Previews of local schools’ NHIAA playoff matchups
High school tournaments today
Division III championship
At SNHU, Manchester
No. 3 Hopkinton (15-2-2) vs.
No. 1 Bow (19-0-0), 10 a.m.
Head to head: Bow won both meetings by shutout, 4-0 in the first week of the season and 2-0 in mid-October.
Previous tournament games: Hopkinton eliminated No. 14 Somersworth, 4-0, No. 11 Prospect Mountain, 4-0, and No. 7 Campbell, 5-1. Bow stopped No. 16 Kearsarge, 5-0, No. 8 Monadnock, 4-1, and No. 5 Raymond, 4-1.
Notes: For the fifth time since 1998 and the second year in a row, it’s neighbors Hopkinton and Bow squaring off for the Division III (previously Class M) title. The previous four were all won by Hopkinton, 1-0. Last year – like this year – the Falcons came in as the undefeated top seed but suffered their only loss in overtime. You can be sure the returning players have a little something to atone for. On the other side, the Hawks lost to Bow twice this year, so they have something to prove, as well. It should be another classic. Both teams have rolled through the postseason with relative ease. Courtney Benson was a force for the Hawks in the semifinals (as she has been all year), scoring twice and assisting on two other goals. But she’s hardly a one-player show: Meg Hemmerlein and Brianna Curley each notched a goal and an assist and Aaliyah Curley also scored as the Hawks spread around the offense. Defensively, Hopkinton limited Campbell to only three shots on goalie Kasey Smith. Similarly, Bow came out attacking, scoring twice in the first 13 minutes of its semifinal. Lauren Scarpetti set up those two goals with corner kicks, the first scoring on an own goal and the second off the foot of Sarah Carlson. Caitlyn Keenan and Naomi Kramer also scored, showing that Bow, too, is a versatile offensive squad. Keeper Janna Corsetti and the Falcon defense have allowed just six goals all season.
Division II championship
At SNHU, Manchester
No. 9 Pembroke (13-6-0) vs.
No. 3 Souhegan (15-3-1), 4 p.m.
Head to head: Souhegan edged Pembroke, 2-1 in overtime, in the first week of the season.
Previous tournament games: Pembroke topped No. 8 Merrimack Valley, 5-1, No. 1 Portsmouth, 2-0, and No. 5 Coe-Brown, 1-0. Souhegan beat No. 14 Lebanon, 2-1, No. 6 Goffstown, 2-1, and No. 7 Hanover, 3-2 in penalty kicks.
Notes: It’s the newcomers vs. the old guard in Division II, where Pembroke is making its first appearance in a girls’ soccer title game and facing Souhegan, a program that has been in three straight finals (winning in 2011) and has played in 14 title games since 1992, winning 11 of them (including nine straight from 1992-2000). Both teams have certainly been tested on their way to the final. Pembroke has posted three straight upsets, while Souhegan has been in a trio of one-goal games, being pushed through two overtimes and penalty kicks in the semifinals. Pembroke has employed a smothering defense during its tournament run, with goalie Kristin Kezar not allowing a single ball past her for the last 160-plus minutes, thanks in part to defenders Molly Hamilton, Peyton Plante, Emma Foss, Skylar Carter and Lexi Duclos. Offensively, Brianna Douglas scored off an assist from Emilee Harlow for the deciding goal in the semifinals, while Keerstyn Allen and Celia Sartwell did the honors in the quarterfinals. Pembroke will need to keep an eye on Peyton Kent, who scored twice off corner kicks in Souhegan’s semifinal win.
Division II championship
At Pinkerton Academy, Derry
No. 2 Windham (16-2) vs.
No. 1 Coe-Brown (17-1), 5 p.m.
Head to head: Coe-Brown swept Windham, 3-0, a month ago.
Previous tournament matches: Windham beat No. 7 Somersworth, 3-1, and No. 3 St. Thomas, 3-0. Coe-Brown swept both No. 8 Portsmouth and No. 4 Gilford, 3-0.
Notes: Though Coe-Brown swept Windham when they met up on Oct. 11, it was hardly a one-sided affair. The Bears took the first set with a solid 25-14 win, but battled back and forth in winning the next two, 25-21 and 26-24. That match-up was a battle for the top spot in Division II, and they’ve come full circle with a final match for No. 1. The Bears have been dominant, particularly in the last month and a half, having dropped just one set in their last 13 matches. Windham has been a bit more vulnerable, with seven teams taking at least a set from the Jaguars. Meg Rouillard, Emma Easler and Abby Ahern have been forces at the net for the Bears in the postseason, with accurate sets from Sadie Steffen. Amanda Riley led the service effort in the semifinals, hitting at 100 percent. Ahern and libero Debbie Peabody spearhead the defensive effort. Windham’s offense runs through setter Melissa Cino, with Lexi Sawyer and Emiline Sundman leading play at the net. Though both schools are making their first appearance in the title match, they are familiar playoff opponents. Coe-Brown swept Windham in last year’s quarterfinals, 3-0.
New England championships
At Derryfield Park, Manchester
Race times: Girls at 11:30 a.m.; boys at 12:30 p.m.
Area female qualifers: Coe-Brown (team) – Elisabeth Danis, Hannah Parker, Jessie Carney, Brooke Laskowsky, Meg Scannell, Katie Scannell, Mary Fowler; Concord (team) – Smita Boesch-Dining, Erin Waters, Samantha Pearl, Michaella Conery, Cassie Shea, Kate Andy, Kaelin Willette; Hopkinton – Sarah Nadeau, Maddie Clark
Area male qualifiers: Coe-Brown (team) – Jeremy Brassard, Lucas Fisher, Davio Deluca, Jared Nelson, Alex Prevatt, Zach Flanagan, Jake Scarponi; Hopkinton – Dom Repucci
Notes: Coe-Brown’s girls come into this year’s New England championships looking to continue their upward progression. The Bears finished third two years ago and second last year. Standing in their way is defending champion Barrington, which won the Rhode Island championship by just three points over La Salle. Champlain Valley Union, from Vermont, last year’s third-place finisher, is also expected to be among the contenders. Individually, Danis finished 17th last year to lead the Bears and looks to improve on that finish. Laskowsky (37th), Parker (43rd) and Concord’s Boesch-Dining (47th) were all in the top 50 and will be looking to move into the top 25 to take All-New England honors. On the boys’ side, Bishop Hendricken, from Rhode Island, is the two-time defending champion, with La Salle, which finished just five points behind in this year’s Rhode Island state meet, right on its heels. Individually, Brassard was the top Granite Stater last year, finishing 19th, and will be looking to move up, with 12 of the runners who finished in front of him having graduated.