Frustrating finish for Souhegan girls soccer

EXETER – Throughout the season, right into Sunday’s Division II state championship, the Souhegan High School girls soccer team pounced on their opportunities, no matter how limited.

Top-seeded Bow had the response for the strategy, though. The Falcons just kept pouring the pressure on.

With 2:57 left, Kayleigh Marshall of Bow netted the lone goal of the day as the Falcons stopped a gritty bunch of Sabers, 1-0, here at Bill Ball Stadium.

“We knew it was going to be a battle, going to be back and forth, creating different moments throughout the game, who was going to hold on the longest and who was going to create that one opportunity that was probably going to change the game,” said Souhegan coach Dan Wyborney. “They got there at the end.”

The goal couldn’t detract from the guts shown by Souhegan, which played much of the game without star center-forward and leading scorer Grace Angulas, who injured her knee early.

“It’s what you want in a 1 vs. 2 seed, it was a battle,” said Wyborney. “We were ready. We were prepared, unfortunately someone has to lose and it’s us.”

Bow peppered the Sabers’ goal with shots, and keeper Lily Batchelder was up to the task, stepping up with a dozen saves.

“You can’t blame the girls,” added Wyborney. “They fought hard all season long to get the chance to be here. (Bow) had great possession and speed on the flank. We did a great job most of the time of it, but all it took was one.”

Souhegan girls soccer, judging by the 13-1-2 regular season and the three playoff wins over Coe-Brown, Kearsarge and Portsmouth, is clearly back.

“It was an exciting run for the girls,” said Wyborney “These seniors had never been past the first round of the playoffs. It was was a learning experience, getting them to enjoy it. They never settled for just being where they were at, they always wanted a little more.”

There are now a bundle of holes to be filled.

“We have Christa Vordenberg and Marlena Culver up top, as well as Grace. Then there’s Kate Hollister in the middle, Abby Estabrook at outside back, and also Natalie Larson, who didn’t play because of her ACL,” said Wyborney.

“They’ll all be missed, because every one of them brought a little something different to the table.”

At some point, they and the coach will be able to realize what they achieve, making it to the title game.

“Knowing they went 7-8-1 last year, lost in the first round and (graduated) two first-team all-state players, I wasn’t sure what I was going to get,” the coach said

“There was something there. It just had to be massaged a little bit. They bought into what I put into place, and it was a good time.”