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Preview capsules for today’s local playoff games


Saturday, November 04, 2017

BOYS’ SOCCER

DIVISION I FINALS

No. 7 Concord (14-4-1) vs. No. 9 Manchester Central (14-4-1), 7 p.m. at SNHU

HEAD TO HEAD: The Crimson Tide beat Central in Concord on Sept. 29, 1-0.

PREVIOUS TOURNAMENT GAMES: Concord took care of No. 10 Timberlane, 2-1, No. 2 Londonderry, 1-0, and No. 3 Salem, 1-0. The Little Green beat No. 8 Nashua South, 4-0, No. 1 Bedford, 1-0, and No. 4 Pinkerton, 2-0.

NOTES: When these two met in the regular season at Memorial Field, Central was undefeated and ranked No. 8 in the nation in the United Soccer Coaches poll. Concord, on the other hand, was 6-3 and coming off a 2-0 loss to Bedford. But after the game Tide Coach Scott Dunlop said his team had, “by far our best effort of the season, by far the best level of play this season...we definitely hit a stride today.” The Tide has maintained that stride, going 8-1-1 since the win. The game had a very different impact on Central’s season as it began a five game stretch that saw the Little Green go 1-4. Central has clearly righted the ship since then and hasn’t allowed a goal in the tournament. With a defense led by keeper Liam Devanny and cetner back Liam Bennett, the Tide has been almost as stingy this postseason, allowing just one goal. So scoring will be at a premium on Saturday night and Concord will look to its two big guns, senior midfielder Taylor Silverstein, who set the school record for regular-season goals this year with 16 (incluging the game-winner against Central) and junior forward Chea Chebo, who has two goals in three playoff games, including the game-winner in the semfinals against Salem.

DIVISION II FINAL

No. 2 Pembroke (17-1-1) vs. No. 1 Windham (17-1-0), 4 p.m. SNHU

HEAD TO HEAD: The two teams did not meet during the regular season.

PREVIOUS TOURNAMENT GAMES: The Spartans downed No. 15 Kearsarge, 4-0, No. 7 Oyster River, 3-1, and No. 3 Bow, 1-0 (4-2 PK). Windham was the one D-II that earned a first-round bye. Afer that, the Jaguars beat No. 9 Plymouth, 1-0, and No. 13 Goffstown, 4-0.

NOTES: After losing in the semifinals last year, this Pembroke team with a loaded senior class seems to be fulfilling its destiny by playing for a title. The Spartans have a dynamic offense led by seniors Damon Smith, Josh Dion, Matt Ferguson and Cameron Rivard, and a tight defense led by senior twins Tyler Smith (keeper) and Justin Smith (center back in PA’s three-man back line). Pembroke has posted 10 shutouts this season and allowed just 14 goals, a 0.74 goals per game average. Those are impressive numbers, but Windham has them beat. The Jaguars and keeper Ben Wentworth have recorded 13 shutouts this year and allowed a mere five goals for a stunning 0.28 goals per game average. Although Windham is the higher seed, the Spartans come in riding a 13-match winning streak while the Jaguars have won nine in a row. Windham’s last loss came on Sept. 27 against Oyster River, which also happened to be the last top-eight team the Jaguars played. Pembroke, on the other hand, had late regular-season wins against quality opponents like John Stark and Bow. The Spartans may be able to get on the front foot early against this Windham team that hasn’t faced a side of Pembroke’s quality in weeks.

DIVISION III FINAL

No. 2 Hopkinton (17-2-0) vs. No. 1 Derryfield
(17-0-0), 1:45 p.m. at SNHU

HEAD TO HEAD: The Hawks lost at Derryfield, 4-0, on Sept. 26.

PREVIOUS TOURNAMENT GAMES: Hopkinton took care of No. 15 Mascenic, 4-1, No. 10 Prospect Mountain, 3-1, and No. 3 Gilford, 2-1, in overtime in the semifinals. The Cougars beat No. 17 Sanborn, 6-0, No. 8 Belmont, 3-0, and No. 4 Raymond, 7-1.

NOTES: Before the season began, Hopkinton Coach Scott Zipke pinpointed Derryfield as the team to beat in Division III. The Cougars have certainly looked like it so far, averaging 5.1 goals per game and giving up just 0.6 goals per game. But Derryfield was also looked like the team to beat last year, and that’s exactly what the Hawks did in the semifinals, 2-1, on their way to winning the D-III title. The Cougars exacted a measure of revenge during the regular season this fall with by beating Hopkinton 4-0, a win that saw Derryfield attack with numbers from the back and confuse Hopkinton’s defense. Expect Zipke to prepare his Hawks for that same strategy on Saturday, and expect the Cougars to keep a careful eye on Hopkinton’s Paul Molnar, who has been on fire during the tournament with six goals in three games, including the game-winner in overtime against Gilford in the semifinals. But don’t expect either team to be fazed by the big stage – this will be Hopkinton’s fourth trip to the D-III finals in the last six years (the Hawks won it all in 2013 and 2016) and Derryfield won four straight D-IV championships from 2012-15 before moving up last year. “We’re pumped,” Molnar said. “Derryfield is a very good team so it will be a great match.”

FOOTBALL

Division II quarterfinals

No. 8 Bow (6-2) at No. 1 Windham (8-0), 1:30 p.m.

HEAD TO HEAD: Saturday’s quarterfinal game will be the first meeting between Bow and Windham this season.

NOTES: Bow avoided a meeting with the top-ranked Jaguars in last fall’s tournament after eventual champion Plymouth knocked Windham out of the semifinals in a narrow 20-18 contest. Bow reached the championship round at Wildcat Stadium in Durham, but the Falcons fell to Plymouth, 27-24. This is Windham’s last chance at a Division II title as the program moves up to Division I next year. Windham won the title in 2014 and returned to the finals in 2015 but lost to St. Thomas. Bow, now playing their second season in D-II, won its last state title in 2013 in D-III.

No. 6 John Stark (6-2) at No. 3 St. Thomas (7-1), 1 p.m.

HEAD TO HEAD: This is the only time these two teams will meet this season.

NOTES: The Generals were dispatched from the first round of the playoffs last fall by Bow on its way to the finals. This year, John Stark defeated Bow in a narrow 7-6 game on Oct. 21 for the Generals’ sixth straight win, a game that helped them earn the tournament’s sixth seed. Stark then ran into a tough Hanover squad and was dealt a 22-12 loss at home to close the regular season. St. Thomas’s only loss of the season came on Sept. 30 to top-seed Windham, 25-16.

Division III quarterfinals

No. 8 Kearsarge (4-4) at No. 1 Monadnock (8-0), 1 p.m.

HEAD TO HEAD: Monadnock defeated Kearsarge, 36-7, on Oct. 13.

NOTES: After opening the season 3-1, Kearsarge hit a tough skid to close out the season and went 1-3 down the stretch. The Cougars last game to close the regular season was a 14-12 loss to seventh-seed Inter-Lakes/Moultonborough. Monadnock closed the regular season with a tight 8-6 win over No. 6 Stevens, but that was the only close game of the season for the Huskies, who averaged 41.5 points per game and allowed just 6.3 ppg.

No. 7 Inter-Lakes-Moultonborough (4-4) at No. 2 Campbell (8-0), 1 p.m.

HEAD TO HEAD: Campbell shut out the Lakers, 42-0, in Week 2 on Sept. 9.

NOTES: Inter-Lakes-Moultonborough has made the semifinals each of the last two seasons, but to make it three in a row the Lakers will have to do what no other team has – beat Campbell. The Cougars ran wild against the Lakers during the regular-season meeting between the two teams, piling up 395 rushing yards while holding the Lakers to just 38 total yards of offense. Campbell’s last championship and appearance in the finals was 2014.

CROSS COUNTRY

Meet of Champions

At Nashua South High School
Girls’ race 2:30 p.m., boys’ race 3:20 p.m.
Top 6 teams and 25 individuals qualify for New Englands

AREA TEAMS: Boys: Bow, Coe-Brown, Concord, Kearsarge, Winnisquam; Girls: Coe-Brown, Hopkinton, Kearsarge

AREA INDIVIDUAL QUALIFIERS: Boys: Bow – Kirpal Demian; Coe-Brown – Evan Tanguay, Luke Tkaczyk, Wyatt Mackey, Dawson Dubois, Gavyn Lewis; Concord – Forest MacKenzie, Eli Boesch-Dining, Ollie Spencer, Matt O’Brien, Nate Nichols, David Cook, Ryan Devine; Inter-Lakes – Ian Daly; John Stark – Brandon Langdon; Kearsarge – Aidan Brooks, Trevor Pauling, Mason Benedict, John Cunningham; MV – David Reynolds, Matt Reynolds; Winnisquam – Kyle Mann. Girls: Belmont – Alice Riley, Alexus Day; Bishop Brady – Anna Grafton; Bow – Sarah Ciotti; Coe-Brown – Addison Cox, Abby O’Connor, Elly McDonough; Concord – Morgane Orcutt, Molly Bragg; Hopkinton – Emma Rothe, Sydney Stockwell; Inter-Lakes – Maya Weil-Cooley; Kearsarge – Mya Dube, Jenna Bears; Laconia – Delia Cormier; Winnisquam – Faith Gosselin

NOTES: Boys: The Concord boys put together a historic run going 1-2-3 at the D-I championship and its not out of the question they could do it again on Saturday. MacKenzie, Boesch-Dining and Spencer had the first, second and fourth fastest times at Derryfield Park last week out of all three divisions. The Concord boys are the favorites to win the MOC title and could have all seven runners in the top 25. Coe-Brown’s Tanguay is coming off a D-II title and had the third-fastest run overall. Coe-Brown is also in the running for the top six team. MV’s David Reynolds had a strong race in D-II and could also crack the top 25. Girls: After narrowly losing the D-II title for the second-straight year, Coe-Brown is looking to make its 10th consecutive appearance at New Englands. Cox, O’Connor and McDonough could finish in the top 25, as could Kearsarge’s Dube, who is coming off a strong D-III title-winning race.