JAFFREY — The ConVal Regional High boys’ soccer team will be making a long cross-state trek to Exeter Wednesday night — and the Cougars couldn’t be happier.
The defending Division II soccer champions punched their ticket back to the state semifinals with a solid 3-0 victory over Manchester West Saturday at Conant High School. The match was switched to Jaffrey because of poor field conditions on ConVal’s home pitch.
Next up is a match with No. 5 Bow Wednesday at 6:15 p.m., at Bill Ball Stadium in Exeter.
Though seeded No. 1 with a 14-1-2 mark, it hasn’t been all smooth sailing for the Cougars, who have endured injuries and a loss to second-seeded Lebanon in their penultimate regular-season match. But by finishing first, they earned a bye and avoided playing a first-round game Wednesday and advanced straight to the quarterfinals.
Saturday, Del Bonsu-Anane headed home a corner kick from Max Shumway seven minutes into the match to give them the only goal they would need. It was their 10th shutout in 17 matches this season.
ConVal dominated the first 40 minutes, though it led only 1-0 at the half. Bonsu-Anane quickly gave it some breathing room three minutes into the second half with a shot into the left corner of the net. Colby Knight and Bonsu-Anane worked a give-and-go late in the match, with Knight scoring the final goal.
Next up is a Bow team (10-4-3) that ConVal defeated in its regular-season finale, 3-0. But the Falcons are coming off a 4-0 victory over Milford in its quarterfinal match Saturday. No. 2 Lebanon and No. 3 Oyster River will square off in the other semifinal Wednesday at 4:15 p.m.
Division I quarterfinals
Hanover 2, Keene 1 — After downing Londonderry last week in its first-round match, the Blackbirds drew third-seed Hanover in the quarterfinals. Though they played the Marauders tough before a large crowd on their home pitch in Hanover, they couldn’t quite overcome one of the top squads in Division I.
Trevor Fay scored the goal for No. 6 Keene (11-5-2) in the 45th minute, which tied the match at 1-1. However, Amane Matsuoka scored the game-winner about 15 minutes later, and Charlie Adams had two assists to lead the Marauders.
Eric Ringer gave Hanover a 1-0 lead seven minutes into the match. Matsuoka’s game-winning goal curved inside the near post, on the 19th assist of the season by Adams.
The win sets up a semifinal matchup featuring No. 2 seed Manchester Central and Hanover Tuesday at Stellos Stadium in Nashua. The two teams have quite a recent history with the Little Green ending Hanover’s season a year ago with a 4-0 defeat in the semifinals.