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Lessons for both teams in Hanover girls soccer’s 6-0 rout of Hartford

  • Charlotte Johnson, of Hanover, left, turns to relay a short corner to a teammate during the Marauders’ 6-0 win over Hartford in Hanover, N.H., Thursday, Oct. 8, 2020. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Hartford goalie Erin Thompson, left, intercepts a the ball as Charlotte Johnson, of Hanover, breaks toward goal in Hanover, N.H., Thursday, Oct. 8, 2020. Hanover won 6-0. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Sage McGinley-Smith, of Hanover, fights Sophie Howe, of Hartford, for posession during their game in Hanover, N.H., Thursday, Oct. 8, 2020. Hanover won 6-0. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 10/8/2020 9:47:02 PM
Modified: 10/9/2020 10:59:31 AM

HANOVER — Two teams at quite different portions of their seasons met on Thursday afternoon at Merriman-Branch Field.

The Hanover High girls soccer team is a top squad in New Hampshire and is off to an undefeated start. Meanwhile, Hartford High, from neighboring Vermont, was playing just its third game of the season.

What resulted was a 6-0 victory for the Marauders, led by Caroline Adams’ hat trick. But for long stretches of play throughout the wind-filled afternoon, the two teams played an even game. Ultimately, Hanover was propelled by its aggressiveness and experience, as it scored four of its six goals in two three-minute spans.

“That’s by far the best team we’ll play this season,” Hurricanes coach Jeff Acker said. “It’s only our third game of the year for us; normally we’d be getting ready for playoffs right now. We’re still figuring things out.”

Said Hanover coach Doug Kennedy: “We don’t have a good sense of where we are in Division I. I don’t know. We wouldn’t be playing Hartford if things were normal.”

Adams, a junior midfielder, opened the scoring in the fifth minute of play on a hard ground shot.

She then assisted on Charlotte Johnson’s 10th goal of the season in the 17th minute. Johnson received the ball on the right side of the goal, settled and hit a hard shot past outstretched Hartford goalie Erin Thompson to stretch the Marauders’ lead to 2-0.

They expanded on their lead in the 38th minute. A strong shot on goal was deflected by Thompson and bobbled around in the box, but Hanover’s Sonja Lippman got her foot on the rebound.

Less than a minute later in the final minute of the half, Adams added her second goal of the match, running up the center of the field and finishing on a Kira Smith pass.

Hanover led 4-0 at the break.

“To some extent in that first half, I thought we were kicking ourselves in the foot,” said Kennedy, whose team has now outscored opponents, 34-2. “I think we finally got it together for a couple of minutes and wore them down.

“I told Caroline today she’s really coming on. She’s really interested (in the game), and she’s really gotten herself fit so she doesn’t have to worry about being tired on the field. She can go after every ball hard, which she does.”

Freshman Maeve Lee netted her fifth goal of the season 12 minutes into the second period on a deflection from Adams’ shot. The Marauders put the game out of reach when Adams completed her hat trick with 26:17 to play, a shot to the top right of the Canes’ net.

Thompson was solid in net for VPA Division II Hartford (1-2). Despite allowing the six goals, she collected 17 saves and didn’t allow the hosts to convert on any of their eight corner kick opportunities.

“It’s tough to say you allow six goals and play great, but she did,” said Acker, now in his 15th season at Hartford. “It’s a mental challenge (when teams score goals quickly). As a team, you’ve got to learn that trust in each other. We don’t necessarily have all of that yet.”

The Hanover defense created an easy day for goalie Rebekah Rudd, thanks to strong play from center back Elsa Bolinger. The Marauders (6-0) didn’t allow a shot and only had to defend one corner kick, coming with 13 minutes remaining.

There’s always more opportunity to improve, however, for a team that will finish off the regular season with back-to-back matches against NHIAA Division I foe Keene.

“I can always ask for more,” chuckled Kennedy.

NOTES: Both teams wore masks due to the requirement that all Vermont teams wear one in competition. New Hampshire refs officiated the game since it was played in Hanover. … Hanover finished the day with 32 shots and controlled possession. The Marauders are slated to play next on Tuesday when they host Lebanon. That game is still on for now but could change due to a COVID-19 case at Lebanon High. … The Canes return to the field on Saturday when they visit Woodstock. … Acker had a few conversations with the ball girl and even made sure she wasn’t run over by any players running the sidelines.

Pete Nakos can be reached at pnakos@vnews.com.




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