NHIAA Soccer: Memorial boys come up short against Hanover
By JOE DUBALL New Hampshire Union Leader
MANCHESTER — The Manchester Memorial boys’ soccer team needs every win it can get at this point in the season to secure a playoff berth. The Crusaders did not help their cause on Friday.
Memorial’s two-game winning streak was washed away by Hanover, which earned a seventh consecutive win, 1-0, at Chabot-McDonough Field. Matty Gardiner had the difference for the Marauders (9-4) in the 35th minute and the Crusaders (4-7-1) couldn’t drum up the pressure they needed to mount a comeback.
“We had a couple of chances and then a couple of half-chances,” Memorial coach Chris Florek said. “You have to find a way to put away the chances you get against a good team like them. There’s not going to be five or six of those. We have to finish and we didn’t tonight.”
Florek thought his club might have a size advantage against Hanover, which appears smaller and less physical than past years. The Marauders had other plans and showed as much on Gardiner’s goal through a scrum on a Liam Collins corner kick.
“We knew exactly what we were getting into today,” Hanover coach Rob Grabill said. “It was going to be a tight game. I told them if they were physical with us then that only meant we’ll get restarts, so don’t worry about it. Our guys ended up staying very composed.”
Hanover also matched Memorial with its defense as there was very little sustained pressure from the Crusaders throughout the contest. Memorial made a final push over the last five minutes, including a clean look for Jordan Trombly that curled away and beyond the far post.
“Sometimes we try to pass a little too much and we’re trying to get the kids to understand that it’s OK to be a little selfish inside 22 yards,” said Florek, whose club was stymied by Marauders goalie Joey Perras (three saves) while Hanover’s fullbacks cut angles from start to finish. “Jordan probably should’ve been selfish there and hit it towards the goal for a shot. We practice whipping the ball across the middle and that’s what he decided to do.”
As far as the playoff standing goes, Memorial is barely hanging on for one of the final Division I playoff spots while Hanover further cemented its presence in the 13-team field.