Raiders Hit the Books After Loss
Lebanon High's Emma Forman, left, knocks the ball out of the control of Con-Val's Maura Rapposelli during Con-Val's 3-0 win in Lebanon on Friday. Valley News - James M. Patterson
Lebanon High's Erin Landry, right, and Cn-Val's Maura Rapposelli compete for a high ball during their game at Lebanon on. Friday. Con-Val won, 3-0. Valley News - James M. Patterson
Lebanon — Class is in session for the Lebanon High girls soccer team. And after surrendering three second-half goals in a season-opening 3-0 loss to Con-Val on Friday, the Raiders already have their first homework assignment.
“Go home and think about what happens when you give up possession of the ball too much,” Lebanon coach Shannon Boisvert said following the defeat at Lebanon High School. “I thought, the first half, we played an amazing game. I thought we dominated. The ball was on (Con-Val’s) end most of the game. Second half, we came in flat, gave away possession too much, and it ended up costing us three goals.”
Grace Bowman, Sylvie Holding and Haley Zariga struck for the Cougars (1-0), who outshot Lebanon (0-1) by a 6-4 margin in the second half after the Raiders owned a 7-3 edge in attempts over the first 40 minutes. Freshman goalkeeper Kassidee Rogers made two saves for the Raiders and couldn’t be faulted for any of Con-Val’s goals.
Bowman’s score just before the 10-minute mark of the second half came about on a fortunate bounce. The latter two Cougar conversions capped fine counterattacks through a pulled-up Lebanon defense, with Holding and Zariga both finding the far post from the left wing, well out of Rogers’ reach.
The Raiders put little pressure on Con-Val netminder Catherine Dautio (four saves) after the interval, with all of their shots coming from well outside the penalty area. That, Boisvert said, spoke to Lebanon’s need to do more with the ball and do it more quickly than the Raiders did on Friday.
“I think this team is a great team, and we do very well with passing the ball, playing the ball quickly,” Boisvert said. “I don’t know what happened in the second half today. They’re going to have to just pick it up from here.”
With less than two weeks of preseason workouts and having had their only scrimmage thunderstormed into oblivion, Friday marked the Raiders’ first game situation of the fall. It didn’t show during portions of the first half.
Lebanon came out the aggressor, getting its first shot on goal after three minutes and its only corner of the game after five. Sophomore Jill Dion showed flashes of being the forward Boisvert needs, and senior co-captain Sam MacDonald took occasional control of the middle of the field.
But the junior center back combo of Rachael Townsend and Sierra Rogers had the most solid opening 40 minutes, repeatedly breaking up Con-Val incursions and frequently moving forward to take set pieces around the Cougars’ penalty area.
Townsend also made the defensive play of the opening half, running to the goal line to kick clear an open-net bid from the visitors’ Kylie Mose after Kassidee Rogers lost the handle on a Con-Val cross.
“Those two are just amazing girls, strong athletes,” Boisvert said. “They work their butts off all the time, give me every thing they’ve got every second. I mean, they played the whole game today; they never quit.”
But the energy the Raiders showed up to halftime somehow disappeared after it.
A bad bounce set up Con-Val’s opening goal at 49:18. Defender Beth Cheaney returned an unattended ball toward the Lebanon area; the pass bounced past a Raider defender and right to Bowman, who put a 14-yard drive out of the reach of the Lebanon goalie.
As the Raiders pushed for an equalizer, yet rarely put the ball in a dangerous offensive position, Con-Val countered. Midfielder Holding turned Zoe Paige’s through ball into a low liner past a diving Kassidee Rogers at 67:33, and Zariga put the bow on the Cougars’ win with a 40-yard run and finish high to Rogers’ left at 75:26.
Boisvert was willing to write this one off as an anomaly, hoping the team she expected shows up Wednesday when the Raiders begin a three-game road trip at St. Thomas.
“Every girl on this team works hard,” Boisvert said. “This is a wonderful team. I’m not going to take this loss as a bad thing.”
Corner Kicks: Con-Val had six corners to Lebanon’s one, including three within a minute midway through the second half. Rogers made a nice diving poke at the near post on the first, defender Joslin Wainwright cleared the second, and Rogers juggled and covered the third in front of two Cougar attackers. … Lebanon’s best chance to score died with a referee’s whistle in the final minute. A collision between Dautio and defender Brianna Jones saw a loose ball ricochet off Jones’ arm right to the Raiders’ Erin Landry, who had an open net to hit from 20 yards. She never got her chance: Rather than employing the advantage rule, which would have been merited, the official near the play killed it for a free kick, which MacDonald pulled wide of the net. … Boisvert’s son, Brady, opens his Nichols College soccer season at New England College this afternoon against former Lebanon High teammate Brandon Guidotti. The two were also teammates on a Lebanon Recreation Department modified-pitch softball team this summer.
Greg Fennell can be reached at email@example.com or 603-727-3226.