Batchelder lifts Souhegan

Photo by Tom King Souhegan’s Megan Tupaj (25) eyes the ball ahead of Milford’s Emmy Sullivan during Tuesday’s game in Amherst.

AMHERST – Lily Batchelder wasn’t about to try to fool anyone after the junior goalie’s 16 saves were the difference in Souhegan High School’s 1-0 win over Milford on Tuesday night.

She wasn’t going to say she had those shots all the way, wasn’t bothered by onrushing Spartan freshman Syd Thibault, whom she robbed four times on breakaways in the second half.

Nope. Batchelder was honest.

She was afraid.

“It’s always terrifying playing Milford,” Batchelder said, her team off to a 4-0 start in Division II. “They’ve got some strong kids. I’m not as confident as you might think I am (watching Thibault bearing down on her). I just have to get behind the ball and not be afraid of it.”

Sabers coach Dan Wyborney said fear is no issue with Batchelder, despite what she said.

“She was out of her mind,” he said. “She played a great game. She did a good job coming out off her line, taking down some one-on-ones, she played great.

“She’s a gamer. She steps up when it’s game time. That’s what you need in net. … Somebody who’s not afraid to stick their nose in there. She’s just a gamer. She loves it.”

Batchelder’s play helped a corner kick goal by Saber Christa Vordenberg just over four minutes into the game hold up the remaining 75 minutes, amazingly so. Aside from a couple of rare scoring opportunites – Milford keeper Taylor Dorsey had a couple of nice stops in the second half (eight saves overall) – Souhegan relied on Batchelder. The Sabers are unscored upon a quarter of the way into the season.

“They were good runs in (by Thibault), good balls in,” said Spartans coach Russ Matthews, whose team suffered its first loss of the year (3-1). “We couldn’t be totally down on ourselves because we totally owned the field. But their keeper came up huge.”

Batchelder made a couple of leaping stops in the first half, but when Thibault came at her four times in the second half – twice in a three minute span – sure, it had to be scary.

The first time she actually got some defensive help, as Saber Maddie Morrissette caught up to the Spartan freshman and altered her shot.

But the next three times, it was mano-o-mano, Batchelder making a diving stop on one, then easily catching a slow roller on a misfire that had Thibault, and then grabbing the ball in mid-air just before the two collided.

“That hurt a little bit,” Batchelder said. “But you’ve got to just pop back up and keep the game going.”

And conquer your fear.

Boys soccer

Souhegan 2, Milford 0

The Sabers (3-1) kept the Spartans (0-4) winless on the season with a strong offensive effort.

In the sixth minute, Linus Werner found space for a tidy finish off the ball from Ryan Hickey.

Jacob Hopfenspirger broke through with a strong goal in the 23rd minute. Souhegan goalie Matt Greany had five saves, while Milford’s Ryan Chase did everything to keep his team in the game with 12 saves.

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