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Hanover, Lebanon boys back in the swing of things

  • Evan Nichols, of Hanover, heads the ball away from Lebanon keeper Ryan Tanski and into the net off a corner kick from Dylan Kotlowitz for the game-winning goal in Hanover, N.H., Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020. Hanover won 2-1. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Spectators take in the game between Hanover boys soccer and Lebanon from the bank above the field at Hanover High School in Hanover, N.H., Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020. Hanover won 2-1.(Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Emmanuel Bello, of Lebanon, right, maneuvers around Evan Nichols, of Hanover, left, on an offensive push in the second half of their game in Hanover, N.H., Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020. Bello scored the Raiders’ only goal of the game but they came up short after Nichols headed a ball into the net off a corner kick making the final score 2-1. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • With post-game handshakes forbidden, Hanover’s Nathan Subrahmanian waves to Lebanon opponents following the Marauders’ 2-1 win in Hanover, N.H., Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020. (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: 9/19/2020 8:40:23 PM
Modified: 9/20/2020 7:51:14 AM

HANOVER — Positioned on the left goalpost at Merriman-Branch Field, Evan Nichols had a simple duty: jump.

Nichols, a junior on the Hanover High boys soccer team, is known for his ski jumping prowess. So it wasn’t surprising when he leaped above a pack of Lebanon defenders and positioned his head on Dylan Kotlowitz’s corner kick to give the Maurders a 2-1 lead late in Saturday’s season opener.

The Marauders, who trailed with just 16 minutes to play, rallied to score two goals in the final 11 minutes and held on to beat Lebanon. It was the first time since 2011 that the Raiders and Marauders met on the soccer pitch in regular-season action, a byproduct of regional scheduling forced by coronavirus.

“We’ve been working on getting (Nichols) isolated on corner kicks,” said Hanover coach Rob Grabill, who is now in his 15th season. “He’s a great header of the ball; he always has been.”

Added Lebanon coach Rob Johnstone: “I just told my guys that was for no lack of marking or effort. That was great service and a great header.”

With over 11 minutes to play Kotolowitz, one of just two returning starters, served a corner kick from the left for Hanover. Eric Ringer received the ball and put his foot on it — but it was a deflection off a Lebanon defender that sent the ball into the Raiders net to tie the game at 1-1.

“I think what happened was the guy struck the ball and it took a deflection and went in,” said Johnstone, whose team lost in the NHIAA Division II state finals last season.

It took nearly 65 minutes for either team to find the back of the net, but the Raiders found it first.

Emmanuel Bello, a senior transfer from East London, England, received a through ball from Tyler St. Martin and was met roughly 15 yards away from the goal by Hanover goalkeeper Ty Nolon. Bello showed some speed and avoided the sophomore by making a move to the right and finishing the play with a quick touch.

The goal gave the Raiders a 1-0 lead with 16 minutes, 30 seconds to play, forcing a Marauders roster that graduated 17 seniors and six of their top scorers from last year’s Division I state championship roster to find offensive production quickly. 

“We stayed calm, kept the ball on the floor,” Grabill said. “We generated a lot of shots in the last 15 minutes. I was very pleased they didn’t panic. That’s a good benchmark for early in the season, not losing your composure.”

Hanover found itself with 10 corner kick opportunities on Saturday, and both its goals came off corners. 

Meanwhile, the Raiders didn’t get one opportunity to set up a play from the corner, something that Johnstone said played a role in the offense. Lebanon took just five shots on net. 

“Resets are such an important part of the game,” he said. “You’re playing with fire against a quality team. Do you want to give up 10 corners and not have one? That’s Murphy’s Law, I guess.” 

Notes: Hanover returns to play on Tuesday at Fall Mountain. Lebanon visits Stevens on Monday. … Nolon made his debut in net for Hanover and made two saves. Raiders goalkeeper Ryan Tanski finished the day with seven stops. … Lebanon’s Griffin Auch exited the game with 14:50 to play with a right leg injury. … Lebanon and Hanover usually face off in preseason action but didn’t this summer because of COVID-19. Each team only had a total of nine practices, including tryouts, before Saturday’s game. … The Marauders have three freshmen on their squad: Carter Guerin, Will Guerin and Ryder Hayes. They also have two sets of twins. … Former Lebanon standouts Owen Johnstone and Logan Falzarano joined ex-Hanover star Charlie Adams to watch the second half of play at midfield. All three are assisting their former teams this season.

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




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