Windham drops Hollis Brookline in Div. II, takes first title
EXETER - The Division II boys' soccer championship was settled by a shootout Sunday night on Eustis Field at Bill Ball Stadium.
Windham keeper Andrew Pesci's saved penalty kick gave James Biguay a dream-come-true opportunity. The junior made the goal, giving second-seeded Windham a 3-2 victory over top-ranked Hollis/Brookline (14-2-3).
"I have dreamed about making the game-winning championship goal," said Biguay shortly after scoring his fifth goal of the season and earning Windham (16-3) its first-ever soccer title at the conclusion of its third varsity season.
A shootout was required to determine a champion after the top two seeded teams played even-steven soccer for 120 minutes. The Jaguars outshot the Cavaliers 4-2 in the round with Alex Whitehead, Chris Ulbrich and Joe Forti scoring ahead of Biguay. Pesci saved a Cavalier attempt and forced another to kick wide.
Nate Rogers and Connor Walsh scored shootout shots for the Cavaliers.
"I wouldn't have figured this in my wildest dreams," said Pesci, who has stood before the Windham net since his freshman season when the program commenced at the JV level. In addition to his shootout heroics, the Southern New Hampshire University-bound keeper made seven strong saves.
The Cavaliers controlled play in the overtime sessions, creating eight shots to Windham's three.
Hollis/Brookline had its fan base on the edge of the aluminum bleacher seats in the second overtime as tackles from Matt Carbonello, Mike Sheahan and a leaping Pesci save stopped goal chances. The Whitehead's shot was saved by Linds Cadwell in the final seconds of play.
"I was relieved to head into the shootout since we had (Pesci) in goal," said Winhdam coach Mike Hachey. "He and the other (eight) seniors were part of our four-year plan. This team is full of guys that believe in each other."
The championship game required a drastic measure to settle the matter because each team retaliated quickly after conceding a goal.
"You couldn't find a more evenly played match," said Hollis/Brookline coach Rick Carvalho, who was the leading scorer on the school's 2004 state championship squad in the program's last title game appearance. He brought the team to the 2011 semifinals in his return as coach. The club entered the title game with a 28-4-5 record under his tutelage.
Windham pulled ahead with 13 minutes left in the second half. Taking a pass from Whitehead without breaking stride in a sprint down the middle of the pitch 25 yards from the goal, Chris Ulbrich looked right and angled a pass toward Joe Forti heading to the net. Forti needed a touch to evade his mark and score.
The Cavaliers knotted the score on an Andrew Cappetta penalty kick at 77:32.
The first half involved similar one-upmanship scores.
An Whitehead pass split two defenders and sprung David Carbonello for a short-range shot, but defender Sam VanNoy made an amazing play, diverting the ball out of bounds and setting up the corner kick where Carbonello got his goal. The sophomore headed home Forti's serve in the 13th minute.
The Cavaliers needed four minutes and three shot attempts to knot the score. Moments after Cole Owens lined a shot wide, he crossed a pass atop the box to Cappetta who one-timed a pass to Jake Laurent who lined a shot just inside the far post.
A goal from the senior forward meant good tidings for Hollis/Brookline. It was his 16th score of the season and 13th in the last 10 games; all Cavalier victories. It was the first goal conceded by the Jaguars in the postseason.