NHIAA D-III Girls' Soccer: Bow, Hopkinton to meet in championship
Courtney Benson was trying to send her corner kick to the edge of the six-yard box so one of her teammates could hopefully get to it and make something happen.
What actually happened was even better, as Benson curled a kick into the net to give the seventh-seeded Hopkinton High School girls' soccer team a 1-0 win over No. 3 Campbell in the Division III semifinals at Bill Ball Stadium on Wednesday.
'I actually thought it was going out and thought I wasted a corner kick,' Benson said. 'I looked back over and I saw it hit the top of the net. I had to let out a big scream.'
The shot curled to the near post and Campbell goalkeeper Heather Baron (5 saves) got a piece of it, but couldn't stop it.
The win puts the Hawks (13-6) in the championship game against defending champion and top-seeded Bow (18-0-1) on Saturday at 10 a.m. at Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester. The Cougars finish their season with a mark of 13-5.
Benson almost scored on a corner kick just seconds before, but Baron managed to punch that one away from the net. It was the first goal of the year off a corner kick for Benson.
'I just let her take rein (on corner kicks),' Hopkinton coach Lauri Izzi said. 'If she's thinking of it, I let her go.'
The win is the second over a top-three team in less than a week for the Hawks, who beat second-seeded Belmont in a shootout on Saturday.
'We're really stepping up,' Benson said. 'We're peaking at the right time.'
It was a battle of completely different styles. The Cougars were more of a possession team and put together some nice one and two touch plays.
They set up their best opportunity midway through the second half when a shot by Olivia Crema hit the top of the crossbar.
The Hawks, meanwhile, sent long balls over the defense and letting their speedy forwards run on to them.
The best chance for the Hawks to score in the first half came on a header by Kelly Scammon at the 18-minute mark, but Baron was right there for the stop.
The Cougars got their best chance of the first half with 11:46 left before the break. Casey Mellen set up Sydney Crema with a nice pass to the top of the box. Crema got a shot on net and Hopkinton goalie Kasey Smith (4 saves) made the stop.
'We had plenty of corner kick opportunities and didn't capitalize,' Campbell coach Robert Gannon said.
Bow 2, Hopkinton 0
It's no secret the Bow defense is good, and its offense didn't look too shabby on Wednesday, either.
The top-seeded Falcons scored a goal in each half and collected their 17th shutout of the season with a 2-0 win over No. 4 Raymond in their Div. III semifinal.
'If you go by statistics, I would say yes,' Bow coach Jay Vogt said when asked if this is the best defense he has had as a coach. 'They all work well together.'
Bow has given up just two goals all season. That's much fewer than the goal they set of eight for themselves at the beginning of the year.
'As we went through the season, we didn't have any goals scored on us,' Bow fullback Jane Leven said. 'It's an accomplishment we're proud of.'
The Rams wrapped up their season with a mark of 13-6.
The Falcons got on the board first on a goal by Madeleine Cheney. Brienna Achorn started the play on the left side of the field and made a pass to Cheney in the middle of the penalty box.
Cheney tucked a shot around Raymond keeper Mikayela Anguiano (9 saves) and into the net to make it 1-0 with 3:44 left in the first half.
Bow doubled its lead on a goal by Lindsey Reynolds early in the second half.
Sarah Carlson sent a long crossing pass from the left wing to the right side of the penalty box. Reynolds gathered it their, took one touch into the box and shot to the far post for the goal to make it 2-0 with 28:36 left to play.
Raymond's best chance to score came with 22:22 left when a free kick by Sabrina Sweeney was stopped by Falcon goalie Janna Corsetti (5 saves).
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Mark Quirk may be reached at email@example.com.