Thursday, August 30, 2012

Hanover Boys Soccer Makes a Statement

The Hanover High boys soccer team is making some serious headlines right now. They won 6 Division II championships in the last 7 years. So what did they do over the off-season? They petitioned up to play in Division I, despite the fact that they have an enrollment of only 740 kids and all of the other D-I schools have at least 1,500.

In their first game of the season Hanover crushed Dover 7-0. Then on Tuesday they traveled to Gill Stadium to take on a Manchester Central team that has won 2 D-I state titles in the past 3 years (including last year) and has been in the D-I finals for each of the past 3 seasons.

Hanover came away with a 1-0 win in that game over Central, making a statement that they are a force to be reckoned with, even in a division with schools 2 or 3 times as big as them. It was a huge win for the Marauders program, and also their head coach as Robert Grabill notched his 100th career win as coach.

"They pushed us all over Gill for most of the first half, but we hung in there and started generating offense in the final 50 minutes of the game" said Coach Grabill. "In the end, the shots were fairly even, but it took a penalty kick and a great goalie performance for us to steal a 1-0 win."

I applaud Hanover for petitioning up to take on some better competition. It is a credit to Coach Grabill and his players that they have had so much success over the years dominating D-II boys soccer and that they have been able to continue that success in D-I. Their win on Tuesday over Central should give hope to smaller schools all over the state. It shows that enrollment numbers don't matter and that if you work hard anything is possible.

"Junior Daniel Hazlett scored on a penalty kick for the only goal
of the game" said Grabill. "Senior goalie Duncan Piper, (a Middlebury recruit) made several spectacular saves to keep us in the match. Senior center midfielder
Brendan Barth was a tireless two-way player, and defenders Sam Carey and Xavier
Tchana were outstanding."

Bedford High, who won last year's D-II title in boys soccer, also moved up to Division I. They moved up because of enrollment numbers. The Bulldogs beat Salem 7-0 on Monday in their first game of the season.

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