“I think it was hard to lose and to have the season end, but I also think we played really well. We played our hearts out, so that’s really all that matters,” said Amelia Concannon (‘19), starting midfielder.
Oyster River and Hanover rallied the whole game, each team wanting to continue to the semifinal game later in the week against Bow. With an early goal from Hanover however, the game’s intensity increased in opposing favor of the Bobcats, and continued until Hanover’s final goal late in the second half, securing the Marauder’s place in the next round of the NHIAA Division II semifinals.
The Bobcats had no help from the weather in their 2-0 defeat at Hanover High School, with a light rain pattering onto the large turf field. As the ORHS girls’ varsity soccer team began to warm up, the rain began to come down in sheets, resulting in both teams struggling to maintain possession of the ball, an early sign that it would be difficult to control the ball for the rest of the game.
Oyster River and Hanover both had numerous opportunities throughout the game, each team passed the ball well, despite the weather. About five minutes into the game, three consecutive passes for Hanover led them into the right corner of Oyster River’s half, before a cross was made by Hanover’s Pepper Joseph that was finished by a fellow teammate to give Hanover the 1-0 lead early on in the game.
“It was all because of a miscommunication. I thought it was going to the back [post] of the net and I thought the defender had it. We just needed to talk,” said first year goalie, Ella Gianino (‘21). The goal came extremely quickly, and Hanover’s front line had great speed to start the game, causing Hanover’s immense student fan section to go wild. Meanwhile, Oyster River did not have the usual support they have during home games.
“I think the first goal did not put us in the best mindset for the rest of the game and it could’ve contributed to our loss,” explained Concannon (‘19). Oyster River continued to possess the ball for most of the first half, determined to counter Hanover’s goal.
To begin the second half, Oyster River was still trailing Hanover 1-0. OR had a few missed opportunities on net, including two perfectly placed corners from left back, Abby Schmitt (‘19). “I think the most frustrating part of the game was that we couldn’t get the ball into the net; we had so many chances, and we tried so hard,” says midfielder Charlotte Clarke (‘18).
On October 14th, only a little over two weeks ago, the two teams played in eighty degree heat, causing both teams to substitute their players more than usual, and the game to be slower paced. Similarly to the last time Oyster River faced Hanover at home, they again, were down 1-0 in the second half. The two exceptionally different temperatures in the games could have possibly played a role in the outcomes.
“[The last game] was really hot and everyone was really tired. This time the weather played a huge part because it caused the ball to skip a lot and I think it was difficult to control it,” explained Jacqueline Coxen (‘19), starting center midfielder. Both goalies for Hanover and Oyster River had many dropped balls on saves and passes for both teams bounced across the turf with awkward spirals during Sunday’s game.
With only about five minutes left in the game, multiple Oyster River players went up with a few Hanover players for a header right outside the box for Oyster River. This incident resulted in a call on Oyster River for a dangerous play, awarding Hanover a free kick. Ella Gianino dove, yet the shot by Hanover’s Cate Wagner was to the far left corner, which gave Hanover the 2-0 lead.
Oyster River then substituted in their remaining seniors on the bench to complete the rest of the game. For the five dressed seniors, this would be their last time ever touching the high school soccer field.
“We are going to miss our seniors so much and I can’t even imagine what the team will be like without them, but I feel like we will have a lot of returning veterans and I know we will fight to the end. I know next year is going to be our year,” explains Gianino (‘21).
Yet this won’t be the end for Oyster River; the team is already working on how to continue further into the playoffs for next year. Hanover will move on to the state semifinals on Thursday against Bow.