NHIAA D-III Boys' Soccer: Bow, Belmont punch title-game tickets
EXETER - The philosophy is simple and worked perfectly on Thursday night.
George Pinkham tells his players to kick the ball as hard as they can on a penalty kick. That way, there is more of an opportunity to score.
And that's just what happened Thursday.
Daniel Crisman had his penalty kick stopped, but touched in the rebound with 4:02 left in the first overtime period to give the third-seeded Bow boys' soccer team a 2-1 win over No. 2 Hopkinton at Bill Ball Stadium.
"He made the save," said Crisman, who had both the Bow goals. "I guess I had to keep my head and kick it in."
The penalty kick was awarded because of a handball on a Hopkinton player inside the penalty box.
Crisman drilled the kick right at Hawk goalie Robby Ferguson (12 saves), who made the save. The rebound went right back to Crisman, who followed his shot and tucked the ball into the open net.
"We tell the kids just because the keeper saves it doesn't mean the ball is dead," Bow coach George Pinkham said. "Slam the heck out of it and make the keeper save it."
The defending champion Falcons (17-2) advanced to the championship game against top-seeded Belmont (19-0) on Sunday at Southern New Hampshire University at 2:15 p.m. Hopkinton finished its season with a record of 17-2.
The handball happened during a good scoring bid by the Falcons. A cross from the left side hit off the crossbar and landed in the six-yard box in front of the Hopkinton net. A scrum ensued, and the penalty was whistled.
Hopkinton scored first with a goal by Steven Auger at 6:41 of the second half.
Riley McNicholas started the play in the middle and kept the ball moving to Auger, who was making a run into the box on the right side. Auger one-timed a shot that beat Bow goalie Jordan Birtz (5 saves) to make it 1-0.
Bow tied it midway through the second half with Crisman's first goal.
Christopher Ketcham played a long ball over the top of the Hawk defense that Crisman ran to. He then put a shot inside the far post and tied it up 1-1 with 19:32 left in regulation.
Belmont 4, Fall Mtn. 0
Top-seeded Belmont was too much for No. 4 Fall Mountain (15-5) as the Red Raiders claimed a 4-0 win to punch their ticket to the championship game on Sunday.
Pedro Perez led the offense with two goals (one in each half), while Ashton Singh and Tom Kuntz each netted one as well.
The Red Raiders were clearly the better team, showing great possession and working combinations that led to scoring opportunities.
Singh got things started when he scored from inside the penalty box just more than five minutes into the game. Then about 10 minutes later Perez scored his first to make it 2-0 with 25:52 remaining in the first half.
The score remained that way until about midway through the second half when Kuntz struck.
A clear attempt went right to Kuntz at the top of the box and he wasted no time sending a shot on net that beat Fall Mountain goalie Collan Allard (5 saves) to make it 3-0 with 20:02 left.
Perez rounded out the scoring five minutes later when he headed a ball bouncing in the penalty box over Allard and into the net.
Belmont goalie Kaleb Brace was never really challenged and finished with three saves.
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Mark Quirk may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.