SENIORS (l to r), Becca Tinkham, Lexi Brown, Abby Drouin and Kelly Jones pose for a photo prior to their final home game on Oct. 16. Courtesy Photo. (click for larger version)
October 22, 2012ALTON — The final stretch of the season was a brutal one, but the Prospect Mountain girls made the most of it, snagging a huge win from Belmont and besting an improved Laconia team to finish out the year at .500.
"We were hanging on by our fingernails," coach Matt Locke said of his team's playoff position prior to the final week. "And I had parents saying after the game that just beating Belmont like that makes the season."
The Red Raiders are having a stellar season and are ranked near the top of the Division III standings, but when they journeyed to Alton on Tuesday, Oct. 16, for a chilly matchup with the Timber Wolves, they couldn't come out with another win.
"They're good, but our backs played very well," Locke said, praising Sarah Stone, Ella Montminy, Mikayla Cauler and Angela Tidd.
Shannon Meyer also had a monster night in net, turning away 14 shots.
The Red Raiders scored first, but Prospect answered as Kelly Jones delivered a penalty kick.
However, the visitors scored again before the half and took a 2-1 lead to the break.
"I told them, don't panic, they were playing decent and getting opportunities," Locke said of his halftime talk.
The Timber Wolves took their coach's words to heart and Jones calmly buried a shot from 30 yards out to the near post to tie the game at two and the squads played out regulation with that same score.
Through one 10-minute overtime, neither team was able to get on the board and it went to a second overtime before Jones made a great cross in front to Becca Tinkham. She settled the ball off her body and tapped it into the net for the game winning goal in the 3-2 victory.
"That was the ball game," Locke said. "And it was our senior night, so that made it extra special."
Locke noted that the last time the two teams played, Belmont picked up a 1-0 win, but he estimated it easily could've been 5-0, as the Raiders dominated the game.
This time, however, he praised his squad for a much better effort.
"We seem to be hitting a stride, and that's pretty good," Locke said. "Beating White Mountains and Belmont, that was great."
The Timber Wolves finished the season with a trip to Laconia in the rain on Friday, Oct. 19, and came away with a 4-1 victory.
The first 15 minutes were a scoreless battle, but Jones got the Timber Wolves on the board before the break. The senior then added three goals in the second half to close out the win.
"That team had improved from the first time we played them," Locke said. "But we kept our composure and kept kicking in the door."
With the two wins in the final week, the Timber Wolves solidified their spot in the Division III tournament and will be on the road for the first round.
"We'll see what king of tricks we can pull out and maybe sneak out with a win," Locke said.
The tournament began after deadline Wednesday. The quarterfinals are Saturday, Oct. 27, at 2 p.m. at the home of the higher seed and the semifinals are Wednesday, Oct. 31, at Bill Ball Stadium in Exeter.
Joshua Spaulding can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 569-3126