High schools: Concord boys’ lacrosse continues postseason hunt with win over North

  • Concord’€™s Kyle McKinnon rears back to shoot during the first half of Thursday’s victory over Nashua North at Memorial Field. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

  • Concord’€™s Brendan Pearl moves in during the first half against Nashua North on Thursday, May 16, 2019. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Published: 5/16/2019 10:39:09 PM

The turnaround for the Concord High boys’ lacrosse program this spring started long before the first faceoff of the season.

“I think we kind of came into this season expecting to do better than we did last year,” Concord senior Jeffrey Emmons said. “Us captains, we organized a lot of things in the offseason, a lot of captains’ practices and team-building activities just to try and get the guys ready for the season.”

The result has the Tide looking like a completely new team – one that proved it could compete early on in the year and kept its playoff hopes alive in Division I after handing Nashua North an 18-5 defeat at Memorial Field in Concord.

From 3-14 a season ago to 8-6 after Thursday’s win, it’s been some kind of reversal for the Tide.

“Last year might have been a blessing in a weird way,” Concord coach Jeff Smith said. “It kind of pushed them and showed them what level they have to play at and they’ve been answering the bell. I would say the captains, the leadership and the culture is the big thing this year.

“They’re a lot of fun to coach, they were fun to coach last year, too, but I felt bad with of some of the scores because they were a good group and didn’t quit,” Smith said. “This year, they’re starting to see that pay off.”

The victory leaves Concord in seventh place in D-I, and Timberlane – the Tide’s opponent on Tuesday – sits right behind Concord in eighth for the final playoff spot. Souhegan (7-5), and Nashua South (8-7) are also fighting for postseason berths, leaving four teams to battle it out for three spots.

“I think they know. At a certain point we don’t need to do a lot of the motivating,” Smith said of his conversations with the team about the opportunity to make the tournament.

“One thing coach Smith says a lot is just leaving the program better than you found it,” said Concord junior defender Max Van Fleet, who added a goal and an assist on Thursday. “That’s the big thing for us and that’s the goal.”

A playoff appearance would certainly leave the program in a favorable spot after the season, but to get there the Tide still had to make sure not to overlook Nashua North (1-13).

Concord set the tone from the very start, netting five goals in each of the first two quarters to quickly build a 10-3 lead at halftime.

Freshman attack Ryan Doherty scored three of his five goals in the first half, while senior Brendan Pearl (four goals, two assists) also added three scores and Emmons (three goals, three assists) scored twice in front of goalie Jay Blasko, who made life difficult on North’s attack.

“I thought we were good,” Smith said. “When you’re a little stronger than the other team you always just want to push fundamentals. This was a good game to show what works and what doesn’t work, and at the end of the day, all these guys have evolved skill-wise.”

The Tide didn’t hold back as the second half got started, either.

Fueled by four straight wins from Emmons in the faceoff circle, Concord scored the first four goals of the quarter in rapid succession as Eaton Tarbell (two goals), Doherty and Pearl all found the back of the net within the first five minutes to go ahead, 14-3.

Pearl, Daniel O’Brien, Noah Fye and Doherty all added scores the rest of the way to help put away the Titans.

“I think just right now having a winning record and a winning program mentally is a big thing,” Smith said. “If you do that, the playoffs will take care of itself.”

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

Girls’ Lacrosse

Concord 14, Nashua North 13

Key players: Concord – Mary Martinson (4 G), Erin Doherty (4 G), Nicole Toler (3 G); Nashua North – Campbell Haller (6 G), Kaylee Hubbard (3 G)

Highlights: The Tide forced numerous turnovers in the midfield and converted them to goals in the first half to take the lead and keep an edge going into the second half.

Coach’s quote: “Today’s game wasn’t perfect, but we did enough of the small things right to get the win. Our hustle in the midfield really made the difference by causing turnovers and taking positions away from North. It was a great late season win for us.” – Concord’s Amanda Bacher

Records: Concord 6-8; Nashua North 4-11

Pembroke Academy 9, Lebanon 4

Key players: Pembroke Academy – Cierra Hill (4 G), Britney Hill (A, 9 GB), Kerra Vallee (GB), Savannah Wallace (3 G), Lindsay Hawkins (G), Kaylie LeBlanc (A), Chloe Lacourse (7 saves)

Highlights: The Spartans built a 6-0 lead in the first half as they jockey for a postseason bid.

Coach’s quote: “With the goal of making playoffs for the first time in many years, we knew today’s game against Lebanon was an important one. The girls came ready to play and put the pressure on in the first half.” – Pembroke’s Kayla Granoff

Records: Pembroke Academy 7-5; Lebanon 6-5


Merrimack Valley 4, Kearsarge 0

Key players: MV – Cal Chevarie (7 IP, W, 8 K), Griffin Wheeler (2-for-3, run), Chase Keyser (2-for-3, 2 runs)

Highlights: MV posted two runs in both the third and fourth innings and Chevarie did the rest, scattering four hits over seven innings in the complete-game effort.

Records: MV 7-6; Kearsarge 1-10

Bow 4, St. Thomas 0

Key players: Bow – Ben Harris (4 IP, 3 H, 0 R), Matt Lamy (3 IP, 0 H 0 R), Kyle Martin (2 hits), Steven Guerrette (2 hits, RBI), Tony Sampo (RBI), Connor Blandini (RBI)

Highlights: Bow broke open a scoreless game with two outs in the sixth. Sampo drew a bases-loaded walk, Blandini was hit by a pitch to score another and Matt Hamilton sent a ground ball through the hole at shortstop to plate a third run.

Records: Bow 11-1; St. Thomas 7-4

Laconia 2, Hopkinton 0

Key players: Laconia – Ryan Dee (CG, 2 H, 12 K, 1 BB); Hopkinton – Mike Baer, Kevin Newton-Delgado

Highlights: A pitchers’ duel turned into a loss for the Hawks on a couple of hits and two huge errors, which allowed two Laconia runs to score in the third inning. Baer and Newton-Delgado collected the only Hopkinton hits on the day.

Coach’s quote: “Sometimes wanting to win isn’t good enough. We saw a pitcher today who flat out beat us. Tip your hat to Ryan Dee, that was the best performance we have faced on the mound this season. He was tough!” – Hopkinton’s Dave Chase

Records: Laconia 8-5; Hopkinton 11-3

Belmont 2, Winnisquam 1

Key players: Belmont – Brett Auclair (6 IP, W, 1 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 7 K), Michael Sprague (1 IP, save, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K), Cam Magerer (1-for-2 , double, 2 BB, RBI, SB), Nate Sottak (2-for-4, RBI), Colby Brown (2-for-4, SB)

Highlights: With the tying run on second and one out in the seventh, Winnisquam’s Andrew McKinnon hit a hard line drive to center field, but Belmont’s Griffin Embree made the catch and doubled off the Winnisquam runner to end the game.

Coach’s quote: “A nice win, in a very tight game, against a tough opponent. As always this late in the season, Winnisquam played us tough and were in it all game. It was nice to see Auclair bounce back after a rough outing against Brady and to see Mike Sprague slam the door shut in a tense seventh.” – Belmont’s Matt LeBlanc

Records: Belmont 11-2; Winnisquam5-6

Bishop Brady 6, Mascenic 5

Key players: Bishop Brady – Alex Andrews (2⅔ IP, win, 0 ER; game-winning triple, RBI), Logan Hannigan (2 hits, 2 runs), Trevor Gallagher (2 hits, 2 runs, RBI)

Highlights: Down to their last strike, the Giants received a huge boost from Trevor Gallager, who knocked home Logan Hannigan to tie the game before Alex Andrews chased Gallagher home with a booming triple to right-center field for the walk-off win.

Coach’s quote: “It was a big walk-off win for us. We have lost three walk-offs on the road so it feels good to be on the other side of it for a change.” – Brady’s Skip Foy

Records: Bishop Brady 8-5; Mascenic 5-7

Pembroke 3, Coe-Brown 1

Key players: Pembroke – Ryan Ardine (7 IP, 1 ER, 6 H, 2 K, 0 BB), Connor Manteau (2 hits), Chris Daniels (hit, 2 runs), Peter Apgar (RBI)

Highlights: Pembroke produced three runs on seven hits, none bigger than Apgar’s two-out RBI that put the Spartans ahead for good in the fifth.

Records: Pembroke 6-7; Coe-Brown 9-5


St. Thomas 6, Bow 5

Key players: Bow – Annika Geiben-Lynn (2-for-4, double, triple, RBI), Kaitlin Howe (hit), Brooke Biehl (2 RBI), Kelly Harris (defense), Maddison Speckman (defense), Lauryn Colby (7 IP, 4 K, 5 H)

Records: Bow 4-7; St. Thomas 5-5

Hopkinton 12, Laconia 4

Key players: Hopkinton – Megan Blanchette (7 IP; 4-for-5, 3 doubles, 2 runs, 4 RBI), Maddy Follansbee (3-for-5, run, RBI), Brooke Carlson (2 hits), Katie Meserve (double)

Highlights: The Sachems led 3-2 after four frames but the Hawks scored 10 times in the last three innings for the win. Megan Blanchette had three doubles and 4 RBI and pitched a complete game.

Coach’s quote: “A long week of softball with four games in four days, nice to end it on a positive note.” – Hopkinton’s Dan Meserve

Records: Hopkinton 11-3; Laconia 4-11

Bishop Brady 2, Mascenic 1

Key players: Bishop Brady – Halle Laramie (3-for-4, walk-off HR), Jayden Johnson (CG, 8 IP, 0 ER, 6 K, 2 BB, 6 H), Isabella Rivera (run, single), Hannah Hicks (triple), Kat Weed (triple), Ami Rivera (RBI)

Highlights: Isabella Rivera opened the game with a single, Halle Laramie followed with a bunt single, advancing Isabella Rivera to third and Ami Rivera hit a sacrifice fly for an early 1-0 Brady lead. Mascenic scored its run in the third inning and the contest was a pitchers’ duel between Maddie LaBrie of Mascenic and Jayden Johnson. Brady finally broke through in the bottom of the eighth inning when Laramie hit a line drive to the left-field line that skipped passed the left fielder for an inside-the-park game-winning homer.

Coach’s quote: “Speechless, an emotional game with many highs and lows. I give credit to our girls for continuing to battle, support each other, every inning, every at-bat.” – Brady’s Freddy Rivera

Records: Bishop Brady11-2; Mascenic 10-2

White Mountains 10, Winnisquam 2

Key players: Winnisquam – Carly Catty (2 hits, double, run), Hannah Max (HR)

Highlights: Catty provided the Bears with an early lead by drawing a walk, stealing two bases and scoring on an errant throw. Max added on with a home run to put Winnisquam ahead by two, but White Mountains eventually heated up, doing most of its damage late to hand the Bears the loss in the first game of a doubleheader. White Mountains won Game 2, 22-1.

Coach’s quote: “Playing four games in four days really caught up to us today. We well look to bounce back next week.” – Winnisquam’s Mark Dawalga

Records: Winnisquam 7-5; White Mountains 10-2

Boys’ Tennis

Concord 9, Keene 0

Key players: Concord – Liam Grennon (9-8 win at No. 1), Anders Norton (8-2 win at No. 2), Winsor Bean (8-3 win at No. 3), Matthew Burns (8-1 win at No. 4), Jon Shamash (8-2 win at No. 5), Philip O’Sullivan (8-3 win at No. 6)

Highlights: The Tide had little trouble in sweeping Keene and reached double-digit victories for the season with the win in the regular-season finale.

Coach’s quote: “We should finish as either the sixth or seventh seed and will be on the road for the state quarterfinals next Tuesday.” – Concord’s Dave Page

Records: Concord 10-4; Keene 2-10

Girls’ Tennis

Pelham 6, Pembroke 3

Key players: Pembroke – Mary McCulloch, Alison Sobozenski

Highlights: McCulloch picked up an 8-1 win at No. 1 singles and Sobozenksi won at No. 2, 8-4. Both players also combined for another win in the first doubles match, 8-6.

Coach’s quote: “We did well with our No. 1 and No. 2 seed but were unable to win with our other girls. Pelham was more consistent than us.” Pembroke’s David Goulet

Records: Pembroke Academy 2-11

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