It was a win or go home game for #6 Exeter Boys Soccer Wednesday night at William Ball Stadium. The team took on #2 Timberlane in the first of the NHIAA Division I State Soccer Semi-Finals. A game started off as a back and forth affair with lots of offensive plays coming early from both sides. With no goals by the end of regulation, Exeter went into overtime.
Timberlane dominated the first overtime and Exeter fans started to fear for their team, but the Blue Hawks came out strong without allowing a goal. Knowing they had taken the #2 team in the state this far, they would not give in. During the second overtime, Exeter dominated with lots of great opportunities from seniors Jake Gould and Hunter Smith, some quality stops by goalie Caden Blazek, and amazing defensive plays by Eddie Zhao and Tucker Guen.
With four minutes left to go in the second overtime the Blue Hawks hard work finally paid off. Exeter junior, Quinn Mantegari (number 18), ran down the sideline with the ball, a Timberlane player challenging him as he ran. Just as Mantegari maneuvered around the Timberline player, he was tripped. With a “play on” signal from the official, Mantegari got to his feet fast and reached the ball that was sitting on the 45 yard line. As two more opponents approached quickly, Mantegari beat them with pure speed. He ran more than half the length of the field to finally beat the goalie, giving Exeter the sudden death win 1-0.
The team is headed to their first state championship in 10 years and plays #9 Manchester Memorial at SNHU at 7 P.M. Saturday November 5th. During the regular season the Blue Hawks won against Memorial 3-2 after an amazing comeback. Good luck to the team as they try to win the NHIAA division 1 championship for the first time in 15 years!