By Dan Hogan
---- — EXETER — It was a birthday that James Baiguy will never forget. The senior scored one of Windham’s two goals in the Jaguars’ 2-0 victory over Hollis-Brookline in the New Hampshire Division 2 state title game yesterday at Exeter high school.
This is the second consecutive state championship for Windham, which also defeated Hollis-Brookline in last year’s state championship.
After the game, Jaguars fans broke out in a “back-to-back” chant, followed by a “happy birthday” sing along with Baiguy’s teammates. “We worked hard every day, just for this day,” Baiguy said after the game, trying his best find the right words to say amid the excitement.
For fellow senior Tucker Lippold, last night offered a chance to make up for a missed opportunity in last year’s championship game. Although the Jaguars won that game, Lippold missed his shot during the shootout.
Last night, Lippold was set up less than 20 yards from the net for a penalty kick. This time he connected — firing the ball past the goalie with just 4:07 left in the first half. “As soon as we got the penalty kick I knew I wanted to shoot it so I could get redemption,” Lippold said.
It was only a minute and 24 seconds later that Baiguy connected on a penalty shot of his own. The 30-yarder was Baiguy’s third of the tournament and gave the Jaguars a 2-0 lead that they would never relinquish. Baiguy also came up huge in last year’s title game, playing the role of hero in the penalty-kick shootout.
This is the third straight year that Windham has met up with Hollis-Brookline in the tournament. Windham lost to the Cavaliers in the semifinals two years ago before beating them in the state championship last season.
Despite the rivalry between the two schools, Windham head coach Michael Hachey didn’t want his players looking at it as a rematch.
“I tried to make it clear that it wasn’t a rematch,” he said, “We didn’t want to pull all those emotions into it. Keeping composure is the most important thing — focusing on this 80 minutes, not anything that happened earlier this season or last season.”
Lippold and Baiguy are just two of the 13 seniors who played their last high school soccer game last night. For Lippold and his teammates, this title was every bit as sweet as last year’s, if not better.
“It’s unbelievable,” Lippold said, “two state championships in a row? It’s the most amazing feeling you could ever feel in the world.”
Lippold added that he and the other seniors feel even more responsible for this championship this time around.
“Last year, a lot of us juniors felt like we were helping to write their (last year’s seniors) story. This year, it was about us and our story. So the drive was always there to finish our story and cap it off with a great ending.”
It’s safe to say that it was a great ending for this Jaguars team.