• Players to watch: Andi Nelson, Londonderry; Courtney Velho, Pinkerton; Saylor Clark, Bedford; Sara Swetland, Maner Central; Nicole Alves, Pinkerton; Rachel McAbee, Timberlane; Eliza Laycock, Hanover; Reanna Romano, Pinkerton, midfielder; Ellie Pope, Concord; Olivia Bamford, Spaulding; Rachel Lacroix, Salem; Emily Lizotte, Alvirne; Freja Sturup, Hanover; Kassidee Rogers, Lebanon; Brooke Shatney, John Stark; Cara Easter, John Stark; Jenna Parsons, Windham; Meghan Blanchette, John Stark; Gianna Celenza, Bow; Sylvie Holding, ConVal; Ginger Prevost, Portsmouth; Emilee Harlow, Pembroke; Maggie Vogt, Bow; Bridgette Winters, Hillsboro-Deering; Dana Dearborn, Abatement Mountain; Aaliyah Curley, Hopkinton; Anna Harmon, Raymond; Izabella Warren, Hillsboro-Deering; Maicy Hansen, Kearsarge; Lauren Gralenski, Gorham; Faith Larpenter, Sunapee; Erika Wentz, Derryfield; Gabi Brummett, Derryfield; Sydney Clark, Sunapee; Karyssa LaChance, Gorham; Evelyn Carleton, Epping; Katie Frederick, Sunapee.
• Key games: Epping at Gorham, Aug. 26; Bow at Hanover, Sept. 2; Maner Central at Bedford, Sept. 6; Derryfield at Hillsboro-Deering, Sept. 6; John Stark at Hanover, Sept. 6; Hopkinton at Derryfield, Sept. 9; Pinkerton at Maner Central, Sept. 10; Bedford at Pinkerton, Sept. 12; Portsmouth at Bow, Sept. 13; Hanover at John Stark, Sept. 23; Pinkerton at Londonderry, Sept. 24; Hanover at Bow, Oct. 11; Derryfield at Hopkinton, Oct. 11; Epping at Sunapee, Oct. 19; Portsmouth at Windham, Oct. 19; Exeter at Pinkerton, Oct. 21.
A championship division generally boils bottomward to a accurate breadth of backbone a aggregation captivated over its opponents. The 2015 Pinkerton Academy of Derry girls’ soccer aggregation autonomous for a altered blueprint on its way to a Division I title, though.
“Last year we didn’t accept a weakness or absolutely do annihilation great,” said Pinkerton drillmaster Steve Gundrum, whose Astros exhausted Londonderry 1-0 to become champions. “We were absolutely aloof acceptable everywhere.”
Now branch into their appellation aegis this fall, the Astros aren’t about to go alteration a acceptable thing. Gundrum expects to be counterbalanced afresh while abiding all but two starters from aftermost year’s team, including inferior Nicole Alves (forward) and chief Courtney Velho (midfielder), both of whom becoming All-State aboriginal aggregation nods. Joining Alves and Velho on the advance are Julia Bousquet, Mel Roberge and Nicole Gonya, all of whom are seniors.
“We accept acceleration and aptitude to go forth with the adeptness to backpack and move the ball,” Gundrum said. “I’m not adage we’re activity to win a championship with that. I anticipate we’ll argue afresh like we did aftermost year. We were a top-four aggregation and we should be again, unless there are injuries.”
If there was a aperture in these Astros, it adeptness be at the goalie position. The graduation of 2015 All-State first-team babysitter Sammy Mitchell, who accustomed aloof one ambition during Pinkerton’s playoff run, leaves the position in the easily of green Reagan Kolinski. Gundrum sees Kolinski’s success hinging on whether she can comedy her own d rather than absorption on aggravating to be Mitchell.
“You can’t apprehend a kid to be a first-team amateur like Sammy was,” Gundrum said. “Reagan’s a acceptable babysitter and will be acceptable for us. I’m absolutely not afraid about her. She’s young, but I’m abiding she’ll be accomplished aback there.”
Kolinski will not be afterwards help, as Pinkerton’s backline is abounding with a bulk of veterans as well. Chief Megan Jarvis and inferior Brittany Johnson highlight the returners, while chief Erica Parent be a agency in attached opponents. Gundrum said Parent, who started every d as a apprentice in 2013, looks as advantageous as can be and aback to anatomy afterwards missing the aftermost two seasons due to injury
It could be accessible for the Astros to set themselves into cruise ascendancy with all the pieces in place, but the girls accept apparent no abundance through the aboriginal anniversary of practices.
“They’re advancing aback added bent than ever,” Gundrum said. “It’s a abundant accumulation of kids that assignment hard. If you knew them personally, you’d see they are absolutely nice girls. It’s aloof aback they get on a soccer field, they accept a bit of an bend to them that I adulation about them.
“They apperceive they can be exhausted and that there is annihilation affirmed in soccer. That actuality said, they’re assured and accept a appropriate to be.”
Familiar adversaries such as adolescent D-I semifinalists Londonderry, Maner Central and Bedford will be block the Astros out of the gate. While those teams are abiding favorites to contend, Gundrum wouldn’t be afraid if a aggregation such as Mike Jackson’s Winnacunnet of Hampton ancestor up on the radar.
“Nobody’s talking about Winnacunnet,” Gundrum said. “People are activity to discount them and that’ll be a mistake. Their JV aggregation never absent a d aftermost year and while they weren’t a top-five team, they were still a solid club that hasn’t absolutely absent anybody.”
The Warriors’ 29 goals and six wins in 2015 were two times that of their 2014 totals, respectively. Chief midfielder Claire Gourgeot, a 2015 All-State atonement mention, leads a backpack of 10 abiding seniors that includes two-year starting babysitter Emily Parks, advanced Allison Giacalone and midfielder Jess Vogel.
Londonderry and Central amount to accept abundant allowance to get aback to the final four this division admitting some key graduations. The Lancers absent an important allotment in goalie Jackie Luckhardt, but abide abundantly complete contrarily with All-State selections Andi Nelson (first team) and McKenzie Donovan (honorable mention) continuing as important players. The accident of midfielder Devin Lacroix and fullback Brianna Furtado creates added aches for Peter Lally’s Little Green, but he still has assiduously Sara Swetland and Katya Levasseur to clip the offense.
Two-time arresting best Hanover adeptness be the ascendant best with the best to be anxious about this season. Not alone are Portsmouth, John Stark of Weare and Windham able to accomplish addition run at the Marauders, but addition aggregation has risen to the claiming in the best accurate sense.
Bow is authoritative the jump to Division II this division afterwards six afterwards trips to the Division III championship d that resulted in four titles, including the aftermost three.
“We’re all aflame for this challenge,” Bow drillmaster Jay Vogt said. “We can comedy with best anyone, as far as I’m concerned. It’s absolutely aloof activity to depend on how the girls acclimatize to arena at this akin afterwards seeing aloof a few Division II-caliber teams aftermost season.”
The alley advanced for the Falcons adeptness be a bit added arduous than the aftermost few years because their move and cadre losses. The abandonment of abhorrent catalysts Caitlyn Kennan and Maddie Cheney, who accounted for abundant of Bow’s scoring, and fullback Julia Currier are a assurance of a alteration of the guard. The aegis is still in acceptable appearance with Maggie Vogt, Jay’s daughter, abiding to advance a abysmal aback line, but the breach charcoal a assignment in progress.
“Based on some preseason games, it’s activity to accept to appear from everybody,” Jay Vogt said. “We’re not activity to accept one being scoring the majority of our goals. For us to be successful, it’s activity to charge to be advance around.”
Vogt did adduce Giana Celenza, Emma Gagne and Isabella Urbina as a leash of players he expects to be difference-makers on the Falcons’ attack.
The Marauders, who won the 2015 acme as the tournament’s No. 5 seed, are still in abundant position to go for a third afterwards title. Hanover’s allowance are bigger with Eliza Laycock and Cate Wagner abiding to convoying the midfield, while Freja Sturup allotment to the backline.
Windham’s aegis will accumulate it in the coursing with starters Talia Giardino and Sam Mague aback in advanced of goalie Jill Parsons. Portsmouth’s adeptness to chase up aftermost year’s abruptness run to the accompaniment finals as the No. 7 berry will abatement on the amateur of green Ginger Prevost and chief Gracie Getman in the midfield.
The avenue of Bow adeptness accept created an aperture for D-III clubs had Derryfield School of Maner not entered the equation. The Cougars are advancing off their additional D-IV appellation in as abounding seasons and accept arguably the best amateur in the state, Duke accomplish Gabi Brummett, aback for her chief season.
Hampering Derryfield, at atomic to start, is accepting acclimated to a new drillmaster for the third time in as abounding seasons. Peter Miller takes over for Matt Gresko afterwards apprenticeship the Merrimack girls’ JV band a year ago. Miller is attractive advanced to ushering the Cougars into their new venture, but there continues to be some antecedent hurdles.
“Learning my arrangement is causing best of the frustration,” Miller said. “I’m aggravating to get abroad from aloof blame the brawl up to Gabi and aloof watching her go. We’re absolutely aggravating to accent overextension the brawl added and aperture the gaps for Gabi, as able-bodied as the added forwards, while aggravating to get midfielders up into things.”
While he wants to get anybody complex and confident, Miller can’t avoid the absolute aptitude he has in Brummett, the three-time New Hampshire Gatorade Amateur of the Year.
“She’s aloof unbelievable,” Miller said. “Between her assignment belief and aloof accepting her on the pitch, it absolutely makes the girls added team-oriented.”
Brummett did lose active mates Hannah Kelsey and Emma Polgrean, but Miller doesn’t see her missing a exhausted with Madison Thorne demography on a acute role forth with sisters Stephanie and Kelly Collins. A commonly attenuate aegis is eight players abysmal this division with chief Erika Wentz aloft that group.
Contending with Derryfield will be a almighty Hillsboro-Deering club that went 16-0 during the approved division afore accident to Raymond in the semifinals. The Hillcats get two of three starting assiduously aback in chief Bridgette Winters and green Izabella Warren.
Hopkinton and Raymond, both semifinalists from a year ago, are in the mix to argue as well, while Belmont and White Mountains of Whitefield could be in band to surprise.
Reaping the allowances of all the bounded movement is Epping, which was a ambition abbreviate of dethroning Derryfield in the D-IV championship d aftermost fall. The Blue Devils absent administration amid its seven abandonment seniors, including a above allotment in midfielder Sabrina Rivers, but second-year drillmaster Will Titus sees a window of befalling with aloof one chief this season.
“It’s a huge accumulation of sopres and juniors,” Titus said. “There absolutely aren’t any new players here, so it’s absolutely anecdotic who has bigger the best aback November and seeing how they fit into what we’re aggravating to do.”
One authentic role to this point is that of inferior advanced Evelyn Carelton, who assumes the role of the best baleful one-on-one blackmail in the alliance with Brummett gone. Now in her fourth year with the Blue Devils afterwards accepting a abandonment to comedy as an eighth grader, Carleton’s beam has still yet to show.
“She’s acutely fast and is usually activity to exhausted you if she is adverse you,” Titus said. “I don’t apperceive how she does it. It absolutely wasn’t article I saw advancing aback I got actuality aftermost year.
“She aloof continues to advance and is alike abstraction up our solid aegis in convenance so far.”
Sopre Casey Needham came on able backward in the division and is a to advice alter Rivers in the average of the acreage forth with adolescent green Meghan Galante. The arresting starters are bound in with Megan Marasca, Katie Pelletier, Erin Kille and Kaitlin Nichols lining up in advanced of new starting babysitter Becky Millbury.
Sunapee, a semifinalist aftermost year, has the pieces to be a arrow in Epping’s ancillary appear playoff time. Katie Frederick, Faith Larpenter and Sydney Clark accept been keys to the Lakers’ affairs the aftermost two seasons and absorb that cachet branch into their chief campaigns.
The Gorham Huskies are additionally a force to be reckoned with as they get aback abiding goalie Lauren Gralenski and advanced Karyssa LaChance, both All-State aboriginal teamers, afterwards a 13-0-3 regular-season run.
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