LANGDON, N.H. – “It would be easy to come up with excuses of how we didn’t win, but there was none of that. This team gained a lot of confidence as they went along. We graduated great seniors last year, two underclassmen we expected to be back were not with us, but this group played some positions they hadn’t played before and decided they wanted to be respected for their own worth.” Those were the words of Fall Mountain Girls Soccer Coach Bruce Ferland one day following his teams heartbreaking defeat to number one ranked Raymond 3-2 with penalty kicks playing the role of difference maker 4-3 in five shootout rounds on Sunday.
The 2017 Fall Mountain Lady Wildcats proved good enough to force a return trip to the New Hampshire Division III title game. They didn’t win, but they extended Raymond to the brink before seeing their final penalty kick sail over the cross bar. They were that close, but more penalty kicks prevented them from keeping the championship trophy in Langdon for another year. Ferland said, “Our program has expectations and I didn’t let this group off the hook. At first, some of them didn’t want to be compared to some of our strong teams of the past, but before the season ended, they knew they had worked hard and hadn’t quit. We did have some breakdowns in the final game, but they were playing a team that was very gifted and they won.”
Fall Mountain fell behind 2-0, but by the time Ali Monty and Zoey Loupa produced the get even goals, Raymond knew these Wildcats were a clawing bunch of warriors.
When the team gathered for their first practice in August, it certainly would not have been fair to ask them to contend, but Ferland said, “I thought it was going to be tough to be a top team, but they dug deep and worked hard and here we are.”
Senior Allie Stoddart had a strong season in goal, sweeper junior Zoey Utton performed well out front. A senior and a sophomore took care of the stopper positions, Izzy Lord and Syndie Rogers respectively. Senior left outside back Ellen Beck and sophomore right outside back Makayla Waysville chipped in their parts, and senior center midfielder Zoey Loupa was everything she was expected to be.
This team didn’t have much depth, and that was likely the most surprising feature connected with their success. Another senior center midfielder Maddie Parrott carried her load and scored the game winner with 5:19 to play versus Bishop Brady to carry the Wildcats into the final with a 3-2 win after surviving Hillsboro-Deering 2-1 in the quarterfinals. Rounding out the Wildcats roster on the field were senior left wing Ali Monty, junior forward Mary Beth Groton along with her twin sister, junior right wing Louise Groton. Some of these players were experienced, others developed along the way. When they needed some help junior Nicole Limoges and senior Montana Robar came off the bench and provided what depth they could. It wasn’t in the cards to defend their championship, but they came light years closer than most everyone expected.