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Friday night lights prove friendly to soccer boys

Kennett High Boys' Soccer

Austin Bernier controls the ball during action against Laconia Friday, Aug. 28. The Eagle junior had a goal as the hosts downed the Sachems 2-1. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
September 03, 2009
The Eagles scored two first-half goals and held on despite a solid Laconia flurry to record a 2-1 win over the Sachems under the lights at Gary Millen Stadium on Friday, Aug. 28. The game was the first of the season for both teams.

Laconia entered the season coming off its most successful season ever, but the Eagles didn't let that faze them as they came out of the gate in a scoring mood.

The Sachems controlled much of the play for the first half, keeping the ball in their offensive end and making keeper Andrew Pray work for his supper, but the few times the Eagles got the ball up the field, they were able to capitalize.

Nick Calitri and Austin Bernier both netted goals in the first half to give Kennett a 2-0 lead after 40 minutes of play.

The visitors came out of the gate strong in the second half, as Pray made a nice save on one shot and another soared wide of the net.

The two teams battled back and forth in the middle of the field, but it was the Sachems who continually were able to win the battles and pull the ball in their offensive direction.

Pray made one highlight reel save, diving to his left to corral a wicked kick from the Sachems. The visitors continued to aim high as well, with a number of shots soaring through the football uprights above the soccer goal.

Pray made another jumping save to keep the shutout intact after a Laconia direct kick again sailed high.

Seth Davison had a good look heading in on net for the Eagles, but his shot sailed high and with about 14 minutes left on the clock, the Sachems struck for their first goal of the game, as the ball was headed past Pray and into the net, making it 2-1.

Zach Switaj and Alex Milford just missed hooking up on a connection as the Eagles looked to retake the two-goal lead.

However, Laconia had other ideas as the visitors continued to attack the ball and force it into the Eagle defense. Mike Anderson made one of a few great defensive plays to boot the ball out of the zone as Laconia threatened to attack. Bernier had a nice boot into the offensive zone, but the Laconia goalie hustled out and beat the Eagle rushers to the ball. Chris Andreani made a nice pass to Calitri for a scoring chance as well, but the Eagles couldn't capitalize.

Jordan Cruz and Anderson continued to provide good defense as the Sachems looked for any way they could to tie the game in the final few minutes.

And Pray did his part as well, making a couple of solid saves to keep the ball out of the net and when the whistle sounded, the Eagles had the 2-1 win and a 1-0 record on the season.

"We made the most of our opportunities," said coach George Cole following the win. "We only had eight real shots at goal."

Graham Rioux had one of those shots, when he just missed putting the ball home, clanging one off the crossbar in the first half.

"The kids played well, the intensity was good, the communication was good," Cole said.

The Eagle coach also pointed to the struggles of last year as a way to pull out some positive things for the start of this season.

"They were really motivating to me last year," he said. "It's carried through to this season."

Cole noted that many of the kids played on an indoor team over the winter and worked on their skills, which is starting to pay off for the Eagles as they open the new season.

Kennett will travel to Carroll County rival Kingswood on Friday, Sept. 4, for a 4 p.m. contest at The Nick in Wolfeboro. On Tuesday, Sept. 8, the boys head to Concord to take on Bishop Brady, also at 4 p.m

Martin Lord & Osman
Varney Smith
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