GROVETON — Four different players scored goals as Littleton ousted Groveton 8-0 in a cold, stiff wind Sunday in the Division IV girls soccer quarterfinals.
Kaylee Manzella owned two goals and four assists, while Olivia Corrigan contributed three goals and an assist, Hannah Brown added two goals and Bre Lemay a goal and an assist.
The unbeaten Crusaders (13-0) are on a road show to stay alive in the D-IV playoffs that took them to Pittsburg-Canaan for a 3-1 win then Gorham for a 6-0 victory and on to Groveton for the second shutout win in a row. Because the seeds were generated randomly within regions, the Crusaders will now visit Moultonborough (5-2) in Thursday’s semifinals. The Panthers knocked out Woodsville on Sunday.
“The girls seem to be resilient and don’t seem to think they got the short straw. We’re fighting and that’s what matters,” said coach Clinton Brown. “The team doesn’t seem to have a problem scoring like we have in some recent years. The girls have a great nose for the ball. Up front and in the middle, they know what they’re doing. They’ve been together since the third grade and understand what they have to do to react to each other.”
The team two Eagles with a scoring average of less then one (.6) through the 10-game season found themselves up against a team with 48 goals (4.8 average) goals scored against four given up through 10 games.
According to Brown, the plan was to take care of business as quickly as possible. “We had to pay attention and the girls did step up. A great team effort and our younger players did get valuable touches.”
Littleton built 3-0 lead in the first six minutes. Corrigan opened at 3:39 with help from Manzella, then Lemay connected on a feed from Corrigan for the second goal at 4:07 before Manzella had an assist to Corrigan.
Brown emphasizes passing and it showed. “The first thing to practice is passing. Pass and move. Pass and move. You can’t score if you can’t get the ball there.”
Eagle goalkeeper Katherine Bushey was working her way through 17 saves and denied Carrie Meunier and the Lemay from close to hold the Crusaders to three by the half. Marrisa Kenison and Micki Grootenboaer were intercepting threats.
A mere 28 seconds into the second half, Manzella struck on a setup from Lemay. Another shot rattled the crossbar. Three more goals came within 14 minutes of each other. Manzella unassisted made it 5-0 and a 66:05, Corrigan struck her third goal on a feed from Manzella then Hannah Brown scored with help from Manzella. The eighth and final goal came from Brown.
Groveton ends with a 4-6-2 record and will graduate Emmalee DeBlois and Nodia Davenport. First-year Eagle varsity coach Rachel Welch offered, “We’re a sophomore heavy young team developing skills and moving the ball. We’ve had more wins then the past few years. We had a lot of girls injured and even had to petition an eighth-grader up to have two on the bench for today.”