Cavs denied again

EXETER – It wasn’t as dramatic a finish as last year, but the result was the same nonetheless.

For the second straight season, Hollis Brookline High School fell in the Division II boys soccer final to Windham High School.

Head coach Rick Carvalho had a specific game plan for his second-seeded Cavaliers’ heading into Sunday. He wanted to come out aggressive for the game’s first goal to pressure the top-seeded Jaguars.

That plan never came to fruition, as Windham found the back of the net first with 4:07 remaining in the opening half and scored again 84 seconds later en route to a 2-0 victory at Bill Ball Stadium.

“First half we were a little flat,” Carvalho said. “We just didn’t come out with enough enthusiasm, I guess. We didn’t win anything in the first half. We just never really got in a rhythm.

“Questionable call for a PK and they finish that one. Then a great free kick and that was it.”

After 35 minutes of scoreless action, Windham’s Tucker Lippold broke the ice and the Cavaliers’ back. During a scrum in front of the net, an HB defender was called for a hand ball in the box. Lippold deposited his penalty kick into the lower left corner of the net and the Jaguars grabbed the 1-0 lead.

It didn’t take long to grab a two-goal advantage, as Windham midfielder James Baiguy scored on a direct kick from 18 yards out that hooked into the upper left corner of the net. The Jaguars held on for the two-goal win.

“Definitely the first half we just didn’t come out strong enough,” said HB junior forward Cole Owens. “It was those two minutes when they scored both goals. Just the little moments we didn’t capitalize on and we didn’t block them.”

The Cavaliers (16-3) had two big opportunities in the start of the second half and kept the pressure on the remainder of the game. Harrison Fretter took an open shot with 36:11 to play, beat Jaguars keeper Tim Erdlen but hit the far right post.

Four minutes later, another Cavaliers shot, originally stopped by Erdlen, ended up in the net as an HB player crashed into the keeper. The goal was waived off and the Jaguars did all they could to defend their title and hold onto the shutout.

The Cavaliers were throwing everything they could at the Jaguars’ net over the final 40 minutes and Windham head coach Michael Hachey was feeling the pressure on the sideline.

“It was obviously the way we wanted to end it, but it was a stressful second half,” Hachey said. “We had our brief moment where things came together in that first half. They took it to us in the second half and you know it’s going to be that way because they have quite a hill to climb being two goals down.

“They were close. We had to withstand quite a bit of pressure.”