Girls’ soccer: For the second time in three weeks, Bow ekes past Pembroke in one-goal affair

By ERIC RYNSTON-LOBEL

Monitor staff

Published: 09-20-2023 11:33 AM

BOW – Death. Taxes. Bow and Pembroke girls’ soccer playing a one-goal game.

It’s almost a guarantee that when the two schools match up, the game will be decided on a razor’s edge, and that held true once again on Tuesday in a 3-2 win for the Falcons.

The two teams met in Pembroke just three weeks ago when the Falcons’ Sidney Roberge buried the game-winning goal with under 15 seconds remaining to steal a 2-1 victory. On Tuesday, things were a little less tense, but the Spartans still kept things interesting. After Bow (5-1-1) took a 1-0 lead on a goal from Cara Van Dyke 8:39 into the game, Pembroke (3-4-0) responded with a goal from Bailey Gatchell less than three minutes later to even the score. Then, after the Falcons took a 3-1 lead following two goals in five-and-a-half minutes from Van Dyke and Lexi Insana, Pembroke responded with a goal from Layla Thorne to cut it to 3-2. 

Headed into halftime, the Spartans seemed to have some momentum on their side, but the second half proved unfruitful, with few scoring chances. Here are three takeaways from the rivalry matchup:

Bow seeing improvements on offense

In the season-opening game against the Spartans, the Falcons took a bit to find their rhythm on offense. On Tuesday, it didn’t take long. Van Dyke finished two strong goals in front of the net, and Roberge set her up perfectly for the second goal with a pinpoint pass from near midfield.

“It was beautiful,” Bow head coach Jay Vogt said of the assist from his senior on the freshman’s second goal. “She sees the field so well and plays some great balls.”

Offensive growth is something Vogt said he’s seen more of as the season has progressed. Even though his team has only scored more than three goals in a game once, the technical components – moving the ball and playing with aggression – have steadily improved. Van Dyke’s two goals showcased that, outrunning the defense on the first goal and staying persistent and patient around the net on the second.

“That’s what we need,” Vogt said. “We need that hunger to get the ball in the net. We’re getting there.”

Falcons’ focus turns to not letting up

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Both goals Bow allowed on Tuesday came within three minutes of the Falcons having scored themselves. A similar pattern occurred in their 2-2 draw with Lebanon on Friday, Vogt said. Moving forward, it’s a matter of not letting their guard down in those critical moments.

“We’ve gotta be focused after we score,” he said. “That’s the biggest thing, not to let teams back in. We let Pembroke back in.”

Those goals allowed immediately after scoring are always a frustration, but still being able to complete the regular season sweep of the Spartans leaves a better taste in Vogt’s mouth, aware of how tough games with Pembroke always are.

“Great effort from the girls,” he said. “Pembroke’s a tough team to beat.”

Spartans head back to work

For a team that only lost three times all season a year ago, 2023 has certainly had a different trajectory. It hasn’t been a total surprise to head coach Jess Kaufman-Desrochers, knowing that she entered the season with a bit more youth and inexperience. That’s why from day one, she’s honed in on doing what she can to put the team in its best position come playoff time. Still about a month away from that, there’s still much work to be done.

Her team’s resiliency Tuesday, though, provides a strong jumping off point.

“Not the result we wanted, but there's some really good things to take from this. We went down 1-0, and we battled to the tie. We went down 3-1, and some teams would kind of roll over, but we didn't,” she said. “We just kept working until the last minute, and kept them on their toes. … We haven’t been in this position, record-wise, for a few years, so it feels a little bit different, but we will just continue to work and continue to improve.”

After the game, Kaufman-Desrochers asked her team to think about their play through windows and mirrors. They need to open the windows, she said, to look to see how they can improve their teammates’ play. They also need to look in the mirror to identify their own strengths and weaknesses. 

“I think sometimes this season, we’ve been our own worst enemy,” she added.

“We’re just going to keep working like the Spartans always do.”

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