Song, and Soccer
High School All-Stars Hit All the Right Notes
Brendan Barth, of Hanover High, opens the 39th Lions Cup All-Star soccer game with his rendition of America The Beautiful, with his music held by Stanley Patch, of Castleton, Vt., the Lions camp coordinator, at Franklin Pierce University in Rindge, N.H., on Saturday. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Purchase photo reprints »
New Hampshire’s Emily Kehoe, of Lebanon High, tries to muscle past Vermont’s Taylor Goldsborough in the 39th Lions Cup All-Star soccer game at Franklin Pierce University in Rindge, N.H. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Purchase photo reprints »
Vermont's Ian Weider of Thetford gets above New Hampshire's Riley Ellis of Goffstown for a touch in the 39th Lions all star soccer game. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Purchase photo reprints »
New Hampshire's Ian Strohbehn of Norwich pressures Vermont's Shane Haley of Williston as he receives a throw-in. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Purchase photo reprints »
Devon Day of Hartford makes a move over open ground during the all-star soccer game. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Purchase photo reprints »
Rindge, n.h. — The most interesting playing at Saturday’s Lions Cup soccer games at Franklin Pierce University didn’t involve a ball. Instead, it came moments before the boys game kicked off, when recent Hanover High graduate Brendan Barth serenaded the crowd with America the Beautiful on his saxophone.
A starting midfielder and tri-captain for New Hampshire, Barth said the tooting wasn’t exactly his idea.
“My mom kind of volunteered me for it at the banquet back in March,” Barth said with a rueful grin. “After she told them I could do it and they asked me to do it, I couldn’t really say no.”
Overcoming a slight case of nerves, the Dartmouth College-bound teenager did a fine job in front of a crowd of about 2,000. He said some of his New Hampshire teammates didn’t realize until he picked up his instrument that he hadn’t been joking about the performance.
“They were encouraging and pretty pumped up afterwards,” Barth said.
Vermont 5, N.H. 2
Diminutive forward Shane Haley of Champlain Valley Union was the fast-paced boys game’s standout, scoring twice during the first half and once during the second to help the Green Mountain Staters win for the sixth consecutive time. Only 5-feet-6 and 150 pounds, Haley displayed not only sprinter’s speed, but a jackrabbit’s agility. He’s headed to the University of Vermont, where he’ll suit up for the Catamounts.
Haley’s first tally came in the 18th minute, when he intercepted an attempted horizontal pass by a Vermont fullback and burst in on a successful breakaway. The striker struck again six minutes before halftime, beating a defender down up the left wing before scoring from a sharp angle with a low shot inside the far post.
New Hampshire pulled within 2-1 after five minutes of the second half, Andrew Capetta’s cross from deep in the left corner caroming in off a defender on the near edge of the 6-yard box. Two minutes later, Vermont’s Connor Collins kicked a ball out and off the end line and a teammate did it twice in five seconds later in the half.
Haley cemented his status as the contest’s most valuable player when, with 20 minutes to play, he arced a 40-yard free kick from the left sideline, under the crossbar and into the far side of the net. Teammate Sean Paradis put the game away with 15 minutes remaining, running a rebound into the net before removing his shirt in celebration and earning a yellow card.
Two more goals were scored in the final 10 minutes to produce a 5-2 final score. Vermont’s Steven Koenemann tallied off a Haley assist and New Hampshire’s Casey Schehl struck with two minutes to play. Haley’s three goals and four points tied him for the best-ever performances in a Lions Cup boys game.
“He was running as fast with the ball as I was without it,” said New Hampshire defender and Lebanon High graduate Donncha Coyle. “He worked hard and made things happen all over the field.”
Other area athletes in the boys game were Hanover midfielder Ian Strohbehn, Thetford midfielder Ian Weider and Hartford defender Hayden Cox.
N.H. 1, Vermont 0
The girls game was decided 14 minutes before halftime when Milford’s Kendra Bonczar pounded a long free kick just inside the right post. The Granite Staters made that lead hold up for a 1-0 victory, snapping Vermont’s three-game winning streak. The Green Mountain girls had won five of the past six contests.
The lone area representative on the New Hampshire roster, Lebanon’s Emily Kehoe, played what could well have been her final competitive soccer game. Headed to play basketball at St. Joseph’s College in Maine, Kehoe said she gave some thought to playing both sports there, but ultimately chose hoops.
“My love of basketball really came out during my senior year,” said Kehoe, who played striker yesterday. “Having a chance to play a last soccer game is really why I tried out for the Lions Cup in the first place.”
Hartford teammates Devon Day and Jessica Barnum were the Upper Valley’s representatives for Vermont. Day played at forward while Barnum, listed as an alternate, saw about 15 minutes of action at outside fullback.
Day, who plans to play at Lasell College in Massachusetts, said the hard, artificial turf surface presented a challenge.
“We only had three days to get used to it and it’s so much faster,” she said. “It was so much more difficult and frustrating than playing on grass.”
Barnum, who’s headed to New England College, said she wasn’t expecting to play much but thought she’d get in for at least a few minutes because coach Geri-Lyn Witalec said she’d try to use everyone to some degree.
“It was cool to play at such a high intensity level,” Barnum said. “It was a good game to wrap up your high school career and to give you a taste of what it’s going to be like in college.”
The Lions Cup game was played at Dartmouth from 1993-97. Forrest Powers, the contest’s executive director, said his organization then moved on to St. Michael’s College because the cost of hosting players at Dartmouth and staging the game there would have jumped roughly $10,000 for the 1998 contest.
“We probably would still be there if that hadn’t happened,” Powers said. “They also said we were going to have to start trucking the kids back and forth to practice fields in West Lebanon, and that was a consideration as well. But that’s not to say we wouldn’t go back if we had the chance.”
Powers said he couldn’t recall how much the total to be based at Dartmouth and to play there was, but he said the Lions paid $2,000 for field rental, including use of a public-address announcer and videographer, at Franklin Pierce. Housing and meals at the university cost about $4,000 total, he said.
This year’s game was held at Franklin Pierce University for a second consecutive year and Powers said he expects to soon sign a contract to stage the 2014-15 games at Castleton State College. That school hosted the 2010-11 games.
Notes: Day could have been excused for feeling defensive to start the afternoon. First, her school’s name was listed as “Hartland” in the program, and then she was skipped by the public address announcer during pregame introductions. … Ryan St. Pierre of Charlestown, N.H., and Fall Mountain High missed the game because of a leg injury suffered this month. His replacement, Ned Metcalf of Hopkinton, worked extra shifts on his family’s farm in order to earn time off to play, Powers said. … Boys team players from Vermont and New Hampshire met to exchange T-shirts from their respective schools Friday night. … Powers said the Lions Cup games raised more than $500,000 for charity in the first 38 years, including $12,000 last year. The most raised in a single year was about $24,000. … Players practice at least twice each day during the 48 hours before the game, with a final, optional workout the night before the clash. It costs $51 per day to house and feed each player, Powers said. … The game program included individual and team records for the 38 men’s contests but none for the 24 women’s games. … Although not playing in the game, Hartford soccer player Jed Sass nonetheless got to hear his name announced when his lost wallet was advertised over the loudspeakers.
Tris Wykes can be reached at email@example.com or 603-727-3227.