High School Roundup: Conant boys bounce back with blowout win

  • The Conant boys' soccer team beat Manchester West 7-1 in Jaffrey on Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant boys' soccer team beat Manchester West 7-1 in Jaffrey on Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant boys' soccer team beat Manchester West 7-1 in Jaffrey on Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Conant’s Jacob Sawyer takes a shot against Manchester West Tuesday. Staff photo by Ben Conant

  • The Conant boys' soccer team beat Manchester West 7-1 in Jaffrey on Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant boys' soccer team beat Manchester West 7-1 in Jaffrey on Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant boys' soccer team beat Manchester West 7-1 in Jaffrey on Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant boys' soccer team beat Manchester West 7-1 in Jaffrey on Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant boys' soccer team beat Manchester West 7-1 in Jaffrey on Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant boys' soccer team beat Manchester West 7-1 in Jaffrey on Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant boys' soccer team beat Manchester West 7-1 in Jaffrey on Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant boys' soccer team beat Manchester West 7-1 in Jaffrey on Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant boys' soccer team beat Manchester West 7-1 in Jaffrey on Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Conant’s Bronson Cutter battles his Manchester West mark during Tuesday’s game in Jaffrey. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant boys' soccer team beat Manchester West 7-1 in Jaffrey on Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant boys' soccer team beat Manchester West 7-1 in Jaffrey on Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant boys' soccer team beat Manchester West 7-1 in Jaffrey on Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant boys' soccer team beat Manchester West 7-1 in Jaffrey on Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant boys' soccer team beat Manchester West 7-1 in Jaffrey on Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 9/21/2022 8:05:54 AM

The newly beaten Conant boys bounced back in a big way Tuesday, raining goals on Manchester West for a blowout victory that seemed to put the Orioles back on the right path.

“Today was a good bounceback,” said Conant coach Tom Harvey after the 7-1 victory. “Not really the stiffest opponent we’ve faced, but it’s a good way for the boys to break into a rhythm and get the ball moving and get rid of the anxiety of losing.”

The Orioles reeled off six straight wins to open the season before losing a close one at Mascenic’s homecoming Saturday, but they looked back in sorts against West; so too did junior forward Josh Dipasquale, Conant’s leading goal-scorer, who tallied two more goals Tuesday to bring his season total up to 12.

“Our offense is obviously working pretty well,” Dipasquale said. “We’re putting a lot of energy into these games, especially off a tough loss against Mascenic. This game was like a refresher for us, we’re starting to switch around our formations to see what works best. We’re still trying a bunch of different things, but offensively we’re looking pretty good.”

Coach Harvey played four different formations in Tuesday’s game and may have settled on the one that shores up the middle, which placed junior Thomas Harvey in the midfield along with sophomore Ben Sawyer to throttle the opposition’s central attack.

“It’s kind of solidifying things for us there,” coach Harvey said. “Teams are not going to be able to come down the middle like they’ve been coming.”

The younger Harvey has had a dynamic season as well, assisting on nearly half of Conant’s goals, and he added another dime Tuesday as the Orioles were able to play their whole bench and spread the scoring around. Jacob and Ben Sawyer scored a goal apiece; senior Rick Egan converted a penalty kick; freshman Dre Seppala scored off Harvey’s assist in first-half stoppage time and junior Jimmy Hennessey scored off a rebound in the second half to conclude the scoring.

“We’re working really well as a team,” Dipasquale said. “We’re really binding together. So it makes it easier for everyone to trust each other when you give them a ball, and it just makes the game a lot easier when you know this player is gonna do the right thing with the ball. You don’t have to worry.”

Conant was expected to drop off a little after graduating seven strong seniors, but at 6-1, they’re actually off to a better start than last year’s playoff team.

“We're playing to the same level that we were last year,” Dipasquale said, “and we're not letting losing the [seven] seniors put us down – we're still taking initiative and doing what we have to do out on the field.”

A defensive breakdown late in the game led to Manchester West’s lone goal, no fault of Conant keeper Ben Ramirez, who has done an admirable job in his first varsity season in net.

“We can't have him on an island alone,” coach Harvey said. “We’ve always got to have pressure on the defensive side of the ball. So that helps him – he feels more confident when he’s got people around him. So I'm real happy with what Ben’s doing this year.”

Conant’s biggest test thus far comes Friday when they travel to unbeaten Campbell; next week, they’re at Hopkinton and then host Mascenic for the Orioles’ homecoming, a stretch sure to test Conant’s mettle. 

“We have Campbell on Friday, so that's going to be a tough one,” Dipasquale said. “It's going to really show us what we're capable of.”

GIRLS’ SOCCER

Conant 7, Manchester West 1

Conant’s girls came away from their road trip to Manchester with the same result as the boys, a 7-1 win to keep them heading in the right direction.

“The girls came out with so much energy,” coach Devon Spirka said. “It was awesome to see that, since we tend to be a second half team. It was nice to see us come out from the start with that energy.”

Lola Hayes, Irelynd Aucoin and Riley Vitello had two goals each and Rhianna Aho had the other; Rachel DeWees had two assists and Vitello, Aho and Aucoin had one each. 

“We did very well sending our passes to space today to allow us to use our speed,” Spirka said. “There are some things that we've been harping on in practice and today many of them saw their hard work in practice pay off. Seeing that for them makes me smile.”

Kelly Williams made three saves in goal.

“We're getting there and getting better each day,” Spirka said, “and I think the girls feel that, which is all that matters to me.”

Conant (3-3) is at Hillsboro-Deering Thursday. 

BOYS’ SOCCER

ConVal 3, Merrimack Valley 1

The Cougars got a big win on the road at Merrimack Valley Tuesday night. Bryson Boice opened the scoring on a corner kick from Caden Peck. MV played hard and scored a beautiful goal to tie the game about 10 minutes later, ConVal coach Scott Daniels said.  The Cougars took the lead on a one-touch pass from Jake Daniels to Ethan Kinney, who calmly placed the ball past the keeper to put ConVal up 2-1 going into the half. 

All four defenders – Aiden McClusky, Carter Rousseau, Harry Bernier, and Austin Klonel – played 80 minutes of solid defense in front of Wyatt Beaulieau, coach Daniels said. Jake Daniels finished the scoring for ConVal following up a shot from Garrett Rousseau that the MV goalie could not control.  

ConVal (5-2) was set to host Hollis-Brookline Wednesday after press time and travel to Trinity Friday. 

GIRLS’ VOLLEYBALL

ConVal 3, Pelham 2

ConVal won the first set at home against Pelham Monday night but dropped the next two, setting up another Cougar comeback bid. This time, the home team pulled it off, defending their leads in the fourth and fifth sets despite the Pythons’ furious attempts at retribution. 

Leading the Cougars was Emma Rodenhiser with five aces, 16 kills, three blocks, an assist and six digs. Kendall Sullivan had two aces, three kills, 11 assists and 13 digs while Ivy Armstrong-McEvoy added seven kills, an assist, four digs, and an ace. Aria Laurent had two kills, 10 assists, and seven digs and libero Samantha Henderson had three aces, 22 digs, and 29 successful serve receives.

ConVal (3-2) is at Plymouth Tuesday. 

CROSS-COUNTRY

Mascenic wins at Newfound

Drew Traffie set a new course record as the Viking boys and girls both won their races at Newfound Tuesday.

Traffie won the boys’ race in 18:05 with Ryan O’Shea right behind in 18:47; Derek Somero (12th), Dylan Callahan (13th), and Logan Lucas (19th) rounded out the scoring positions. 

The girls put four in a row in the top six with Erin O’Shea (third), Kaitlin O’Shea (fourth), Skye Lambert  (fifth) and Emma Schaumloffel (sixth). Brielle Shippee (12th) was the final scorer. 


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