Locals gear up for start of college seasons across state this fall

  • Chris Gallier

  • Taylor Silverstein

  • Jake Reynolds

  • Ethan Barbeau

  • Colin Cain

  • Chris Pinkham

  • Caitlyn Keenan

  • Cara Easter

Monitor staff
Published: 8/20/2019 8:32:55 PM

All of the incoming recruits have made their way to campus, preseason practices and scrimmages are underway and before long the regular season will be knocking at the door for college programs across the state.

With that in mind there’s a handful of locals ready to hit the ground running, or just make a name for themselves, when the fall sports season officially begins around New Hampshire.

At the top of that list is former Bow High soccer standout Chris Gallier, who is taking his talents from Saint Michael’s College to Saint Anselm this fall. Gallier, a four-year starting midfielder at Bow and an NHIAA First Team Division II player as a senior in 2017, makes the move after appearing in 15 games for the Purple Knights last season.

Gallier scored his lone collegiate goal in a Sept. 19 contest in Manchester – a nifty game-winner against Saint Anselm that earned him Northeast-10 Rookie of the Week honors. Now Gallier will get his chance to join the Hawks as they try to bounce back from a challenging 1-11-3 season.

“He is a very versatile midfielder who can play in multiple roles,” Saint Anselm men’s soccer coach Bruno Victal said. “He brings incredible speed and a very dynamic style of play to our roster.”

And Gallier won’t be alone in terms of familiar faces. Taylor Silverstein (Concord), Jake Reynolds (John Stark), Ethan Barbeau (Coe-Brown) and Colin Cain (Coe-Brown) will all compete for playing time on Victal’s roster.

Saint Anselm will make its season debut at home on Sept. 7 against St. Thomas Aquinas College before another home match against Roberts Wesleyan on Sept. 11. The Hawks won’t see their first Northeast-10 Conference game until a Sept. 17 game in Manchester against Saint Michael’s.

UNH

The University of New Hampshire men’s soccer team enters 2019 with high expectations. The Wildcats won the America East Tournament title last season at 12-4-2, made the NCAA Tournament for the third time in program history and now come in as the favorites in the conference after being selected to finish first in the America East Preseason Poll.

A pair of Concord High graduates in sophomore midfielder/forward Chris Pinkham and freshman defender Liam Bennett are hoping to be key pieces to another magical run in Durham.

Pinkham spent two seasons with the Tide, earning a starting spot as a freshman, tallying 15 goals and 22 assists over his career before moving on to play at Seacoast United Academy. Last season for the Wildcats, Pinkham appeared in 13 games and left his mark by scoring the game-winning goal against LIU Brooklyn on Aug. 31.

Bennett joins UNH after anchoring Concord’s back line for the past four seasons, two of which ended with Division I titles (2015, 2017). He finished with eight goals and five assists for the Tide last fall before falling short of another championship with a semifinal loss.

UNH is hoping he’s a big part of its recruiting class.

“Liam personifies every aspect we look for in a player who joins our program,” UNH men’s soccer coach Marc Hubbard said in a press release issued by the university. “He takes great pride in representing his state school, has tremendous work rate, possesses an excellent foundation to develop and has high upside.”

UNH will play Boston University at Wildcat Stadium on Aug. 29 to open the season. The America East Conference schedule won’t pick up until late next month, beginning with a home game against Binghamton on Sept. 27.

For the UNH women’s soccer team, the biggest local draw is Bow’s Caitlyn Keenan. The junior back/midfielder appeared in 12 games last season (eight starts), adding one goal on two shots.

Keenan earned NHIAA Division II First Team All-State honors in each of her final two years at Bow where she finished with 38 goals with 29 assists for the Falcons. She’s made 26 starts over her first two seasons with the Wildcats and will again be counted on again when UNH hosts Rhode Island for the season opener Thursday on ESPN-plus.

Elsewhere in Durham, several area athletes are eager to get the cross country season started. Concord graduate James Wilkes enters his junior season for UNH and comes in with confidence after setting career-best marks in the 5K, 8K and 10K events last fall.

On the women’s side, Concord’s Michaella Conery and Jennika Mannesto, as well as Elisabeth Danis (Coe-Brown), Lauren Dean (Gilford) and Avril Prak will all run for head coach Robert Hoppler.

SNHU

The Southern New Hampshire University women’s soccer team is on the rise after a 14-4-3 season a year ago, evident by its selection to finish second with five first-place votes in the Northeast-10 Conference Preseason Poll.

The Penmen lost three of its top five scorers from last year and should be looking for players to step into new or expanding roles all over the field, which is good news for Bishop Brady graduate Danielle Desruisseaux and Weare native Cara Easter.

Both sophomores, Desruisseaux and Easter are working toward finding an established role. Easter, a midfielder, appeared in 13 games for the Penmen last season after a stellar career at John Stark. Desruisseaux, meanwhile, joins SNHU after playing for the University of New Haven last year where she recorded three assists in 15 games.

SNHU kicks off the season at home against Mercy College on Sept. 6 before an early season clash against defending NCAA National Champion and second-ranked University of Bridgeport on Sept. 8.

(Jay McAree can be reached at 369-3371, jmcaree@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @JayMcAree.)




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