Four Lakes Region united soccer teams seek state titles this weekend


LACONIA — Four teams from Lakes Region United Soccer will compete in state tournament games in Pembroke Saturday. with the winners going on to play for state titles Sunday.
For the spring session of New Hampshire Soccer League LRU had over 200 players registered across 12 teams from U10 to U19. The teams that made the playoffs are:
Boys/Coed U11 Division 2, Coach Jeff Burnham.
Boys/Coed U13 Division 2, Coach Chris McDonough.
Boys/Coed U15 Division 2/3, Coach Steven Hepburn.
Boys/Coed U19, Division 2/3, Coach Scott Workman
Jeff Burnham, who coaches the U11 division 2 team along with Josh Wilks, says “ We are going into the playoffs this weekend as the number 1 seed after defeating the number 1 team, Merrimack, over the past weekend 2-0. We are number 1 in our division defensively, with only seven goals scored against us this spring.
“Our goalie Tommy Monasky is unstoppable and his defensemen, Anthony Burnham, Charlotte Lehr, and Vincent and Simon Butka stop whatever comes their way. Our offense make goals count when we need them led by Aidan Burnham, Kyle Wilks, Karson Genakos and Micah Jiavalgi. We lost in the championships in the fall 1-0 in the 4th minute of overtime. So we are looking to come out champions this weekend.”
The U11 team posted a 7-1 record and will face the Timberwolves at 8 a.m.
The U13 team posted a 6-1 record and is the second seed in its division. It will face Oyster River at noon.
The U15 team posted a 6-1-1 record and is the second seed. It plays Hudson at 4 p.m.
Coach Steven Hepburn says “the players worked really hard throughout the session, both in practices and on game days, and it really showed.  They played some great passing soccer that was wonderful to watch and they fully deserved their record of 6-1-1.  They have the 3rd best defensive record in the division, thanks to a great central defensive pairing of Aiden Phelps and Hayden Bourgeois.  Offensively, the team was led by Ramsey Landry and Cameron Shephard who scored 17 goals between them.”
The U19 team is the third seed and plays Litchfield at 6 p.m. They had a 5-2-1 season record.

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New coaches for Lakes Region United's early development program

By ROGER AMSDEN, LACONIA DAILY SUN
LACONIA — Four years ago, local soccer club Lakes Region United established an “Early Development Program” to teach essential soccer skills to players 6-9 years old. The brainchild of Belmont parent Keith Duggan, the goal was to allow young players to develop skills in a fun, local environment.
The program has been extremely popular with parents and budding soccer stars from throughout the Lakes Region. This spring 16 players participated. They were coached by Northfield resident (and member of Belmont High School’s 1998 state championship team) Dave Nelson, with Steve Jordan providing assistance.
Nelson was enthusiastic about the program, saying “We teach them foot skills, decision-making, passing, cuts, pull-backs, and other basic skills they will be using forever.”
The program involves two practices a week and an organized scrimmage (typically 3 v 3) every weekend. It runs year round (with indoor soccer at Tilton Sports Center in the winter), but players can sign up for one season at a time.
This fall, as Nelson’s son ages out of EDP, the program will be coached by former college standouts Uni Karlsson and Caitlin Dulac. Uni comes from a soccer-loving Icelandic family. He played club soccer in Iceland after helping Gilford High School win a state championship in 1990. His wife, Caitlin, was a standout defensive player at New Hampton School before playing for two years at Smith College.
Karlsson and Dulac were recruited by Duggan to lead EDP. Duggan emphasized the importance of parent coaches for Lakes Region United, a volunteer-based nonprofit organization: “We want parents who know the game to realize LRU is the club for them and that they can and should coach. Current and future teams only exist because of the efforts of coaching volunteers.”
Lakes Region United is in its ninth season with over 120 players from a variety of local towns, including Laconia, Gilford, Belmont, Gilmanton, Meredith, Alton, Moultonborough, Sanborton, Canterbury, Northfield, and New Hampton. Parents and athletes can learn more about the club at lrusoccer.com.

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Coaches Dave Nelson and Caitlin Dulac give instructions to EDP players. (Chris Leggett photo)

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Coach Dave Nelson gives instructions to an EDP player. (Chris Leggett photo)

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Bill Clary named softball Coach of the Year in Division III

By ROGER AMSDEN, for THE LACONIA DAILY SUN

BELMONT — Belmont High School softball coach Bill Clary, who was named Division III coach of the year, said he's proud of his players, who this year posted a 12-4 regular season record in which they defeated eventual Division III repeat champion, White Mountains, and upended a tough Bishop Brady team twice.

“Being able to compete against the top teams in the division has always been our goal and we've reached that point. Over the last three years we've averaged 12 wins a season,” said Clary, who took over as coach of a .500 team six years ago and has seen good progress towards moving deeper in post-season play.

The Raiders were 13-5 last year and lost in the quarterfinals to White Mountains.

This year they finished sixth in the division and won their opening playoff game 6-0 over Newport behind the pitching of sophomore Julianna Estremera, who allowed only two hits and struck out 13. But they lost 5-1 to Campbell in the quarterfinals.

“We had a lot of young players on this year's team and they kept getting better the more they played. We only had a roster of 12 players .and there's no junior varsity program, so we get them when they're young. It's tough without a feeder program, but the only way they can develop is by playing at the highest level from the beginning,” says Clary.

He coached at the Belmont Middle School for 10 years before becoming involved in the varsity program as an assistant to Trisha Geoffrey, who is now his assistant coach. He says that he also receives a lot of help from Bill Hart, who has been his assistant coach for nearly 20 years.

“They're so much help. I couldn't do this job without them,” said Clary.

He also coaches ASA softball and Junior Olympic softball during the summer months, noting that for players who are looking to play for college teams summer softball is a key to being recruited.

Clary, who retired a little over a year from the Laconia Police Department, where he spent 28 years and was a captain at the time of his retirement, also teaches in the law enforcement program at the Huot Center at Laconia High School.

He says that he enjoys coaching in Belmont, a community which he says puts a lot of emphasis on developing the skills of young people and maintains excellent recreational areas.

“Our playing fields are some of the best in the state and they're always well maintained. And young people know that and respect that. The bases are left on the playing field all the time and they're never stolen or vandalized. That tells you a lot about the kind of community we have here,” says Clary.

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Bill Clary, right, was named Division III softball coach of the year. He is  shown with fellow coaches Bill Hart and Trisha Geoffrey, left. and members of the 2017 team, which posted a 12-4 record in the regular season, including a victory over eventual Division III champion Wjote Mountains. (Courtesy photo)

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Six former Muskrats drafted by Major League baseball teams

By ROGER AMSDEN, for THE LACONIA DAILY SUN

LACONIA — The Winnipesaukee Muskrats announced that six current and former Muskrats were selected last week in the Major League Baseball draft, held in Secaucus, New Jersey.
Athletes from the past four summer league Muskrat squads have landed professional recognition in the draft.
Jared Brasher of Samford University and Jackson Kramer of West Virginia University represented the 2014 squad.  Both players were selected by the Washington Nationals, Brasher in the 8th round and Cramer in the 35th.   Brasher, a right-handed pitcher, finished his senior season with 46 strikeouts in 33.2 innings.  Cramer also concluded his college career for WVU at 1st base leading his with 11 homers and 46 RBI.
The 2015 class also landed two members in the draft.  Deon Stafford of St. Joseph’s University was chosen by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 5th round.   As a junior catcher for the Hawks, Stafford started in 42 games and hit .288.   In the 22nd round, Brian Mims of University of North Carolina Wilmington was selected by the Philadelphia Phillies.  Mims, a second basemen, was honored as an All-American in the 2016 season as a sophomore.  This past season, he lead the team in hits as a junior.
Jackson Tetreault (2016) and Scott Boches (2017) were also among the selected pool of players.  Tetreault just concluded his sophomore campaign on the pitching mound at the State College of Florida, notching 105 strikeouts in 80.1 innings.  The right-handed pitcher was selected in the 7th round and will join Jared Brasher and Jackson Cramer in the Washington Nationals organization.
Scott Boches, a current Muskrat from Marist College, was chosen by the Seattle Mariners in the 30th round of the draft.  Boches has not seen action with the Muskrats yet this season, but is coming off a successful year with the Foxes, throwing for 86 innings and posting a 6-5 record.
The Muskrats returned home on Father’s Day, Sunday, June 18, and posted a 7-6 win over the Sanford Mainers, bringing their season record to 4-5.
They host the Valley Blue Sox at 6:05 tonight at Robbie Mills Field and take on the division-leading Upper Valley Nighthwaks on the road Wednesday night.
They will return to Laconia Thursday when they start a three-game home stand by hosting the Keene Swamp Bats at 6:05 p.m. They will be looking to avenge an 11-5 loss at Keene last Saturday night.
On Friday the Muskrats host the Danbury Westerners and on Saturday the Danbury Westerners will come to town. They then take to the road for a game on June 26 at the North Adams Steeple Cats.
The Winnipesaukee Muskrats organization is a Summer collegiate baseball team that brings the best college baseball players from across the country to play at Robbie Mills Field.  The Muskrats are a member of the 13-team New England Collegiate Baseball League. The Muskrats joined the NECBL in October 2009 and are a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation that depends on community support and volunteers for its existence and continued operation.

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