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Windham Jaguars Boys Soccer '20-'21

Sat, Nov 07, 2020 04:00 PM @ Winnacunnet
Team 1st 2nd Final
Windham 3 0 3
Winnacunnet 0 0 0

Windham wins state title

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HAMPTON — In the Division 1 state finals, the Windham boys soccer team left little for chance.

After two heart-stopping victories in the quarterfinalls and semifinals, the Jaguars scored three first-half goals, which were more than enough in a 3-0 victory over host Winnacunnet to finish as unbeaten (11-0-1) state champions.

This was Windham's first Division 1 state title after winning Division 2 crowns in 2012 and 2013.

"This just feels incredible," said senior captain Landon Neal. "We did everything we thought we could do."

Indeed, it was a great day for Windham all-around, but it was particularly satisfying for the Neal family, Landon had two goals and an assist while brother Preston recorded his sixth shutout of the season and had 10 saves that including a couple of the spectacular variety in the second half when Winnacunnet desperately tried to get back in the game.

"That (a shutout) is something you always want to see in the final game," said Preston. "There were a couple of close calls but my defense did a nice job of clearing the ball.

"We were talking a lot before the game about getting the lead and that helped."

The Jaguars took the lead 12 minutes in the game when team leading scorer and captain Charlie Breen got a pass from Landon Neal and boomed a beauty into the upper corner of the goal.

"It felt great to bury one that early," said Breen of his ninth goal of the season. "We knew from the start we could do this, but that gave us some momentum."

Just five minutes later, Landon Neal got the ball right in front of the Winnacunnet goalie and drilled it in the net to provide a cushion. Then, at the nine minute mark, he and Ryan Husson had assists as junior Mason Pfeiffer tapped the ball in in a scramble in front of the net to account for the final 3-0 score.

Winnacunnet had few good scoring chances in the first half but it did apply good pressure for the first 20 minutes of the second half and forced Preston Neal to make several challenging saves before Windham seemed to regroup to regain control and cement its impressive championship.
 
"I'm really proud of this team because the path to this (championship) wasn't easy for us," said Windham coach Mike Hachey, who owns an impressive 124-50-9 record with three state titles in 11 years. "We had to play three road games against very tough opponents. Beating Manchester Central and Hanover was really tough."
 
As is often the case, Windham's blue-chip players came through in the biggest game. In All-State voting, Breen and Preston Neal were first team, Owen Larouco was second team and Landon Neal was honorable mention. And all played key roles Saturday.
 
Among those also playing particularly well in what was truly a team effort were sophomore Sam Husson and seniors Jackson Mahoney and Dom Picciano.
 
Asked to compare this year's team with those who won Division 2 crowns, Hachey said: "It may be the best team we've had or certainly one of the best. It's a talented group, but you still need to have that desire and this team had it."                                                    

Game Statistics:

Division 1 State Final
Goals:
Charlie Breen, Landon Neal, Mason Pfeiffer

Assists: L. Neal 2, Ryan Husson

Saves: Windham — Preston Neal 10; Winnacunnet — Tanyon Ziolkowski 9

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