Classic has no second chapter

The highly anticipated “Souhegan vs. Milford III” won’t be happening this fall.

Soccer fans will have to settle for Souhegan vs. Portsmouth in Thursday’s Division II state semifinals instead?

The No. 2, 15-1-2 Sabers kept up their end of the bargain, but barely, beating Kearsarge 2-1 on penalty kicks in the quarterfinals. Milford, No. 3, fell 1-0 in the rain to No. 6 Portsmouth on Saturday.

The Sabers edged the Clippers (14-3-1) way back on Aug. 25 to open the season, 1-0. But they’re expecting a different game this time around.

“They’re a scrappy team,” Sabers coach Dan Wyborney said. “It’s been a long 17 games since then, for us and for them.”

Both teams, Wyborney noted, play on field turf, and the semis at 4 p.m. at Exeter’s Bill Ball Stadium Thursday are also on field turf. So expect a fast game in terms of the pace.

“We definitely have speed,” Wyborney said. “It’s what’s helped us down the stretch.

What helped the Sabers in the quarterfinals was their PK accuracy.

They got kick goals from Kate Hollister, Maddie Morrissette and Maggie Dix after two sudden death overtimes couldn’t settle it.

“It was tough for it to come down to penalty kicks, but we came through with the win,” Wyborney said.

Kearsarge got two goals during the PK phase but Saber goalie Lily Batchelder made an incredible save to clinch the win.

During regulation, the Sabers struck first with a goal by Samantha Jay on a sharp header off a feed from Marlena Culver.

Jay has been red hot in her coach’s eyes.

“It was a fireball,” Wyborney said of her semifinal goal. “She’s been a beast. She’s getting into a groove. They all are.”

Kearsarge (11-7) tied it about 15 minutes into the second half. And the drama continued until three Sabers came through to send them to Exeter.


The Spartans won’t be joining

A young Spartans soccer team couldn’t get past the quarterfinal hump on a soggy day as the Clippers’ Kathleen McAfferty scored midway through the second half on a deflection off bodies in front of the net.

Now it’s 14-3-1 Portsmouth who will face off against Souhegan.

“Overall the weather made for a sloppy game but we had plenty of chances and just couldn’t convert,” Milford coach Russ Matthews said. “We made one mistake and it cost us.”

Katie Lorden had six saves in the Spartan goal. Milford’s season ends a 14-3-1, but the Spartans played three freshmen regularly and should be a contender again next year. They lose five seniors but have as many as 18 eligible to return from this year’s roster.

“The season was about as great as one can be,” Matthews said. “The girls liked each other, got along, played great soccer.

“In addition, these girls did amazing things off the field, like coaching every Saturday at 8 a.m. for U6 Rec soccer, raising nearly $2,000 for cancer awareness and supporting the other sports in their school. When I define successful, this season embodies it. I’m sorry it’s over, not because we didn’t get as far as we wanted, but because I will miss spending time with these kids five days a week.”