Girls’ soccer: Coe-Brown loses to Hollis-Brookline in first-ever championship game appearance

Coe-Brown celebrates Abbey Frank's (12) goal in the fifth minute of Sunday’s Division II championship game against Hollis-Brookline.

Coe-Brown celebrates Abbey Frank's (12) goal in the fifth minute of Sunday’s Division II championship game against Hollis-Brookline. Chip Griffin / Photos By Chip

Coe-Brown defender Maggie Escabi battles with Hollis-Brookline’s Marleigh Kreick for possession during Sunday’s Division II championship game at Bill Ball Stadium in Exeter.

Coe-Brown defender Maggie Escabi battles with Hollis-Brookline’s Marleigh Kreick for possession during Sunday’s Division II championship game at Bill Ball Stadium in Exeter. Chip Griffin / Photos By Chip

Coe-Brown goalkeeper Sadie Scruton secures a save in the Division II championship game against Hollis-Brookline on Sunday.

Coe-Brown goalkeeper Sadie Scruton secures a save in the Division II championship game against Hollis-Brookline on Sunday. Chip Griffin / Photos By Chip

The Coe-Brown Bears console each other following their 2-1 championship game loss to Hollis-Brookline on Sunday.

The Coe-Brown Bears console each other following their 2-1 championship game loss to Hollis-Brookline on Sunday. Chip Griffin / Photos By Chip

By ERIC RYNSTON-LOBEL

Monitor staff

Published: 11-05-2023 9:37 PM

Modified: 11-05-2023 11:35 PM


EXETER – No. 3 Coe-Brown (14-4-1) didn’t look like a team that hadn’t ever before played in a championship game, at least early on. Just five minutes into Sunday’s title match with No. 1 Hollis-Brookline (19-0-0) at Exeter High School, Abbey Frank headed in a corner from Alyviah Blad to put the Bears ahead 1-0 and energize the sizable Bears’ faithful in attendance.

But the Cavaliers – who allowed just four goals all season and never more than one in a game – never wavered. In the 35th minute, Hollis-Brookline’s Rosalie DeSantis poked a shot into the back right corner of the net, out of the reach of Bears’ keeper Sadie Scruton. Shortly after halftime, in the 48th minute of action, DeSantis again finished off a goal with help from teammate McKenna Maguire to push the Cavaliers ahead for good.

Coe-Brown put forth a spirited attack in the final stretch but came up short in the 2-1 loss.

“I’m just proud of the girls in general,” head coach Josh Hils said after the game. “This team just had such a resolve, and we knew that Hollis-Brookline was going to be a good game. You don’t go undefeated (by accident), but I think we gave them one heck of a game in a title match.”

Coe-Brown’s season started uninspiringly, with back-to-back 2-1 losses against Merrimack Valley and Bow. But then the Bears caught fire; they finished the regular season 12-1-1 over the final 14 games. After beating No. 6 Milford in the quarterfinals, Thursday’s victory over No. 7 Pembroke vaulted the Bears into uncharted territory for the program.

That 2-0 win over the Spartans in the semifinals accomplished their goal from the very beginning.

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“We wanted to get here. We got here,” Hils said. “It would’ve been nice to be on the other side of that scoreboard, but I have nothing but love for these girls. Hopefully we can get back here again next year.”

Coe-Brown’s five-player senior class (Somer Loto, Alyviah Blad, Lily Wolf, Kylie Prusia and Avery Wells) played a major role in elevating the program to this point, Hils said, helping to lay the groundwork for this year’s run. 

“Most of the seniors in this group have been with us since freshman year on varsity, so they really established a culture, they established the way to do things, and our juniors have learned from them over the last three years of what we want to do and how we want to do it,” he said.

And though it didn’t ultimately end with the Bears celebrating their first championship in program history, the historic season for Coe-Brown can only serve as a jumping-off point for continued success moving forward.

“Just proud of these kids,” Hils said. “We wanted to play in November, and we got the chance to do a couple of them, so it was fun. Just not on the right side of that scoreboard.”