Sabers fall in semis
Windham earns 2-1 victory on way to championship
EXETER – The third time was unfortunately not the charm for the Souhegan High School girls field hockey team.
The Sabers have been to the Division II semifinals the last three years, and fell short each time, the latest being Thursday’s 2-1 loss at the hands of the Windham Jaguars at Bill Ball Stadium.
To make things worse, the only losses third-seeded Souhegan (13- 3) suffered this season were to the second-seeded Jaguars (14-2) – all by 2-1 scores.
"Three 2-1s and that’s it? I’m not sure I’d believe that," Souhegan coach Kelli Braley said. "It’s tough to beat a team three times in a season, but like I said, I think we beat ourselves tonight."
The Sabers came out and dominated the first 15 minutes or so, keeping the ball in the Jags’ end but only managing just one shot on Windham goalie Abby Harris (five saves). Then, Windham scored twice in a span of 1 minute and 26 seconds, both unassisted goals off scrambles in front. The first was by senior Emma Lindquist at the 17:25 mark of the half, followed by another by Brianna Langlois at 18:51. Sabers goalie Maddie Maurais (four saves) didn’t have much of a chance on either.
As a result, Windham moved on and beat No. 1 Derryfield 1-0 for the title. What changed to get the Jags going?
"Something happened, we just caught fire," Windham coach Katie Bourque said. "We made some passes, we made some adjustments, and put it in."
"I don’t even know if they were flurries (in front of the net) as much as flubs on our part," Braley said. "We lost that game."
And then the game settled down, as Souhegan couldn’t do anything offensively until there were 58 seconds left in the contest, with Abigail Cranney tucking one home off a feed from Kate Lindsey.
"I think (the two quick Windham goals) got in our heads quite a bit, we had a little trouble snapping out of the funk," Braley said. "We called time out, but by the time we did (snap out of it), it was too little, too late."
"They played our game," Bourque said, explaining how Windham was able to keep the Sabers quiet for much of the second half. "We pushed it to the sideline, we played hard; Souhegan’s a great team, they’re going to bring it the whole time."
Case in point was the fact the Sabers scored in the final minute, they touched the ball just once as seconds ticked down.
"We score that with four minutes left, we might be in an overtime right now," Braley said.
"It’s a great game until that clock hits zero, all the time," Bourque said.
Unfortunately for the Sabers, zero meant the end of their season, as successful as it was.