Titans now 5-0 after OT win over Londonderry

Staff photo by TOM KING Nashua North's Colin Miller tries to settle the ball on his foot while Londonderry's Bisan Gurung (15) waits for the outcome during Thursday night's key early season Division I game Thursday night at Stellos Stadium.

NASHUA – It was the kind of game that left players pounding the turf in frustration.

Yes, plenty of chances were missed by both the Nashua High School North and Londonderry boys soccer teams on Thursday night at Stellos Stadium

But not by Titan Sami Dieu Merci. His rocket free kick from about 35 yards out found the net with 3:06 left in the second 10-minute sudden death overtime for a 1-0 North win.

And the Titans great start continues, as they are now 5-0 in Division I.

“I was just looking for the net, and I was looking low,” Dieu Merci, a refugee from the Congo who has been at North for two years said.

“We’ve been working in practice and every time he has a great free kick from that side of the field,” North coach Josh Downing said. “And he hit it point blank, it went bar in. To go 0-0 through 97 minutes, and Sami puts it away, it was a heckuva goal.”

The free kick came when Lancer Bisan Gurung took down North’s David Guzman right at the 30.

“It was a pretty obvious call for the ref to make,” Lancer coach Todd Ellis said, his team now 3-2. “For the majority, I thought we did a good job possessing the ball. Just need to make a little bit better decisions in the final third to finish with.”

North’s other hero was goalkeeper Stephen Norris, who had 11 saves, all clutch. “He was outstanding,” Downing said.

North’s best opportunities otherwise came in the second half, thanks to rushes by Joseph Morse. By far the best opportunity came on free kick by Quinn Hilger that sailed high over the Lancer net. Lancer goalie Colby DiMaggio also had key save on a Titan header in traffic.

The Lancers? They had a few more chances, and their best came on a header by Alex Peters that a diving Norris got a hand on, and then it deflected off the far post. A few minutes later he robbed Londonderry’s Cody Hanley.

The Lancers appeared to have the better of the play in the first half and the clock actually robbed them. After a Titan takedown, Londonderry was set to have a free kick from about 20 yards out, but time expired.

“I can’t tell you how fun it is to coach these guys,” Downing said. “I’ve known a lot of these kids for a long time, coached them for a long time. There’s so much fight in them every single game, they never give up.”

Even when the frustration mounts. September has been anything but frustrating for North.