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Marauders Surrender First Goal of Season, but Have Last Laugh

  • Lebanon's Kaeley Skakalski (2) celebrates a goal by teammate Maddy Finnell (11), the first scored against Hanover over the course of 8 1/2 games, at Hanover High School on Monday, Sept. 24, 2018. Hanover defeated Lebanon 2-1. (Valley News - August Frank) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Hanover's Diana Schwarz gets a close-up view of the ball as she runs it back towards the Lebanon goal at Hanover High School on Monday, Sept. 24, 2018. Hanover defeated Lebanon 2-1. (Valley News - August Frank) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Hanover's Jasmine Lou fights with Lebanon's Maddy Finnell for possession of the ball at Hanover High School on Monday, Sept. 24, 2018. Hanover defeated Lebanon 2-1. (Valley News - August Frank) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Lebanon's Sydney Brochu takes a hard swing at the ball in Lebanon's game against Hanover on Monday, Sept. 24, 2018. Hanover defeated Lebanon 2-1. (Valley News - August Frank) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.



Valley News Staff Writer
Monday, September 24, 2018

Hanover — Amanda Valliere and her Lebanon High field hockey team have never been so happy after a loss. Hanover coach Jean Essex is happy the distraction is out of the way.

Lebanon’s Maddy Finnell scored with 3 minutes, 45 seconds left in the first half, burying a scramble off of a corner shot from Sydney Brochu to cut Hanover’s lead in half. It was the first goal allowed by Hanover’s defense and Marauders goalkeeper Ella Edmonds in eight games so far this season. A celebration on the Lebanon bench ensued.

But the Marauders held on to a 2-1 victory over their neighbor rivals on Monday at Merriman-Branch Field, sending everything but the kitchen sink at Lebanon goalkeeper Hope Brown and the Raiders defense in the second half. Lebanon had its chances, but mustered little offensive pressure after halftime and fell to 5-3.

Hanover, on a tear since last year’s heartbreaking loss in the NHIAA Division II championship game last season, improved to 8-0-1.

“I knew (a goal against) was coming,” Essex said. “I always say we want to see everything before the playoffs. We wanted to see someone score on us before the playoffs. I didn’t know when it was going to come, we talked about it in terms of, it doesn’t mean we’re less of a team if we let a goal in and let’s not worry about it too much.”

Valliere said her team, which moved down to D-III from D-II this season, entered the game with something to prove, and left the field having won a little respect back.

“The emotion that goes into this game is huge because of the cross-town rivalry,” she said. “I know our girls, we’ve got a lot of flak from a lot of people for being D-III now, which is really disappointing. It discounts their skills. I think they went out and proved tonight that it doesn’t matter what category or division we’re in. We’re going to compete at every level.”

Hanover out-shot the Raiders, 15-4, and finished the game with a 4-2 advantage on corners in a game that was largely played in the midfield.

“It felt really great,” Valliere said. “(Scoring on Hanover) was a goal of ours, working on ball movement, especially getting around their goalie, not just hammering it into her pads. And mental preparedness. … I’ve never been this happy about losing a game.

“I think, in the whole game, Hanover dominated more than we did. They had more opportunities,” she added. “We definitely had our chances.”

The Marauders struck first with 18:17 remaining in the first stanza, when Diana Schwarz received a pass on a corner and lifting it high over a crowd in front for her eighth goal of the season. Eloise Davis added a goal of her own 3:20 later, when she banged home a rebound from Schwarz for her third of the year.

Hanover entered the game having outscored its opponents, 32-0. The game seemed to be yet another example of the Marauders flexing their offensive muscles.

But Finnell provided an answer, when she found a loose ball in the crease behind Hanover keeper Edmonds after a shot from Gonyea found its way through. The Marauders led, 2-1, at halftime.

Edmonds said the goal against provided a sigh of relief.

“It was good to get that out of the way,” the Hanover goalkeeper said. “I think we handled it really well, too.”

Hanover stepped on the gas in the second half, pummeling Lebanon keeper Brown with 13 shots. But the Raiders stood tall, bending but not breaking to Hanover’s pressure.

“We knew they were going to come out really, really hard,” Lebanon senior defenseman Emerson Sleeper said. “We knew we were kind of the underdogs and it wasn’t expected to be 2-1 at halftime. We knew they were going to give everything they had. We were just trying to stay calm.”

Added Lebanon senior Katie Berthasavage: “Hope, our goalie, does an amazing job of communicating. She’s one of the best goalies I’ve ever played with. She’s really good at telling people where to go.”

At least now, Edmonds said, the Marauders can focus on playoffs and not trying to keep a streak alive.

“I think it’s a lot less (of a distraction) because we’re no longer thinking, ‘Oh my goodness, the first goal,’ ” she said. “And hey, we gave it up to Leb. That’s alright. They’re our neighbors.”

Notes: Both coaches mentioned the game’s atmosphere, which felt like a playoff game with opposing student sections chanting and screaming throughout the game. “We really wanted to have a good Hanover-Lebanon game since we only play them once now,” Essex said. “We invited the middle schoolers to come, we had the Haven (canned-food) drive, we wanted to bring the atmosphere. It was exactly what both coaches had been hoping for.” … Hanover hosts Hartford on Thursday. Lebanon travels to Newfound on Friday.

Josh Weinreb can be reached at jweinreb@vnews.com or 603-727-3306.

Correction

Lebanon High junior Sydney Brochu provided the assist on Maddy Finnell's goal in the first half of Monday's 2-1 loss to Hanover High. An earlier version of this story incorrectly credited the assist to another player.