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Littleton snuffs Lin-Wood's tournament run

Littleton’s Michaela White, right, and Dori Horne, center, celebrate after defeating Lin-Wood 2-1 Saturday. Charlie Lentz. (click for larger version)
November 03, 2010
LITTLETON — Julia Winn had been there and done that. Perhaps her playoff-tested right foot put Littleton's confidence over the bar in double overtime against Lin-Wood in the quarterfinals of the Division IV Tournament. Winn's actual contributions made it under the cross bar Saturday at Norton Pike Field.

The junior forward's soccer savvy came in handy with 12 minutes, 59 seconds remaining in the second 20-minute overtime session. She took several furious kicks while surrounded from point-blank range before knocking home the game-winning goal in a 2-1 victory over Lin-Wood.

"I wanted to get it over with," said Winn wearily after playing 107 minutes and one second of playoff soccer. "(Lin-Wood) brought it today. It was a challenge."

Fifth-seeded Littleton (13-3-2) faced top-seeded Sunapee (17-1-0) in the tournament semifinals Tuesday. The finals are scheduled for Saturday at Southern New Hampshire University. Second-seeded Gorham (16-0-1) and third-seeded Derryfield School (15-3-0) were in the other half of the Division IV draw.

Lin-Wood's loss in the quarterfinals spoiled an improbable tournament run for an athletic Lumberjacks team, which used a goal from speedster Marcy Regalado just 4:51 into the match to seize a 1-0 lead against Littleton. Thirteenth-seeded Lin-Wood finished the regular season with a 6-8-2 record but was better. The Lumberjacks knocked off fourth-seeded Moultonborough 2-0 in the opening round of the tourney.

"It's disappointing to lose like this, Littleton's a great team," Regalado said. "I'm really proud of every single one of our girls. We gave it 110 percent to the end."

After gaining a quick lead on Regalado's goal the Lumberjacks had hopes of another upset over fifth-seeded Littleton.

"They are the pride of our community, they never gave up," said Lin-Wood coach Aaron Loukes. "(Regalado has been) amazing, the whole team has been. Everybody just played their hearts out today. Littleton's a very good squad. But if the ball bounced a different way we could have won. We had our chances. It's hard right now. We gave it all we had. We left it all on the field."

Like Regalado, Winn is a speedster herself — and with the experience of two consecutive trips to the state tournament's final four — she has a nose for the goal in pressure situations. The early deficit against Lin-Wood surely was cause for alarm.

"We just needed to keep our heads up," Winn said.

Winn kept her head up and tallied from 13 yards out on the right wing at 27:40 of the first half to tie it 1-1. Soggy field conditions and a constant drizzle throughout Saturday's quarterfinal made footing precarious. Tied 1-1 at halftime, the second half featured several strong scoring efforts by Littleton (13-3-2) but Lin-Wood's defense refused to yield. The Crusaders led 14-3 in corner kicks and 10-6 in shots. Goalkeeper Taylor Glidden made five saves for Littleton. Lynn Tilden made seven saves for Lin-Wood. Dori Horne notched the assist on Winn's game-winner.

Littleton coach Kory Pinard was pleased with his team's all-around performance.

"They know that it takes a complete team effort to keep winning these games," Pinard said. "Last year we had outstanding players and some of the kids didn't have to work so hard — but you can't rely on that. They're relying on each other right now."

Littleton finished the regular season 15-0-1 last year and was the top seed in the state tournament, falling 1-0 in overtime to Derryfield in the championship game. The Crusaders ended this regular season with an 11-3-2 mark and earned the fifth seed. No matter the ranking, Littleton found another way back to the final four. Winn might tell you it helps if you've been there and done that — even if takes just over 107 minutes to do it again.

"It took some work. Last year we were a higher seed," Winn said. "This year we had to work harder."

Varney Smith
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