Lebanon Writes Ticket to State Semifinals
Lebanon's Dina D'Cruze scores the winning goal over the Goffstown goalie during their Division II quarterfinal playoff game in Lebanon, N.H. on October 27, 2013. Lebanon won the game 3-2 in overtime. (Valley News - Elijah Nouvelage) Purchase photo reprints »
Lebanon's Jennifer Laramie battles with Goffstown's Hannah Gifford during their Division II quarterfinal playoff game in Lebanon, N.H. on October 27, 2013. Lebanon won the game 3-2 in overtime. (Valley News - Elijah Nouvelage) Purchase photo reprints »
Lebanon — It’s not as if the Lebanon High field hockey team’s 3-2 overtime defeat of Goffstown in Sunday’s NHIAA Division II quarterfinal at Lebanon High School was preordained. But the visiting Grizzlies might have seen it coming.
After all, it was written on the legs.
The second-seeded Raiders (12-1-2) used a pair of goals from Brooke Whitaker to reach overtime, the latter of which erased a 2-1 deficit with 7:03 left in regulation. Dina D’cruze netted the game-winner with 3:03 remaining in the extra session, jamming home a missile of a pass from Emily Perryman to send the defending state champions on to a Thursday semifinal with No. 6 Merrimack Valley.
“It was pretty exciting,” Lebanon coach Deb Beach understated.
And possibly inevitable, given the mental note Lebanon gave itself before the game.
En route to last year’s state title, Raider players took to writing different inspirational words on their wrists for each game of their championship run. Lebanon went a similar route on Sunday, with players scribbling the phrase “Never Give Up” on their thighs.
It became an important thought against a group from Goffstown (8-7-1) that eliminated Hanover in Thursday’s first round after sustaining a 5-0 loss to Lebanon in the regular season.
“It’s just their way of bonding, I guess, of doing something special,” Beach said of her players’ note to themselves. “This was this year’s team’s way of being individual and doing something similar.”
Whitaker put Lebanon in front with 8:27 to go in the first half. Kenda MacDonald’s penalty corner feed found Elle Brine, who fed Whitaker for a goal that the Grizzlies’ Sydney Dubois matched less than six minutes later for a 1-1 halftime draw.
Tori Florence scored out of a scramble in front of Lebanon goalkeeper Emily Foster (six saves) with 15:20 remaining in regulation to give the visitors their only lead of the afternoon. Whitaker’s second goal of the day ended any thoughts of a regulation win for the visitors.
Overtime proved to be another matter entirely. Lebanon required a huge defensive play out of Foster early in OT, the goalie racing to the edge of her circle to kick clear a loose ball and deny a potential Goffstown three-on-one.
“She can’t touch the ball with her pads outside of the circle, but she can play it with her stick like anyone else,” Beach noted. “If she hadn’t done that, it could have been the end of the game.”
Perryman and MacDonald both stepped up and had outstanding games, Beach added. Neither player took a breather during the 72 minutes of game play.
For its troubles, the Raiders get a semifinal date against one of the few squads to trouble them this year. The Pride, which upset No. 3 Souhegan, 2-1, on Sunday, hung a 2-1 loss on Lebanon on Sept. 17 in Penacook — the Raiders’ only loss of the year to date — and held Beach’s bunch to a scoreless draw on Oct. 15 at LHS.
The semifinal is scheduled for Thursday at 5 p.m. at Exeter High’s Bill Ball Stadium. Semifinal survivors advance to Sunday’s final at Bedford High School.
Green Eighth at Lehigh
Bethlehem, Pa. — The Dartmouth Collegte women’s golf team opened its final tournament of the fall with an aggregate score of 332 on Sunday to sit in eighth place after the first round of the Lehigh Invitational.
Harvard holds the lead in the two-day, 36-hole event at 303 by three strokes over Seton Hall. Princeton, Boston University and Georgetown round out the top five in the nine-school event.
Jane Lee shot the low round for the Big Green, carding a 79 that included 12 pars.
Men’s Water Polo
Big Green Repeats
Middletown, Conn. — The Big Green claimed its second straight New England championship with a 7-3 defeat of Boston College on Sunday at Wesleyan University.
Dartmouth took an early lead and never looked back, using full-court defense and wise clock management on offense.
The victory sends Dartmouth to the national championships in San Diego on Nov. 8-10 as the fifth seed.