NHIAA Soccer: Derryfield boys pass test vs. RaymondBy JOE DUBALL
New Hampshire Union Leader
September 20. 2017 3:26AM
RAYMOND — The road to meeting big expectations is not getting any easier for the Derryfield School of Manchester boys’ soccer team. The challenges don’t appear to be rattling the Cougars though.
Tuesday’s 3-0 win over Raymond showed as much. Derryfield (7-0) played the majority of the game with a one-goal lead, and while the Cougars had a clear advantage in possession and shots on goal, the Rams (6-2) were lurking before a pair of Derryfield scores inside of the final 13 minutes put the game out of reach.
“Everybody gets up on big games. We do it when we play top teams, and as one of the top teams, others bring their best for us,” Derryfield coach Jeff Cousineau said. “I tell the boys every day that teams are out to measure themselves against us. Right now we have no losses, which is a measuring stick for others. There are competitive teams in this league and we saw another one today.”
Nate Kelsey scored the first two goals for Derryfield, including one off a header in the final minute of the first half to get the Cougars off and running. There was no shortage of chances for the Cougars prior to the opening strike, as Derryfield pinned Raymond down in its own end with 15 minutes of constant pressure and chances that resulted in no scores. Kelsey, Andrew Dubreuil and Jeff Pratt each had two or three scoring chances in that early flurry while Raymond goalie Alex Sweeney made six of his 19 saves.
“It’s an 80-minute game and we play like we’re prepared to do something in all 80,” Kelsey said. “If that breakthrough is going to come in the first 10-15, then that’s great. But if we have to wait until the last few minutes, we’ll be fighting every minute before then to get through.”
Offense has come consistently for Derryfield this season with the Cougars scoring at least three goals in every game they’ve played. However, Kelsey’s first-half tally was important in terms of changing the game’s complexion heading into the final 40 minutes.
“It definitely did something to their (the Rams’) morale,” Cousineau said. “Instead of hanging your hat on it being 0-0, you’re sitting there still happy to be down one, but now you have to climb back and chase a little bit.”
Raymond earned more possession in the second half, but the handful of true runs it did make came off counter-attacks. Tyler Belanger had Raymond’s best chance to tie in the 61st minute when he shot wide left during a one-on-one opportunity with Derryfield keeper Oliver Stattler (two saves) following a lead pass through defenders into the Derryfield box.
The Rams’ hopes vanished soon after Belanger’s run when Kelsey buried a penalty kick in the 67th minute following a hand ball call on the Rams in the box and then a Jeff Pratt score in the 70th minute.
“We hung in there with them and made two mistakes,” said Raymond coach Dave Elliot, who believes Derryfield could compete in Division I right now with its roster. “We were right there through 38½ minutes and all we had to do was get to halftime. The other was obviously the penalty kick. Besides those, we were there with them.
“They threw so many different things at us that we had difficulty adjusting to. ... We have to be able to sort things out better with more communication. Here’s hoping that happens and we get another run at them in the playoffs.”