was able to win the battle in the midfield and get a ball in the air for Gavin Motuzas, who’s making a name for himself with his verticality. Motuzas headed the ball in for what would be the game’s winning goal.

“Possession was key,” Smith said. “When we possessed in the midfield we had good opportunities and we capitalized on a couple of them that certainly helped us out in the final score.”

Conant now improves to 2-6 on the season heading into Saturday’s homecoming rematch against Mascenic. And tight games like Tuesday’s can only help the Orioles going forward.

“I love to play games that bring out the best in both teams because I feel like that's where the most growth is for my players,” Bemis said. “Games like this, I love coaching them and I think it brings out the best for all the players involved.”

The Warriors, meanwhile, have lost two in a row to fall to 5-2 with a big home game against Newmarket (4-2) today at 4:30 p.m. Then, they’ll host a homecoming game against Concord Christian (2-6) Saturday at 4 p.m.

“We're going to turn it around,” Schwab said. “We've got another hard game on Thursday but we've got to keep the momentum going.”