Previews of local schools’ NHIAA playoff matchups
High school tournaments today
At Derryfield Park
Time schedule: 10 a.m. Division II girls; 10:40 a.m. Division II boys; 11:20 a.m. Division II awards; 11:30 a.m. Division I girls; 12:10 p.m. Division I boys; 12:50 p.m. Division I awards; 1 p.m. Division III girls; 1:40 p.m. Division III boys; 2:20 p.m. Division III awards
Notes: Division I – The Concord girls’ team has its sights set on a Meet of Champions berth after finishing seventh last year, and a victory in the Capital Area Cross Country Championship suggests the Tide will be eyeing a finish among the top four as well. Concord could also claim the top individual honor, as senior Smita Boesch-Dining’s time at last year’s championships was the second best of any returning runner. Talented freshman Cassie Shea (third in the Capital Area meet) will look to make a splash in her first division championships, while Erin Waters, Michaella Conery (38th in D-I championships last year) and Kate Andy (39th) all have Meet of Champions spots targeted. The Tide boys will be led by Pepper Smith, who was 30th in this event last year and had a strong second-place showing in the Capital Area meet. Division II – Without question, the team to beat on the girls’ side is Coe-Brown. The Bears rolled to the title last year, picking up five of the top nine spots – and each one of those runners is back. Hannah Parker (last year’s winner) and Elisabeth Danis (team-high third in the Manchester Invitational) will battle for first place, and Katie Scannell (fifth last year), Brooke Laskowsky (seventh) and Jessie Carney (ninth) provide plenty of depth. The boys’ race should be tighter, with no clear favorite. Coe-Brown brings back last year’s winner in Jeremy Brassard, while Lucas Fisher (24th last year) and Jared Nelson (45th) will be in the running for Meet of Champions honors. The Bears will get a fight from Merrimack Valley, however, as the Pride returns Brandon Polichronopoulos (13th last year) and is coming off of a third-place finish in the Capital Area meet. Division III – The battle between Bow and Hopkinton in the girls’ race will highlight the final races of the afternoon. The Hawks and Falcons finished second and third, respectively, in the Capital Area meet, and with Hopkinton defending a Division III crown, this showdown very well could decide the girls’ title. The Hawks are led by junior Emily Calder, the runner-up from last year and highest-finishing returning runner in the division, and sophomore Sarah Nadeau, who finished second in the Capital Area meet. Katie Irwin was 11th last year and will be eyeing a top-10 spot, and freshman Maddie Clark, fifth in the Capital Area meet, will look to score high in her first championship. The Falcons will be paced by a pair of freshmen in Olivia Krause and Sohani Demian, who were the team’s top two runners at the Capital Area meet, and they also sport a strong punch in Allie Krause and Hannah Weckstein (19th and 21st last year, respectively). Kearsarge’s Briggie Carr, who was 12th last year, could also challenge for a high spot. The boys’ race will see the same two teams battling a strong field for Meet of Champions berths. Individually, Andrew Weckstein (second last year) has a real shot at winning the race, and Peter LaRiviere and Andrew Attorri have also run well for Bow. Hopkinton’s top runner is Dom Repucci (sixth in Manchester Invitational, first in Capital Area), with Declan Campbell and Cody Roberge also having solid seasons.
Division III quarterfinals
No. 5 Newfound (11-4-0) at No. 4 Hopkinton (13-2-0), 2:30 p.m.
Previous tournament games: Newfound routed No. 12 Newport, 7-0. Hopkinton blanked No. 13 Somersworth, 4-0.
Head to head: Newfound handed Hopkinton one of its two losses, 3-2, on Sept. 18.
Notes: Hopkinton has a little revenge on its mind, and what better time to exact it than the postseason. When the teams met a month and a half ago, Newfound broke out to a 3-1 lead and the Hawks weren’t able to fully recover from that deficit. They know they’ll need to keep Karissa Bony in check – the Newfound player scored five goals in the tournament opener – and the defense and goalie Maddy Bergethon will certainly be tested more than they were in the Hawks’ tourney opener, when Bergethon didn’t face a single shot. On the other side, Brittany Marshall will be a focal point of the Bears’ defense. The senior scored both goals in the teams’ first meeting and had a goal and three assists to open the postseason. Ireland Tawney scored twice in the playoff opener and also had assists on Marshall’s two goals in the earlier loss to Newfound.
No. 7 Winnisquam (10-3-2) at No. 2 Gilford (13-0-2), 2 p.m.
Previous tournament games: Winnisquam shut out No. 10 Laconia, 3-0. Gilford rolled over No. 15 White Mountains, 6-0.
Head to head: The teams played to a scoreless tie early in the season, then Gilford won, 3-2, in late September.
Notes: These familiar Lakes Region rivals meet for a third time, and though Gilford comes in undefeated, not much separates the teams, especially if the first two meetings are any indication. Bears goalie Kendra Lonergan came up huge in the tie, as Winnisquam was the only team to hold Gilford to fewer than two goals all season. She’ll be looked on again to anchor the defense against a Golden Eagles team that averages five goals per game. Erin McNamara had the hot stick offensively in Winnisquam’s tournament opener, scoring twice, while Kayla Langan also found the back of the cage and Lauren Bolstridge and Madison Langan had assists.