Lebanon Lacrosse Thumps Pelham in Opener

Emily Perryman

Emily Perryman

Lebanon — Emily Perryman powered the Lebanon High girls lacrosse team to a 16-4 victory over Pelham in a first-round game of the NHIAA Division III playoffs Wednesday. In other, more startling news about town, the Dairy Twirl on Mechanic Street remains a popular spot to eat ice cream.

So routine have Perryman’s heroics become that it’s easy to forget lacrosse might be the senior’s third-best sport. A standout field hockey player, she’s signed to play at Bryant University, an NCAA Division I program in Smithfield, R.I., and also excels at Nordic skiing. Tuesday, she poured in seven goals and added an assist as the Raiders built leads of 8-0 and 13-1 and played much of the second half with a running clock against the No. 12 Pythons (4-11).

Fifth-seeded Lebanon (11-4) advances to visit No. 4 Laconia (11-3) in a quarterfinal clash, most likely on Friday afternoon. The Sachems graduate their seniors Saturday, when the contest was originally scheduled, and Raiders athletic director Zac Stevenson said after the Tuesday contest that final confirmation for moving the game was pending.

Regardless, the Raiders will continue to ride Perryman’s scoring touch as far as possible.

“Emily has a kind of confidence that not many players have,” Lebanon coach Sara Ecker said of her star, who has piled up 107 career points. “She’s so athletic, so strong and has such a good head for the game. She knows when to back off and when to go hard and the whole team learns from her. We have a higher lacrosse IQ because of her.”

Perryman, who exhibits a goofy and endearing sense of humor and a unique, braying laugh when amused, is nonetheless a hard-nosed competitor. Few high school lacrosse players are as willing to enter the high-traffic zones near the net, where defenders’ sticks flail and the chances of being cross-checked, shouldered and body-blocked are high.

Tuesday, Perryman scored by cutting across the top of the crease from right to left and switching her grip to a left-hand shot. She ducked under defenders, stepping toward the end line before leaping back toward the post and tucking home a sidearm release. And as always, there were the straight-ahead power drives down the center of the field, where No. 4 wasted neither a second of time nor an ounce of effort on deception or sideways movement.

“Out of my entire 20 years of coaching, she’s the best overall athlete I’ve ever had,” Ecker said.

The supporting cast isn’t bad, either. Emma Forman shows signs of Perryman-esque intensity and Erika Moffitt and Elle Brine have become reliable offensive threats. Ecker is a defense-first coach, which pays dividends this time of year, especially with junior goaltender Erin Landry improving each season.

The problem? Lebanon plays with only two or three substitutes, none of them midfielders, which is the position requiring the most running. Most games, Ecker uses timeouts as much for giving her troops a rest as for imparting strategy, although she didn’t need to do so Tuesday.

“You can’t ever practice in-game situations,” Ecker said. “But I’m so lucky, because this group makes coaching easy. They’re nice and supportive and they fire each other up. They’re each others’ cheerleaders and friends, and we don’t have any strife or bickering.

“They deserve to be where they are right now and I hope they realize the impact they’ve made on the program, no matter what happens in the quarterfinals.”

Lebanon also received two goals and four assists from Forman, three goals and an assist from Moffitt, two goals and an assist from Brine, a goal and an assist from Sam Roberts, a goal from Brenna Peterson and single assists from Christine Jones and Izzy Walker. Landry and Anwen Morgan each stopped six shots.

Tris Wykes can be reached at twykes@vnews.com or 603-727-3227.