LACONIA — The Sunapee Lakers boys soccer team avenged an early regular season loss to Woodsville and punched their ticket to the Division IV finals with a 3-0 win Tuesday afternoon in a semifinal game at the Bank of New Hampshire Field at Laconia High School.
Sunapee, the third seed, started slowly against the second-seeded Engineers with the first 20 minutes of play mostly in front of the Sunapee net. Woodsville was aggressive in getting to the ball and keeping Mike Mullen, Sunapee’s leading scorer, from getting many touches on the ball.
As Sunapee began to step it up and create space, the momentum shifted and Sunapee’s offense started to click. Sunapee had a couple of quick corners and some quality shots on goal but Woodsville goalie Camden Davison and the Engineers defense just kept the Lakers off the score board. Sunapee’s best chance came when midfielder Josh Groto’s shot hit the post.
With the first half coming to a close, it looked like a 0-0 tie at the break, but with less than a minute left in the half, Parker Reed threaded a pass to Mullen, who snuck by the defender and beat the goalie and Sunapee had the lead 1-0 at halftime.
The second half started like the first half ended for Sunapee as the Lakers continued to pressure the Woodsville defense. The Lakers’ passing was precise and the Engineers were back on their heals barely clearing balls as Sunapee continued a relentless attack. The Engineer goalie made a spectacular diving save but that did not deter Sunapee — the Lakers just kept moving the ball and taking shots.
With defenders all around him, Mullen saw Jackson Cooney sprinting down the sidelines and passed him the ball. Cooney dribbled the ball closer to the goal and then took an almost impossible shot from the side of the net and put the ball in the back of the net and give the Lakers a 2-0 lead.
A few minutes later, Mullen had the ball and looked likely to score again but was taken down inside the box and Sunapee was awarded a penalty shot. Reed beat the goalie but Mullen moved before the ball was kicked and it did not count. Reed had to try again and this time the Woodsville goalie made the save.
Unfazed, Sunapee continued to attack and at around the 27 minute mark of the second half, Woodsville kicked the ball out of bounds. Just before Darren Hulton threw the ball inbounds, the Woodsville goalie told his players to cover number 11, but it was too late. Reed picked the ball out of mid air and fired off a shot and it was 3-0 Sunapee.
With that goal, Woodsville was defeated and Sunapee played a possession game to run out the clock.
Sunapee will now play for the Division IV title at the Bank of New Hampshire Field at Laconia High School on Sunday at 4:15 p.m.