Pinkerton Astros Girls Soccer '15

Champions at last: Pinkerton beats Londonderry in penalty kicks to win first ever state championship

EXETER — Midway through the first half of Sunday's Division 1 state championship game against Londonderry, Pinkerton Academy's Courtney Velho was awarded a penalty kick and given a chance to put her team ahead, but her shot sailed wide of the net.
The miss loomed large as the game remained scoreless through regulation, and then through two periods of overtime, but when the junior midfielder got a shot at redemption in the decisive penalty kick shootout, she made it count.
"I just knew that I had to make it," Velho said. "I couldn't let myself and my team down, it was a lot more important than the first so I just put my mind towards it and it went in."
Velho's shootout goal put the Astros on the board, and when goalie Sammy Mitchell stopped Londonderry's last attempt four rounds later, she and her teammates flooded onto the field to celebrate the first girls soccer championship in Pinkerton's history.
"Truthfully, I didn't realize it was over until they all came running to me, but after that it was just the most unbelievable experience ever," Mitchell said. "Senior year and you just won the state championship, nothing can get better than that."
Pinkerton's 1-0 shootout win played out like most predicted, as a low scoring, defensive grind that ultimately came down to a handful of plays. All but one of the two teams' last nine matchups since 2009 had been decided by one goal, and Pinkerton (18-1) coach Steve Gundrum said coming into the game that scoring on Londonderry (16-4) would be a major challenge.
"They have a great defensive team, they've only given up [nine] goals all year long, and to score on them is quite an accomplishment," Gundrum said. "We didn't quite get that, but then again, we played pretty well too. Either team could have won, it sounds cliche, but it's true, and we did."
Pinkerton did get some good chances, with the best being Velho's penalty kick, which she drew in the 34th minute after a Londonderry handball in the box. Even after that, the Astros finished the half with a pair of juicy shots from deep, one from Velho and another from forward Melanie Roberge, both of which forced Londonderry goalie Jackie Luckhardt to leap up for the saves near the crossbar.
The Astros continued to threaten the rest of the way, but couldn't find a way to beat Luckhardt, who finished with 12 saves on the day. Londonderry had some opportunities too, including a strike in the 56th minute from midfielder Mackenzie Donovan that Mitchell had to punch over the crossbar.
"I always felt like we'd win the game, always felt like we'd find an opening and finish it, and we were unfortunate a couple times," said Londonderry coach Derek Dane. "It's the agony of the game."
Once in penalty kicks, Londonderry midfielder Halle Hamilton scored first to put the pressure on, but then Velho came back with her goal to tie it at 1-1. Samantha LeClair and Catherine Goodwin traded goals in the second round, but in the third, Londonderry's Gretchen McGrath hit the crossbar, allowing Reanna Romano a chance to give Pinkerton all the separation they'd need.
Londonderry pulled even in the fourth for a moment when Erin Barnes scored bottom left, but Roberge came back with a goal of her own to make it 4-3, and after Mitchell saved Donovan's attempt to clinch the win, the victorious goalie had only one thing left to say.
"Number one, we're number one baby!"

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Girls Soccer, 11/08/15 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

CHAMPIONSHIP BOUND: Pinkerton, Londonderry win in semifinals to set up epic state title matchup

NASHUA - The moment the ball bounced over the foot of the Bedford sweeper, Pinkerton striker Nicole Alves charged forward, gained some separation and just let one rip, hoping for the best.
"I just toed the ball and prayed it went in," Alves said. "I thought it would hit the post, but it went right in and I just got goosebumps."
Alves' goal in the 18th minute proved to be the difference as Pinkerton beat Bedford 1-0 in Thursday night's Division 1 state semifinal, setting up a decisive showdown with archrival Londonderry in Sunday's state championship game.
Pinkerton, the tournament's top seed, came into the game as a heavy favorite and lived up to the hype early on, playing what coach Steve Gundrum called one of its best first halves of the season. The Astros controlled the ball for nearly the entire frame, prevented Bedford from taking a shot, and had several other chances to score besides Alves' goal.
Coming out of halftime, however, Bedford began to pick up its game, and Gundrum said his team started to play nervous.
"It doesn't make any difference what you say to the kids, even professionals do it, once you're leading late, you try not to lose, and they don't play to win," Gundrum said. "That's what happened. We were getting nervous. We were playing nervous. We were just trying to clear it out."
Bedford nearly tied the game in the 53rd minute when a shot from over 30 yards out bounced off the crossbar, but Pinkerton defender, Catherine Goodwin, was able to corral it for keeper Samantha Mitchell before any Bulldogs were able to finish.
Pinkerton had to contend with a handful of juicy corner kicks as well, but ultimately was able to minimize Bedford's chances and come away with the win.
Prior to Pinkerton's game, Londonderry beat Manchester Central 2-1 in penalty kicks to advance to Sunday's Division 1 state final.
Central took the lead in the 55th minute, but Londonderry responded seconds later. Katrina Rivard received a nice through ball down towards the right corner. She then delivered a perfect cross along the turf to Laurel Goding, who was left completely uncovered in the center of the box and was able to finish with ease to tie the game.
With neither team able to gain any separation from that point on, the game went to penalty kicks, which went eight rounds before Isabella Bourque scored the game-winner and Jackie Luckhardt made the decisive save to clinch the win.
Halle Hamilton, Samantha LeClair, Erin Barnes, Mackenzie Donovan and Samantha Lecaroz all scored in the shootout as well.
Pinkerton and Londonderry will square off in the title game at Exeter High School on Sunday at 2:15 p.m. Pinkerton won the midseason matchup 1-0.

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Girls Soccer, 11/05/15 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Gingras shines, Astros advance

A loss to Nashua North on the final day of the regular season was plenty of fuel for Pinkerton Academy in Sunday's New Hampshire Division 1 girls soccer quarterfinals.
Top-seeded Pinkerton picked up a pair of goals from junior Julia Bousquet to knock off the Titans, 2-1.
Pinkerton will now face Bedford, Thursday, 6 p.m., at Stellos Stadium in Nashua for a spot in the state title game.
"The score is not indicative of the game. They scored on the last play of the game and it was an own goal," said Astros coach Steve Gundrum. "We played a better all-around game, a much better game than last time. In the last few minutes they were throwing everything at us, and our backup keeper (Molly Gingras, 5 second-half saves) did a great job."

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Girls Soccer, 11/01/15 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Bouquet for Bousquet

Julia Bousquet had the hat trick and Sammy Mitchell (5 saves) had the shutout as unbeaten Pinkerton soccer blanked Keene 5-0.

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Girls Soccer, 10/20/15 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Bousquet keeps Astros perfect

Jill Bousquet's overtime goal kept Pinkerton's unbeaten season alive, giving the Astros a 2-1 victory over Winnacunnet.

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Girls Soccer, 10/07/15 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Astros stay unbeaten

The Pinkerton girls soccer team improved to 9-0 after beating Londonderry 1-0, handing the Lancers their first loss of the season. Reanna Romano scored the winner in the 45th minute, and Sam Mitchell made seven saves to preserve the shutout.

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Girls Soccer, 09/26/15 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Still rolling


Pinkerton's girls soccer team had nine different players figure in the scoring in a 6-1 rout of Salem. Keara Doolan  had two goals and an assist to lead the unbeaten Astros (7-0).

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Girls Soccer, 09/19/15 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Pinkerton stays unbeaten

The Pinkerton girls soccer team passed one of its biggest tests of the season, beating previously unbeaten Manchester Central 1-0 to improve to 6-0 overall.

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Girls Soccer, 09/17/15 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Astros soar

Nicole Alves scored just before halftime to help lead the Pinkerton girls soccer team to a 1-0 win over Bedford. Kyra Goucher assisted the goal, and the Astros are now 4-0 with the win.

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Girls Soccer, 09/11/15 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Nicole's night

Nicole Alves scored both goals to lead Pinkerton soccer to a 2-0 victory over Timberlane.

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Girls Soccer, 09/09/15 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars