Girls’ lacrosse previews: Bow relying on team chemistry to help in title defense

Bow’s Olivia Selleck (8), Alex Larrabee (15) and Kate McGovern (11) rush to join their teammate in celebrating the Falcons’ NHIAA Division III girls’ lacrosse title win last June over St. Thomas, 20-6, in Laconia, the program’s first state championship since 2009.

Bow’s Olivia Selleck (8), Alex Larrabee (15) and Kate McGovern (11) rush to join their teammate in celebrating the Falcons’ NHIAA Division III girls’ lacrosse title win last June over St. Thomas, 20-6, in Laconia, the program’s first state championship since 2009. Chip Griffin / Photos By Chip

Bow’s Olivia Selleck (8) tries to get past a St. Thomas defender during last June’s D-III title game.

Bow’s Olivia Selleck (8) tries to get past a St. Thomas defender during last June’s D-III title game. Chip Griffin / Photos By Chip

Bow's Kendall Murray (left) and Kate McGovern (right) embrace after McGovern assisted on Murray’s goal to open the NHIAA Division III girls' lacrosse championship on June 6, 2023 at Bank of NH Stadium in Laconia. Murray (two goals) and McGovern (four goals, two assists) helped lead the Falcons to a 20-6 victory over St. Thomas.

Bow's Kendall Murray (left) and Kate McGovern (right) embrace after McGovern assisted on Murray’s goal to open the NHIAA Division III girls' lacrosse championship on June 6, 2023 at Bank of NH Stadium in Laconia. Murray (two goals) and McGovern (four goals, two assists) helped lead the Falcons to a 20-6 victory over St. Thomas. Chip Griffin / Photos By Chip

Hopkinton’s Maeve Owens (9) attempts to carry the ball up field in the first half while Concord Christian’s Taylor Rioux (2) and Lauren Winans (14) defend in a D-III tournament game last June.

Hopkinton’s Maeve Owens (9) attempts to carry the ball up field in the first half while Concord Christian’s Taylor Rioux (2) and Lauren Winans (14) defend in a D-III tournament game last June. File

Bishop Brady’s Finley Hollenberg (9) runs the ball up the field and looks to pass to teammate Gabby Heck (10) during a Division III tournament game against Inter-Lakes-Moultonborough last spring.

Bishop Brady’s Finley Hollenberg (9) runs the ball up the field and looks to pass to teammate Gabby Heck (10) during a Division III tournament game against Inter-Lakes-Moultonborough last spring. JOSHUA SPAULDING / Salmon Press

By ERIC RYNSTON-LOBELand DAN ATTORRI

Monitor staff

Published: 04-04-2024 10:35 AM

Modified: 04-04-2024 2:23 PM


It’ll be hard for Bow High girls’ lacrosse’s 2024 season to match the dominance of 2023, when the Falcons finished 18-1 and took home the Division III championship, the program’s first title since 2009. But head coach Chris Raabe still has quite a bit of talent to work with, even after the graduation of Alex Larrabee, now playing NCAA Division I women’s lacrosse at Colgate University

“It’s kind of hard to tell when you’re on a field for a week, but they look solid,” Raabe said last week. “It’s another good group. The team was super bonded last year, and it’s (continued) this year.”

Last year’s team was the closest group Raabe said she’d ever coached, crediting that senior class for laying the foundation for where they are now. The current seniors have continued that focus.

On the field, Raabe highlighted senior midfielders Olivia Selleck and Kendall Murray as well as junior midfielder Kylie McKee and sophomore Ella Trefethen, with junior Mikayla Livingstone on defense. She also noted juniors Ella Gray and Kate McGovern as players to watch.

“It’s the midfield where the hole from Alex is created, but I think the speed that we have and the new guys that are coming in, I think that they’ll be able to fill in,” Raabe said. “(But) it’s big shoes to fill.”

In addition to some newer faces that will need to step up, Raabe also has to contend with keeping the team hungry after last year’s title run.

“It will be interesting. It’s a new group. I lost a lot of seniors, so I think a lot of the new guys have no idea,” Raabe said about the challenges of winning a title. “My seniors are super hungry for another one. I think they’ll kind of motivate themselves.”

CONCORD

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Division: I.

Coach: Terry Anderson (second year back, 16th overall).

Last year: 4-13, did not make tournament.

Returning starters: Emma Pelletier, so., A; Sofia Payne, sr., A; Lilly Merrill, jr., A; Sarah Leuci, sr., M; Ava Philbrook, sr., M; Grace Smith, sr., D; Amelia Crumrine, so., D; Leah Foulds, so., D.

Top newcomers: Abby Poole, fr., G; Sydney Brown, fr., M; Gracen Arndt, fr., M; Malie Ramshaw, fr., A; Brooke Nelson, fr., A; Emelia Raimo, fr., D.

Outlook: “Our goal is for each player to continue to develop her individual skills, so as a team we can work together to have the best possible team, offense and defense, improving with each game,” Anderson said.

Teams to beat: “All teams. Every team is the team to beat, one game at a time,” Anderson said.

JOHN STARK/HILLSBORO-DEERING

Division: II.

Coach: Sam Weaver (fifth year).

Last year: 8-8, reached quarterfinals.

Returning starters: Hannah Corey, sr., D; Melody Couturier, sr., M; Elizabeth Hatfield, sr., M; Lilleea Perkins, sr., D; Emma Donahey, sr., G; Natalie Lawson, jr., D; Ryan Mucci, jr., A; Kaycie Rhodes, jr., A/M.

Top newcomers: Zoe Lawson, fr., A; Addy DeCew, fr., D/M; Rowin Ledy, fr., G.

Outlook: JSHD made the playoffs in its first year as a cooperative program, defeating Merrimack Valley in the prelims, and is looking to continue to improve in 2024.

“We have a solid crew of returning starting players and some new talent that will be a great addition to the group, both on the field and in terms of team culture off the field,” Weaver said. “Our goal this year will be to win more draws and see a lot of people contribute to scoring goals and getting assists.”

Teams to beat: Hanover, Hollis-Brookline, Winnacunnet, Windham.

MERRIMACK VALLEY

Division: II.

Coach: Kylee Yam (third year).

Last year: 8-7, reached prelims.

Returning starters: Ella Frink, so., A/M; Colby Magoon, sr., M; Alyssa Brodeur, jr., A; Taylor Gionet, jr., G; Kaiya Mercier, jr., M; Grace Thompson, sr., D; Abby Thompson, so., M; Caroline Wheeler, jr., D.

Top newcomers: Lilly Jones, fr., M.

Outlook: “I am excited for this upcoming season. Our attack and midfield should be strong with many talented returning players,” Yam said. “Defense is solid with a fantastic goalie, Taylor Gionet, and some now more-experienced field defenders. We will look to build on our strategies from the last two years.”

Teams to beat: Hollis-Brookline, Hanover, Winnacunnet.

PEMBROKE

Division: II.

Coach: Jenny Jones (first year).

Last year: 2-13, did not make tournament.

Returning starters: Bailey Gatchell, jr.; Laila Al-Shawafi, so.; Treic Thomas-Guerzon, sr.; Zoey Mayeu, sr.; Ashlie Klawes, jr.; Sarah Keeler, jr.; Kendall Purtell, jr.; Carly Wood, sr.

Top newcomers: Kayla Amyot, jr.; Lily Royer, fr.; Lily Ricci, fr.; Layla Couture, fr.

Outlook: The Spartans were a young and inexperienced team last year, but are much more seasoned this time around.

“We are an athletic group with a strong desire to grow as a team and compete,” Jones said. “Our roster has lots of speed and talent along with key returning players to help with game experience and leadership. We’ll also see big things from our seven freshmen. They’re picking up skills fast and will play a big role for us this season. This year we’ll focus on building the attack and capitalizing on loose balls.”

Teams to beat: Windham, Hollis-Brookline, Hanover, Goffstown.

BISHOP BRADY

Division: III.

Coach: Alex Sacco (second year).

Last year: 5-11, reached prelims.

Returning starters: Finley Hollenberg, sr., A; Luiza Detwiller, sr., M; Anna Beauchesne, sr., A; Lydia Tremblay, sr., A; Olivia Lazear, jr., A.

Top newcomers: Camdyn Despres, jr., M; Madeline Nicholls, jr., A.

Outlook: The Giants reached the playoffs in Sacco’s return to her alma mater, and Brady significantly improved from its 1-13 record in 2022.

“We graduated a large senior class last year, but I am excited and optimistic about the 2024 season,” Sacco said. “We have a very strong senior class this year that comes with a lot of talent, experience and leadership. I believe they will lead the program in the right direction, as well as a handful of promising newcomers that will make an immediate impact. This team is eager to learn and improve.”

Teams to beat: Bow, Gilford.

COE-BROWN

Division: III.

Coach: Kristin Cimino (fourth year).

Last year: 5-10, did not make tournament.

Returning starters: Fae Johnson, sr.; Libby Cillo, sr.; Breanne Peters, so.; Ady Moynihan, so.; Kendall Jackson, so.; Lillian Peabody, jr.; Alexis Muse, jr.; Carolyn Clawson, jr.; Amirah Rhofiry, jr.

Top newcomers: Joelle Hanscom, sr.; Avery Keefe, fr.; Brooke Kozlowski, fr.; Kenzie Silva, fr.; Morgan Readel, fr.; Abby Readel, fr.; Gabriella Grogan, so.

Outlook: “Just missing the playoffs last year (by a single game) was the spark that our girls really needed to roll into the season with purpose,” Cimino said. “Add to that spark a large influx of new talent across all positions and we are a hungry team. This is going to be a new chapter in Coe-Brown lacrosse, and we can’t wait to see what they will bring to the division.”

CONCORD CHRISTIAN

Division: III.

Coach: Jordan Rioux (first year).

Last year: 12-5, reached semifinals.

Returning starters: Emmy Laboe, fr.; Leah Morgan, jr.; Ella Baker, sr.; Savanna Cabral, jr.

Top newcomers: Molly Smith, seventh grade; Lauren Andrews, eighth grade.

Outlook: The Kingsmen had an outstanding inaugural varsity season, earning the No. 5 seed for the playoffs and upsetting No. 4 Hopkinton in the quarterfinals to punch their tickets to the final four. But with eight of 15 players on the roster being middle schoolers, plus three freshmen, this is a very young group.

“Everyone has improved tremendously since day one,” said Rioux, a 2022 Concord Christian graduate. “All these girls have the same opportunity to make a difference on the field. I am very excited to see how the season goes. So far, the girls have picked up on the game really well, and they are a very coachable team. … Our goal for this season is to simply improve from start to finish. I have told my girls almost everyday, I do not care if we lose, I care if we put our best effort in and get better as individuals and as a team. I would say so far our biggest strength has been our communication, but we will see how that plays out in a game.”

HOPKINTON

Division: III.

Coaches: Bob Brown and Gus Madden (second year).

Last year: 11-4, reached quarterfinals.

Returning starters: Sarah Chodosh, sr., M; Izzy Afflerbach, sr., D; Sydney Westover, jr., A; Maeve Owens, so., A.

Top newcomers: Kennedy Mark, jr., D; Avery Chase, fr., M; Autumn Meier, fr., M; Lia Chapin, fr., M; Molly Hodgdon, fr., A.

Outlook: Last season marked the first time since 2018 that Hopkinton didn’t make it to the championship game (the Hawks lost in the quarterfinals to Concord Christian), but thanks to a robust Hopkinton Lacrosse Club youth program, there are 13 freshman Hawks joining the program.

“We look forward to seeing them play, and several will step directly into varsity roles,” coaches Brown and Madden said. “Our first challenge will be to replace the goals we have lost to graduation, private school and injury since last year.”

Offensively, Hopkinton will look to Chodosh an All-State First Team selection in 2023 and an NCAA D-I commit to Lindenwood University, to lead the way. Chodosh is one of three captains along with Afflerbach (Second Team All-State) and Brown (Second Team). Westover and Owens also look to be among the scoring leaders.

“We will also be working on our defensive organization and ability to lock down opponents, especially with the loss of caused-turnover leader and senior captain Katie Brown to injury,” the coaches said. “Katie’s injury means that we will rely on the on-field defensive leadership of senior captain Izzy Afflerbach.”

Junior Ryan Lang and sophomore Helen Yeaton will also play a key role on defense, and sophomore Marcella Guadagno will feature at midfield for the Hawks.

Teams to beat: Gilford, Bow, Derryfield.

KEARSARGE

Division: III.

Coach: Katherine Bucklin Stearns (third year).

Last year: 7-9, reached prelims.

Returning starters: Adara Boucher, sr.; Ella Dumais, jr.; Ociee Ilg, so.; Addyson Rossi, so.; Nadia Spiegel, jr.; Maddi Thorp, sr.; Tori Wooten, jr.

Top newcomers: Leah Reeve, fr.

Outlook: “Our team has 3-4 newcomers with incredible athleticism and a willingness to learn girls’ lacrosse,” Bucklin Stearns said. “Kearsarge will be competitive this season.”

Teams to beat: Bow, St. Thomas, Gilford, Concord Christian, Hopkinton.