Touchline IV Wins Seventh Summer Soccer Title in Nine Years

Valley News Correspondent
Sunday, August 05, 2018

Norwich — The Touchline IV boys soccer team continued its recent tradition of summertime dominance Sunday at Huntley Meadows by claiming its seventh New Hampshire Soccer Conference Championship in the last nine years with a 6-2 win over Claremont.

Charlie Adams led the hosts with a hat trick and was named the game’s most valuable player.

Adams, a rising junior who plays midfield for Hanover during the high school season, has recovered from a foot operation he underwent in February.

“I had a bone spur in the back of my right heel, which every time I would lock my foot to kick, it would pinch it in the back,” Adams said. “The surgery pretty much (was to) shave off that bone and now it’s totally perfect.”

Adams managed to lead the Marauders in goals despite constant heel pain throughout his sophomore season, during which he wore a brace. The injury only affected the kicking motion in soccer, however, which allowed Adams to play point guard for the Marauders’ basketball team until he broke his thumb late in the season.

“Then I was like, ‘I might as well get the surgery too’,” he said. “I got it all done at once. Broken thumb, cast on, so rough winter.”

Adams’ first goal on Sunday came about 10 minutes into the sweltering-hot contest on a penalty shot awarded after he was brought down in the box following a corner kick. Adams scored again six minutes later and for a third time late in the second half after breaking down multiple defenders then solving Claremont goalie, Cooper Moote.

Touchline IV — which beat Fall Mountain, 1-0, in the quarterfinals and White Mountains, 6-5, in the semis — got two goals and an assist from Liam Collins, a co-captain on Hanover’s high-school squad. Will Blinkhorn chipped in an assist for the hosts.

The NHSC champions were coached by Rob Grabill, the Marauders’ bench boss during the fall season.

“I thought it was an outstanding game,” said Grabill, who guided Hanover to a D-I state title in 2013. “I loved that Claremont kept playing. They were down 6-0, they kept playing hard, they earned the goals they got.”

Claremont — which defeated Hillsboro, 4-3, in the quarterfinals and Touchline V, 2-0, in the semis — was coached by Jason Stone, who also heads up the boys varsity team at Stevens.

With a long high school season looming on the horizon, Stone and Grabill both seem to take a relatively laid-back approach to summer ball.

“I don’t want to burn them out right now,” Stone said. “It’s good to get them out here, but I don’t want them to get super sick of me before fall starts.”

When tryouts start on August 13, the seventh-year Cardinals coach will make the necessary seasonal adjustments.

“Day One it will be much more serious and structured,” Stone said. “I can’t wait for that part. This if fun, but I just can’t wait to buckle down.”

The Cardinals will be moving up to Division II for the fall season, yet their boys soccer numbers are low, making the sustainability of two squads questionable.

“It’s going to be like super-borderline if we can pull off a JV team,” Stone said. “We’ve got to hopefully pull it off though, I’d hate to not have a JV team.”

Ian Fitzpatrick is likely to be one of Claremont’s two seniors this upcoming season.

“Things will work out this fall,” said Fitzpatrick, who played on the D-III Runner-up team as a sophomore. “We’ll make the playoffs.”

Fitzpatrick scored Claremont’s first goal late in Sunday’s game on an assist from Colin Lewis.

“We (were) consistently playing off (Moote’s) punts,” Fitzpatrick said. “Luckily, I got a breakaway.”

Josh Thurber capped the scoring for Claremont with a cross from the deep right wing that floated into the goal above Touchline keeper, Jackson Fisher. Jack Maynes started the game in goal for the hosts.