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Previews of local schools’ NHIAA playoff matchups

High school tournaments today

Boys’ lacrosse

Division III championship

At Stellos Stadium

No. 2 Hopkinton (17-0) vs. No. 1 Derryfield (19-0), 7 p.m.

Previous tournament games: Hopkinton ousted No. 15 Con-Val, 8-4, No. 7 Kearsarge, 12-3, and No. 3 Hollis-Brookline, 8-5. Derryfield eliminated No. 16 Gilford, 14-3, No. 8 Kingswood, 18-5, and No. 4 Plymouth, 12-11 in overtime.

Head to head: The teams did not meet during the regular season.

Notes: The Hawks and Cougars spent all season beating up on the rest of Division III, and now the two forces will meet in the championship for the first time in a contest between the state’s top two defenses. Hopkinton, which took the title in 2011, avoided some of the division’s top teams during the regular season but made up for it in the semifinals, controlling play and defeating defending champion Hollis-Brookline. Meanwhile, Derryfield, the 2010 champion, was unstoppable throughout the year, scoring at least 13 goals in all but one game, holding every opponent to single figures and finishing with the state’s top offense and defense, but needed overtime to prevent an upset in the semifinals. The Hawks have thrived offensively all year, and the Cougars’ close brush with Plymouth should give them confidence that they can crack Derryfield’s formidable defense. One thing that helps Hopkinton in this challenge is its versatility, as Ned Metcalf, Austin Cowan, Doug Fleury and Bennett Mosseau have proven more than capable of stepping up if top weapon Henry Merrow is held in check. The Hawks defense will have to be just as good, however, as Austin Hunt, James McCluskey, Jake Hemmerlein and goalie Matt French can expect to be busy against a potent Cougars attack led by Grant Alenson, Jim O’Brien and Matt Milne.

Softball

Division II semifinals

At Southern NH University

No. 4 Goffstown (15-5) vs. No. 1 Coe-Brown (16-2), 7 p.m.

Previous tournament games: Goffstown edged No. 13 Pembroke, 7-6 in eight innings, and shut out No. 5 Sanborn, 5-0. Coe-Brown beat No. 16 Plymouth, 3-1, and overcame No. 8 Milford, 7-6 in eight innings.

Head to head: The teams did not meet during the regular season.

Notes: It’s been a dream season so far for the Bears, but stretching it all the way to the Division II final will require them getting past their stiffest challenge yet. In the Grizzlies, Coe-Brown will face its first opponent ranked in the top seven of the standings, and one that went 6-4 against teams over .500. Though the teams’ strength of their regular season schedules was different, their playoff experiences haven’t been. Both the Bears and the Grizzlies had to win a pair of competitive games, and both had to survive extra-inning affairs. Coe-Brown’s eight-inning tilt was especially dramatic, as the Bears had to overcome a 6-3 deficit just to have the chance for extras. In doing so, Coe-Brown proved it won’t be an easy out. Kianna Daudelin has been the hero of late, throwing all eight innings against Milford while going 4-for-5 with three RBI, while Lauren Jones (3-for-4) and Amanda Riley (2-for-3) have helped provide the offensive support. If they continue to do so, the Bears could be looking at their first final berth since winning it all in 2010.

Boys’ volleyball

Division I quarterfinals

No. 5 John Stark (11-5) at No. 4 Pinkerton (13-5), 5 p.m.

Head to head: The Generals lost to the Astros, 3-0, on May 3.

Notes: John Stark’s playoff opener will double as a chance for some payback, as Pinkerton came away from the teams’ only regular-season matchup with a win. To even the score, however, the Generals will have to slow an Astros team that’s been on a roll since that May day, winning eight of their last 10 matches and only dropping tilts to No. 1 Salem and No. 2 Londonderry. Stark will need to be clicking on all cylinders to get an upset, which means strong efforts on offense from Simon Becka and Serge Boucher and continued standout play at the net from Carson Dunn and Zach Grattan.

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