Memorial boys look to recover from slow start

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Manchester Memorial players celebrate a goal on Sept;. 14 against Salem, a 1-0 victory. Photo/Stacy Harrison Find this pictures and more for viewing or purchase.

MANCHESTER, NH – Having graduated 12 seniors last year, the Manchester Memorial High School boys soccer team, with three returning lettermen from 2022, is off to an uneven start to their current campaign.

After losing a 1-0 heartbreaker against Nashua South (6-2) in the season opener, the Crusaders earned a 2-1 upset at Bedford (5-2), one of the favorite’s in Division I, on Aug. 29 and two-days later battled to a 0-0 draw against Winnacunnet (4-2-1).

Since that hard-fought 1-1-1 start, the Crusaders have dropped three of their last four contests, including a 2-1 home loss to previously winless Bishop Guertin in extra time.

That, after allowing an early 1-0 advantage to slip away.

“We come here, we lose our composure and we think we’re better than they are, and they come in and out hustle us on our pitch,” said Memorial head coach Jerold White. “That’s all it is. They wanted it more than we wanted it.

“We controlled the game for 60 minutes or so, but we just couldn’t put the ball in the net and then they come down and they score,” he said. “And then overtime, we don’t put the ball in net, we don’t clear our lines … everything happened the same way from the beginning of the game. They kick the ball up to No. 7, he bodies up and takes a shot. All we’ve got to do is stop him from scoring, but it was scripted, it was done and it is what it is. Great goal.”

In fairness, No. 7 on BG is one of the more polished scorers in the state, said Cardinals head coach Tyler VanDeventer.

“Rayaan Hameed is one of the best attackers that plays in Division I,” said VanDeventer. “All he needs is that little sight of goal, and we talked about it. He hadn’t gone to his left, 1-v-1, yet, and I said, ‘if you go to your left, you might get the opportunity,’ lo and behold, he finishes on his left foot.”

And while Hameed found the back of Memorial’s net with both feet Tuesday, BG sophomore goalkeeper Beau Boughter made 7 saves to keep the Crusaders out of his net after the early goal.

“I’ll chalk it up to a great goalie,” said VanDeventer.

“(The Crusaders) are definitely be in the playoffs team,” he added. “I would say, overall, Division I has a clear pack at the top, and then there’s a middle and kind of a clear bottom … Right now, I’d say they are probably middle of the pack, and that’s no slight against them, it’s just the reality of where some programs are right now.”

Currently 2-4-1 and sitting 13th in D-I, Memorial looks to start moving back up the standings tonight when they make the short trek to Gill Stadium to face Queen City rival Manchester Central (5-2) at 6:30 p.m.

“My goal is to coach a team and hopefully they can step up to the things we ask them to do and execute,” said White of his expectations for the remainder of the season.

“We can play,” he said. “The issue is, can we play consistently for 80 minutes, and right now, we put together 10 minutes here and 10 minutes there, but we’re not able to consistently play for 80 minutes … there’s nobody that’s willing to grit it out and play. We just need to see what we’re made of.”

Check back later tonight for a recap of the Central contest.

Photo/Stacy Harrison Find this pictures and more for viewing or purchase.

About this Author

Ryan O'Connor

As a longtime journalist in Southern New Hampshire, Ryan O'Connor has written for several local online and print publications covering everything from school board meetings and local high school sporting events to major crime stories and New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation presidential primary (yes, the last two are mutually exclusive). In addition to spending time with his beautiful wife and four amazing children, Ryan enjoys attending and serving at church, golfing as much as possible, home brewing, playing softball and snowboarding when time allows.