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High Schools: John Stark girls’ lacrosse team picks up steam in 16-4 victory

  • John Stark's Gianna Pezzulo and Hopkinton's Grace Givens collide during the game at Hopkinton on Thursday, May 1, 2014.  John Stark won 16-4.<br/><br/>(ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)

    John Stark's Gianna Pezzulo and Hopkinton's Grace Givens collide during the game at Hopkinton on Thursday, May 1, 2014. John Stark won 16-4.

    (ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff) Purchase photo reprints at PhotoExtra »

  • Hopkinton's Sierra Schuster looks to pass the ball as John Stark's Danielle McCarron defends during the game at Hopkinton on Thursday, May 1, 2014.  John Stark won 16-4.<br/><br/>(ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)

    Hopkinton's Sierra Schuster looks to pass the ball as John Stark's Danielle McCarron defends during the game at Hopkinton on Thursday, May 1, 2014. John Stark won 16-4.

    (ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff) Purchase photo reprints at PhotoExtra »

  • Hopkinton's Tess Masci chases down John Stark's Sam Valcourt during the game at Hopkinton on Thursday, May 1, 2014.  John Stark won 16-4.<br/><br/>(ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)

    Hopkinton's Tess Masci chases down John Stark's Sam Valcourt during the game at Hopkinton on Thursday, May 1, 2014. John Stark won 16-4.

    (ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff) Purchase photo reprints at PhotoExtra »

  • John Stark's Katie Waligura looks to pass the ball as Hopkinton's Grace Givens defends during the game at Hopkinton on Thursday, May 1, 2014.  John Stark won 16-4.<br/><br/>(ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)

    John Stark's Katie Waligura looks to pass the ball as Hopkinton's Grace Givens defends during the game at Hopkinton on Thursday, May 1, 2014. John Stark won 16-4.

    (ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff) Purchase photo reprints at PhotoExtra »

  • John Stark's Gianna Pezzulo and Hopkinton's Grace Givens collide during the game at Hopkinton on Thursday, May 1, 2014.  John Stark won 16-4.<br/><br/>(ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)
  • Hopkinton's Sierra Schuster looks to pass the ball as John Stark's Danielle McCarron defends during the game at Hopkinton on Thursday, May 1, 2014.  John Stark won 16-4.<br/><br/>(ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)
  • Hopkinton's Tess Masci chases down John Stark's Sam Valcourt during the game at Hopkinton on Thursday, May 1, 2014.  John Stark won 16-4.<br/><br/>(ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)
  • John Stark's Katie Waligura looks to pass the ball as Hopkinton's Grace Givens defends during the game at Hopkinton on Thursday, May 1, 2014.  John Stark won 16-4.<br/><br/>(ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)

The first five minutes were messy for the John Stark girls’ lacrosse team. In the face of Hopkinton’s defensive pressure, the Generals were dropping balls, making questionable decisions and locked in a low-scoring tie.

“I was nervous early,” Stark Coach John Warner admitted.

But Samantha Valcourt settled things down in the midfield and Gianna Pezzulo sparked a four-goal run in the middle of the first half as the Generals (4-0) eased Warner’s nerves and into the lead. And they took total control with a pair of goals just before halftime and four more in the first six minutes of the second half to pull away with a 16-4 win.

Stark sophomore Katie Waligura (three goals) opened the scoring in the third minute of the game, but Sierra Schuster (one goal, one assist) tied things up for Hopkinton (2-3) less than two minutes later. It stayed tied until Pezzulo (six goals, one assist) scored in the eighth minute. The Stark junior also netted the next two goals and eventually the Generals took a 5-1 lead before Hopkinton’s Emma Ouellette scored with five minutes left in the half. But Stark erased that tiny bit of momentum when Pezzulo and Lizzie Brandt (two goals, one assist) scored in the last two minutes to give the Generals a 7-2 lead at the break.

“We were feeling good, and some of the girls were pretty happy walking off the field after that first half,” Warner said, “but (Hopkinton) is a tough team and we knew they weren’t going to give up.”

The Stark players heard that halftime message and responded. Pezzulo and Danielle Galli both scored twice in the first six minutes to push the lead to 11-2.

Valcourt didn’t score, but she did finish with seven ground balls and five draw controls and was instrumental for the Stark offense as it adjusted to Hopkinton’s aggressive defense. Casey Poirier finished with a goal and two assists for the Generals and Emily Edwards added a goal. Hopkinton’s Caroline Sweny had a goal and an assist, Tess Masci added a goal, and Ally Rose and Emma Donahue each had an assist.

Stark goalie Clarissa Foote made her first appearance of the season and finished with seven saves. Foote’s return, and that relatively low save total, offers some valuable insight into the Generals’ impressive 4-0 start.

Knowing Foote would be travelling in Europe and miss the first three games of the season, Warner focused on defense during the preseason, paying particular attention to limiting shots. That extra work, plus a fast, skilled and experienced group of defenders, has helped the Generals hold opponents to 6.5 goals per game.

“The biggest change from last year (when Stark finished 8-8) is reducing the number of shots,” Warner said. “We’d be winning games like this 16-10 or something like that.”

The Generals’ fast start got a kick start in the season opener when they claimed a 7-6 win over Kearsarge, a traditionally powerful program and the team that knocked Stark out of last year’s Division III tournament in the quarterfinals.

“Before the season started I asked them what their goals were and they said they wanted to make the tournament and get into the final four. But after beating Kearsarge, they believed they could do that and that they could play at a high level,” Warner said. “So I think, emotionally, that win was huge and it has really propelled them.”

GIRLS’ LACROSSE

CONCORD 18, NASHUA SOUTH 7

Adelaide Symmes and Grace Orzechowski had four goals apiece to lead the Tide to its second win of the season. Kaela Nikodem, Stephanie Resnick and Delana Erickson had three goals apiece, while Veronyca Daniels added one.

The Tide (2-3) led 9-3 at halftime as the game was never truly in doubt.

“They challenged us here and there with fast breaks but nothing major,” Coach Steph Johnson said. “I’m proud of the way the girls played today.”

Avery Loosigian and Amandaline Tibbals split the first and second halves in net, respectively, recording three saves apiece.

KEARSARGE 21, PELHAM 11

The Cougars (3-1) jumped out to a 14-5 halftime lead over the Pythons (1-3) and never looked back, coasting to the victory.

Libby Brooks (five goals, two assists), Eleanor Angus (three goals, three assists) and Anna Stowell (three goals, two assists) led the offense. Kaileigh Davis (three goals), Jonnalyn Burt (two), Ali Sailor, Kate Scheuch, Maci Hansen and Geneva Heffernan also added tallies for the Cougars.

Anya Nowicki and Bryna Carey split the game in net, totaling 10 saves.

Laconia 15, Merrimack Valley 4

The Pride offense, led by Hannah John, generated plenty of shots, but those shots didn’t translate into nearly enough goals against the Sachems (4-0). MV (0-4) also got solid performances from Sydney Rollins and Danielle Wiley.

BOYS’ LACROSSE

NASHUA NORTH 15, CONCORD 12

Tim Weinhold had six goals and an assist, but it wasn’t enough to lead the Tide (1-5) past the Titans (4-3).

Dan Lebell (two goals, two assists), Tyler Martel (goal, two assists) and Max Foisy (two goals) also had multi-point games. Sean Larner added a goal, while Travis Duhammel, Ian Scurra and Alex Marceau added an assist apiece.

Nick Zavarotny had 15 saves for the Tide in net.

Merrimack Valley 15, Gilford 9

The Pride (3-1) snapped a 2-2 tie with a 7-2 second-quarter burst on its way to a third straight victory. The Golden Eagles dropped to 0-5.

Cole Martin scored four times to lead five MV players who scored multiple goals; Martin also had an assist. Others with big offensive days were Tucker Burt (three goals, three assists), Warren Campbell (three goals, assist), Blake Gaboriault (two goals, two assists) and Alex Lacy (two goals).

Defensively, Taylor Blanchette led the way with six takeaways.

BASEBALL

PLYMOUTH 6, MERRIMACK VALLEY 1

The Pride (3-3) managed just one hit – a double by Brady Wentworth – and scored its lone run when Joe Dougherty came home on a Damon Perron groundout.

Jake Landry went the distance for the Pride, allowing six runs (four earned) and striking out six.

SOFTBALL

Merrimack Valley 6, Plymouth 4

Shortstop Brittany Fisher went 2-for-4 and delivered a two-run single in the top of the seventh to break a 4-4 tie and help the Pride improve to 2-3.

Lindsay Balch walked to lead of the seventh, Brooke Ellis followed with a single and both eventually scored on Fisher’s single up the middle. Plymouth (3-3) took a 3-0 lead into the fourth, but the Pride scored four in the frame on an RBI single from Kerry Fedion and a three-run triple from Rachel Demers. Demers also contributed from her spot in left field when she threw out a runner at the plate in the first inning.

Fedion earned the win in the circle, working all seven innings, allowing six hits, four walks and just one earned run.

JOHN STARK 10, LEBANON 0

Lindsey Turner was dominant in the circle, pitching all six innings and striking out 11.

The Generals (4-0) continued their winning ways thanks in large part to a four-run first inning in which they didn’t record any hit greater than a single.

“We played a lot of small ball in that inning,” Coach Rick Sweeney said. “It was impressive by the girls.”

Sisters Jilly and Jackie Kilar each went 3-for-4 with an RBI to lead the Generals offensively. Carly Cook (2-for-4) and Maddie Jenelle (1-for-1) also contributed at the plate.

BOYS’ TENNIS

Bishop Brady 9, Manchester West 0

The Green Giants (4-2) didn’t drop a single game against the Blue Knights (0-7).

No. 1 Raventh Damerla, No. 2 Jack Bryck, No. 3 Brendon Bryck, No. 4 Nick Vermette, No. 5 Thomas MacMullin and No. 6 Danny Bryck all won by 8-0 scores. Brady Coach Rick Skarinka pulled the top six out of doubles play, but the Giants still rolled to three 8-0 wins behind Jake Davis and Brandon Starkweather (first), Jackson Bouley and Sunguk Choi (second), and Trenton Bonk and Sam Marshall (third), who was playing in his first varsity match.

GIRLS’ TENNIS

BISHOP BRADY 9, MANCHESTER WEST 0

The Giants (4-1) dominated up and down their lineup as the Blue Knights (0-7) never stood a chance.

Shelby Harrington, Katie MacMullin, Lynn Yoon, Ravalika Damerla, Jenny Zhuang and Brianna Puleo were all victorious in their singles matches. The doubles teams of Zhuang and Damerla, Iantha Beane and Puleo, and Tatum Robinson and Gabrielle Purrington were all victorious as well.

BOYS’ TRACK AND FIELD

John Stark third

Stark junior Thomas Keon was first in the 400 and the triple jump, but the Generals (35.5 points) finished third in their three-team home meet behind Spaulding (76) and Goffstown (53.5). The Stark throwers had a productive meet as Dan Caterino was first in the shot put and Nate Moore finished first in the discus.

Hillsboro-Deering fourth

The Hillcats finished with 59 points in this seven-team meet at Campbell High in Litchfield. Conant (132), Campbell (118) and Portsmouth Christian (77) were the top four teams.

H-D’s Ian Robie took first in both the discus and the shot put and was third in the javelin. Seth Johnson also scored big points for the Hillcats by taking first in the 110 hurdles and second in the 300 hurdles.

GIRLS’ TRACK AND FIELD

John Stark second

It couldn’t have been much closer as less than three points separated the three teams at this meet in Weare – Goffstown (48.5), John Stark (46.5) and Spaulding (46).

The Generals swept the javelin with Hannah Nelson (first), Chloe Loos (second) and Julia Vivilecchia (third). Vivilecchia also took first in the discus. Stark’s other first-place results came from Madelyn Widger (200) and Erin Scott (400).

Hillsboro-Deering fifth

Hannah Murdough took first in the 100 hurdles and second in the long jump, and Breahna Savoy finished first in the 800 and third in the javelin to lead the Hillcats to 59 points. Host Campbell (103.5) finished first in the seven-team meet, followed by Portsmouth Christian (88), Conant (70) and Wilton-Lyndeborough (63).

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High school Stars of the Day

Friday, May 2, 2014

Gianna Pezzulo, John Stark girls’ lacrosse, 6 goals, assist in 16-4 win Libby Brooks, Kearsarge girls’ lacrosse, 5 goals, 2 assists in win Tim Weinhold, Concord boys’ lacrosse, 6 goals, assist in loss Brittany Fisher, Merrimack Valley softball, 2-for-4 with game-winning two-run single Thomas Keon, John Stark track, first in 400 and triple jump Ian Robie, H-D track, first in …

Legacy Comments1

Congrats lady Generals! Alas, there is no such thing as a flattering lacrosse action photo.

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