(Newmarket NH) You’ve got to like their chances to win a title.
The #1 seed Newmarket Mules continued their magical season of undefeated soccer defeating Epping, 4-0, in the Division IV boys soccer quarterfinals on Friday night.
That’s eighteen straight for NHS and they continue to make it look easy.
This was their third win this season over #9 seed Epping (10-8).
“They’re tremendously athletic,” said Epping coach Jeff McDermott describing Newmarket. “They’re tall, fast and very aggressive. They don’t do a lot of backing up.”
The Mules are certainly all those things, but in this game, they were also the masters of set pieces. The first goal was off a direct kick. The second off a corner kick and the fourth goal off a throw in.
“Our successes in our set pieces was a key to this win,” explained Newmarket coach Nate Dowst.
Who could argue.
Every throw-in by senior Lucas Russell was potential trouble for the Blue Devils. Into the box they would go with plenty of Mules in the area.
“Lucas’ throw-ins have been a big asset all season,” said Coach Dowst. “It’s almost the same as a corner.”
The Mules had two goals in each half and kept Peyton Rivers (Epping goalie) busy most of the night.
Junior Felix Hoehner tallied the first Newmarket score ten minutes into the first half.
Senior Simon Cote lined up a direct kick after freshman Tyler Witmer was called for a handball. GK Peyton Rivers had the near side covered but Simon’s kick went toward the far side. Peyton deflected it but right to uncovered Felix Hoehner.
“There was a little bobble,” recalled Felix, “and I was there to clean it up, just like hockey.”
The Mules netted a second goal with 3:34 left in the half. This one was off a corner kick. Felix Hoehner took the kick and put it into the middle where senior Fred Holmes was.
“It was a beautiful ball,” recalled Fred. “There was some loose markage by Epping. I got a head on it and in it went.”
Junior Simon Chan was part of both second-half Newmarket goals.
On the first one (at 25:08), Simon broke in and got off a hard shot. Peyton Rivers deflected it onto the doorstep where teammate Nick Berthiaume had an easy tap-in.
On the second one (at 7:24) Simon, in heavy traffic, headed in a Lucas Russell throw-in.
The Mules (18-0) now move to the semi-finals to face Concord Christian on Monday night in Laconia. CC has three losses and didn’t face Newmarket during the regular season.
Jeff McDermott: “They’re a rival of ours but I wish them luck. We were much better this time against them. (The Blue Devils lost to NHS 7-0, and 7-1 during the regular season.) We changed things defensively this time playing a 5-4-1. Our goalie had a busy day. You can only hold off so many opportunities before one goes in.”
Nate Dowst: “It’s hard when you see a team for the third time. We came out with intensity from the beginning. We controlled the game and took advantage of our chances.”
Fred Holmes: “We played great and once we got one and two we started rolling. We really had fun with it. Our chemistry was great out there.”
Senior Hunter Bullock finished a terrific career with Epping. “Their back four are solid and made it tough when I got the ball. It was difficult to make good cuts on this field.” Future plans? “I might join the air force and then later go to UNH to pick up an engineering degree.”
Epping was 3-13 last year after winning the DIV title the year before.
Newmarket was 8-9 in 2017.
I saw Pride defeat Littleton in the title game last year. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Littleton in that game again but this time versus Newmarket. The Mules defeated Littleton 5-1 in the season opener this year.
(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)