Hopkinton finishes unbeaten boys' soccer season with title
EXETER — The battle of the birds went to the Hawks.
No. 1 Hopkinton completed an undefeated season with a 3-0 win over No. 2 Bow in the NHIAA boys' Division III soccer championship at Bill Ball Stadium Sunday. The championship is the first for Hopkinton (19-0-1) since a run of four consecutive titles between 2006 and 2009. Bow (17-2-1) had won the previous two championships.
"We had a lot of motivation this year. They were upset after (losing in the playoffs) last year and they let their playing do the talking," said Hopkinton coach Scott Zipke of his players. "We didn't think we played very well in the first two games against these guys (a 2-0 win and 1-1 tie). We felt we had more in us. They certainly brought it today."
Hopkinton went up 1-0 in the third minute. Junior Zach Rouleau sent Doug Fleury ahead on a run toward the cage. Bow goalkeeper Tim Bradley came out to challenge and he and Fleury collided but the ball kept going, rolling into the net.
The Hawks extended to a 2-0 lead four minutes later. Rouleau knocked a header off the crossbar that bounced to Brian Hauschild and the senior banged the rebound home from close range.
Bow began to surge after the second Hopkinton goal, notching two golden scoring opportunities that came up short. In the 14th minute, Falcons senior Sam Cheney drove a direct kick from the left side just over the bar. Two minutes after that, senior Josh DeYoung blasted a header off the crossbar.
"If we had been able to get one back by halftime, then it's anybody's game because heart and hustle and desire take over," said Bow coach George Pinkham. "It was Hopkinton's day and I can't take anything away from them."
The Hawks pushed the lead to 3-0 in the 29th minute when sophomore Nick Fleury rolled a through ball home from deep on the right side of the box.
"Up 2-0, we knew the next goal was huge. 2-0 is scary. The guys know that," Zipke said. "They knew they had to get the next one and they did."
Hopkinton clamped down in the second half, securing the shutout for junior goalie Robbie Ferguson, who made three saves on the day.
"I think what I am most proud of, aside from the early goals, is getting the shutout," Zipke said. "To come to a championship game and to get a shutout? You can't script it better than that."
For Bow, the ending was not ideal. But the journey was worthwhile.
"I was proud of them. We had some seniors, but untested…and they got to a championship game," Pinkham said. "I said first, let's get to the tournament and then when you get to the tournament you have a chance to win a championship. I'm happy they got a chance to play in the championship game. Hopkinton was the better team today."