Marauders Get Their Kicks in State-Title Victory

  • Hanover teammates Bryn Kable, left, and Riley Craft celebrate for their NHIAA D-II championship win over Milford on Nov. 4, 2018 in Nashua, N.H. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Hanover's Casey McGuire and Milford's Ashley Matis make contact during their NHIAA D-II final on Nov. 4, 2018 in Nashua, N.H.(Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Hanover's goalie Isabella Bardales stops a shot during a shoot out to take the NHIAA D-II girls soccer final against Milford on Nov. 4, 2018 in Nashua, N.H. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Hanover's Eva Schiffman, left, Sonja Lippman, Arabella Meachman-Snyder, and Kira Smith react to a play during their NHIAA D-II final with Milford on Nov. 4, 2018 in Nashua, N.H. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 11/5/2018 12:08:27 AM

Nashua, n.h. — Sometimes, defense does win championships.

Hanover High’s girls soccer team spent 80 minutes of regulation and two overtime periods largely under siege by speedy No. 6 seed Milford during Sunday’s NHIAA Division II championship game at Stellos Stadium. The Spartans outshot Hanover by a wide margin, playing much of the game in the space directly in front of Marauders goaltender Bella Bardales.

Playing on its heels, however, seems to be Hanover’s forte. The Marauders defense bent but never broke, forcing 100 minutes of scoreless play before eventually winning, 3-2, on penalty kicks. It was Hanover’s ninth state title all-time, the seventh since 2000 and the third in five seasons.

“It feels pretty good,” Hanover head coach Doug Kennedy said. “I’ll run with it.”

Sophomore forward Casey McGuire, senior midfielder Bryn Kable and sophomore forward Charlotte Johnson all scored for Hanover in the game-deciding best-of-five tiebreaker.

Milford’s Emmy Sullivan and Ashley Matsis were the ones who found the back of the net for the Spartans; Sophie Grill hit the cross-bar, Syd Thibault hit the left post and Mikayla Thompson’s shot was stopped by a diving Bardales.

“We played exactly how we wanted to,” Milford head coach Russ Matthews said. “We put some shots on, we did everything but put the ball in the back of the net. … They kind of sat back, so it’s hard to weave your way through.”

The Marauders, who finished their season 13-3-4 overall, are no strangers to playing under pressure.

They were outchanced and overpowered in their semifinal match with top-seeded Bow last week, but walked away with a 1-0 victory to punch their ticket to the final. Hanover did not allow a goal in its last five games and won two tournament games on penalties after scoreless ties.

“We’re never trying for PKs,” Kennedy said. “I wish it was in the run of play. It wasn’t, so you have to play it. Early in the game, we started off well. We were tired, honestly. We got a little defensive and on our heels. But we held them off.

“There was hardly ever a break for the back line, or even the defending mids,” he added. “Credit to them. They’re high school girls and they played under extreme pressure. … Yet, somehow, they managed to keep it out of the goal.”

That pressure continued against Milford, which defeated No. 2 Pembroke in an upset, 2-0, in the semifinals. The Spartans outshot Hanover, 20-4, and finished the game with a 7-3 advantage in corner kicks.

Nothing got past Bardales.

“I think she’s been a little bit under the radar until this year,” Kennedy said. “She was good, very athletic last year. She added some elements to her game this year, and it has been, clearly, a major factor for us in a year where maybe you’re not scoring as many goals as you want. You need to have a goaltender.”

Hanover’s chances were few and far between, led by sophomore forward Johnson, who spent much of the game outnumbered at the top of the formation. She had two of Hanover’s four shots. Riley Craft also had a breakaway just before halftime, sending a shot off the crossbar.

‘Milford hit two posts in the loss. The Spartans haven’t won a title since 2012, having only appeared in two championship games since 1991.

“That’s the game, right?” Matthews said. “You play like that and you still come away with a loss, that’s the tortuous part of the game.”

Hanover knows the feeling. It lost to Bow, 5-4, on penalty kicks last year, heavily outshooting the Falcons despite a 1-1 score at the end of regulation and two overtimes. Bardales made six saves in that loss.

One year later, Bardales said her confidence is a little higher.

“This is my first championship; I didn’t really want to go to PKs,” Bardales said. “We went to PKs in quarters, and it’s just nerve-wracking. It worked out. I’m happy.

“We worked on PKs every practice leading up the playoffs. That helped a lot. … It helped me a lot. The fans, I just block it out. I can just focus on the shooter.”

Bardales, a sophomore, made nine saves in the victory. She also stopped the game-winning penalty kick in the tiebreaker, diving to her right to deny Milford’s Thompson.

“At first, I was a little scared,” Bardales said. “We’ve never played this team before (this season), so we didn’t really know what to think. But we kind of used that as an advantage in the beginning, to figure out what they do and they don’t do. Our defense was amazing.”

Hanover graduates four: forwards Elaine Taylor and Maeve Goodrich, defender Emma Tysinger and midfielder Bryn Kable.

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




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