Rundown of the week
Gilford is off to a 2-0 start in Division III under long time Coach Dave Pinkham with a 5-0 shutout of Winnisquam and a nail-biting 1-0 win over St. Thomas in their home opener. Laconia is also off and running with surprising wins over Inter-Lakes and White Mountains, 2-0 and 3-2. Newfound lost to a perennial power in Derryfield 2-0, and got tripped up 2-1 by Sanborn as they open up with 2 losses on the season. Prospect Mountain destroyed Somersworth 9-0 in their opener but faced Gilford on Friday as they open their season with 3 straight road games. The Bears of Winnisquam looked to bounce back from that opening match debacle against the Golden Eagles with their first road game in Whitefield against White Mountains on Friday.
In Division IV Moultonborough found tough sledding on the road with losses to Colebrook and Portsmouth Christian and are off until after the Labor Day holiday. Franklin took one on the chin to Portsmouth Christian, 11-0.
Looking up to Division II Kingswood is off to an 0-3 start with losses to John Stark, Conval and Pembroke Academy. They’ll look to right the ship next week. Plymouth looked to stay undefeated Friday against Milford in their home opener. The Bobcats have yet to let up a goal with shutouts over Kennett and Stevens on the road.
Belmont was undefeated in Division III entering play on Friday with a tie against Derryfield and a 6-0 thrashing of Berlin. Gilford is 1-1, losing to Bishop Brady but coming back and routing Inter-Lakes 5-0. The Lady Eagles peppered the goal with 27 shots, including single goals from Shelby Cole, Abby Jarvi, Maddie Rector, Callie Carpenter and Reese Sadler. Hannah Perkins stopped all 5 Laker shots to earn the shut out but her best game came in the opener and she had 14 saves in that one! Meanwhile the Lakers have yet to score losing both of their matches 5-0. The Lady Sachems in Laconia are also 1-1 with a dramatic loss to Fall Mountain, 4-3, but an equally dramatic 1-0 win over White Mountains to open their season. Nichole Turpin scored 35 minutes into the first half on a missile launched from 20 yards out. Coach Ray Sleeper said the girls kept up the pressure all day. “We had consistent pressure on their defense in the second half from strikers Skyler Tautkas and Bailee Laramie, and outshot them in the second half.” Sleeper mentioned some early season mistakes and spoke about his team. “Defensively we had a few lapses but played tough when it mattered for the win. We are a young team overall, with a lot to learn. In order to play well we will need our upperclassmen be great leaders and role models for the younger girls.” Friday they traveled to Manchester to take on Trinity. Prospect Mountain is off until Tuesday and recently lost to Brady 4-1 after tying St. Thomas to open their campaign. In Division IV the Lady Panthers at Moultonborough Academy enter the holiday break 3-0 with solid wins over Colebrook, Portsmouth Christian and Epping.
In Division II Kingswood lost to Sanborn 6-1 after tying Pelham. Friday they played Plymouth. The Bobcats meanwhile are looking for their first win as they entered play 0-3.
Franklin is 0-2 and looking for their first win and first goal of the season as they play crosstown Rival Winnisquam next week. The Bears are having a better time of it beating Laconia in their opener 9-2 and played Gilford on Friday. The Golden Eagles entered that game chomping at the bit and desperate for a win after opening up with a 2-0 loss to Mascoma Valley. Laconia traveled beyond the Notch to Littleton to play the Crusaders Friday also looking for their first win. In Division II Kingswood looked to bounce back from the 2-0 hard fought loss to Derryfield and Plymouth is unbeaten early on with big wins over Pembroke and Bow
The season is late starting this year compared to the other sports this week. Here is a look at some of our local teams and what they expect this year.
The Lakers actually opened up Friday in Newfound. They return five starters and nine total players from the 2017 team that finished 18-1, losing only to Winnisquam in the Division III state championship match. First team All-State players Emma Wheeler and Jessalyn Brown look to continue their dominating play to lead a powerful and diverse offense this fall, according to Randy Mattson. “Senior outside hitters Hailey Hart and Morgan White will also contribute to the offense while junior middle Delaney Smith has shown great improvement and will be a key contributor up front.” Look for junior opposite Ava Duymazlar to fill the other starting spot. Mattson is high on Duymazlar. “She is a dynamic six-rotation player.” Key to the Lakers success will undoubtedly be depth, as the 12-player roster is loaded with talent, athletic ability and skill. The roster includes sophomores Devyn Vaal, Abbey Sanders, Olivia Jenkins and Emma Richardson, and seniors Madisyn Wilson and Grace Richardson. Mattson has the ladies poised for another deep playoff run. “We are fiercely competitive and passionate about volleyball. The girls have worked hard during the preseason and looked smooth and composed during a recent seven team jamboree at Plymouth State. They are poised with focus and determination to begin the long road ahead that will be the tough NHIAA DIII schedule.” Tough indeed but they remain the class of the division.
A new coach, a new perspective, but a familiar face takes over the program in the person of Mary Ann Myers, who spent last year as the assistant coach. “This team is full of talent and we have a lot of seasoned volleyball players that I am sure will do great things for us this year.” Last season the Sachems finished 9-5, hosted a playoff match and ended up bowing out against a sneaky good Oyster River squad. They graduated only two players off last year's team, but that left some big holes in the offense. Laconia is senior heavy with seven. Setter Caitlin Beattie, the outside hitter Hannah Dow, and the libero Gabby Caravona as well as Kaitlyn Brooks and Avy Bartlett will play a big part in both our offense and defense.
Myers let me in on a little history as well. The last, and only, time that Laconia volleyball won a championship was in 1999 and she was a senior captain on that team. “My goal is to be able to say that I coached the next team that gets to add their number to our banner. Who knows, maybe this is our year!” The sachems opened up their Division II campaign Friday at Oyster River looking for some payback against the Bobcats.
The Bears look to defend their state championship in a tough and competitive Division III. They return eight players: Outside hitters Shannon Goodwin, Gabby Isabelle, Alli Foster and Sarah Seymour. Defensive specialist Aubrey St. Onge, setter Olivia Dill, and defensive specialists Rebekah Perrson and Hannah Blackburn. Joining the team are juniors Hanna Honeman & Chloe Colarusso, and sophomore Emma Richardson. There are some major losses in talent as Maddy Skeats, Olivia Doubleday and Emma D’Abbraccio graduated and Talia DeBlasie moved away. Not only talent, but leadership voids will need to be filled. “The strength is our attack," coach Mike Livernois said. "We have very good returning hitters with a lot of experience. Olivia Dill moved from libero to setter and is growing more and more comfortable by the day. Most of the girls played JO volleyball during the winter and attended the summer program, working to prepare for this season.” Livernois is entering his 23rd season and looks to continue the championship pedigree he’s built there.
The Lady Eagles have a new leader for the first time in 23 years as 15-time championship coach Joan Forge has graduated to the college level at Plymouth and longtime assistant Amy Tripp takes over. Leading the team this year will be Maggie McNeill, Jennie Gannon, Lexi Boisvert and Karly Sanborn, according to Tripp. “All 4 have worked extremely hard in the off season, with their personal fitness, playing volleyball as well as other sports! With their great leadership the program is thriving and the younger players are stepping up to the challenge.” Returning varsity players Abby O’Connor, Samantha Holland, Reagan McIntire, Abby Warren and Naomi Eldridge welcome Michelle Gallant who is moving up from JV this season. Also watch for Lindsey Sanderson. She is a left handed right side hitter who is opening some eyes around campus. Tripp has some HUGE shoes to fill but she’s not concerned about that and has her own plan moving forward. “My hopes for this season are to raise our game to the next level and challenge players in every aspect of their game. Through the lessons they learn at volleyball, my athletes will continue to be positive role models and affect those around them. We have many off court activities planned that will help us create long lasting friendships and continue to bond as people and as a team. Gilford volleyball has a rich past and is steeped in tradition, we are ready to continue!” Sounds like Gilford is in great hands as they opened up in Pelham Friday.
Laconia and Gilford will be solid in Division II while Winnisquam and Inter-Lakes will get solid competition from Newfound, Campbell and Moultonborough Academy this year. The Lakes Region is well represented as the area continues to be a hot bed for volleyball.
The road ahead: Football opening weekend and more results from Friday's matches coming in Tuesday’s Roundup.
Keith Murray can be heard on WEEI 101.5FM with daily local sports updates. Reach Keith by email: Sports@1015WEEI.com.