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NHIAA D-I Boys' Soccer semifinal: Hanover surges into final

MANCHESTER - Medically speaking, Jonas Taenzer was on fire during Thursday night's exciting Division I boys' semifinal soccer game.

Nursing a 103-degree temperature, the redheaded midfielder headed the home the game winner in the 78th minute of play, giving third-seeded Hanover a 1-0 victory over second-seeded Londonderry in a thrilling match filled with daring defenses successfully stuffing scoring bids from some powerful offenses.

"He missed school (Wednesday) and had a temperature, but was cleared to play," said Hanover coach Rob Grabill. "We kept shuttling him in and out of the game to keep him fresh for the end, which ended up being a pretty good idea."

Taenzer came back on the pitch in the 73rd minute and scored at 77:14. It was the sophomore's ninth goal of the season. He sprinted to the far post where defensive back Evan Greenwald placed an indirect kick serve.

Asked how he was feeling, Taenzer replied, "I'm delirious. This was quite a challenging game. I knew Evan whips the ball to the far post and that's where I went."

Hanover, playing its rookie season in the large school division, will meet Manchester Central, which beat previously unbeaten Bedford in Thursday night's late semifinal at Larkin Field.

Hard to believe this semifinal featured the two highest-scoring teams in the division. Defenses held strong. Londonderry (16-3) entered play netting 62 goals, while the Marauders (17-2) tallied 70 goals. In the semifinal, the two teams combined for just 11 shots on goal.

Other than a Lancers free kick that soared high, the first legitimate shot on goal occurred in the 28th minute when Taenzer had a look from the top of the box, but shot high. One minute later, the Lancers' Kenny Desmarais pounded a shot off the crossbar.

"We had some chances early that we didn't finish," said Londonderry coach Jeff Colbert. "Who knows, we hit one early and the momentum changes. This was an 80-minute battle with a lot of talented players on the field. One goal was going to do it. We didn't get it."

The Marauders' passing combinations created chances for Xavier Tchana and Ian Strohbehn. Bobby Krause saved both.

Hanover keeper Duncan Piper came out to take some breakaway bids off the foot of Londonderry's leading scorer, Rob Hart.

Scoreless at intermission, both teams headed to the bench wondering how they could engineer a score.

Scoring bids intensified, but failed. Krause forced Tchana's breakaway to go wide left.

Hanover defenders Jack Lightbody and Greenwald made last-second deflections on attempts of Dylan Holland and Alex Hall. Piper dove to deflect a Nate Gaw strike.

Offensive defense finally struck gold on an indirect kick just shy of the corner kick mark on Greenwald's well-placed serve.

"I wasn't looking for a specific player," said the junior back. "The goal was to put a ball deserving some attention of my teammates on the far post."

Central 1, Bedford 0

Defending champion Manchester Central earned a return trip to the Division I boys' soccer championship with a 1-0 win over top-seeded and previously undefeated Bedford Thursday night at Larkin Field on the Southern New Hampshire University campus.

Samuel Binogono headed home the game winner on a corner-kick serve from Alex Carignan in the 73rd minute of a dramatic game.

The junior forward's head met the ball at the far post.

The goal was similar to the lone goal in Hanover's 1-0 win over Londonderry in the earlier semifinal.

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Eric Emmerling may be reached at eemmerling@unionleader.com.

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