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Bedford Rallies, Ends Hanover Lacrosse’s Season

Hanover High defender Lillian Stout and Bedford attacker Kelsey Linehan collide in front of Marauders goaltender Emily Gougelet on Saturday during the Bulldogs' 14-13 victory in an NHIAA Division II semifinal at Southern New  Hampshire University. Valley News - Tris Wykes

Hanover High defender Lillian Stout and Bedford attacker Kelsey Linehan collide in front of Marauders goaltender Emily Gougelet on Saturday during the Bulldogs' 14-13 victory in an NHIAA Division II semifinal at Southern New Hampshire University. Valley News - Tris Wykes Purchase photo reprints »

Hooksett, n.h. — The Season of the Stall ended in unexpected and unpleasant fashion Saturday for the Hanover High girls lacrosse team. The Marauders fell, 14-13, to Bedford during an NHIAA Division II semifinal, but it was the way the contest concluded as much as who prevailed that raised eyebrows around Southern New Hampshire University’s Larkin Field.

A week ago, second-year Hanover coach Chris Seibel protested an 18-11 loss to visiting Windham during the teams’ regular season finale, arguing that the officials’ refusal to allow the Marauders to hold the ball in a motionless player’s stick for minutes on end was an incorrect rules interpretation. The NHIAA agreed two days later, but said the game wouldn’t be replayed because Seibel hadn’t protested until after the final horn.

That result allowed Windham to leapfrog Hanover atop the division standings, meaning the No. 2 Marauders had to face No. 3 Bedford and not No. 4 Winnacunnet, both of which were beaten by Hanover in one-goal games earlier this spring. It was widely assumed that because Seibel had successfully fought to uphold stalling, he would use it when needed in the playoffs.

The moment everyone had been waiting for occurred with 2 minutes, 36 seconds remaining Saturday and the Marauders leading, 13-12. Bedford received a two-minute penalty, handing Hanover the ball. The Marauders set up their offensive formation in the Bedford end and, despite a situation that seemed tailor-made for stalling, attempted to pass the ball around the perimeter.

Liesel Robbins’ feed to Rachel Boghosian went awry, however, and away went the Bulldogs, tying the game with 2:04 to play on a shorthanded goal. Overtime now seemed like a distinct possibility, but Hanover again obtained possession and moved across midfield.

This time, it was an attempted pass from Christine Croitoru to J.J. Daniell that resulted in a turnover. Bedford (16-3) scored with 33.8 seconds on the clock and at even strength, won the ensuing draw control and, ironically, ran out the clock.

So why after battling for the right to stall, did Seibel not do so when his team was up by both a goal and a player with time winding down?

“Bedford was the better team,” he said. “Next question.”

That was it, as the coach marched his troops on to their waiting bus.

Bulldogs coach Christine Hodgdon was as mystified as anyone else.

“We were expecting it and we prepared for it,” she said of the stall. “We were going to step out on them, because we were down a goal and we couldn’t just stay home and let them run out the clock.

“We’ve been in a lot of close games this season, so we weren’t nervous at the end of this one. We have a solid group of defenders, including five seniors and they knew we had to step up and get the ball.”

Neither team led by more than two goals and none of those advantages occurred after Bedford went up, 8-6, a minute before halftime. There were nine ties, including deadlocks at 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13. Bedford senior attacker Drew Shapiro scored six times, including her team’s last two goals.

Hanover (16-4) was led by Hannah Seibel, who scored four goals, and Boghosian and Daniell, who each scored three. Croitoru, Sophie Lubrano and Johanna Copeland each had single tallies and Lubrano, Hannah Seibel and Molly Seibel had an assist. Emily Gougelet made 11 saves. Her team was outshot, 30-22, committed 17 turnovers to Bedford’s 12 and collected 18 ground balls to the Bulldogs’ 23.

The Marauders won 16-of-29 draw controls and converted 4-of-5 free-position shots, but were only 7-of-15 at clearing the ball from their own end. Bedford was 11-of-14 in that crucial category and avenged a one-goal loss to visiting Hanover on May 24.

Hanover was 17-2 last season, losing in the division final a year after going 10-6 and exiting in the first round. The Marauders won division titles in 2002 and 2008 and were runners-up four other times.

This year’s division final matches Bedford and No. 1 Windham (15-2), which beat Winnacunnet, 11-10, Saturday.

The Jaguars, who moved up to Division II this year after winning the last two Division III titles, beat the Warriors, 18-8 during the teams’ regular season meeting in mid-April.

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