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Get the Sticks Ready

Hanover, Woodstock Have High Hopes as Season Starts

The sticks have been strung, the nets have been hung and the Upper Valley’s high school lacrosse teams are ready to face off.

Getting the ball rolling last weekend were Hanover and Woodstock’s boys teams, the region’s best squads in their sport. The Marauders and Wasps hooked up for a fast-paced scrimmage where the score wasn’t officially kept but that the former won by roughly five goals. Hanover may be down a notch, at least to start the season, while Woodstock appears capable of reaching its first Vermont Division I final since 2003.

“We’ve been inside for two weeks and had only one other day outside, so I was happy with our speed getting up and down the field,’’ said fourth-year Woodstock coach Brandon Little. “Hanover’s a great team, and we almost played with them. Any other year in the last five or six years, they would have beat us by 15 goals.”

The Marauders have made six consecutive appearances in the NHIAA Division I semifinals, but lost 75 percent of last year’s scoring to graduation or prep-school transfers. That means Hanover will begin the current campaign relying on its defense, where long-pole players Carl Keating, Noah Huizenga and Teddy Geraghty compose a formidable and mobile trio in front of goaltender Chris Washington.

“We’re athletic, tough, talented and aggressive on defense and we’ve got a smart and fundamentally sound goalie,’’ said eighth-year Hanover coach Jeff Reed. “We just can’t turn it over like we did in the offensive end today, and still be successful.”

Hanover’s headliner in the midfield is Jesse Brown, who previously played attack. Reed describes the senior as “gazelle-like” in his easy movements and acceleration and has hopes he can make the Dartmouth varsity when he arrives at the college in the fall. The Marauders’ attack will be done more by committee, although Reed has hopes for the potential of sophomore Conor Austin.

“Scoring is a work in progress for us, but we have skilled kids, so it’s just a matter of figuring out who fits where,’’ Reed said. “We’re going to have to succeed by moving the ball and moving off the ball.”

Woodstock’s strength is the skill and leadership of standout seniors Hunter Schmell and Ed Doton. The two are each in their fourth varsity season and are headed for college rosters. Schmell, an attackman with jitterbug moves, will play at Division III Stevenson (Md.) College, while the physical and athletic Doton is mulling several options at the same level.

“It’s been neat to see those guys mature with the program,’’ said Little, who promoted the pair from the junior varsity a week into their freshman seasons. “They lead by example every day and don’t take even one play off. This is a season they’ve been working towards for a long time.”

Another Wasps standout is junior goaltender Ben Orr, a third-year starter who impressed the Marauders during the scrimmage and who’s also drawing college recruiting attention. Woodstock’s program includes more than a dozen players in both the freshmen and sophomore classes and the town’s seventh- and eighth-grade teams each have rosters topping 20.

All in all, the Wasps have title-game aspirations and aren’t shy about discussing them.

“It’s a lot of pressure to say that, but that’s our goal,’’ Little said. “We’ve been in the quarterfinals and the semifinals the last two years, and we have a better team this year, so we should be in the championship.”

Let the games begin.

Boys

Hanover

Coach: Jeff Reed (8).

Last Year: 17-4, lost in the division final.

League: NHIAA Division I.

Who’s Back: Seniors — Jesse Brown (M), Zach Estes (M), Alex Hoehn (D), Carl Keating (D), Josh Martin (D), James Montgomery (M), Hunter Simpson (M), Austin Taylor (A), Zach Taylor (M). Juniors — Jude Abrogast (A), Teddy Geraghty (D), Andrew Huizenga (M), Noah Huizenga (D), Stephen McCarthy (D), Chris Washington (G). Sophomores — Conor Austin (A), Gavin Ratliff (M), Ethan Winter (D).

Who’s New: Juniors — Tom Peters (A), Worthy Gardner (M). Sophomores — Ben Acker, Brendan Forauer (A), Jin Kim (M), Gus Lyons (M), Joey Porter (D), Dan DeRoy (G). Freshman — George Geraghty (G).

Who’s Gone: Christian Wolter (M), Ryan Wolter (M), Christian Johansen (A), Alex Krass (M), Jono Gougelet (D), James Washington (G), Ryan Brigham (M), Jack Nordsy (A), Peter Bensen (M).

Strengths: Defense.

Weaknesses: Offense.

Players to Watch: A big season could be on tap for Brown, who moves from midfield to attack.

Toughest Foes: Bishop Guertin, Pinkerton, Londonderry, Exeter.

Etc.: Krass is now a freshman with the club team at the University of Richmond (Va.), which will promote the sport to NCAA Division I status for next season. … Peters is a grandson of former Dartmouth athletic director Seaver Peters.

Coach’s Final Thoughts: “Our defense and goalie will carry us until our offense develops and matures. We have a realistic chance to make the final four again.”

Hartford

Coach: Bill Elberty (4).

Last Year: 4-11, lost in the division playoffs’ first round.

League: Vermont Division II, Marble Valley League.

Who’s Back: Seniors — Joe Wood (A/M), Luke Butterfield (M). Juniors — Andrew Atkinson (A), John Borchert (M), John Lewis (M), Kyle Kolenski (M), Taylor Thompson (D). Sophomores — Willy Todt (D), John Bielecki (A), James Young (G), Gareth Stevenson (G).

Who’s New: Seniors — Zach Summersell (M), Donovan Kelly (M/D). Juniors — Zach Arnold, Kiefer Harrelson. Sophomore — Kevin Ladka. Freshmen — Will Mayfield, Judd Walkker, Jason Bielecki, Justin Pero, Bryce Landon, Keaton Simmons, Gavin Shropshire.

Who’s Gone: Darby Geno (D), Shannon O’Neil (D), Tucker Stone (A), Owen Newton (A), Travis Wilson (A), Dylan Ring (M), Colt Neilsen, (A), Sean McCleary (M), B.J. Beisler (D), Brandon Teatreault-Cohen (M).

Strengths: Athleticism.

Weaknesses: Depth and inexperience.

Players to Watch: Wood, who is expected to return in midseason after having his foot crushed in a forklift-related work injury.

Toughest Foes: Burr & Burton, Brattleboro, Mt. Anthony, Woodstock.

Etc.: New assistant coach Peter Lynch Jr. played for Hartford before graduating in 2008 and is a special education teacher in Cornish. His father, Peter Lynch Sr., coached the Hurricanes for four seasons, including several of them while his son was on the team.

Coach’s Final Thoughts: “We are young and athletic. The development of our younger players throughout the season will be a key.”

Kearsarge

Coach: Mike Heffernan (3).

Last Year: 7-9, lost in the division playoffs’ first round.

League: NHIAA Division III.

Who’s Back: Seniors — Peter Allen (M), Oliver Gallo (M), Robbie Lutz (M), Alex Wilson (D), Jordan Barthol (D). Juniors — Will Aufranc (G), Tom Barss (A), Keatton Hanson (D), Bailey Kane (A), Travis Newman (A), Andrew Van Hooydonk (M). Sophomores — Bryson Barthol (D), Matt Pickman (M).

Who’s New: Seniors — Ben Gambino (D), Jason Harrington (M).

Who’s Gone: Robert Sherman (A), Owen Dayton (M), Tom Stockwell (M), Nick Iacopino (M), Kilean Piedmont (D).

Strengths: Goaltender.

Weaknesses: Lack of depth.

Players to Watch: Aufranc, Allen, Barthol, Hanson.

Toughest Foes: “Every team in Division III.”

Coach’s Final Thoughts: “I am encouraged by the enthusiasm of the returning players, who have welcomed in a larger-than-usual freshman class.”

Lebanon

Coach: Nick Yager (6).

Last Year: 9-5, lost in first round.

League: NHIAA Division III.

Who’s Back: Seniors — Phil Hwang (M), Jeffrey Taylor (D), Hunter Crowe (M), Dylan Drew (M). Juniors — Joseph Grout (D), Bryan Terrill (D), Jake Jasinski (D), Kyle Paterson (D), Scott Colburn (M), Lucas Gerow (M), Jacob Mellish (A), Johnathan Bingel (M), Henry Kovacs (M). Sophomore — Ryan Damren (A).

Who’s New: Juniors — Matthew Woodcock (A), Dylan Derego (A), Christopher Lovejoy (A). Sophomores — Kyler Tang (G), Ryan Dube (M). Freshmen — Joseph Rogers (G), Nicholas Haidari (M).

Who’s Gone: Carlos Woodcock (A), Leo Wallin (M), Chris Henry (D), Taylor Stone (D), Jack Connally (G), Nick Dube (A), Rob Ludew (A), Corey Rousseau (D), Adam Haidari (M), Josh Huett (M), Zach Wilson (M).

Strengths: Drive, athleticism, experienced midfield.

Weaknesses: Unproven attack.

Players to Watch: Hwang, Drew.

Toughest Foes: “Any team that shows up with a desire to win.”

Coach’s Final Thoughts: “It looks like we will have a great season, fueled with a strong desire to be our best and amplified by a commitment to conditioning. We have excellent numbers this year and a significant amount of talent on both the varsity and junior varsity levels.”

Stevens

Coach: Jed Hart (3).

Last Year: 0-13.

League: NHIAA Division III.

Who’s Back: Seniors — Josh Casey (M), Kieran Cochrane (A), Cullen Eaton (A), Nick McCall (D), Forrest Powers (D), Daniel Seaman (M), Chris Shattuck (D), Nathan Wright (M). Junior — Spenser Root (M). Sophomores — Bryton Burrows, Joseph Martinelli (G), Owen Ritondo, Robert Knight (G).

Who’s New: Seniors — Joseph Tarantino, Martino Donelli, Will Heighes. Junior — Austin Tenney. Sophomores — Daniel Croteau, Zach Nelson. Freshmen — Brandon Moskalenko, Colin Belt, Keystin Tricou, Scott Foisy, Scott Garrison.

Who’s Gone: Joe Tarr (A), Zach Napsey (M), Dylan Ladd (D), Spencer Burke (M), Tyler Terriault (M), Cooper Gaffney.

Strengths: Endurance and an experienced senior class.

Weaknesses: Depth.

Players to Watch: Seaman, Cochrane, Casey.

Toughest Foes: Kearsarge, Derryfield.

Etc.: Hart is also coaching a new middle-school team with roughly 30 players.

Woodstock

Coach: Brandon Little (4).

Last Year: 11-5, lost in quarterfinals.

League: Vermont Division I, Marble Valley League.

Who’s Back: Seniors — Hunter Schmell (A), Ed Doton (D), Marc Findeisen (M), James Durand (A), Jesse Davis (D), Taylor Lessard (M), Reid Langona (M), James Morgan (D). Juniors — Oliver Kaija (M), Ben Orr (G). Sophomores — Connor McCarthy (M), Nehemiah Wood (M), Zane Fields (D),

Who’s New: Seniors — Austin Cawley-Edwards (M), Travis Gault (A), Evan Sawyer (G), Jared Stewart (D). Juniors — Nick Donaldson (D), Oliver Vicar (A), Stephen Titus (A). Sophomores — Justin Forgione (A), Graham Melville (M). Freshmen — Nikolai Davis (M), Haven Lantz (A), Braden McCarthy (M), Jackson Wood (M).

Who’s Gone: Andrew Kimbell (A), Jordan Fields (M), Josh Bassette (M), Matt Barnes (D), Connor Fegard (D), Caleb Putnam (A), Spencer Lewis (M), Nick Sprauge (M).

Strengths: Senior leadership.

Weaknesses: “Depth is always a concern. We’re a small school competing against the big schools,’’ Little said.

Players to Watch: Orr, Doton, Schmell.

Toughest Foes: South Burlington, Mount Anthony, Middlebury.

Etc.: Fegard, a promising defenseman, has dropped lacrosse to focus on AAU basketball. … Jesse Davis is a looming presence at 6-foot-6.

Coach’s Final Thoughts: “We’re hoping to make it to the state championship. We usually take a while to get going, but we will be at full strength well before playoff season.”

Girls

Hanover

Coach: Chris Seibel (1).

Last Year: 10-6, lost in first round.

League: NHIAA Division II.

Who’s Back: Seniors — Claudia Noonan (A), Georgia Lubrano (M), Suriya Lacey (D), Juniors — Emily Gougelet (G) Hannah Seibel (M), Evie Keating (M), Rachel Boghosian (M), Liesel Robbins (M), Eileen Daley (M), Grace Croitoru (D). Sophomore — JJ Daniell (M).

Who’s New: Senior — Juniors Araya Lacy (D). Sophomores — Christine Croitoru (M), Sophia Lubrano (M), Mason McNulty (M).

Who’s Gone: Sara Blatchford (A), Charlotte Cadow (D/M), Frances Kazal (D), Carly Knights (D), Hannah Lyons (A), Charlotte Sargent (M), Caroline Watson (A), Kate Pattison (D).

Strengths: Attitude, athleticism, intelligence.

Weaknesses: Little time to learn new systems.

Players to Watch: Boghosian, Georgia Lubrano, Seibel.

Toughest Foes: Londonderry, Bishop Guertin, Portsmouth, Bedford.

Etc.: Seibel, who has previously coached younger age-group teams in Hanover, takes over for former Dartmouth player Marianne Bocock Doyle, who coached the Marauders for 12 years.

Coach’s Final Thoughts: “We will focus on effort, not outcome.”

Hartford

Coach: Katherine MacPherson (1).

Last Year: 2-14, lost in first round.

League: Vermont Division II, Marble Valley League.

Who’s Back: Seniors — Aberash Ladd (M), Emma Pilczymski (M). Juniors — Mona Abdelghani (D), Sadie Gay (D), Skyler Gay (A), Taylor Johnson (A), Casey Ostler (D), Mariah Palmer (A), Megan Potter (C), Emma Patriquin (D), Esme Cole (O), Amanda Dombroski (M), Justina Terino (D).

Who’s New: Junior — Danielle Hodgdon (D). Sophomore — Heather Illingworth (A). Freshmen — Lillian Duda (D), Morgan Furlong (A), Amanda Locke (D), Jocelyn Martin (D), Olivia Mattern (M), Andy Ostler (D/M), Shayla Prior (M), Jessica Smith (G), Emily Ruffing (A), Victoria Stevenson (M/A), Summer Keramis (A).

Who’s Gone: Sarah Illingworth (A), Elyse Patriquin (G), Mariah Andrade (D), Sierra Luce (G).

Strengths: “Amazing unity and aggression.”

Weaknesses: “We’re a young team and learning aspects of the game.”

Players to Watch: Palmer, Johnson, Cole.

Toughest Foes: Burr & Burton, Rutland, Brattleboro.

Etc.: MacPherson, a 2007 Kearsarge graduate who played for the Cougars, is a personal trainer at the Upper Valley Aquatic Center. She was a Hurricanes assistant last year and is the program’s fourth head coach in as many years. Hartford is a combined 6-51 the past four seasons, including an 0-26 stretch during 2010 and 2011.

Coach’s Final Thoughts: “We’ve really focused on fundamentals. I think that’s what this program needs.”

Kearsarge

Coach: Scott Slogic (5).

Last Year: 14-2, lost in finals.

League: NHIAA Division III.

Who’s Back: Seniors — Gemma Bready (M), Caitlin Anderson (A), Christie Ross (D). Juniors — Libby Brooks (M), Kate Scheuch (D), Morgan Galluzzo (G). Sophomore — Geneva Heffernan (M).

Who’s New: Juniors — Jonalyn Burt (A), Haley Brook (A), Emma Tilley (D). Sophomores — Lianna Blakeman (M), Hannah Anderson (A). Freshmen — Anna Stowell (A), Kaileigh Davis (D), Eleanor Angus (A), Lily Huntoon (D), Brie Sullivan (D), Emmaline Keene (D), Marguerite Tucres (G).

Who’s Gone: Cara Wolf (A), Holly Pons (M), Meghan Everson (M), Michelle Howell (A), Laura McCandless (M), Paige Newman (A), Mariah Hill (D), Kylee Cancio-Bello (D), Kristina Harold (D).

Strengths: “Great group of core players including Gemma Bready, one of the best players in the state at all divisions.”

Weaknesses: “Our junior and senior classes are small so, in many ways, this is a rebuilding year. We lost 10 seniors, including seven starters.”

Players to Watch: Bready, Brooks, Anderson, Galluzzo, Scheuch.

Toughest Foes: Windham, Lebanon, Plymouth, Hopkinton.

Etc.: Bready, the division’s 2012 player of the year, has committed to play at Colby College in Waterville, Maine. The Mules play at the Division III level. … Kearsarge has reached the division finals three times in the last four years.

Coach’s Final Thoughts: “These young kids are talented and will learn our game. The biggest barrier to our development has been the awful weather conditions. We will have six freshmen on the varsity, and three may start. It’s rare a freshman even plays for Kearsarge lacrosse.”

Lebanon

Coach: Sara Ecker (19).

Last year: 8-6, lost in quarterfinals.

League: NHIAA Division III.

Who’s Back: Seniors — Amelia Gage (M), Mo Moran (A), Hallie Bergwall (M). Sophomores — Emma Forman (A), Samantha Roberts (D), Kyra Taylor (M), Erin Landry (G), Erika Moffitt (A), Lindsey Merrill (D), Heidi Martin (D), Emily Perryman (M).

Who’s New: Seniors — Sarah Wilder (D), Hannah Garipey (D), Shauna Rankin-Byrne (A), Taylor Friedman (D). Juniors — Jennie Laramie (M), Katie Willeman (D), Dina D’cruze (M). Freshmen — Elle Brine (A), Brenna Peterson (D), Tiffany D’cruze (D), Anwen Morgan (G/D), Rachel Billings (D), Izzy Walker (D), Brooke Falzarano (D), Caroline Wren (D).

Who’s Gone: Becca Hicks (D), Grace Flanagan (M), Erin Perryman (M), Ellie Thompson (M), Lauren Moodie (D), Jessica Merrill (D), Shamelle Thibodeaux (A), Kyra Herbert (A).

Strengths: “This group is very motivated and driven.”

Weaknesses: Inexperience.

Toughest Foes: The Raiders have dropped from Division II to Division III, where neighboring Kearsarge could provide a new rival.

Coach’s Final Thoughts: “Heart and hustle — if we keep that alive day in and day out, we will have a fun, exciting and successful season.”

Oxbow

Coach: Jane Smith (1).

Last Year: 16-3, lost in semifinals.

League: Vermont Division II.

Who’s Back: Seniors — Rebecca Calhoun (D), Ashleigh Stearns (A), Dilan Clements (A/D), Emily Speck (M), Sarah Smith (D), Vanessa Valley (M). Juniors — Mikayla Hodge (A), Lauren Tomlinson (D), Taren Gendron (M).

Who’s New: Juniors — Savannah Fay (G), Jasmin Clark (M), Drew Pierson (A), Eliza Russ (A), Amber Strock (A). Sophomore — Abby Speck (A/D).

Who’s Gone: Reilly Johnson (M), Karley Hamilton (G), Meghan Hart (M), Alexis Maxwell (M), Jade Pierson (D), Willow Smith (M), Kelsi Furman (A).

Strengths: Fundamentals, team chemistry and athleticism.

Weaknesses: Experience.

Players to Watch: Speck, Hodge.

Toughest Foe: Chelsea.

Etc.: Smith, who works at the adjacent River Bend Tech Center, is a former University of Massachusetts player who previously coached at St. Johnsbury Academy and at Northampton (Mass.) High.

Coach’s Final Thoughts: “Our goal this year is to adapt well to the changes in our season and to surpass where we left off last year.”

Woodstock

Coach: Hannah Nichols (3).

Last Year: 5-11, lost in first round.

League: Vermont Division II, Marble Valley League.

Who’s Back: Seniors — Ana Haimovitz (D), Sam Harrington (M), Delaney Little (M), Nicole Stone (A), Alexis Blanchard (A), Asa Waterworth (D), Lauren Horsman (M), Kelsey Harrington (M), Emma Astbury (G). Juniors — Annie Arthur (M), Elizabeth Kamb (A). Sophomores — Holli Olson (D), Clancy Farrand (A).

Who’s New: Senior — Jocelyn Werle (M). Freshmen — Lauren Kaija (M), Abby Kaija (M), Megan Dalton (G).

Who’s Gone: Alex Vutech (A), Mallory Nestor (D), Aria Robinson (M), Summer Carvalho (D).

Strengths: Depth, athletic freshmen.

Weaknesses: “We need our team cohesion to glue us together and bring the freshmen into the fold quickly.”

Players to Watch: Little, Harrington, Arthur, Haimovitz.

Toughest Foes: Burr & Burton, Middlebury, Brattleboro.

Etc.: The Wasps face 12 Division I foes during a 16-game schedule. … New assistant coach Amanda Soule played at Woodstock and St. Michael’s College.

Coach’s Final Thoughts: “Our goals over the last years have been to reconfirm basic skills, to field a jayvee team and bring Woodstock girls lacrosse back to the top.”