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Sunapee Slips by Stevens

  • Stevens' Logan Bonneau competes with Sunapee's Ben Robinson for the ball during their match in Claremont, N.H. on October 21, 2013. Sunapee won the game 4-3 in overtime. (Valley News - Elijah Nouvelage)

    Stevens' Logan Bonneau competes with Sunapee's Ben Robinson for the ball during their match in Claremont, N.H. on October 21, 2013. Sunapee won the game 4-3 in overtime. (Valley News - Elijah Nouvelage) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Stevens' Spenser Root maneuvers past a Sunapee player during their match in Claremont, N.H. on October 21, 2013. Sunapee won the game 4-3 in overtime. (Valley News - Elijah Nouvelage)

    Stevens' Spenser Root maneuvers past a Sunapee player during their match in Claremont, N.H. on October 21, 2013. Sunapee won the game 4-3 in overtime. (Valley News - Elijah Nouvelage) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Stevens' Logan Bonneau competes with Sunapee's Ben Robinson for the ball during their match in Claremont, N.H. on October 21, 2013. Sunapee won the game 4-3 in overtime. (Valley News - Elijah Nouvelage)
  • Stevens' Spenser Root maneuvers past a Sunapee player during their match in Claremont, N.H. on October 21, 2013. Sunapee won the game 4-3 in overtime. (Valley News - Elijah Nouvelage)

Claremont — When Stevens High beat Sunapee High in boys soccer last week, Laker coach Jack Iacapino thought his team had to change things up for the return match Monday night at Monadnock Park.

“I think we kept the ball on the ground too much,” he explained.

And the Lakers listened, getting two Ethan Weinstein chip-shot goals, one to tie and the other to win, in a dramatic, come-from-behind 4-3 overtime victory over the Cardinals.

Both teams have played well this season but have slumped a bit in recent games. Stevens entered the contest with two losses in its last three starts, while the Lakers were 0-2-1 in the run-up to the rematch.

And it didn’t look good for the Lakers when they fell behind 3-1 at the 34:50 mark of the second half. But when the Stevens offense sputtered, the Lakers turned it up a notch.

Stevens coach Jason Stone wasn’t making any excuses, but he did mention that standout forward Ethan Sweet took two knocks in the head and “he had to sit out most of the second half,” said stone.

What really bothered Stone was the difference in the two halves.

“We just gave up the middle of the field and got beat to the ball in the second half ” he explained. “There was no excuse for that.”

When the postseason begins next week, both teams will be taking part. Stevens is now 11-4 and in seventh place in NHIAA Division III (pending other Monday results). The top 12 teams in the standings at season’s end sit for the first round of the state tournament, with teams 13-20 playing off for the final four spots to get to a 16-team tourney.

Sunapee (8-4-2) improved to seventh in Division IV, which will send 16 teams into its tournament. Stevens finishes up Friday, hosting Fall Mountain in the annual Bernard Cup game, while Sunapee has a road game with Wilton-Lyndborough on Wednesday and a home contest with Epping on Friday.

Still, what took place Monday night will linger for a while. Stevens assistant coach Jon Root admitted that a loss like that would keep him awake overnight, while Iacapino felt that a win over a much bigger school like Stevens in the noisy environment was good for his team.

“We like coming over here, and games like this can only help us get ready for the tourney,” he said.

Weinstein’s goal to tie the game came with 8:20 to play. Stevens goalkeeper Austin Putnam slipped while trying to chase the ball down during a Laker offensive flurry and, before he could get up, Weinstein lifted it over him and into the empty cage.

Stevens came close to winning the game before the end of regulation when Dan Croteau dribbled his way through the defense. Laker keeper James Fitzgerald came out, but the ball trickled by him. Defender Nick St. Laurent was able to get to the ball before it crossed the line and cleared it.

Sunapee’s Brandon Fleming had a big part in the overtime goal. His ball control got the ball to Weinstein, who chipped it over Putnam to win the game.

The teams swapped goals to get things started. Stevens took a 1-0 lead with its short-passing game as Daniel Croteau fed Sweet for a shot that was touched by Fitzgerald, but not enough to stop it from going in. Sunapee tied it when an Alex Gioldassis shot from the side seemed to fool Putnam and he was unable to corral it.

Stevens got the lead back to 2-1 when Sweet picked up a Fitzgerald carom and sent it to the back of the net. When it got to be 3-1 on a Croteau breakaway at the 34:10 mark of the second half, it looked bad for the Lakers.

But not for long as a hard, ground-hugging shot from Sunapee’s Matt Emmond made it 3-2. Weinstein then took Iacapino’s advice and chipped the Lakers to victory.