Early goal stands up as Lebanon falls, 1-0, in soccer Div. II final

  • Lebanon’s Benjamin Tichner pauses after the clock ran out on the Raiders’ NHIAA Division II championship effort against ConVal at Manchester Memorial High School in Manchester, N.H., Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019. ConVal won 1-0. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Tyler St. Martin, of Lebanon, gets the first touch on a long ball as Zachary Kriebel, of ConVal looks on during their NHIAA Division II championship at Manchester Memorial High School in Manchester, N.H., Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019. ConVal was leading 1-0 at the half. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Brooke Giaccone, left, and Makayla Finnell, right, cheer for the Raiders while holding portraits of Lebanon’s Simon Amaro, left, and Jorgen Leuthauser, right, during the NHIAA Division II championship at Manchester Memorial High School in Manchester, N.H., Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019. ConVal was leading 1-0 at the half. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Logan Falzarano, of Lebanon, right, challenges August Marshall, of ConVal, during the NHIAA Division II championship at Manchester Memorial High School in Manchester, N.H., Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019. ConVal was leading 1-0 at the half. (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 Correspondent
Published: 11/9/2019 10:32:06 PM

MANCHESTER — Profound silence permeated the Lebanon High sideline following Saturday’s 1-0 loss to ConVal in the NHIAA Division II boys soccer championship match.

The No. 2 Raiders were denied their first championship in 28 years despite outshooting the top-seeded Cougars, 19-6, at Manchester Memorial Stadium.

ConVal’s victory, its second straight championship, was something of a head-scratcher for Lebanon (16-3-0).

“We felt like we possessed it a lot of the game,” said starting Lebanon sweeper Cooper Bourne. “We felt like we played pretty well, but at the end of the day, they had one goal and we didn’t, so it is what it is.”

The Cougars’ game-winner game in just the fourth minute when Casey Jordan headed in a right-side corner kick by Max Shumway.

The serve and far-post finish were both of textbook quality.

“It was a nice goal,” Bourne said of the title game’s only offense. “You can’t argue with that.”

The Raiders defensive unit, which included starters Bourne, Tommy Berthasavage, Alex Felix, Sam Lappin and goalie Jorgen Leuthauser (two saves), recovered well from its momentary lapse.

“I mean, that first goal, I think, was just a shock,” Berthasavage said. “The whole second half we kept coming, and we had some really good chances. We just couldn’t find the back of the net.”

Lebanon ramped up its attack, earning six of its seven corner kicks in the second half. All three of ConVal’s corners came in the first.

The Raiders, who split with ConVal (16-1-2) during the regular season after losing to them in last year’s quarterfinal round, were understandably forlorn on Saturday.

“I guess that’s the thing — that’s why it’s so frustrating — because I really don’t think our guys could have done any more,” said Rob Johnstone, Lebanon’s 26th-year coach. “I thought we were organized, certainly worked extremely hard, generated chances in the run of play, generated chances on restarts. But on the other hand, there’s been many times over the years where Lebanon teams have had to batten down the hatches and try to get one on a restart. … ConVal did. I thought they created a good set piece.”

Johnstone, whose record in state finals fell to 0-5, knows soccer well enough to recognize that a team isn’t always rewarded for outplaying its opponent.

“I thought that was an incredible performance,” Johnstone said. “You play the No. 1 team, and they can’t get it out of their end of the field for the last 60 minutes of the game.”

The Cougars mustered a half-dozen shots, but only two were on goal. Nine of Lebanon’s 19 shots required Cougars goalie Mather Kipka to make a save.

The defending champs struck early and then held on for 76 minutes.

“(ConVal) had numbers back, they’re big and they’re athletic,” Johnstone said. “They scored on a set piece, and then they defended. What I love about (Lebanon) is, even though they were faced with these massive numbers of big bodies, we still created — I don’t know how many great chances — to score.”

Notes: Both teams had a goal negated by offsides violations. … Lebanon lost a road game to ConVal on Sept. 6 before embarking on a 12-game win streak. … Lebanon outscored their opponents 59-14 overall and 6-2 in the postseason. … Logan Falzarano led the team with 37 points, including 19 goals. …. Johnstone, who played at Manchester West High School and Middlebury College, has amassed a career coaching record of 296-137-38. … In addition to the Johns Hopkins-bound Falzarano, the Raiders lose Leuthauser, Bourne, Berthasavage, Lappin, Ben Tichner, Jacob Begin, Jon Cloud, Nate Magari, Sam Twarog and Brian Daly to graduation.




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