Laconia falls short against Milford

LACONIA — With post-season hopes hanging in the balance, the Sachems (3-6) put up 20 points in the second half of the team's final regular season game on Friday only to fall short on the comeback 34-27 to Milford (6-3).

Laconia headed into the locker room at halftime down 20-7. When they returned to the field, the Sachems scored four straight touchdowns to take a one point lead with 1:27 seconds remaining in the game. Milford cut down the improbable comeback, driving 48 yards down the field on four plays. Milford running back Mitchell Bansuskevich carried the ball on all four plays, capping the drive off with a one yard run into the end zone. Laconia had one last possession, but could not manage to cross midfield. The Sachems' season ended on an incomplete pass on fourth down.

"We had the storybook ending for our seniors in the works, but could not finish it," coach Craig Kozens said about the comeback attempt. "I am very proud of these kids. This group has been one of my favorite teams I have ever coached. If I were an employer, I would hire each and everyone of the guys," Kozens added about this team. "For the game, we couldn't contain the outside. Milford beat us to the edge all night. Milford came to play and they and played well"

Milford controlled the first half, scoring three touchdowns to jump out to a 20-0 lead. Bansuskevich carried the bulk of the load, carrying the ball 27 times for 210 yards and three touchdowns.

Laconia ended the shutout with two minutes remaining in the second quarter when Matt Swormstedt hooked up with Dylan Martel on a 26 yard score.

The Sachems only needed 15 seconds in the second half to cut the lead to six. Senior captain John Pelky found a hole on the right side and scampered down Laconia's sideline for a 51 yard score. After three consecutive three and outs, Laconia found the back of the end zone again with a little trickery. Swormstedt handed the ball to Kyle Chiasson who hit a wide open senior Chris Frontiero for an 80 yard touchdown. Laconia, leading 21-20, could not hold back Bansuskevich and the Spartans. Milford answered right back with an eight play drive that found the end zone.

In the fourth quarter the Sachems started the a drive on their own 20 yard line with 4:20 seconds remaining. The drive looked as though it was going to be stalled on a fourth and three when Frontiero gained eight yards up the middle. After an offsides penalty, Swormstedt found Chiasson for a gain of 30. hurrying to the line, Laconia got off a quick play that saw Chiasson break away for a 40 yard touchdown. Milford was not phased and put the nail in the coffin on the one yard touchdown of their own.

The first football season in Bank of New Hampshire Stadium came to an end with the Sachems ending the year with 3-9 record.

Gilford volleyball earns trip to semi-final round

Fourth seeded Gilford advanced to the Semi-finals in DII by beating fifth seeded Milford in 3 games by the scores of 25-20, 25-19, and 25-17 in Gilford on Saturday night. Gilford used a balance offensive attack with 6 players combining for 26 kills. Jordan Dean had 6 kills, Mikaela Mattice, Kirsten Dionne and Maddie Harris 5 kills apiece, Danica Gelotte 4 kills and Stratton Coleman 1 kill. "We played very steady volleyball tonight and it is evident we are peaking at the right time. We had a balanced attack utilizing all of our hitters, our defense was solid with 68 digs and we served 95 percent including 7 aces. The key was that we kept our composure throughout the entire match, especially when we had to come from behind in the first two games."

Milford jumped out and took the lead early in the first game 6-4 and 7-6 before Gilford tied the game on a Danica Gelotte tip kill from the setter position. Gilford held onto a slim 9-8 lead when Maddie Harris put down a kill spike for point 10 to make the score 10-8. Mikaela Mattice came to the service line and served four straight points to give Gilford a 14-8 lead. In that service run, Danica Gelotte had a kill tip for point 11, Kirsten Dionne had kill spikes for point 12 and 14 and Maddie Harris had a block for point 13. Milford rallied back and tied the game 19-19. With the game tied, Jordan Dean came to the service line and served 3 straight points including an ace serve for point 22 to give Gilford a 22-19 lead. In that run Mikaela Mattice had a kill for point 20. Maddie Harris ended game one with a kill for the final point to give Gilford a 25-20 win.

Milford jumped out to a 6-1 lead in game two. Milford held the lead until Mikaela Mattice came to the service line down 10-8. Mattice ace served point 9 and then Gilford tied the game 10-10. Gilford took a 12-11 lead that they would not relinquish on a Danica Gelotte ace serve for point 12. The Gilford offense finished out game two strong with kill spikes by Mikaela Mattice for points 21 and 22 and a kill spike for point 23 by Maddie Harris. Gilford won game two 25-19.

Gilford came out strong in game three and won 25-17 highlighted by 7 kills, 2 aces and 1 block. Jordan Dean scored 4 points with 3 kills and 1 ace, Maddie Harris scored 2 points with 1 kill and 1 block, and 5 players contributed with 1 point apiece: Shannon Mercer (1 ace), Stratton Coleman (1 kill), Mikaela Mattice (1 kill), Kirsten Dionne ( 1 kill), and Danica Gelotte ( 1 kill).

"Danica Gelotte played an exceptional game from the setter position. She set up a balanced offensive attack and she played well defensively. A lot of pressure is on the setter and we feel she handled it extremely well." Gelotte finished with 17 assists, 10 digs and 4 kills. "Shannon Mercer played well as our defensive specialist coming up with some key digs against Milford's right side hitter." Mercer finished with 10 digs.

Gilford advances to the semi-final round and will face top-seeded Coe-Brown on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. at Pinkerton Academy.

Timberwolves to face Hopkinton in quarter-finals

ALTON — Prospect Mountain boy's soccer team earned a spot in the quarter-finals after a physical win over the Raymond Rams 3-2. "Our boys showed a lot of character today." said Prospect coach Gary Noyes. "We panicked early but settled down late in the first half."
Raymond jumped out to an early lead scoring three minutes into the first off the foot of Rams midfielder Tucker MacPhearson. The Timberwolves evened the score six minutes later on a Matt Hamilton goal. The score remained tied until the middle of the second half when Prospect captain midfielder Ken Gilbert was taken down inside the box an awarded a penalty kick. Gilbert went right and the Raymond goalie went left. Raymond responded quickly on MacPherson's second goal of the game two minutes later. Both teams had quality chances to find the back of the net, but the impressive play of both goalkeepers kept the score knotted up at two. Prospect eventually broke the tie on a Gilbert header off of a throw in from the right side. Gilbert's second goal would hold up as the game winner after much pressure from the Rams and and the setting sun in the eyes of Prospect's goalie. Raymond's last quality chance came on a corner kick that was caught by Prospect's keeper. Raymond's coach and players felt that the ball was caught in the net which would have resulted in a goal, but the referees said he was in the field of play resulting in no goal. Prospect Mountain will take on Hopkinton Thursday at 6 p.m. The quarter-final match will be at Merrimack Valley High School.

Belmont soccer's post-season run stopped by Campbell

BELMONT — The Belmont High School girls' soccer team could not advance past Campbell in Saturday's quarter-final match in the NHIAA Division III tournament. The third seed Red Raiders were upset 3-1 by the 7th seed Campbell Cougars. Campbell put the pressure on early and often. Belmont goalie Kaitlyn Berry stood up to the challenge, until Campbell midfielder Angela Valenti netted the first goal with 48 seconds remaining in the first half.

The second half began with an unfortunate mistake by a Belmont defender when she attempted to clear out a Cougar corner kick and deflected it into her own net. The goal was credited to Campbell forward Nicole Golden. Belmont cut the lead in half just shy of the halfway mark in the second half when Kelsey Scott accepted the pass from Cassie Contigiani and buried it over the right shoulder of the Campbell keeper. That was as close as Belmont would get. The Cougars added an insurance goal ten minutes later to take down the Red Raiders and advance to the semi-finals at Merrimack Valley on Wednesday at 4 p.m. Raymond will square off against the third seeded Hopkinton Hawks.