Boys battle to 2-1 win over Spartans
|JAMES BARRETT chases down a ball with a White Mountains defender during action Oct. 12 in Alton. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)|
October 18, 2010ALTON — After winning games relatively easily over Farmington, Franklin and Winisquam, the Prospect Mountain boys' soccer team was sent crashing back to earth by Berlin on Oct. 7 in the state's northernmost city.
How the Timber Wolves responded to that loss was key to the remainder of the season as the Prospect boys headed down the stretch looking for a top spot in the Division III playoff picture.
Coach Bubba Noyes' kids wasted no time setting the tone, as the Timber Wolves scored just more than three minutes into the first half and less than four minutes into the second half to hold off a strong White Mountains squad on Tuesday, Oct. 12, in Alton.
"They (White Mountains) were coming off a tie with Berlin, so to get that quick goal was really necessary," Noyes said.
With a few players on the sidelines with injuries, there were a few new bodies on the field for the Timber Wolves, but it was a couple of the familiar ones who got things started for Prospect.
After Spencer Goossens made a nice save on the opening drive by White Mountains, the Timber Wolves turned the ball back up the field, where Jesse Brown and Anthony Frangione worked the ball back and forth through the defense. Brown put the shot on net and the keeper made a nice save, but the rebound bounced out in front. Scott Kanash pounced on the ball and drilled it at the net. The ball deflected off a defender and in for a 1-0 lead with just a tick past three minutes gone in the game.
From there, the two teams went to work, battling back and forth with neither team able to get the positive attack needed to get on the board.
White Mountains had a couple of solid bids, with Jake Rochette turning away one in the defensive zone and Goossens making a save on another. Goossens also made a nice grab on a crossing pass and another shot clanged off the cross bar.
Jason Houghton just missed connections with Zack Drouin on a scoring bid for Prospect and Rochette sent in a great ball just ahead of a charging James Barrett for another bid.
The Spartans finally broke through with 14:55 to play in the first half, striking a nice shot past Goossens to tie the game at one.
Houghton, Frangione and Kanash all made great bids to put the Timber Wolves back on top, with Houghton and Kanash sending shots wide and high and Frangione just missing connections with Barrett on a bid. Frangione also just missed Drouin on a bid as well. Jesse Brown had a shot go wide and good hustle from Jake Biscoe resulted in another chance, but the Timber Wolves couldn't score and the game remained tied as the two teams headed to halftime.
The Timber Wolves wasted no time getting back on top in the second half, as Frangione sent a great feed through to Drouin, who buried the ball in the net for a 2-1 lead with 3:47 gone in the second half.
Biscoe and Frangione just missed connections on a chance to up the lead and Greg Tinkham sent the ball in just ahead of Drouin on another bid.
However, it was the Spartans who began taking a bit of control, as they scratched and clawed trying to tie the game up.
Goossens made a couple of big saves, including one leaping punch on a shot from the side. Rochette and Brown helped out with solid defense in front, but there was no doubt that Goossens was seeing the ball well, as he came out to control the situation on numerous occasions.
Biscoe, Barrett, Drouin and Ben Couch did their part to try and up the lead, but the White Mountains defense held strong and kept the Timber Wolves from breaking in on goal. Frangione also had a good bid on a corner kick that was denied.
White Mountains continued to pressure, forcing Goossens to make the saves and keeping the Prospect defense on its toes as they sent crosses through the crease and long forward passes in on net. Rochette and Brown continued to shine in the backfield, keeping the ball from getting to close. However, when the ball did get through, Goossens was there to make the save and the Timber Wolf senior finished with 12 saves as the Prospect boys walked off with the hard-fought 2-1 win.
"Spencer came up big," Noyes stated. He also praised Couch for moving back on defense to help fill in a hole or two.
With Jake Troy and Nick Bachelder out of the lineup with injuries, others had to step up an they did.
"The new kids were probably a little nervous, but they gave those other guys enough of a breather," the veteran coach said.
The Timber Wolves were slated to play at Inter-Lakes on Friday, Oct. 15, but that game was postponed until after deadline Tuesday as the regular season finale.
The top finishers in Division III will not have to play in the play-in game, which takes place on Friday, Oct. 22. The opening round of the playoffs is set for Wednesday, Oct. 27, at 3 p.m.