State titles, bragging rights up for grabs for local high school teams

  • Bishop Brady’s Adrienne Brummett (left) jumps into the arms of her sister, Sheridan, after Sheridan scored her second goal of the night to put Brady up 3-1 during the Division III semifinals in Laconia. Brady will take on Hopkinton in Sunday’s championship game at Laconia High School. RICH MIYARA / NH Sports Photography

  • Bow’s Kristina Pizzi (7) looks for space while being chased down during a Division II tilt against Merrimack Valley in Penacook. The Falcons will take on Hanover in Sunday’s championship. JAY McAREE / Monitor staff

  • Bow’s Andrew Berube (71) celebrates after scoring a touchdown on an interception during a 49-0 victory over John Stark earlier this season in Bow. The undefeated Falcons will take on Souhegan in the first round of the D-II playoffs on Saturday. RICH MIYARA / NH Sports Photography

Monitor staff
Published: 11/8/2019 10:45:59 PM
Modified: 11/8/2019 10:45:46 PM

If the last few rounds of the playoffs are any indication, this weekend’s high school tournament slate should be a treat for local fans. The postseason has already provided plenty of fireworks with some agonizing losses and last-second victories, but for many programs at this stage, all that’s left to focus on is one final game.

It’s officially championship season around the Capital area.

Four teams – Hopkinton, Bishop Brady and Bow girls’ soccer, as well as Coe-Brown volleyball – will all be aiming to take home titles, some for the first time and others hoping to add to a collection of trophies won in recent years.

It all begins Saturday when No. 6 Coe-Brown (13-5) takes on unbeaten and top-ranked Gilford (18-0) for the Division II volleyball championship at Pinkerton Academy (5 p.m.). Under second-year coach Renee Zobel, the Bears have surprised more than a few teams this postseason with upset wins over No. 3 John Stark in the quarterfinals and No. 2 Milford in the semifinals.

Gilford is a bit of a different beast.

The Bears lost both regular-season games to the Golden Eagles in straight sets, but don’t feel like they will be overmatched when they step on the court to play for a third time.

“The key is coming in with confidence. (Gilford) is very regimented. They don’t make a lot of mistakes,” Zobel said. “We didn’t show up at either of those matches so I’m excited to see what we can do coming in with confidence, nothing to lose, minds present and ready to go.”

Coe-Brown used a total team effort to get past Milford, and even bounced back from a lopsided 25-13 loss in the second set to win the next two games, 25-20 and 25-21.

Sophomore setter Kaitlyn Miller had 37 assists in the victory and surpassed 700 for her career with the performance. Other players to watch for the Bears will be juniors Jessie Davis (14 kills against Milford), Anika Smith and senior captain Abby Jerome.

“It’s been a wonderful season. It’s a great group of girls,” Zobel said. “They are a joy to be around. They play for each other and you can’t ask for more than that.”

Elsewhere on Saturday will be the New England High School Cross Country Championships in Manchester, Conn., as well as the start of the football tournaments across the Granite State.

The Bow football team, which earned the top seed in Division II after a perfect 9-0 season, is slated to begin its quest for its first state title since 2013. Led by their imposing senior running back Steven Guerrette, the Falcons will host No. 8 Souhegan – the same team they beat, 41-31, in the regular-season finale – at 1 p.m.

In Division III, No. 5 Hillsboro-Deering-Hopkinton will bring its lethal rushing attack to No. 4 Monadnock for a 1 p.m. kickoff.

The Hillcats finished the regular season second in the state in rushing with 2,465 yards on 299 carries – the majority of those going to senior running back Colby Quiet, who’s proven time and time again how capable he is of busting a game wide-open anytime he touches the ball.

Division IV will feature a local-local semifinal showdown between undefeated Winnisquam (7-0) and fourth-seeded Bishop Brady (4-3) in Tilton at 1 p.m.

The Bears, who ran the table en route to a championship last season, defeated the Green Giants, 35-0, when the two sides met on Oct. 19.

The championship chase picks back up on Sunday with a pair of girls’ soccer finals.

After shutting out No. 2 Hollis Brookline in the semifinals, No. 3 Bow (16-2) gets No. 1 Hanover (18-0) in Sunday’s Division II final at Manchester Memorial at 1 p.m.

Bow last won the title in 2017 and Hanover claimed the crown last season. When the two sides met during the regular season on Oct. 22, the Falcons pulled ahead early before Hanover went off for three goals – all off corner kicks – to win, 3-2.

“We’ll have to step our game up,” Bow coach Jay Vogt said after the semifinal victory. “We have to get better always have to get better.”

A few hours after D-II wraps up, No. 1 Bishop Brady (16-2) and No. 6 Hopkinton (15-4) will square off for the Division III championship at Laconia High School (4:15 p.m.).

Both the Hawks and Giants dominated during their semifinal victories, Hopkinton blanking No. 2 Stevens, 2-0, and Brady cruising past No. 5 St. Thomas, 8-2.

The biggest key for the Hawks will be finding a way to slow down sisters Sheridan and Adrienne Brummett, who combined for all eight goals in the semifinals, including six for Sheridan in a prolific postseason performance.

But the Hawks, who handed Brady both of its losses in the regular season, feel like they have the roster to get the job done.

“The biggest threat with them is the two sisters because they can be dangerous at any time,” said Hopkinton coach Mike Zahn, a Bishop Brady graduate. “I think for us, we have the personnel to shut them down, but we also have the personnel to hurt them offensively.”

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