High schools: Gilford volleyball loses 5-set thriller to unbeaten Milford

  • Gilford High School’s Maggie McNeil (7) picks up a kill on a hit past Milford’s Emily Flaherty (25) and Isabel Philbrick (11) during a D-II contest in Gilford on Wednesday. The Spartans defeated the Golden Eagles, 3-2. JAY McAREE / Monitor staff

  • Gilford’s Lexi Boisvert (right) reaches up to try and block the shot from Milford’s Isabel Philbrick (left) during Wednesday’s Division II contest at Gilford High School. Boisvert finished with five kills and five blocks in Gilford’s 3-2 loss to the Spartans. JAY McAREE / Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Published: 9/28/2017 12:24:08 AM

The Gilford volleyball team has been responsible for ending Milford’s season in three of the last four years, each one more painful than the next for the Spartans. There was the 2013 loss to the Golden Eagles in the quarterfinals, a semifinal loss in 2015 – the same year Gilford ran the table to win the title – and another second-round loss last season.

That’s what made the five-set thriller of a victory for Milford on Wednesday so sweet.

“We lost here last quarterfinals so to come in and win in five was huge for us,” Milford Coach Beth Solan said after the Spartans’ 3-2 victory over the Golden Eagles pushed them to 9-0 in Division II. “We’ve had a pretty good season so far and to see them come out and fight as hard as they did after losing the first set, it’s just a testament to my girls’ mental strength.”

With their backs against the wall in the fourth set, the Golden Eagles looked more like the team that made a statement with a 25-15 win over the Spartans in the first set. Gilford jumped out to a 6-3 lead and rode that momentum to another 25-15 triumph to set up a deciding fifth set – one the Golden Eagles began down, 5-0.

Gilford faced deficits of 8-3, 10-5 and 12-9 in the set before finally tying the score up at 12-all. But the Spartans notched the next three points in fast order, using one of Julia Guarniere’s four aces in the match to pull ahead by two and eventually win the set, 15-12.

“We launched a phenomenal comeback,” Gilford Coach Joan Forge said. “We got our act together and pushed the undefeated Milford team right to the end. Especially when we were down five in the fifth game and came back to tie it, there was no let up, no give up and I’m proud of that.”

The match had the same level of back-and-forth competitiveness and intensity that’s usually reserved for the postseason, and Gilford knew that despite playing at home and entering with a 6-1 record, the Spartans wouldn’t be the type of team to play scared in a gym where most opponents leave with a loss.

“Definitely, they were 8-0 and we knew it was going to be tough,” said Gilford senior Brooke Beaudet, who paced the Golden Eagles with a team-high 19 kills to go along with 18 digs and one block. “We definitely like slammed that fourth game because we really wanted it, but it was a good sign that we could go five games with them.”

The return of Beaudet to the court this season is a welcoming sign for Forge and her staff. Beaudet was part of that 2015 championship team, but missed her entire junior sports season with injuries.

“I have a popped scar tissue so it gets pretty sore,” Beaudet said. “But I play through it, there’s nothing I can really do.”

Beaudet was a major factor when Gilford handed the Spartans just their second loss in a set this season to start the match, as were Karly Sanborn (26 assists for game), Maggie McNeil (eight kills) and Lexi Boisvert (five kills, five blocks, 17 digs). But in a game that relies so much on rhythm and momentum, the Golden Eagles lost theirs soon after.

Behind some exceptional serving from Milford, the Spartans pulled away in the second set, winning 25-17, and kept their foot down in the third set with a 25-13 victory.

“Usually the second set is our down set,” Beaudet said. “We tried to kick it up but our passing just got rough.”

Gilford’s two losses are to teams with a combined 15-1 record, and it doesn’t get any easier with Plymouth (6-2) coming in on Friday.

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


Coe-Brown 3, Kingswood 0

Key players: Coe-Brown – Maggie Sylvester (7 kills), Amaya Newport (4 kills), Jadlyn Newport (22 assists), Drew Ceppetelli (17 digs)

Highlights/key moments: The Bears crept over the .500 mark on the season with the win, beating Kingswood, 25-13, 25-19 and 25-14 for the sweep.

Coach’s quote: “They gave us a good battle, we just played excellent and our serving was the difference.” – Coe-Brown’s Rick Veno

Records: Coe-Brown 6-5; Kingswood 1-8

John Stark 3, ConVal 0

Key players: John Stark – Hannah Chartier (8 kills, 4 aces), Nicole Yelle (20 assists, 6 aces), Sarah Wagner (8 kills, 2 blocks), Lucy McGrade (4 aces, defense)

Highlights/key moments: John Stark won its fourth match in a row over ConVal in three sets. Strong serves and serve receive led the Generals to this win.

Coach’s quote: “Great win with every player contributing. When we serve and serve-receive well, we can play and beat any team.” – John Stark’s Jeff McClellan

Records: Stark 6-2; ConVal 2-6

Laconia 3, Kennett 0

Key players: Laconia – Caitlin Beattie (11 aces, 2 kills, 6 assists), Emily Perry (6 aces, 5 kills), Maddy Todd (5 aces, 6 kills)

Highlights/key moments: Laconia swept the first three sets, 25-12, 25-5 and 25-8.

Records: Laconia 4-2; Kennett 0-9

Newfound 3, Franklin 0

Key players: Franklin – Lexy Lynch (2 aces), Addison Granger (3 digs), Fayth Kaspczak (3 digs)

Records: Newfound 6-2; Franklin 0-9

Winnisquam 3, Epping 0

Key players: Winnisquam – Shannon Goodwin (12 kills, 9 digs), Talia DeBlasie (15 assists, 6 digs, 7 aces), Gabby Isabelle (7 kills, 10 digs), Madisyn Skeats (13 digs, 2 kills), Aubrey St. Onge (5 digs), Olivia Dill (5 digs)

Highlights/key moments: Winnisquam won the first three sets, 25-21, 25-10, and 25-7. DeBlasie led the Bears to a 13-2 lead in the second game with a streak of strong serves.

Coach’s quote: “I think we were still tired coming off our five-set match Monday, but the girls came to life and did very well.” – Winnisquam’s Mike Livernois

Records: Winnisquam 9-0; Epping 3-4


Bishop Brady 4, Somersworth 3

Key players: Bishop Brady – Danni DesRuisseaux (2 goals, assist), Olivia Crainich (goal, assists), Lauren Beitler (2 assists), Abby Santis (goal)

Highlights/key moments: DesRuisseaux led Brady past the Hilltoppers, who are still searching for their first win of the season.

Coach’s quote: “Good team effort in the heat to battle through and get the win. We need to stay focused and prepare to play again on Friday.” – Brady’s Andrew Mattarazzo

Records: Bishop Brady 7-2; Somersworth 0-9

Prospect Mountain 2, Gilford 0

Key players: Gilford – Hannah Perkins (20 saves)

Highlights/key moments: Kasey Lacroix scored twice in the first half to give Prospect a comfortable 2-0 lead. Gilford wasn’t able to find the back of the net and suffered its fourth shutout loss on Tuesday.

Coach’s quote: “Prospect does a very nice job working the ball to their outside midfielders and back to the strikers. They are difficult to cover, but I thought besides the two goals that were scored, our defense played very well. Hannah Perkins made some very nice saves to keep us in the game, and we almost put a couple in ourselves.” – Gilford’s Tom Raymond

Records: Prospect Mtn. 7-2; Gilford 4-6

Portsmouth Christian 3, Pittsfield 2

Key players: Pittsfield – Katie Rollins (goal), Kylee Morel (goal), Kira Wood (assist), Becca Smith (12 saves), Meredith Smith (defense), Kianna Vincelette (hustle)

Highlights/key moments: Rollins scored eight minutes into the game on a feed from Wood, leading to a 1-0 Pittsfield lead at halftime. Portsmouth Christian broke out of the break with two goals in a span of five minutes. Morel tied it up with a penalty kick, but Portsmouth Christian scored with two minutes left to seal the game.

Coach’s quote: “Girls came out quick tonight and put one in the back of the net early. We had a tough five-minute span in the second half but stayed composed and were able to tie it up late. Just wasn’t enough in the end.” – Pittsfield’s Jayme Kennedy

Records: PCA 4-6; Pittsfield 6-4


Bishop Brady 4, Franklin 0

Key players:Bishop Brady – Mike Fitzgibbons (goal), Colin Plante (goal, assist), Angelo Besho (goal, assist), Matt Dailey (goal); Franklin – Zach Dunham (midfield), Hannah Hicks (defense)

Highlights/key moments: The Giants started the season with four losses but have recently tacked on three straight wins, the latest a 4-0 shutout over Franklin. Brady goalkeeper Bryce Johnson earned his third shutout of the season. He earned an assists in the game as well.

Coach’s quote: “Franklin’s start was quite intense and our tempo was initially off at the first whistle. Thankfully, we were able to settle into a solid rhythm and spread the wealth with our scoring. Given the heat, both teams played well.” – Brady’s Mike Ling; “Despite our loss we looked much better in today’s game than we have all season. Our passing and decision making was much better. We still have work to do, but overall I’m happy with today’s game.” – Franklin’s Kevin Vangorden

Records: Bishop Brady 3-4; Franklin 0-8


Portsmouth 2, Merrimack Valley 0

Key players: MV – Sarah Carter (defense), Kylee Warren (goalie)

Highlights/key moments: The teams were scoreless at halftime, but the Clippers went to work in the second half with two goals and held on to the end.

Coach’s quote: “My team works hard every day at practice and they fight 60 minutes every game. We had many opportunities in the Portsmouth circle today but we couldn’t find the back of the net.” – MV’s Kim Kenney

Records: Portsmouth 5-4-1; MV 1-7-1

Berlin 1, Bow 0

Key players: Bow – Sonya Delorie, Savannah Speckman, Erin Boldwin, Jennie Ess, Elizabeth Guertin, Maddie Tibbetts, Dillon Hicks, Bri Mullen, Courtney Baer (10 saves)

Highlights/key moments: Lauren Walter took a penalty stroke after a ball earmarked for the net was illegally blocked by Berlin. Walter’s shot missed and the Falcons had to settle for a 1-0 loss.

Coach’s quote: “The Falcons played their game today. We had three goals that didn’t count for various reasons, which was frustrating. Our offense stayed strong to the end, peppering the goal in the last five minutes. Kudos to Lauren for stepping up to take the penalty stroke. That is a stressful situation for any player.” – Bow’s Rebecca Cleary

Records: Berlin 6-4; Bow 4-5

Franklin 1, Littleton 0

Key players: Franklin – Brooke Perry (goal), Felicity Defosses (assist)

Highlights/key moments: Franklin’s defense played a critical role in this win allowing just four shots on goal.

Coach’s quote: “We only had two subs for a game that ended up being one of the hottest of the season. Lauren Croteau and Joyce Gilbert – our first-year players – really stepped up and did a great job stopping the ball in the middle of the field and kept it moving it to the front line. Lauren Marsh and Felicity Defosses led by example as captains on the field. Jill Weaver and Brooke Perry carried the ball well up the field.” – Franklin’s Nancy Hicks

Records: Franklin 2-7; Littleton 2-7

Pelham 3, Bishop Brady 2

Key players: Bishop Brady – Kathryn Weed (goal), Lauren Roy (assist), Halle Laramie (goal), Abby Shagena (assist), Emma Windsor (9 saves)

Highlights/key moments: Pelham took a 3-1 lead over Brady in the first half. Laramie cut the Giants’ deficit to one goal in the second half, but Brady couldn’t get any closer.

Coach’s quote: “Despite the halftime score being down two goals, we generated a lot of shots in their defensive end. Tough time finishing. Second half we played much stronger, still finishing was the common factor against us. We had great opportunities. Very pleased with the girls by not allowing Pelham to score at all in the second half! Emma Windsor stepped up in the second half along with the rest of her teammates.” – Brady’s Kelly Owen

Records: Pelham 9-0; Brady 2-7

Gilford 2, Hopkinton 1 OT

Key players:Gilford – Julia Auld (goal), Kellie Ryan (goal), Nicole Berube (2 assists); Hopkinton – Anna Hoffman (goal), Chloe Wood (assist), Maddie McCluskey (11 saves)

Highlights/key moments: Auld tied the game with 10 minutes left and Ryan scored with five minutes left in overtime. Laurel Gingrich had a good passing game and Taryn Fountain helped from the defensive end.

Coach’s quote: “Hopkinton’s defense did an outstanding job keeping us away from the net. We have to work on finishing our passes and converting them into scores.” – Gilford’s David Rogacki; “Another heartbreaker. We played the defending state champs very tough. We have been playing so well but just coming up short.” – Hopkinton’s Patricia Connolly

Records: Gilford 10-1; Hopkinton 4-5

Stevens 1, John Stark 0

Key players: John Stark – Melina Jackson (8 saves), Oliva Fatcheric (midfield), Abbey Jensen (sweeper)

Highlights/key moments: The Generals were hanging in there for most of the game, but Stevens took a 1-0 lead with 11 minutes left and held on for the win.

Coach’s quote: “We continue to play very competitive field hockey against quality opponents. Our girls played their hearts out. The standings may not show it but our program has improved by leaps and bounds this season and each player gets better each and every day.” – John Stark’s Dennis Pelletier

Records: Stevens 6-4; John Stark 1-8

Newfound 12, Kearsarge 0

Key players: Newfound – Kaylee MacDonald (3 goals, assist), Caroline Marchand (3 goals, 2 assists), Jasmine Peterson (2 goals, 2 assists), Savanna Bony (goal), Julianne Marchand (goal, assist), Haley Dukette (goal), Madison Hanley (goal)

Highlights/key moments: Newfound led 7-0 at halftime. The Bears’ defense was strong, allowing just one shot at the net and one corner for Kearsarge.

Coach’s quote: “It was nice to see the support of the Seniors of the younger players and the younger players rising to the challenge of playing the last 15-plus minutes without them on the field.” – Newfound’s Karri Peterson

Records: Newfound 9-0; Kearsarge 2-6


White Mountains 180, Hopkinton 207, Woodsville 214

Key players: Hopkinton – Andrew Fairneny (51), Larsen Burack (52), Keirnan (52), Trent Gagnon (52)

Highlights/key moments: The Hawks improved to 10-7 with the win over Woodsville, securing a top-seven spot in the tournament.

Records: White Mtns. 14-1; Hopkinton 10-7; Woodsville 0-17


Concord second

Key players: Concord – Morgane Orcutt (1st, 21:24), Molly Bragg (2nd, 21:26), Heather Deacon (5th, 23:04), Kat Jepson (11th, 23:17), Hannah Barton (12th, 23:17)

Highlights/key moments: The Crimson Tide placed second in the three-team meet. Bedford took the top spot and Merrimack was third on Tuesday.

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