NHIAA D-III Boys' Soccer semis: Bow wins on PKs; Hopkinton prevails
PENACOOK — Second-ranked Bow needed penalty kicks to put away pesky No. 14 Sanborn of Kingston in a state Division III boys’ semifinal soccer game at Merrimack Valley High School Thursday night.
Bow won the penalty kick session 3-1 to earn a 1-0 win in the game and advance to the Division III state championship on Sunday at 2:15 p.m. at Bill Ball Stadium in Exeter. Top-ranked Hopkinton beat No. 4 Prospect Mountain of Alton in Thursday’s late semifinal 2-1, and will meet Bow (17-1-1).
Bow 1, Sanborn 0: "They played with incredible heart. We had to meet that, which I thought we did. It was a great game,” said Bow coach George Pinkham. “I hate to see a game end on PKs, though. That’s not a team victory. It’s one poor kid (the goalie), maybe graduating and he lost on a PK. But that’s the way we’ve got to do it.”
Sanborn’s goalie was indeed a senior, Shaun Howard, and he faced a trio of tough Bow senior shooters. Bow’s Phillip Rizzi scored with as shot to the low left side, Mitchell Blair drilled one high and Nathan Riera made it 3-for-3 with a shot into the low left corner.
Bow senior goalkeeper Tim Bradley made a diving save to stop Sanborn junior Micah Peteron and Indians Kyle Lord (off the left post) and Nate Sprackland (over the net) were unable to score. Only Jonathan Brown managed a goal for Sanborn, driving a shot off Bradley’s hands and in.
Brown’s was the third Sanborn shot, with the Indians shooting first. But with all three Bow shooters scoring and Sprackland’s final shot sailing high, the game was over.
"I'm not a big fan of having to do it that way," Sanborn coach Al Magnusson said. "But for us to be a 14 seed and push the No. 2 seed to that point, we're wonderfully proud of ourselves. We were playing with house money all along. To make it this far is wonderful."
Sanborn (11-9-0) pressured in overtime, especially the second 10-minute session, but could not cash in.
Hopkinton 2, Prospect Mountain 1: Hopkinton (18-0-1) broke a 1-1 tie with a goal from junior Evan Ruderman with 9:47 remaining in the game. Ruderman had just entered the game a few minutes earlier and found himself with the ball on the right side of the box. He turned and fired the ball far post to beat Prospect Mountain junior goalie Jake Towle.
Prospect Mountain (14-3-2) took a 1-0 lead with 17:40 remaining in the game. Sophomore Michael McMahon's initial shot was saved by Hopkinton goalkeeper Robbie Ferguson. But junior Ken Gilbert pounced on the loose ball and rolled it inside the left post.
Thoughts of a Prospect Mountain upset were not allowed to linger for long as the Hawks needed just 31 seconds to tie the game. Sophomore Tim Jones sent a cross to classmate Zach Rouleau and Rouleau buried it into the center of the net to beat Towle, who made nine saves to keep the game close throughout.