Souhegan knocks off Windham
Thursday, September 5, 2013
AMHERST – Just two games in and Souhegan High School boys soccer is creating an identity for the fall season.
With Division II runner-up Hollis Brookline and champion Windham, their first two opponents, Sabers fans could deal with an 0-2 start. Souhegan suffered a season-opening 3-2 overtime loss to the Cavaliers on Aug. 29, and were on the verge of a similar fate against the Jaguars at home Tuesday.
But junior forward Devan Casey wasn’t about to settle for anything less than a split against the 2012 finalists.
Tied 1-1 in extra sessions, Casey found the back of Windham’s net three minutes into double-overtime to lift the Sabers over the defending champions and create an interesting scenario atop the standings.
“This is how it’s going to be all season,” Casey said. “I think our division is going to be tight until the very end. We are only two games in. There’s a lot of games to go, but I think we are proving ourselves and that we can stick with the best teams. We know we’re good enough, but we just have to keep fighting and playing like this for the rest of the season. There is still so far to go.”
Casey didn’t have far to go to net the winner for the Sabers. After dropping the ball off to a teammate about 40 yards out, Casey made his way toward the Windham net. A chip pass down the right sideline to Jack Facey spread the Jaguars defense just enough to allow Facey passing room. The Souhegan senior midfielder tried to thread the needle with a pass into the middle as Windham’s defense closed in. The ball ricocheted off a Jaguars defender to the waiting foot of Casey, who dribbled two steps to open a shooting lane from 20 yards out and fired from the right side to the far post for the game-winner.
Casey shielded the ball from the defender using his left foot and deftly placed the ball in the lower left corner with the outside of his left foot.
“That’s just a nifty pass and a classy finish,” Souhegan head coach Dave Saxe said. “He didn’t blast it. He just placed it in the far corner, right where he should have.”
For the majority of the game, it appeared Casey’s heroics weren’t going to be needed.
The Sabers jumped ahead early as senior Mike Hayden deposited a pass from sophomore Josh Anson into the Windham net just seven minutes into the match. The Sabers made it stand up until the final minute of play.
Despite struggling for 78 minutes to push a ball past Sabers junior keeper Teigue Young (nine saves), the Jaguars continued to press – creating several interesting chances late in regulation. With time running out on the defending champions, Joe Forti created space and tied things up with an unassisted goal at the 79-minute mark.
Windham head coach Mike Hachey was impressed with his team’s fight, but stressed that this is not 2012’s Jaguars.
“We’re not a final four team right now,” said Hachey, downplaying chants from the Souhegan bench about beating the defending champs. “We’re not in the playoffs right now. We’re a 1-1 team with 14 games left. Obviously there is some parity in the league. We know this is a tough team we just played today. We know they played a tough Hollis Brookline team last week. ... It’s always tough coming here and playing under the lights. Dave’s always got a very prepared and well-organized team. They had a game plan and stuck with it.
“This isn’t our first tough overtime loss here. We’ve lost two in overtime and one with eight seconds left in a playoff game. That’s our three trips here, so not too many fond memories. Hopefully it’ll be a few more years before we have to come back here, and we can change that then. But for now you just have to take your medicine and go on to the next game.”