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Cougars Roll Past Royals

North Sutton — You would expect Mascoma Regional High boys soccer coach Tanja Rej to be sulking after her team lost 7-1 at Kearsarge on Tuesday. But Rej insisted with a smile it was one of life’s lessons and wanted two of her players to take part in the post-game discussion with a reporter after the game.

“It will do them good to do something like this,” said Rej, whose team fell to 1-9.

Meanwhile, Rob Ragazzo, the 25-year Kearsarge coach, has other issues. His team is 6-3-1, but the losses have came against Bow, Hopkinton and Stevens, the top three ranked teams in the New Hampshire Division III standings.

When asked after the game if this was a team that could enjoy a lot of success, Ragazzo hesitated, then said, “We still haven’t beaten the better teams.”

Kearsarge is a team that lost only a couple of players to graduation, but two others who would have been starters chose to limit their athletic pursuits to only hockey.

The Cougars, who won 4-0 at Mascoma earlier in the season, dominated play, out-shooting the Royals 21-4. But there were enough promising moments for Mascoma to take the sting of defeat away.

“If we have a bad first half, we just try to get better in the second half,” said Mascoma’s Kyle Wilson. “We still try to have some fun.”

Wilson’s teammate, Cody McAllister, thought the Royals were at their best in the opening moments of the half. “We started connecting with some passes and looked like a team,” the junior said.

Even though Kearsarge has not beaten the top-tier teams, it is a team that Ragazzo, who retired from teaching two years ago after 37 years on the job, likes very much. “They’re mature and self-starters,” he said. “I like the mix of the players we have, and we’re starting to get better. We’re making a lot of progress.”

Bobby Lauster had the first Kearsarge goals when he cleared behind the Mascoma defense and beat Mascoma keeper Nick Perez, to the short side. Andrew VanHooydonk, the team’s leading scorer, had two yesterday to run his total on the season to 11. His goal made it 2-0, followed by tallies from Keegan Matisse, Nick Bailey, Lauster again, VanHooydonk, Keegan Matisse and defender Reed Bell on a penalty kick.

Wilson had the Mascoma goal when he kneed in a cross from Alex Schwarz early in the second half.