Previews of local schools’ NHIAA playoff matchups
High school tournaments today
Division III semifinals
At Southern NH University
No. 5 Lebanon (12-4) vs. No. 1 Kearsarge (14-0), 7 p.m.
Previous tournament games: Lebanon beat No. 12 Pembroke, 19-5, and No. 4 Plymouth, 17-9. Kearsarge topped No. 8 John Stark, 11-8, after receiving a first-round bye.
Head to head: Kearsarge won back-to-back games against Lebanon, 12-10 at home and 7-6 on the road.
Notes: The teams are very familiar with each other after having played twice in a six-day span just three weeks ago. Both of those games played out similarly, with Kearsarge attacking early and jumping out to a four- or five-goal lead before holding off a strong Lebanon comeback in the second half. Morgan Galluzzo, one of the top goalies in the division, is one of the keys to keeping Lebanon at bay. The other will be Kearsarge’s possession game, starting with All-American Gemma Bready in the midfield. Look for Bready, along with players like Haley Brook, Libby Brooks, Caitlin Anderson, Lianna Blakeman and Geneva Heffernan, to get involved in the Cougar offense. Defensively, Kearsarge will need to keep an eye on Lebanon’s Mo Moran and Emily Perryman.
Division III quarterfinals
No. 8 Franklin (13-4) at No. 1 White Mountains (17-0), 4 p.m.
Previous tournament games: Franklin bested No. 9 Berlin, 4-2. White Mountains shut out No. 17 Winnisquam, 4-0.
Head to head: White Mountains won in Franklin, 8-1.
Notes: Franklin knows the key to beating White Mountains is to keep the Spartans off the basepaths and limit their scoring opportunities, because that’s exactly what White Mountains does to its opponents. Since the Spartans have yielded more than a single run on just three occasions, if Franklin is going to pull off the upset, it’s likely to be a low-scoring affair. This game shapes up to be a pitching duel between Franklin’s Kelsey Bird and Spartans ace Erica Millett. Bird scattered just five hits in the Tornadoes’ playoff opener, while Millett fired a one-hit shutout. For the Tornadoes to knock off the defending champs, they’ll look to players like Bird, Lexi Colpack and Shelby Joyce to help spark the offense, which managed eight hits off Millett in the earlier loss.