Sabers head to final four
AMHERST – Dwayne Andreasen had a clear message for his seniors before the Souhegan High School girls soccer team took the field for its Division II quarterfinal on Saturday.
No matter the outcome, it would be the last game those Sabers would ever play on their home field, the coach told them. Don’t leave with any regrets.
No. 3 Souhegan won’t have any, as it got two goals from Peyton Kent and a stellar performance from goalie Mikaela Sullivan – both seniors – in a 2-1 victory over No. 6 Goffstown.
The win sent the Sabers (14-3-1) to the semifinals for the fourth year in a row, where they were scheduled to face No. 7 Hanover, which upset No. 2 Windham 2-1, on Wednesday. The winner of that game advanced to the championship game, which will be held at 4 p.m. Saturday at Southern New Hampshire University.
Hannah Chick assisted on Kent’s first goal, which came with 18:48 left in the first half, and Kent made it 2-0 nine minutes into the second half by placing a free kick just over the outstretched arm of keeper Leandra Nault.
The Grizzlies (11-5-2) halved the deficit less than six minutes later on a goal by Michelle Tremblay, and Goffstown kept the pressure on Souhegan, but Sullivan (nine saves) came up with the stop every time.
“We told them before the game that we’re in live-or-die season,” Andreasen said. “This is the last time you’re going to be on this grass. Do not walk off this field and come back to this school and say, ‘I wish I would have on the last chance I had.’
“I think all of the seniors, but especially
Mikaela, I think that was one of the better games I’ve seen her have in years.”
Both teams had a couple of chances early, but midway through the first half, Souhegan began peppering Goffstown’s end with shots.
Most of them missed the net, until Chick tapped a centering pass to Kent in the box, where she easily beat Nault to put the Sabers ahead.
Kent’s second goal was a perfectly placed strike that even had Goffstown coach Eric Romein admiring it.
“She doesn’t look amazing on the field, but she gets it done,” he said. “That was a beautiful shot she had, and it was the game-winner.”
“She knows how to put her foot on the ball, she sees her teammates and includes them,” Andreasen said of Kent. “She just does all the right things.
“Since her freshman year, she’s been a key part to this team. In the last three, she’s been the go-to girl for us, whether it’s scoring, assisting, motivating her teammates.”
The Sabers were scheduled to face Hanover in the semifinals Wednesday at Bill Ball Stadium in Exeter. The last time the teams met in the postseason, Kent scored the game-winner in overtime in the Division II championship game in 2011.