Hebron's boys' soccer team ended their season on Sunday afternoon in dramatic fashion to finish off an undefeated campaign while they claimed their first-ever New England Championship. In the NEPSAC Class C Final, Hebron beat The Masters School (NY) 1-0 when Michael Tahiru '18 scored with nine minutes on the clock to give the Lumberjacks the title.
This was the sixth straight year that Hebron had earned a berth to the New England tournament, but it was the first time they had reached the Final. Entering the tournament as the #2 seed, the Lumberjacks hosted Concord Academy in the quarterfinals. A goal in each half put Hebron into the semifinals where they faced Holderness for the second time this season. The Lumberjacks once again hosted the game, and the friendly confines of Allen Field helped Hebron secure a 1-0 victory and a spot in the NEPSAC Final.
In the Final, the Lumberjacks traveled to Deerfield Academy for a 12:30 kick-off. On Saturday, Masters had given Wheeler their first loss of the season, and they were hoping to do the same to Hebron in the Final.
The Lumberjacks had other ideas though, and Hebron's defense stayed strong all day as they did not allow Masters a shot on goal in the contest. Hebron took six shots on goal in first-half action as the game was played in master's half for the majority of the 45 minutes. Freddy Hohmann '17 came closest to scoring when hit the crossbar in the 35th minute, and the score remained 0-0 heading into halftime.
After the break, the Lumberjacks continued to create chances, and their breakthrough finally came with nine minutes remaining. Tahiru received a pass from Justin Bell '18 after a throw-in from Jaime Campos-Montes '17. Tahiru ripped a shot from the corner of the penalty box into the far corner, and Hebron had their dream goal. For Tahiru, this was his 35th goal of the season, which is an all-time record in a single season for the Lumberjacks.
They held on over the final minutes, and they finished the season with an 18-0 record. On the year, the Lumberjacks scored 96 goals, allowed just three, and they finished the season on a shutout streak of 1103 minutes. For Head Coach Kurt Swanbeck, he now holds a record of 79-26-8 over seven seasons at the helm.
Hebron Academy is a small, private, co-ed college preparatory boarding and day school for students in grades six through postgraduate located in Hebron Maine. Students from across the United States and around the world are challenged and inspired to reach their highest potential in mind, body, and spirit through small classes, knowledgeable and caring teachers who provide individual attention, and a friendly, respectful, family atmosphere.