Boys Varsity Soccer
|Bow High School||0|
PEMBROKE – It was only the third game of the season, but it still felt big.
First, it was a pair of 2-0 teams from neighboring towns. For the Bow boys’ soccer team, it was a third straight game against a Division II semifinalist from last year. For Pembroke Academy, it was a chance to beat the team that had already taken down defending champion Goffstown and 2016 runner-up Lebanon.
The match lived up to expectations in terms of quality, and it was Pembroke that grabbed the chance to make an early-season statement with a 1-0 win.
“I like that it was a 2-0 team that we beat,” PA goalie Tyler Smith said. “I like that we broke up their momentum.”
There was also plenty to like from the Bow side, despite the final result.
“They did some good things and I thought we did, too,” Bow Coach George Pinkham said. “To come in here and play a one-goal game against a team like that, I’m happy with it. That’s the kind of game you see in the tournament.”
The Spartans needed just 10 minutes to find the game’s first goal. Damon Smith, Pembroke’s offensive catalyst and a First Team D-II pick last year along with Tyler Smith (no relation), was fouled 35 yards from goal and took the free kick himself. He delivered a perfect ball into the box and Justin Smith (Tyler’s twin) timed his run and header just right, leaving Bow goalie Joe Rychwalski (five saves) no chance.
“That’s pretty much the way we practice it,” Justin Smith said. “I was looking to go back post and cut in front of the goalie and Damon put it in the right place. That’s how we try to do it every time.”
“It was a great goal, a well-executed goal, but we have to defend that better,” Pinkham said.
The Falcons responded well to the goal, slowly gaining the edge in possession and territory. Bow defenders Ben Guertin, Brian Bushnell and Graham Weisberg made sure the Spartans didn’t increase their lead, while midfielders Chris Gallier, Chris Besho and Matt Ferland pushed the attack. Those efforts gave Bow a 4-1 edge in first-half corners and created several good chances, but they didn’t lead to a goal against the Smith twins and outside backs Jake Mavity and Andrew Nedeau.
After halftime, the Spartans tilted the match in their favor. Some of that was the wind (it was at Bow’s back in the first half), but most of it was PA.
“I thought we were a little crisper in the second half,” Pembroke Coach Pete Bisson said. “They were pushing forward a little bit, so that helped open it up for us, too. They were getting antsy for that goal.”
The Falcons may have been antsy, but it was the Spartans who were sniffing the net. Connor Manteau, Josh Dion and Matt Ferguson all had quality chances in the first 10 minutes, including a chip shot from Ferguson that hit off the corner of the crossbar and post.
Dion, who was a blur of offensive danger for most of the game, had to leave with a knock in the middle of the second half, but the Spartans didn’t skip a beat as Cameron Rivard came on to create his own brand of physical pressure. By the end, Pembroke outshot Bow 10-0 in the second half.
The Falcons will get another crack at the Spartans when they visit Bow on Oct. 6. That match is already marked on some calendars.
“It’s good to get that win against a team that we’ll see again,” Bisson said. “That’s a team you want to play well against.”
Depart: 3:00 PM
Dismissal: 2:45 PM