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Goalie for Hire: N.H. Keeper Fills in for Rival

Hanover — Agreeing to join a game of darts is one thing. But agreeing to be the board?

Hanover High goalie Emily Gougelet’s voluntary assignment on Saturday afternoon in the Twin State All Star Lacrosse Game, won by New Hampshire over Vermont, 25-9, might not have been quite that daunting, but it was close.

Gougelet, you see, was not backstopping a fully loaded New Hampshire team in the 19th meeting between the states, as might logically be expected. Instead, on this day, she was protecting the cage for the team from the other side of the river.

As of Thursday afternoon, despite having 27 players committed to the game, Vermont did not have a single goalie available to play. That troubling news led to a phone call from Twin State organizer Star Johnson to Hanover coach Chris Seibel, who used a bit of outside-the-crease thinking to remedy the problem.

“On Thursday I called Gouge at her aunt’s house,” Seibel, who served as the game’s official statistician, recounted. “I said, ‘You want to play some lacrosse on Saturday? Yeah? Great ... You’ll be playing for Vermont.’”

Gougelet’s charitable act suited the theme of the day. The Twin State lacrosse games are organized and sponsored by the Hanover Lions Club, with all net proceeds helping fund the organization’s charitable endeavors. The boys’ game has been held for 22 years.

“I told Emily that New Hampshire’s team was pretty stacked, and that she’d probably be facing a lot of shots,” Seibel said. “She just said, ‘Ah, I don’t care. It’ll be fun to play.’ She’s got such a great attitude.”

After making 12 saves, many of them of the point-blank variety as Vermont faced wave after wave of New Hampshire attack, that attitude hadn’t soured one bit.

“The game is for a good cause, that’s the most important thing,” Gougelet, who is headed for St. Lawrence University in the fall, said. “I figured, ‘Why not?’ I may never play in a lacrosse game again. Why not have a go?”

Gougelet’s Hanover teammates, Hannah Seibel, Liesel Robbins and Evie Keating, were all members of the New Hampshire team. Seibel tied for a game-high four goals on the day, all in the first half, and Robbins also scored, but Keating was forced to watch the game in crocs and a baseball cap. A Tuesday afternoon tumble from her mountain bike resulted in a right-leg laceration that needed 18 stitches.

“The doctors said it could split right back open if I played,” Keating said, with a smile and what-can-you-do shrug. “I had to be smart.”

As for the game itself, things could not have started off much better for Vermont as U-32’s Nicole Lavine won the opening draw, sprinted up the field, and whipped a shot past New Hampshire goalie Tori Cipollone (Windham) just 11 seconds into the action.

That brief flicker of prosperity proved short-lived, however, when Cipollone’s Windham teammate Melissa Cino tied things up 17 seconds later with a nice assist from Exeter’s Kimberly Arkell. Arkell controlled the draw, weaved her way up the left sideline, and timed a perfect pass to a smartly cutting Cino, who was all alone in front.

Roughly two minutes later, all questions about the prospects of a back-and-forth, up-and-down affair had been resoundingly answered.

In the 99 seconds of action following Cino’s game-tying goal, Bedford’s Drew Shapiro (twice) and Hanover’s Seibel tallied goals for New Hampshire, which was slicing its way through the Vermont defense at will. After just 2:07 of action, it was 4-1 for the red-clad hosts.

Ultimately, New Hampshire answered Vermont’s opening tally with 11 straight goals, and by the half the score was 16-3. Outside of a brief 29-second stretch toward the 10-minute mark, the half’s final 14:35 was played at running time due to a 10-goal differential.

Vermont did score the final goal of the first half, and opened the second half with five straight goals over 12:30 to make it 16-8, but New Hampshire never seemed rattled or threatened, and scored nine of the game’s final 10 goals over 15:45 to account for the final margin.

Bedford’s Shapiro matched Hannah Seibel with four goals and also added two assists, and Souhegan’s Jesse Jay scored three times. New Hampshire’s coaching staff, headed by Souhegan’s Maren Petropoulos, selected Bedford defender Sawyer Biron as New Hampshire MVP.

In the boys game, Jacob Genest scored three times and Hanover goalie Chris Washington was named the game’s MVP as New Hampshire defeated Vermont, 10-3.

The Green Mountain boys burst out an early 2-0 lead, but the Granite Staters dominated from there.

“Vermont had only 17 players, and New Hampshire kind of wore them down as game went on,” said Hanover head coach Jeff Reed, an assistant for New Hampshire.

Washington played the third quarter and part of the fourth.

Nick Yennaco and Tyler Tambouris each had a goal and two assists for New Hampshire, while teammates Grant Alenson, Jack Carney, Mac Martin, Domenic St. Laurent and Ryan Stone also scored. Conner Elliott-Knaggs, Joseph Couture and Sam Siegel scored for Vermont.