The Littleton High School girls soccer team overcame a two-goal deficit and captured the program’s second NHIAA Division IV championship with a 3-2 penalty-kick victory at Sunapee on Sunday.
In the seventh round of penalty kicks, freshman back Kaitlyn Ilacqua netted the game-winning goal for the Crusaders, who last captured the Division IV title in 2012.
Brynn Smith, a freshman forward, Elizabeth Tschudin, a sophomore midfielder, and senior forward Abby Pollari scored for Sunapee during the penalty-kick round.
Smith also scored twice over the opening 40 minutes to give the Lakers a 2-0 lead at halftime.
Littleton senior back Carrie Meunier’s header goal with 17 minutes left in regulation knotted the score at 2-2. Classmate Olivia Corrigan scored in the 50th minute to put Littleton on the board.
Sunapee coach Myles Cooney said he felt his team was in a pretty good position entering halftime, but struggled to handle the Crusaders’ second-half changes that allowed them to press forward.
Sunapee also missed junior stopper back Vanessa Pollari, who suffered an injury in the Lakers’ 4-2 semifinal win over Portsmouth Christian Academy of Dover. Because of Pollari’s absence, Cooney had to play Abby Pollari, Sunapee’s all-time leading scorer with 100-plus goals, at defensive center midfielder.
“Abby is a big piece of what we’re doing going forward,” Cooney said. “To pull her back made it difficult to go forward. It became a midfield battle.”
Lakers senior goalkeeper Miah Hamm made 10 saves.
“We got to play a championship game on our home field,” Cooney said. “It was a great game that went to PKs. The entire community had a blast. The Littleton fans and kids had a blast. It’s what we were all hoping for when the season started.”