Berlin's Jill Hallee and Kennett's Bryn Fayle battle for the ball in action Saturday. (Photo by Joshua Spaulding) (click for larger version)
September 24, 2020NORTH CONWAY — It was anything but typical, but the Kennett and Berlin soccer girls got their seasons under way on Saturday morning, Sept. 19.
With spectators restricted to family members of the Kennett players, the Eagles gave them a little treat, scoring three goals in the first 20 minutes and then held off the Mountaineers for a 3-1 win.
"It's very good to get that first win behind us," said first-year Kennett head coach Ron Krieger. "It was a great start to the season."
"It was nice that we were able to hold them for 55 minutes of scoreless ball after we played 15 minutes of rough ball," said Berlin head coach Alan Woodward. "It was encouraging them to hold off a solid team."
Kennett made the early runs into the zone, with Berlin's Grace Bradley coming up with a couple of solid clears from in front. Rayna Bourbeau also had a nice defensive play on Kennett's Nicole Lockhart and then Kennett's Aida Wheat had an opportunity in close that the Berlin defense was able to clear. Jill Hallee just missed connecting with Ava Bartoli on a run in for Berlin and then Kennett came back with a shot wide by Lockhart, a good cross from Shannon Abrams and a shot wide by Camden Capazzoli.
The Eagles got on the board first with 10:35 gone in the first half, as Abrams drilled a nice strike from the top of the box into the corner of the net for the 1-0 lead
Abrams doubled that lead just a few minutes later, as she came back and made it 2-0. Berlin came back with Bartoli and Makenna Peare teaming up on a bid but Kennett keeper Sam Habert-Jaques was able to come out and grab the ball.
Carli Krebs had a shot go high for the Eagles and Bartoli made a run for the Mountaineers, but Katherine Brooks was able to make a solid defensive stand. Bradley also made a nice defensive stop for the visitors.
Kennett was able to push the lead to 3-0 with just more than 22 minutes left in the first half, as Abrams sent a cross that went off the Berlin defense in front and Capazzoli was able to bury the ball.
The Eagles continued to get some chances with Wheat and Krebs each getting bids but Berlin keeper Chloe Dagesse held her ground. Berlin had a pair of corner kicks but couldn't get anything past Habert-Jaques, who made a nice punching save on the first chance. Capazzoli had another chance that Dagesse stopped and the Eagles had another corner that Marissa Caputo headed wide.
Dagesse came out of the net to grab a loose ball and it appeared the Eagles would have a free shot at the net, but Bourbeau and Kyra Woodward helped to clear the ball behind Dagesse. Kennett had three corners late in the half, with Krebs sending a shot wide. Wheat had a bid that Dagesse made a diving save on and Bryn Fayle had a bid that was also stopped and the game went to the half with the Eagles up 3-0.
Ginger Preistman took over in goal for the Eagles in the second half and was tested early on a shot by Elizabeth Gilcris that she stopped. Wheat had a nice ball in front for the Eagles that Dagesse was able to grab. Berlin had a corner but couldn't convert and then Bartoli had a chance that Preistman was able to grab. The Mountaineers had another corner chance that again didn't cross the line. Hallee had a bid for the visitors that went wide while Kennett came back with some solid chances from Abrams, Habert-Jaques, Brooks and Ashley Garside. Peare came up with a solid pair of defensive plays for the Mountaineers.
Berlin got the chance to get on the board with 13 minutes gone in the second half when they were awarded a penalty kick. Bradley stepped up to the line and delivered the ball to the net to cut the lead to 3-1.
The Eagles came back with a couple of corners that they could not convert on and Habert-Jaques and Krebs also had shots that were denied by Dagesse. Bartoli made a run into the zone for the Mountaineers but Emily Kenny and Lia Anzaldi were there to stop the run.
After another Kennett corner, Abrams had a nice cross that Bradley was able to clear. Kendall Krieger had a shot denied for the Eagles and Caputo also sent one wide of the net. The Eagles had another corner but again could not convert and Caputo came back with another chance that went wide of the net. Hallee made a nice defensive stop on Wheat, who also had a shot denied by Dagesse and another go wide of the net. Priestman went out to make a nice grab on a bid from Bartoli and Hallee sent one high as the game drew to a close with the Eagles getting the 3-1 win.
"We're an extremely young team, but today our seniors came out and played great," Krieger said. "The first 28 minutes I don't think the ball came out of our end much.
"The girls bought into the style of play we want them to do (possession)," the Eagle coach continued. "And they're changing fields, I heard that consistently today."
Krieger noted that Priestman is expected to be the team's starting goalie, but had missed some practice with an injury and Habert-Jaques volunteered to step up in practice and he wanted to give her a chance in the game.
With Kennett getting offseason practices going in July, Krieger said he was happy to see a lot of the girls showing up to get their season going early.
"I've been very pleased," he said. "They're very close knit, from freshman to senior, there's a lot to grow on there."
"We're young and starting to find our rhythm," said Woodward. "I'm proud of them for not giving up, they could've easily packed it in and played boom ball and waited until the end of the game."
The Mountaineer coach noted that the second half was certainly the better of the two for his team and he was happy to see them break through on the scoreboard with Bradley's penalty kick. And he was just happy to see them on the field for a game.
"We've been dying to get out and play our first game," he said. "This is kind of a preseason game, it's a measuring stick to see what we need to do. We'll see where our strengths are and our deficiencies.
"Hopefully we can correct some of our errors and go forward," Woodward added.
The Eagles will be back in action on Thursday, Sept. 24, at home against Plymouth at 4 p.m., will be at Inter-Lakes on Tuesday, Sept. 29, at 4 p.m. and will be at Newfound at 4 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 1.
The Mountaineers will be hosting Gorham on Saturday, Sept. 26, at 11:30 a.m. and will be at Bishop Brady at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 29.
Sports Editor Joshua Spaulding can be reached at 279-4516, ext. 155 or email@example.com.