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ConVal unified soccer wins second straight championship

  • The ConVal unified soccer team captured its second straight championship on Sunday with a 5-2 victory over Exeter. Courtesy photo



Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Tuesday, November 06, 2018 12:25PM

The ConVal unified soccer team was looking to exact a little revenge on Sunday.

The Cougars opponent, Exeter, handed them their only loss this year, a season opening 3-2 road loss in overtime, and were the only thing keeping them from staking claim to three straight undefeated regular seasons.

So the No. 2 seeded Cougars took the field at Laconia High School with a little extra motivation – if playing for a state title wasn’t enough.

And all ConVal did was go out and dominate their way to a 5-2 victory, giving them back to back championships, with both wins coming against Exeter, who was undefeated and the top seed this year.

“The kids were really excited to play Exeter again,” said coach Dick Ellingwood. “And they were really excited to get back to the finals.”

Andres Tourgee got things going in the right direction by giving ConVal an early 1-0 lead. But the Blue Hawks weren’t undefeated and ConVal’s opponent for a second straight year in the finals for no reason.

They quickly tied the game at one, but from there it was essentially all ConVal.

Dylan Coyne scored the Cougars’s second goal of the game, which gave them a 2-1 edge at the half.

Coyne struck again in the third quarter, putting in a rebound off a corner kick to give ConVal a little bit of breathing room.

The three goals was already more than the team scored in the season opening loss, but they were far from done.

Garrett Shows and Isiah Debarros added to the ConVal lead, pushing the advantage to four before Exeter put in a late fourth quarter goal.

“We really played well,” Ellingwood said.

With the game well in hand, the Cougars were able to count down the final seconds and soak in the accomplishment.

“I get the satisfaction of just seeing the excitement and joy when they win a game like this,” Ellingwood said.

It was also quite emotional for those players who were participating in their final game, Ellingwood said. Team members like Coyne and Shows, and Emily Edick put on their uniform for the last time on Sunday. So it’s a good thing they capped off their careers with another state title – while also putting a blemish on Exeter’s final record.

ConVal made it to the championship round thanks to a highly competitive 4-3 win over Oyster River in the semifinals and a 9-6 shootout win over Keene in the quarters.

It was a bit of an odd year for the Cougars. Between the rainy weather, Nashua South not being able to field a team and forfeiting both of their scheduled match-ups and Laconia dropping down to the recreational division just prior to playing, the Cougars had to dig deep to find that competitive nature on the field. They even had to wait two and a half weeks between their final regular season game and the start of the tournament.

“It was a hectic season, but it worked out great,” Ellingwood said.

But with experience, a desire to make it back to the finals and a great group of partners, ConVal played well – especially when it mattered most.

“Our partners do a fantastic job,” Ellingwood said. “They have just been so great with helping the players out.”

ConVal finishes the season with a record of 8-1.