Sweep Relief for N.H. All-Star Laxers
Kearsarge’s Gemma Bready, right, snatches the ball during New Hampshire’s 19-16 win over Vermont in the girls’ half of yesterday’s Hanover Lions Twin State All-Star Lacrosse Games at Hanover High School. The New Hampshire boys followed with a 12-9 victory for a doubleheader sweep. (Valley News - Libby March) Purchase photo reprints »
Woodstock’s Ed Doton moves the ball upfield for the Vermont boys. (Valley News - Libby March) Purchase photo reprints »
Hanover’s Jesse Brown, left, chases after the ball under pressure from a Vermont opponent during the boys’ half of the Hanover Lions Twin State All-Star Lacrosse Games yesterday. (Valley News - Libby March) Purchase photo reprints »
Lebanon High School's Taylor Friedman chases down the ball in the all-star lacrosse game. (Valley News - Libby March) Purchase photo reprints »
Kearsarge Regional High School's Gemma Bready, center, listens to the coaches at halftime. (Valley News - Libby March) Purchase photo reprints »
Oxbow High School's Emily Speck turns down the field to follow the ball. (Valley News - Libby March) Purchase photo reprints »
Hanover High School's Georgia Lubrano, center, plays for New Hampshire in the Hanover Lions Twin State All-Star lacrosse game. (Valley News - Libby March) Purchase photo reprints »
Kearsarge Regional High School's Gemma Bready swoops low to attempt possession. (Valley News - Libby March) Purchase photo reprints »
Woodstock Union High School's Hunter Schmell carries the ball, playing for Vermont in the Hanover Lions Twin State All-Star game. (Valley News - Libby March) Purchase photo reprints »
Hanover High School's Jesse Brown carries the ball, playing for New Hampshire in the Hanover Lions Twin State All-Star game. (Valley News - Libby March) Purchase photo reprints »
Woodstock Union High School's Hunter Schmell, left, playing for Vermont, gets low to avoid Plymouth Regional High School's Woody Hedberg. (Valley News - Libby March) Purchase photo reprints »
Hanover High School's Georgia Lubrano, center, plays for New Hampshire in the Hanover Lions Twin State All-Star game. (Valley News - Libby March) Purchase photo reprints »
Hanover — New Hampshire swept the girls and boys Hanover Lions Twin State All-Star Lacrosse Games at Hanover High yesterday, but the Green Mountain State didn’t go down without a fight. The girls score was 19-16, the red-clad visitors scoring four of the contest’s last five goals. In the boys event, New Hampshire prevailed 12-9, scoring the game’s last three goals.
“Vermont had a good showing this year,’’ said Brandon Little, the Woodstock High boys coach who served as a Vermont assistant. “They had some more depth than we did, and we had some unforced errors. We threw the ball away when we needed to possess it. That’s what it came down to: They possessed it a little bit longer than we did.”
The heat was a factor in the girls contest. Air temperatures in the 80s were magnified on Merriman-Branch Field’s artificial turf, and Vermont’s smaller roster wound up hurting the home team.
“Our girls got a little gassed at the end,’’ said Vermont head coach Tom Otero, who had half a dozen players selected for the game who turned down the opportunity. “We didn’t have the (same amount of) substitutes New Hampshire did. We had 19 players and they had about 25, so we only had seven or eight substitutes. You get players who commit and drop out at the last minute. We had three or four who dropped out so late, we couldn’t get alternates for them.
“Still, I think this was as good as a Vermont team has played New Hampshire in many, many years. If we could have gotten our players on the bench a little bit more rest, it would have made a difference.”
Girls: N.H. 19, Vt. 16
Otero’s team showed it was capable of springing an upset when it answered New Hampshire’s first goal of the game with five consecutive tallies of its own. The Granite Staters began to chip away at their deficit, however, pulling within 6-4 with nine minutes remaining in the first half and trailing only 9-8 at intermission. Oxbow’s Emily Speck, the lone local representative on the home team, assisted her squad’s ninth tally.
The contest remained tight throughout most of the second half, Vermont taking leads of 12-10, 14-11 and 15-14 before it wilted. New Hampshire scored three consecutive goals midway through the half, surrendered one at its end and then scored the next five. Vermont made the score more respectable on a goal with 14 seconds to play.
“We had hot and cold moments, but we gave them a run for their money,’’ said Speck, who plans to attend Tufts University in the fall and hopes to try out for the Jumbos in the spring. “To be up at the half and to play like we did was really good. The heat definitely got to us, and we seemed to get tired at the end.”
Vermont was led by Rice’s Emily Cutting, who scored four goals. South Burlington’s Anne-Marie Farmer and Allison Flaherty each had three goals. Farmer, a tall, athletic midfielder, was the game’s best player. She plans to compete for both the field hockey and lacrosse teams at the University of Vermont.
“We talked to our girls about forcing her to use her weak hand and not letting her control things,’’ said New Hampshire coach Rob Daziel, of Pinkerton Academy. “We wanted to push her outside, and that seemed to work in the second half.”
Another standout for Vermont was Lamoille goaltender Paxton Boyer, who made 14 saves and at times kept her team in the contest single-handedly. Added to the Green Mountain roster only last week, Boyer flung line-drive clearing passes all over the field and showed why earlier this month she became the first girls goaltender in state history to make 1,000 saves in a career.
“Holy mackerel, we can’t say enough about her,’’ Otero gushed. “Some of her saves were tremendous, one-on-one saves. Her agility was great.”
The local players on the New Hampshire roster were Kearsarge midfielder Gemma Bready, Hanover defender Georgia Lubrano, Lebanon defender Taylor Friedman and Lebanon attacker Mo Moran. Bready had a goal and an assist and Moran also tallied, but the most unlikely participant of the quartet was Friedman, who played her first lacrosse game fewer than four months ago.
A field hockey standout who plans to play that sport at Springfield (Mass.) College, Friedman chose not to play basketball as a senior but wanted to stay active, so she joined the Raiders lacrosse team and helped it reach the Division III state title game. Her only previous experience in the sport was while in gym class and using boys-style sticks.
“I wish I’d picked it up sooner, but I think my footwork and defensive skills from basketball really helped me,’’ Friedman said. “The way you shuffle and stay with people and face-guard them is pretty much the same, except you have an extra limb in your stick.”
Boys: N.H. 12, Vt. 9
If this was Ed Doton’s last lacrosse game, at least he was in the midst of good company. Woodstock’s long-stick midfielder reports to St. Lawrence University in Canton, N.Y., in fewer than three months for the start of football practice, but he sounds as if part of his heart remains with the spring sport he’s played since third grade.
“I’m giving some thought to trying to play lacrosse, too, but I think being a two-sport athlete might take up too much time,’’ said Doton, who will join a Saints gridiron squad that went 0-10 last season. “Certainly if football doesn’t work out, I’ll go over.
“It’s been neck-and-neck between football and lacrosse, but I’ve had such good experiences with football and I really love the game. Lacrosse isn’t quite the same for me.”
Little would enjoy it if his protegee stuck with lacrosse, if only to avoid football’s physical pounding. Doton is as hard-nosed as they come, but he’s only 6 feet and 190 pounds and even at the Division III level, that can mean a lot of lost collisions.
“I’d love to see him continue playing lacrosse, because his athleticism lends itself to the game so well,’’ Little said. “He’s just starting to really understand the game, and once he learns off-ball play better, he would be unstoppable.”
It was New Hampshire that couldn’t be denied down the stretch yesterday. The Granite Staters spread their attack out, getting two goals each from Nashua South’s Dan Auger and Bishop Guertin’s Mitch Burke and their other eight tallies from eight separate players. Vermont missed a completely open net with four seconds remaining in the third quarter, hit three posts during the final stanza and committed two penalties in the last eight minutes.
Still, Doton wasn’t conceding much after the final horn.
“I just think it was their day,’’ he said of the visiting team. “I don’t think New Hampshire lacrosse is any better than Vermont’s. They certainly have more (players) to pick from, but it didn’t appear to me that the talent level was any different today.”
Vermont received three goals and an assist from Woodstock attackman Hunter Schmell, the only other local player on the Green Mountain roster. Essex goaltender Patrick Abbott played the first half and the fourth quarter for Vermont, piling up 17 saves.
“With a bunch of guys who don’t play together normally, we needed someone to communicate and lead the defense, and Pat is good at that,’’ said Little, whose team got one save from Brattleboro’s Romello Lindsey during the third quarter. “He was telling people where to be and who to cover.”
New Hampshire coach Tim Roberts, of Spaulding, who was assisted by Hanover’s Jeff Reed, said his team had to go all-out to avoid its first loss in the series since the 1990s.
“It was a battle back and forth,’’ Roberts said. “This was my first time coaching in this game and I’d heard that New Hampshire was kind of dominant in the past, but this year Vermont brought a great team. Luckily for us, we had some kids who stepped up big down the stretch.”
One of those was Hanover midfielder Jesse Brown, who scored the game’s final goal with 1:36 remaining. The Marauders were also represented by defenseman Carl Keating.
Tris Wykes can be reached at email@example.com or 603-727-3227.