Penalty kicks end playoffs for Marauders

  • Hanover's Caroline Adams and Elsa Bolinger console one another after their loss to Windham on Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020 in Hanover, N.H. ( Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to Valley News — Jennifer Hauck

  • Hanover's Charlotte Johnson struggles in front of Windham's goal on Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020 in Hanover, N.H. Windham goalkeeper Jess Thibodeau makes the save with teammates Abby Husson and Abby Irwin near the goal. ( Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to Jennifer Hauck

  • Hanover coach Doug Kennedy cheers his players on before the start of their game on Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020 Hanover's Sage Mcginleysmith and Emilia Torresani take the field. ( Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to Jennifer Hauck

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 11/5/2020 11:21:30 PM
Modified: 11/5/2020 11:21:17 PM

HANOVER — The members of Hanover High girls soccer team collectively held their breath, some turning their backs not wanting to watch what happened.

Moments later, they heard the cheers from Windham fans: The Jaguars had won in the 14th round of penalty kicks on Thursday night at Merriman-Branch Field.

Abby Irwin kicked a shot to the right side of the net, delivering the Jaguars a 13-12 shootout advantage over the Marauders after 100 minutes of play couldn’t decide a victor.

The win sends Windham to the NHIAA Division I championship game against Exeter at Bill Ball Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Meanwhile, the loss ends Hanover’s first season of D-I competition and its bid for three consecutive state championships.

“You’ve just got to breathe (during penalty kicks),” said Hanover leading scorer Charlotte Johnson, who calmly converted twice during the shootout. “If someone misses, you just have to believe in your goalie. Just believe in each other. Hug each other, be there for each other and just keep going.

“It’s our first year in D-I; we made it to semifinals and PKs. We never expected to even have a season this year with corona. Obviously, we wanted to go to the finals.”

For Hanover coach Doug Kennedy, penalty kicks are common during the postseason. His team won last year’s D-II title in PKs, and they work on shootouts during practice.

On Thursday, he had his list of players ready to go if needed. Coaches submit a list to officials just before the start of the shootout. But after the game, the 13th-year coach admitted that was the longest he’s ever gone in a shootout.

It was the first shootout for netminder Rebekah Rudd, who made the switch to goalie from this season to fill the position for Hanover (10-1-1). She made four saves during play and one during PKs.

Sage McGinley-Smith and Johnson each converted two shots in the shootout. And Casey McGuire, Elsa Bolinger, Caroline Adams, Danielle Rudd, Noor van Aalst, Skouly Kachikas and Mia Madden each were successful on one attempt.

The Marauders had their share of opportunities to win the game in regulation and extra time, too. Over the final 10 minutes of the first half, Johnson took a shot the hit the top post that was then almost knocked in by a Windham defender.

Johnson set up a great opportunity for Madden with six minutes remaining before the break on a cross, but her shot went wide right. Van Aalst also had a shot tipped by the Jags’ goalie minutes later.

“It was certainly a good game,” Marauders coach Doug Kennedy said. “Both teams were clearly good, but there were such shifts in momentum. They had it early, then we started to gather hold. The whole game was so hard-fought. Very good players doing their best, but yet unable to score. The show goes on.”

Windham (5-4-2) found its footing in the second half, forcing Rudd to come out of net a handful of times to stop possession. Adams was a constant focus for the Jags’ defense in the second half, getting some good runs and sending two shots wide.

In the two 10-minute overtimes, the Jags controlled possession and didn’t allow Hanover to take a shot.

“We got a little tired, for sure,” Kennedy said. “And once you start playing on your heels, it’s hard to regather yourself. We still had opportunities, and overtime, who knows?”

Kennedy will lose a group of seven seniors that helped elevate his program to Division I: Johnson, Kira Smith, McGinley-Smith, Rudd, McGuire, Sonja Lippman and Katie Stannard.

The seven also made four consecutive semifinal appearances and won two state titles.

“They’re some incredibly talented girls. Some real leaders who have been leaders since they were freshman,” Kennedy said.

Notes: Johnson finishes the season with 12 goals and will play soccer at Colby College next season. ... The Marauders have played in the semifinals every season since 2013. They have also made the championship game five times since 2011, where they have gone 4-1. ... Hanover won three tournament games just to reach the semifinals, more than a team would have to log during a typical postseason.

Pete Nakos can be reached at

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