Adversity can be a great teacher in the athletic world, and coach Todd Ellis and his Londonderry High boys’ soccer squad took on adversity bravely over the last few weeks of their 2014 season recently.
But the Lancers’ campaign came to an end this past Saturday, Nov. 1, when the ninth-seeded locals dropped a 2-0 quarterfinal tournament-round decision to the top-ranked Manchester Central Little Green at Gill Stadium in the Queen City.
“Central started 10 seniors, and due to injuries and such we started four,” said Ellis. “(Central was) bigger, stronger, and more aggressive. We struggled to generate offense, and they capitalized on a couple of mistakes and breaks.”
After playing the Little Green to a scoreless tie through the first half, the Lancers saw Central pot two unanswered goals in the second half to advance in the D-I tournament.
“This was a good opportunity for some players who were pulled up to get time in preparation for next year,” said Ellis. “It’s always disappointing to lose your last game, and I think that is how we are all feeling right now. It will feel funny when Monday comes and there is no practice. They were a fun bunch to coach and be around.”
In the lone meeting of the LHS and Central squads during the 2014 regular season – on Oct. 8 in the Queen City – the Manchester team managed to squeak out a 1-0 win. That victory was part of a six-game winning streak with which the 13-2-1 Little Green bunch closed out its regular season.
The ninth-ranked Lancers had advanced into their quarterfinal-round match with the top-seeded Central crew by pulling off a modest upset over an eighth-seeded Keene contingent that played especially strong ball on its home field throughout the fall.
In the rainy, 1-0, preliminary-round edging of the Blackbirds in Keene on Wednesday, Oct. 29, Nate Gaw’s unassisted first-half goal handed the visitors the margin of victory.
The locals went 10-6 during the regular season while Keene ended up at 10-5-1, but the squads didn’t meet up during the regular season. So Ellis and his boys had to go on hearsay and what they observed against the Blackbirds in the tourney match.
“(Goalie) Tim McEacharn and the back four of Scott Beedham, Nick Vanini, Max Hastings, and Scott Lynch played well today,” said Ellis.