Girls soccer out in quarterfinals

HOLLIS – Tempers ran high from the opening kickoff of Sunday’s Division II girls soccer quarterfinal as No. 3 Hollis Brookline hosted No. 6 Windham.

The two teams fought tooth and nail through a closely-contested match before Windham’s Serena Sauerwald connected on a deep shot to break a scoreless tie with only a few minutes left to play.

The 1-0 win propeled the Jaguars into Thursday ‘s semifinals against No. 7 Portsmouth at Bill Ball Stadium in Exeter.

The tension was palpable from the start as both teams played sound defensively in the game’s first half. Windham had the slight edge in the first possession game, as Hollis settled back defensively, opening up only to chase down long forward lofts into Windham’s half.

There were several scoring chances for each side, with Hollis senior forward Sydney Brackett repeatedly putting pressure on Windham’s defense. HB goaltender Olivia Cleghorn made solid saves on several occasions but was matched by Windham’s Jenna Parsons.

Effort and physicality stood out for both sides as Cavaliers sophomore Maddie McCann battled for 50-50 balls in the midfield.

In the second half, HB appeared ready to take control, as it took over the time on attack, and peppered Parsons with shots and crossing patterns from all angles. The Cavaliers were close to breaking through all game but were repeatedly denied by Parsons and her defensive front.

There was no better example of HB’s hard luck than a strong shot from deep with about 30 minutes to play that rang off the Windham cross bar.

After biding their time in the second half, Windham at last connected on Sauerwald’s perfectly struck long shot that glided barely out of Cleghorn’s reach into the top left corner of the net. The goal came with less than two minutes to play.

A furious effort in extra time by the Cavaliers repeatedly brought more crossing passes and hard shots, but the Jaguars were up to the task as they held on for the one-goal win.