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Late Goal Sends Hanover Boys Soccer To Division I Title Game

  • Hanover’s Tomas LaPorta yells for joy after the Marauders’ 1-0 win over Londonderry in the NHIAA Division I boys soccer semifinals last night.<br/>(Valley News - Sarah Priestap)

    Hanover’s Tomas LaPorta yells for joy after the Marauders’ 1-0 win over Londonderry in the NHIAA Division I boys soccer semifinals last night.
    (Valley News - Sarah Priestap) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Hanover’s Daniel Osheyack flies into the net with the ball after Hanover’s Jonas Taenzer scored game’s only goal.<br/>(Valley News - Sarah Priestap)

    Hanover’s Daniel Osheyack flies into the net with the ball after Hanover’s Jonas Taenzer scored game’s only goal.
    (Valley News - Sarah Priestap) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Hanover keeper Duncan Piper, left, grins as he high-fives teammate Ian Strohbehn, center, as the Marauders' Brendan Barth watches last night.<br/>(Valley News - Sarah Priestap)

    Hanover keeper Duncan Piper, left, grins as he high-fives teammate Ian Strohbehn, center, as the Marauders' Brendan Barth watches last night.
    (Valley News - Sarah Priestap) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Hanover’s Tomas LaPorta yells for joy after the Marauders’ 1-0 win over Londonderry in the NHIAA Division I boys soccer semifinals last night.<br/>(Valley News - Sarah Priestap)
  • Hanover’s Daniel Osheyack flies into the net with the ball after Hanover’s Jonas Taenzer scored game’s only goal.<br/>(Valley News - Sarah Priestap)
  • Hanover keeper Duncan Piper, left, grins as he high-fives teammate Ian Strohbehn, center, as the Marauders' Brendan Barth watches last night.<br/>(Valley News - Sarah Priestap)

— Jonas Taenzer missed school Wednesday. Had a bug.

Temperature of 103.

Even last night, before an NHIAA Division I boys soccer semifinal with Londonderry, the Hanover High sophomore was a couple of aspirin tablets from a blanket, a pillow and some chicken noodle soup.

But a well-nodded soccer ball is a good a panacea as any home remedy.

Taenzer put his red-headed noggin on an Evan Greenwald free kick and looped it over Londonderry goalkeeper Robert Krause with 2:46 to play to give third-ranked Hanover a 1-0 win last night at Southern New Hampshire University’s Larkin Field.

The Marauders’ first foray into D-I will come to a close the same way so many of their D-II excursions did the past decade: in the state finals back at SNHU on Sunday. Hanover will face fourth-seeded Manchester Central, a 1-0 winner over No. 1 Bedford last night.

“I had a fever yesterday; I stayed home and took some aspirin today, so I got through the game,” a beaming Taenzer said. “I always wanted to play. I knew I was going to play. I didn’t know what part I was going to play, how many minutes, but I knew I was going to get in.” The game’s only goal came as a result of an extended period of confident play for Hanover (19-2-0).

Right back Greenwald drew a foul — the Lancers’ 10th of the half to just two for Hanover — overlapping on the right flank. Krause stayed on his goal line as Greenwald drove a low liner toward the far post, where a gaggle of Marauders waited.

Taenzer won out, getting just enough of the cross on his forehead to pop it over Krause (two saves) and beyond the outstretched leg of a retreating Londonderry defender.

“I wanted to take the free kick originally; good thing Evan took it,” Taenzer said. “Evan always hits his balls back post, and Coach told me two weeks ago in practice (to) just be there. It worked out; I hit it back across, and it went in.” Depth has been Hanover’s strong suit throughout its inaugural D-I season. Last night, versatility joined at the hip.

The Marauders played without two starters, forward Daniel Hazlett and back Ben Manning, both missing with injuries. Hanover has no lack of scoring options — Taenzer is among seven players with at least 10 points — but Marauder coach Rob Grabill has had to dig deep to get help with Manning and long-term injury absence Sam Carey out.

Grabill went to junior Jack Lightbody for last night’s key assignment, marking Londonderry scoring ace Robert Hart. Senior Daniel Osheyack also filled the middle for Hanover, combining with Greenwald and wingback Jacob Lapoint to hold Hart to two shots all evening.

“We learned what a dangerous, dangerous player Rob Hart is,” Grabill said of Hanover’s 3-0 loss to the Lancers (18-3-0) on Sept. 5. “We were trying to get on his back and keep him from turning. If he faces the goal, he’s very dangerous because he’s very fast. Jack did a great job; he was right on his back, not allowing him to turn.” While Hanover’s midfield of Taenzer, Brendan Barth, Rocco Linehan and Ethan Kable slowly began to assert control over the course of the night, Londonderry enjoyed the first half’s most dangerous chances.

Kenny Desmarais nearly caught Hanover keeper Duncan Piper (two saves) napping in the 20th minute. Desmarais settled a bouncing ball and delivered a 27-yard laser that rattled the underside of the crossbar, a retreating Greenwald clearing the rebound out of danger.

Junior forward Xavier Tchana’s header of a Barth corner forced a falling save from Krause save in the 35th minute. The junior netminder would get busier as the match progressed.

“We are really possession-based team; we have a lot of great center midfielders who ping the ball back and forth,” Greenwald said. “We were really able to break them down by moving the ball through the field and by going back and forth.” The Marauders tactically dictated the final 20 minutes of play, leading to Taenzer’s feel-good finish.

Greenwald’s driven free-kick service in the 60th minute found the head of Ian Strohbehn, who popped the ball high. Linehan served a perfect diagonal ball to a streaking Tchana on the right wing in the 64th; the striker’s right-footed shot missed badly.

Taenzer nearly connected with Strohbehn’s foot on a left-wing restart in the 75th minute, with the forward fanning at the feed from inside the 6-yard box. Lapoint ripped a left-footed drive off a corner kick a minute later that might have broken the twine — or Krause’s hand — had it not cleared the crossbar by inches.

If those near-misses left Taenzer feeling ill, he had his prescription moments later, in roughly the time required to take two and call the doctor in the morning.

“There are a lot more closer, competitive games in D-I than D-II,” Taenzer said. “We changed our practice schedule a little bit. It was a little more intense, maybe a little bit less fun games. But I really liked it. It’s been great.” A spoonful of scoring makes the medicine go down.

Corner Kicks: Taenzer’s goal was his ninth of the season. Hazlett leads Hanover with 13, while Linehan and Tchana both have 10. … Each squad employed just one substitute. … Taenzer took a fall in the Londonderry penalty area four minutes into the second half when he tangled with Lancer back Alex Walter, but referee Theodore Kitsis waved Taenzer to get back up. … Taenzer and Tchana had a team-high three shots for Hanover. Desmarais and freshman midfielder Nate Gaw posted three shots each for Londonderry. … Announced attendance was 394.

Greg Fennell can be reached at gfennell@vnews.com or 603-727-3226.