Souhegan beats Hanover on PKs in semis

EXETER – For more than 50 minutes, Dwayne Andreasen thought last Wednesday’s Division II semifinal was finally going to be the game in which his Souhegan High School girls soccer team would have an easy time with Hanover.

But for the next 50, he hoped his team just had the opportunity to play another game.

No. 3 Souhegan took a 2-0 lead and dominated play for more than half of the game before No. 7 Hanover responded, tying it with a little more than 12 minutes to play.

The teams played two scoreless overtimes before Rachael Facey – Souhegan’s sixth shooter – put her penalty kick by Hanover goalie Ashley Levesque to give the Sabers a 3-2 victory and a spot in the championship game for the third straight year.

Peyton Kent had both Souhegan goals in regulation, as she put in two corner kicks, and Kent, Alana Barretto and Facey each scored on penalty kicks, as the Sabers also took the shootout by a 3-2 count.

Hanover (10-4-5) got goals from Sarah Wagner and Susanna Penfield in the second half while Kelly Brigham and Emily Acker scored during the shootout.

The Sabers went on to face No. 9 Pembroke Academy, which defeated No. 5 Coe-Brown Academy of Northwood, 1-0, in the other semifinal, in the championship game.

Although Souhegan won the division title in 2011 by beating Hanover, the Marauders have had success against the Sabers under Andreasen, including a win during the regular season.

“They have had our number for years,” Andreasen said of Hanover. “We were up 2-0, I said to Joey (Burrows), my assistant, ‘I like 2-0, that gives us some breathing room.’

“And then all of a sudden, that scrum in the middle gets one back, and then you’ve got to worry that are the wheels falling off. Then they get the second one and you start to think that this is the way it’s meant to be. It’s supposed to be a battle every single time.”

Souhegan had chances to make it more than a two-goal lead in the first half. Kent made it 1-0 with 23:52 left until halftime when she hooked a corner kick over Levesque.

After that, the Sabers did everything but increase their lead. Souhegan forced Levesque to make saves, and twice, Kent put a shot on goal that the Hanover goalie had no choice but to punch the ball up into the crossbar.

Kent made it 2-0 four minutes into the second half when another corner kick went into the goal off the face of a Hanover player.

“It felt good,” Kent said of getting the lead. “It would have felt a little better if we had scored the goals in the speed of play, but a goal is a goal.”

Hanover cut the deficit in half on a corner kick of its own with 27:19 to play in regulation. The ball was deflected in front by the Sabers to Wagner and she tapped it in past a group of Souhegan players.

“I thought we had chances and we were good at taking away their chances (in the first half),” Andreasen said. “They’re strong, they’re fast, and we knew that all it would take was a simple mistake. On their second goal, a simple mistake gave them the ball and they brought it back to us.”

The ball got behind the Souhegan defense and Penfield went in alone on goalie Mikaela Sullivan, beating her for the tying goal.

“We had to keep believing and doing your best,” Sullivan said of her thoughts after the goal.

Neither team seemed to want to take a chance in either overtime, and after 20 minutes of back-and-forth play, both sides met at midfield to determine who would be taking the penalty kicks.

The teams were tied 2-2 through the first five, meaning the next one to win a round would take the game. Sullivan made a great stop on Hanover’s Rachel Boghosian and Facey followed that up by putting a roller in past Levesque.

Once the ball was in the net, Facey raced back to midfield and was mobbed by her teammates.

“It definitely goes through your head, that that could be your last game with all these wonderful girls and teammates,” Kent said. “Now we can say the championship game will be our last one.”