Souhegan opens playoffs with win over Lebanon

AMHERST – The Souhegan High School girls soccer team had a game plan for Wednesday’s Division II first-round game against Lebanon.

The Sabers wanted to keep the ball to the outside, away from the middle, where Souhegan coach Dwayne Andreasen felt the Raiders were bigger and faster.

It took until the second half for the No. 3 Sabers to do it, but they followed the blueprint just enough to beat No. 14 Lebanon 2-1.

“It took us a little while to get what we needed to do and recognize the opportunities that Lebanon gave us,” Andreasen said. “We talked to them at halftime that we had to go at them harder, we had to get the ball out wide and go in because we’re never going to beat them up the middle. They’re bigger than us.

“I think the girls adjusted really well to that in the second half. Our back line did a fantastic job of keeping up with their speed and those big balls coming out of their side. The girls did what they needed to do and we live to see another day.”

Meghan Camello and Hailey Johnson each had a goal and Mikaela Sullivan made five saves to help Souhegan (13-3-1) move on. Lebanon (4-8-5) got its lone goal from Erin Landry, who scored with 15:07 left in the game after Souhegan was already up by two. It could have been worse, but Lebanon goalie Kassidee Rogers stepped up with a couple of big saves in the second half.

“Being only a freshman, she’s had a lot to learn this year,” Lebanon coach Shannon Boisvert said. “She’s come in and done a really good job.”

The teams played an even first half until Camello put a low shot to the left of Rogers and just out of the keeper’s reach for a 1-0 Souhegan led with under two minutes to play until halftime.

“It’s a bummer, but at halftime we said we still have to go in like its 0-0.” Boisvert said. “You can’t let that affect the way you play.”

With his team applying the halftime adjustments, Andreasen watched the Sabers take control in the second half. They needed just four minutes to get on the board again, when Peyton Kent crossed ball into the box and Johnson headed it home.

Souhegan nearly struck again off a corner kick, but Rogers made two saves to keep the ball out of the net.

“We had some great shots that their keeper came up big on a couple of them,” Andreasen said. “It was two different games, I think. It’s nice when you see your team listen to what you say at halftime and then watch them come out and do it.”