Souhegan’s field hockey run ends in quarterfinals
MANCHESTER – The fifth-seeded Souhegan field hockey game had to feel confident heading into its Division II semifinal match against top-seeded Lebanon on Oct. 29. The Sabers had already taken out a higher seed in the quarterfinals, and were one of the few teams to play the Raiders tough during the regular season.
However, Lebanon was still the top seed and defending champion for a reason, and proved why that night at Bob Chabot-Hubie McDonough Field.
The Raiders managed to net a pair of rebounds in the first half, and they held that momentum en route to a 3-1 victory over the Sabers.
It seemed like the Sabers could be headed towards their second-straight upset victory early in the contest by dominating the time of possession. However, they were unable to get off many shots, as Lebanon’s defense, led by goalie Katherine Laramie, continually prevented the opposition from getting many clean looks.
"I was really pumped about the start that we got," Souhegan coach Kelli Braley said. "We had tons of energy. We were controlling. So that was huge for us.
"When we gave their defenders time to recover in the circle, it was tough to get any shots off. We weren’t quite hungry enough in the circle. There were a couple of times where the ball was just dead there."
The Souhegan defense was just as good, stopping four Lebanon corners in just the first half. The Raiders’ continuous pressure eventually proved to be too much for the Sabers, as Kendra MacDonald secured a rebound and snuck the shot past Souhegan goalie Madeline Maurais midway through the first half.
The Raiders next opportunity followed a penalty by Souhegan’s Katherine Casey, making the Sabers shorthanded for five minutes. As the first half was set to expire, Lebanon’s Madeline Hastings scored in a crowd of defenders, giving the Raiders a two-goal advantage heading into the half.
"Lebanon’s a great team, and they capitalized on the couple of opportunities we gave them," Braley said. "I’m proud of my girls for not getting down on themselves (following the goals)."
Souhegan got an offensive spark from Abigail Cranney to start the second half. The sophomore midfielder dodged multiple Lebanon defenders before finding the back of the net, cutting the Sabers’ deficit to one. Souhegan’s Kaylyn Forest almost pulled off an identical goal minutes later, but Laramie managed to get a pad on the shot.
Lebanon got an insurance goal from Leah Mayes moments later, essentially securing the victory.
"I am so proud of this team," Braley said. "We spend a lot of time together in the offseason. We’re a big family during the season. I love these girls more than a lot of things."