Touchline Sweeps NHSC League Crowns
Henniker, n.h. — One team nursed a lead. One team came from behind. Either way, the Norwich-based Touchline Soccer Club now owns a pair of New Hampshire Soccer Conference championships.
Playing on adjacent pitches at the Henniker Soccer Club fields, Touchline Boys SC spotted top-ranked Hudson two goals before rallying for a 3-2 victory in the NHSC Division IV final. Right next door, Touchline V nipped archrival Lebanon Mak’s, 3-2, holding off a furious rally for the NHSC Division V crown.
Hudson (13-2-2) jumped to a 2-0 lead before Touchline BSC started its D-IV comeback. Sam Carey converted a rebound just before halftime, then Hazlett picked up a loose ball on a Brendan Barth corner kick and scored from 18 yards to tie the match in the second half.
Barth picked up the game-winner with a curling 30-yard free kick that drifted over Carey’s head enough to free the Hudson goalkeeper and slip into the far side of the goal. The title is the third in the past five summers for Touchline (7-4-2), which picked up six saves from goalkeeper Kieran Read.
Touchline V scored twice in the final five minutes of the first half — through Jack Hazard and Will Smith, assisted in both cases by Sam Strohbehn — for a 2-0 halftime lead. Nate Gariepy lobbed Touchline netminder Connor Edson (seven saves) from 45 yards to get Mak’s (5-6-4) on the board, but Sander Macaulay slipped through the Lebanon defense to poke home a low cross five minutes later and re-establish the two-goal lead for Touchline (13-4-2).
Noah Didehbani gave Lebanon a ray of hope with a 25-yard direct kick with two minutes left, but a header off a last-second corner kick went wide of the mark.
Hazlett was chosen the most valuable player of the D-IV final for Touchline, while Tim Alibozek received the same recognition in the D-V contest.