Connect with us


Knights edge Kennnett boys 2-0 under the lights in playoffs



Under the lights and on the turf field of Kingswood High School in Wolfeboro, the Knights (2-4), defeated the Kennett High boys’ soccer team 2-0 on Oct. 27, sending the Eagles (4-4) home, their season over, while the Knights advanced to the regional final on Saturday to take on Merrimack Valley (5-7), 5-0 winners over Plymouth (8-5). The Pride topped Kingswood 2-0 to reach the Final Four.

The cool, 40-degree evening with light sprinkles or mist throughout, seemed to work to the Knights advantage. Both Kingswood goals in the first half were far from pretty; in fact, both could be attributed to Kennett miscues in its defensive third. After 11 minutes predominantly played in the midfield with each team feeling the other out, the Eagles placed their first shot on goal off a long free-kick by Riley Hayes that the Knights keeper handled easily.

One minute later, Kennett goalie Aubrey Narducci charged off his line to clear away a Knight through ball with his feet, outside the 18-yard box, just winning the race with an attacking forward who slipped behind the Eagles defense.

The Eagles were without two talented players in senior Aidan Sherlock due to injury, and early in the match lost junior Ty Montowski, making Coach Camden Clark’s bench shorter than usual.

“Aidan was a huge loss for us,” Clark said. “He had been a solid defense for us. Losing Ty also a lot.”

Fifteen minutes into the match, sophomore striker Alex Clark unleashed a 23-yard blast which screamed just past the Knights’ goalpost, in one of the Eagles’ best opportunities of the night. A minute later, the Knights countered by seizing on a poor clearance in the Kennett backfield and forward Gabe Arinello pounced on a loose ball, took a few dribbles and struck a shot cleanly into the inside netting, just beyond the fingertips of a diving Narducci.

Another minute later, Willem Badger and Clark combined to serve a dangerous ball into the Kingswood box that the Knights got to first to clear away. Four minutes later, Badger slipped an exquisite pass threading two defenders to send Ethan Clay-Storm in behind the defense, but his low driven shot went just wide.

Kingswood posed the next serious chances, at 30 minutes sending a corner kick which bounced dangerously all the way through the Eagles goalkeeper area. Three minutes later, an open Knight let off an uncontested shot that found only Narducci’s belly.

At the 37th minute. the Knights launched another long ball behind the Eagles defenders. As Narducci came out and Ben Nordwick recovered for the Eagles, the ball somehow came out on the foot of the Knights on-rushing Keegan Donovan-Violette, who passed the ball calmly into the back of an open net.

“I told the team at halftime we played one of worst halves of the season but we were still in the match,” Clark said. “I think the guys were not used to playing on the turf, and maybe we had some playoff jitters and we may have been a little guilty of thinking about the next round instead of this one.”

He added: “To the boys’ credit they played much better in the second half. Give Kingswood credit, they worked for it and it showed.”

The Eagles had a great opportunity to halve the lead just one minute before halftime. Riley Hayes stepped up to the penalty spot after an Eagle was tripped down in the penalty box. Unfortunately, his powerful strike rose up and over the crossbar, so the Knights held a 2-0 lead at halftime.

“If we score on the penalty kick, I’m confident we would have won,” Clark said. “There was still 25-30 minutes left and momentum would have been on our side. Kingwood’s intensity dropped considerably after we scored the first goal against them at home.

Kennett created chances in the second half but was unable to score. Right-back Colby Eastwood created a dangerous scuffle in the Knight’s box when he flighted a dangerous chip into the box. The ensuing corner kick created no danger. On two occasions, Badger sent Clay-Storm behind the defense. The first attempt was forced wide, but in the 18th minute, Clay-Storm’s shot was deflected to create a corner kick. In the ensuing scrum in the Knights box, the ball came to the foot of Clark for a clean volley, but it went right to the keeper’s belly.

That effort in the 62nd minute proved to be the Eagles last, best chance. Twice in the final seven minutes, the Knights, defending with 10 men behind the ball, were able to make clearances which set off dangerous counterattacks. At the 73rd minute, a hustling Robbie Murphy recovered to break up a 3-on-2 Knights advantage. At 77 minutes, a Kingswood 3-on-1 was neatly broken up with some good anticipation of Narducci coming off his line.

Suiting up for Coach Clark this fall were seniors Colby Eastwood, Riley Hayes, Bryce Hill, Matt Nordwick, Dalton Petell and Aidan Sherlock; juniors Ansel Barclay, Ethan Clay-Storm, Jack Cryan, Aubrey Narducci, Liam Narducci, Ty Montowski and Cole Siefer; sophomore Willem Badger, Brigham Bettencourt and Alex Clark; and freshman Robbie Murphy.

“We lose some talent,” Clark said, “but we have a lot of talented boys coming back. Overall, I’m happy with how the season turned out because at one point I didn’t know if we would have a season. When it turned out we could start in-person practice I was over the moon.”

Clark enjoyed his first season at the helm and is looking forward to growing the program at Kennett.

“If they’ll have me, I’m in it for the long haul,” he said, smiling. “I’ve got to give the boys credit because my style was different than Dave (Hart, seven-year head coach). They took my style in full stride and did what I asked them to and respected it. I couldn’t be happier.”

He added: “I had a blast. I’ve told the boys I’d do anything to switch positions with them and still be playing. Any chance I got, if we were short a person, I’d jump into a drill with them. I think that led to a lot for the guys upping their intensity.”

Clark has advice for his players.

“Take a break for a little bit, stay in shape, put in the work over the spring and summer. Play with a club in the summer, it will definitely help your game.”

In the Division II semifinals, Oyster River will host Merrimack Valley and Souhegan will entertain Bow on Wednesday at 3:30 and 2 p.m., respectfully.

The championship match is slated for this Saturday at 2 p.m. with the winner of the Oyster River/Merrimack Valley match hosting it.

Continue Reading

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *