NHIAA D-II Girls' Soccer: Milford, Souhegan to meet for crown
Emma Fleuette, left, smiles after a goal as Caroline Shagrin, back to camera, is hugged by Morgan Ireland, after a Souhegan goal. (Thomas Roy/Union Leader)
NASHUA - Milford earned a bid to the Division II championship game in dramatic style: scoring a corner-kick goal in the 79th minute of play to earn a thrilling 1-0 win over top-seeded Oyster River of Durham Tuesday night in a semifinal doubleheader held at Nashua's Stellos Stadium.
The fourth-seeded Spartans (15-3-1) outshot the Bobcats (17-2) but didn't finish until sophomore Morgan Stephens netted a weak-side goal in the closing seconds of play.
Milford will meet second-seeded and defending champion Souhegan of Amherst (16-2-1) in Saturday's 4 p.m. championship game at Larkin Field on the Southern New Hampshire University campus. The Sabers displayed an intense 80-minute effort in a 4-0 win over third-seeded Goffstown (15-3-1).
Milford 1, Oyster River O: The Spartans offense tried and tried again, before finally netting the game-winning goal.
"We had time for one more chance. We had one play left and I wanted to give it my best effort and put the ball where my teammates would have a chance to make the play," said Milford senior captain Morgan Andrews, who also recently served as captain on the national U17 team in World Cup play.
Andrews served a corner kick chance across the end line. The ball bounced off a few bodies and legs before Stephens right-footed a seven-yard crossing shot. It bounced twice and hit the back of the net.
Milford avoided a potential devastating start to the game when keeper Casey Phelps dove right to save Bobcat forward Megan Comeau's penalty kick in the ninth minute of play.
Milford couldn't translate the momentum into a first-half goal. Andrews, shadowed by defender Allie Harris, bounced one shot off the crossbar and grazed another by the right post.
It would be no easy feat scoring against Oyster River. The Bobcats allowed just six goals all season, winning 14 by shutout. The Bobcats defense stood tall in the 75th minute. Keeper Claire Salmon stopped Rylee Bailey's blast from short range and then deflected Kendra Boncczar's shot while on the ground. A minute later, Grace Tauriello cleared Stephens shot away from an open net.
Souhegan 3, Goffstown 0: The defending champs rebounded their way to the title game, scoring twice on second chance offerings.
Goffstown keeper Leandra Nault leaped to the crossbar and got a hand on Peyton Kent's 20-yard shot from the left wing, but the ball fell in front of Caroline Shagrin's foot in front of an open net, giving Souhegan a 1-0 lead in the sixth minute of the game.
"Coaches always say to crash the net. I finally did and it paid off," said Shagrin, who scored twice while playing in her fourth straight semifinal.
Shagrin opened the second half with a breakaway down the left side, but was tackled by Brooke Simmons. Two minutes later Shagrin broke free when a Grizzlies' defender slipped, and caromed a 20-yard blast off the bar and into the net, giving the defending champs a two-goal lead.
Souhegan added two more goals. Morgan Ireland collected a rebound off the crossbar for a one-touch goal before Peyton Kent netted her 21st goal of the season, slipping a shot under diving Goffstown keeper Leandra Nault.
Goffstown kept battling. Michele Tremblay had a 10-foot shot blocked by Taylor Behn, who marked the Grizzlies' leading scorer the entire game. Sara Christensen veered another Tremblay offering wide.