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Joyce Endee

Belmont girls battle, but Gilford gets the win

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by Joshua Spaulding
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Sports Editor - Salmon Press Newspapers

Gilford keeper Hannah Gannon charges out to knock down the ball in front of teammate Ashley Kulcsar and Belmont's Emma Winslow in action Saturday. (Photo by Joshua Spaulding) (click for larger version)
September 23, 2021
BELMONT — The Gilford girls' soccer team played spoiler to the Belmont Homecoming on Saturday morning, scoring one goal in each half on the way to a 2-0 win.

"They played well, but I don't think we took our chances as well as we could have," said Gilford coach Rob Meyers. "We controlled play, but we just didn't push it in the box as hard as we have in other games."

"We didn't spend enough time on their side of the midfield and forward," said Belmont coach Jeff Malcolm. "We relied a lot on our defense."

Gilford got early chances from Reece Sadler, Molly McLean and Alyssa Craigie, while the Belmont defense held strong, led by Jada Edgren and Helena Papadopoulos. At the other end, Emma Winslow just missed connecting with Lena Rodrigues.

Millie Caldon had a good run in that Belmont keeper Brooke Matthews was able to snare, while McLean and Anna Coapland also had chances stopped by Matthews. McLean and Sadler had chances go wide of the net and Geena Cookinham sent a ball through the crease.

Gilford got on the board with 27:53 to go in the first half, with Cookinham slipping a shot past Matthews for the 1-0 lead. Brooklyn Erlick came back with a good defensive play for the Raiders and Courtney Burke cleared a pass from Marlow Mikulis out of the zone.

Belmont got a nice move into the zone from Darci Stone and Quinn Jewell while Gilford's Jaiden McKenna had a nice defensive stop on Kailey Gerbig. Gerbig sent a nice ball up to Winslow and Ashley Kulcsar made a good defensive stop. Sadler sent a shot on net that was stopped by Matthews and Allie Kenyon had a direct kick that Matthews stopped.

Gerbig, Stone and Winslow went in for chances for the Raiders that Gilford keeper Hannah Gannon was able to stop and McLean had a bid at the other end that Matthews stopped. Addy Harris had a couple of solid runs into the zone for Gilford and Edgren, Jewell and Sierra Bourque made the defensive stops. Gilford had a late corner, with Kenyon sending the ball wide and the game went to halftime with the Golden Eagles up 1-0.

Gilford came out early in the second half with chances from Coapland, McLean, Cookinham and Kenyon all getting chances, but Matthews stood strong in the Belmont net and Edgren and Bourque helped out with solid defense.

Less than five minutes into the second half, Gilford got its second goal of the game, with Kenyon ripping a shot on net that Matthews was able to get to. However, the ball dropped down into the net to give the Golden Eagles a 2-0 lead.

Gannon made a nice grab at the other end on a bid from Gerbig and McLean had a bid at the other end that went wide. Kenyon fired a shot off the post and then sent another shot over the net on a Gilford corner. Winslow just missed connecting with Gerbig on a bid for Belmont and Gilford got a good defensive play from Gracey LeBlanc on another Winslow run and a good defensive play from Craigie on a Stone run into the zone.

Stone had a pair of direct kicks that missed the mark, while Bourque sent a shot wide of the net as well. Gilford had a corner kick that didn't connect and Belmont had perhaps its best chance a few moments later. Gerbig sent the ball into the Winslow and Gannon came charging out to get the ball. Rodrigues got to the rebound for a bid, but LeBlanc was able to clear the ball away from the mouth of the goal.

Kenyon had a shot stopped by Matthews, Kulcsar sent a ball wide on a corner kick and LeBlanc made a run in for Gilford while at the other end, Gerbig just missed connecting with Rodrigues and had another shot stopped by Gannon.

Cookinham had a penalty kick chance in the final six minutes, but she sent the ball wide of the net. Alainnah Penney had a run in for Gilford but Edgren and Thalia Watson stood strong on defense in the final few minutes to close out the 2-0 final.

"We were calm, we controlled the ball," said Meyers. "We talked about how they would come out strong and play hard.

"The girls were excited to play after we had a week off," the Gilford coach added.

"Brooke (Matthews) has been playing on her head for us this season," Malcolm said. "Everything clicked (today), we just had a couple of unfortunate bounces. I was pleased with the effort."

The two teams will be meeting up again on Saturday, Sept. 25, at 1 p.m. in Gilford. Gilford will be hosting Mascoma on Monday, Sept. 27, at 4 p.m. and will visit Hopkinton on Wednesday, Sept. 29, at 4 p.m. Belmont will also be hosting Laconia on Tuesday, Sept. 28, at 4 p.m.

Sports Editor Joshua Spaulding can be reached at 279-4516, ext. 155 or josh@salmonpress.news.

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