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Boys’ soccer: ConVal beats Pembroke, earns berth in state championship game

  • The ConVal boys' soccer team played Pembroke in the NHIAA Division II semifinals on Wednesday. Photo by Rich Miyara—

  • The ConVal boys' soccer team played Pembroke in the NHIAA Division II semifinals on Wednesday. Photo by Rich Miyara—

  • The ConVal boys' soccer team played Pembroke in the NHIAA Division II semifinals on Wednesday. Photo by Rich Miyara—



Concord Monitor
Thursday, November 01, 2018 10:30AM

 

The ConVal boys’ soccer team got a first-half goal from Del Bonsu-Anane and some second-half luck to knock off Pembroke and advance to Saturday’s state championship game.

After starting slow in their semifinal win against Lebanon, the Cougars came out flying against the Spartans, who they knew were a dangerous team.

“We talked about it. The energy was really good in the warm up and we talked about okay, we can’t start the same way against a team like this and hope that we can win another game that way,” ConVal coach Josh Smith said. “So we talked about having urgency from the beginning and … the first 10 minutes were hot, so that’s what we had going.

“We knew coming in that (Pembroke senior Connor Manteau) up top was tough to handle, he’s fast, he can get in behind and finish. (Cam Rivard) in the middle is solid, (Tyler Serafin) is not afraid to hit shots form deep, and then (Andrew Valdes) wide, he’s really good. So they have people all over the field.”

The Spartans used that wide-spread talent to push back after ConVal controlled the first 10 minutes, but it was still the Cougars who found the first goal. Junior defender Zachary Kriebel started the play when he ripped a free kick from 35 yards out that forced PA keeper Hunter Hart into a diving save. Hart stopped the shot but gave up a rebound, and Bonsu-Anane was quickest to it, touching the ball into an open net for a 1-0 lead with 9:17 left in the first half.

Pembroke nearly answered a minute later, but a shot from close range bounced off the cross bar. And that wasn’t even the Spartans nearest miss of the night.

PA got stronger in the second half, generating chance after chance in the ConVal end, and it looked like the hard work had finally paid off with 7:33 left on the clock. That’s when Tyler Serafin shot from range and Harrison Army put the rebound into the back of the net, but the play was called offside.

“I thought we played well. I thought we were right there and we got better as the game went on,” PA coach Pete Bisson said. “Just unlucky on us not tracking the player to give up the goal and then not getting one because of that offsides.”

ConVal has been to only two title games - 1986 and 1994.

They’ll play Coe-Brown, who dispatched Bow 1-0 earlier in the evening. Coe-Brown has been to four other finals - 2009, 1997, 1995 and 1981. Neither school has won a championship, but that will change on Saturday.

“There’s going to be a new champion crowned,” Smith said, “so that’s exciting on both ends.”

ConVal plays for the state championship Saturday at 4 p.m. at Southern New Hampshire University.