NHIAA Girls' Soccer: Astros hold Bedford to tieBy JOE DUBALL
New Hampshire Union Leader
September 13. 2017 12:14AM
BEDFORD — This year’s girls’ soccer teams from Pinkerton Academy of Derry and Bedford High School carry little resemblance to the two teams that played in the 2016 Division I championship game. That didn’t stop the teams from jockeying for a win on Tuesday just as they did in the title game.
Nothing was decided in the rematch, though, as the Bulldogs and Astros played to a 0-0 tie in double overtime at Bulldog Stadium. Pinkerton goalie Reagan Kolinski collected fives saves and Bedford’s Lauren Johnson posted three stops while the back lines in front of each keeper held their ground.
“We never have it in the bag against Pinkerton, to be honest with you,” Bedford coach Michelle Winning said. The Bulldogs lost to the Astros in last year’s title game and have now had their bid for a perfect season nixed. “Both teams fight hard with very different styles. I was pleased with the way we played and they just came at us tough and did what they needed to in order to hold us back.”
While blows were traded throughout the night, Bedford (4-0-1) strung together the best looks. Shayna Salis nearly finished things for the Bulldogs with four minutes remaining in the first overtime. Salis snuck to open space on the left side of the 18-yard box and gathered a quick pass for a shot that would have gone in had Kolinski not made a sprawling full-extension save. Olivia Toolin rang the crossbar for Bedford a minute later, a shot on which Kolinski appeared to also get fingertips on.
“The girls aren’t frustrated and they really have no reason to be,” Winning said. “If Reagan is going to come up with saves like that and that’s all that holds us back from winning a game, then there’s nothing you can do about that.
“She made big saves here that no other keeper in the state is going to make. None of it surprised me.”
Bedford was close to cashing in during regulation, too, starting with the first true opportunity of the game in the final minute of the first half. Brianna CoCo sent a booming free kick from atop the right side of the box that looked destined to slip under the crossbar and in before Kolinski stepped in. Kolinski, a sophomore, timed the shot enough to leap and poke the ball up and away from the goal.
Two more golden opportunities came for the Bulldogs prior to the 60th minute. The first chance came on Salis’ centered free kick on the 18-yard box, which she rifled over the crossbar. Elizabeth Flynn had the other Bedford chance two minutes later when she drew a pass into wide-open space 10 yards in front of the goal and punched a shot just over the upper 90.
Pinkerton (2-1-1) took the last five minutes of the regulation to string together its best pressure. However, the Astros failed to make anything of their push beyond a pair of corners. Julia Preston and Nicole Alves offered pressure for the Astros over all 100 minutes, but Pinkerton otherwise had its hands full slowing Bedford.
“We would’ve liked to play more possession, but today we had to think and play it safer,” Pinkerton coach Danielle Rappa said. “That’s not how it’s going to always be, though. We are going to look to possess and not be kicking the whole time.”
Pinkerton settled for turning the field over off clearances and Bedford turnovers. The task of breaking through Bedford’s back line of the CoCo sisters, Brianna and Olivia, and freshman Rachel Sledjeski grew more daunting as the night went on.
“That’s a solid and tough back line to work against,” Rappa said. “It’s a fast group and they do a great job of shifting as a group. It’s hard to get behind them and they’re a physical group, too. It’s going to be tough to get behind them if we meet again (in the playoffs).”