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Girls’ soccer: ConVal hangs tough, playoffs start this week for Cougars and WLC

  • ConVal junior captain Brooke Ellis fights off a Pembroke defender during Thursday’s game. Staff photo by Ben Conant

  • The ConVal girls' soccer team hosted Pembroke on Thursday. Staff photo by Ben Conant

  • The ConVal girls' soccer team hosted Pembroke on Thursday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The ConVal girls' soccer team hosted Pembroke on Thursday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The ConVal girls' soccer team hosted Pembroke on Thursday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The ConVal girls' soccer team hosted Pembroke on Thursday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The ConVal girls' soccer team hosted Pembroke on Thursday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—



Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Monday, October 22, 2018 1:17PM

The ConVal girls’ soccer team nearly beat No. 2 Pembroke on Thursday, but after a late Spartan goal, the Cougars had to settle for a 1-1 tie. Was it a tragic case of letting one slip away, or was ConVal happy to hang with one of Division II’s best teams with the playoffs looming?

“It was a little bit of both,” said ConVal head coach Curt Martens on the frigid sidelines after the game Thursday. “Right before the playoffs, tied it, pretty much guarantees us a spot.”

With star front-liner Nikki Bell out with a knee injury, ConVal played with a reconfigured lineup and it looked promising. Ayla Laro slid back into the defense from midfield and held the Spartans at bay. Cammie Hendrixson moved up to forward and led a ConVal forecheck that had Pembroke’s backs on their heels.

“They were pestering the back line instead of allowing easy passes which is not something I always see, so that was a standout,” Martens said.

Hendrixson made the most of her new spot, corralling a hard rebound off Pembroke goalie Kaitlyn Young and punching it in for the first goal of the game midway through the first half.

“She finished a great opportunity,” Martens said, “so that’s huge for someone up top — if you have that opportunity, take it.”

As the game wound down amidst the strong wintry winds, it looked as though ConVal was going to steal an upset win. But with about five minutes to go, senior keeper Lindsey Carey got a little less than she wanted on a goal kick; Pembroke took it off the ground and immediately found Maddie Bailey, who struck for the equalizer.

The game went into double overtime, despite a few Spartan attacks that saw both Laro and junior captain Delaney Thompson boot loose balls out of the goal mouth.

As the light drew low on the JV field, Katie Carey lined up a direct kick and sent it sailing toward Young in the Pembroke net. The ball carried to the top left corner, where Young leapt and hauled it in. As she landed, Young appeared to turn back into the net and carry the ball over the goal line, but play continued without a call and the game ended in a 1-1 tie.

Martens liked what he saw on the field with one more game left in the regular season.

“That was the best game for us in terms of our attitude and the energy we put out on the field,” Martens said.

The Cougars traveled to Kearsarge Friday and lost 1-0 to finish their regular season at 5-8-3, good for the 13th seed in DII.

The Cougars will play at No. 4 Oyster River on Thursday at 3 p.m. ConVal lost to Oyster River 3-1 earlier in the season.

WLC takes 10th seed

The Wilton-Lyndeborough girls lost 8-3 at Epping on Thursday but still locked down the tenth seed in the Division IV playoffs.

The Warriors were beset with injuries Thursday. Lexi Balam started in net and Jailyn Gilcreast took over in the second half. Sophia Sistachs scored two goals for WLC and Sam Yurcak put in a third, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the Blue Devils.

Elizabeth Jacob and Brooke Lane made the assists.

Despite the loss, WLC finished at 9-6-1 and returns to the DIV playoffs as the tenth seed. They’ll play at No. 7 Concord Christian Academy (10-4-1) Thursday at 3 p.m. The two teams met earlier in October and played to a 0-0 tie on difficult field conditions in Concord.

Conant girls come up short

The Conant girls finished their rebuilding season with a 4-0 loss to Prospect Mountain on senior night Thursday.

“Another game where we had good efforts but healthy bodies were slim,” said head coach Adam Patria.

Conant ended at 3-13, but will lose just two seniors — Delaney Beaven and Jasmine Marshall — and will look to improve with their returning players next season.