Sabers top Bobcats 1-0

HOOKSETT – Deficits have been no big deal all season long for the Oyster River High School boys soccer team, but the Souhegan High School Sabers are used to winning one-goal games.

And that’s why they’re the Division II state champions.

Devan Casey scored the the game’s only goal in the 49th minute, and then made it stand up as the No. 6, 13-5-1 Sabers edged the fourth-ranked Bobcats for the Division II title Saturday at Southern New Hampshire University, 1-0.

Casey put a high volley up and over Bobcat keeper Jon Dutka from a pass from Jasper Jones to break a scoreless tie.

The Bobcats, who beat Souhegan 2-1 earlier in the season, put some occasional heat on Saber netminder Teigue Young the rest of the way, but as they did in their 1-0 semifinal win over Goffstown, the Sabers stood strong.

Oyster River’s Neil Thomas had a shot over the net. Colin Tucker unloaded wide left. The best chance at a game-tying goal came when Bryce Schultz and Young battled inside the box for a ball that Young scooped up and cleared with under 15 minutes to play. That’s why Souhegan coach Dave Saxe called Young’s contributions to the season “massive” going into the title game.

OR goalie Dutka made a big save in the 72nd minute when he stopped Casey’s bid for a second goasl on a nice crossing pass from Ali Eweiss.

From there the Bobcats had several free kicks inside Souhegan territory that didn’t amount to much.

The last best opportunity for OR came as time wound down under a minute. Thomas put a through inside the 18 and Schultz made a run but was s split second late as Young grabbed it before Schultz could get a foot on it.

It was Oyster River’s first appearance in the championships since 2003, when they won the last in a string of three titles.

The Sabers were coming off a 16-year hiatus from the championship game.

The first half was lively with chances on both sides, but nothing went in. Eweiss had several good runs, but could get nothing on Dutka.

An Erik Richardson header off a corner kick hit the cross bar, representing the best chance of the half for either team.