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It’s a Transition Game This Year for Hanover Girls

  • Hanover’s Hannah Seibel, center, has verbally committed to play lacrosse at Georgetown, but she’s still cognizant of the fact she must keep her play up — as well as her grades — entering her junior season with the Marauders. (Valley News - Greg Fennell)

    Hanover’s Hannah Seibel, center, has verbally committed to play lacrosse at Georgetown, but she’s still cognizant of the fact she must keep her play up — as well as her grades — entering her junior season with the Marauders. (Valley News - Greg Fennell) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Hanover High junior Rachel Boghosian flips a ball out of a snow bank behind the Kearsarge goal during the first half of the schools’ girls lacrosse scrimmage at Merriman-Branch Field on Thursday. Like teammate Hannah Seibel, Boghosian is looking at playing the sport in college, thanks to a commitment to an offseason club team in the Boston area. (Valley News - Greg Fennell)

    Hanover High junior Rachel Boghosian flips a ball out of a snow bank behind the Kearsarge goal during the first half of the schools’ girls lacrosse scrimmage at Merriman-Branch Field on Thursday. Like teammate Hannah Seibel, Boghosian is looking at playing the sport in college, thanks to a commitment to an offseason club team in the Boston area. (Valley News - Greg Fennell) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Hanover’s Hannah Seibel, center, has verbally committed to play lacrosse at Georgetown, but she’s still cognizant of the fact she must keep her play up — as well as her grades — entering her junior season with the Marauders. (Valley News - Greg Fennell)
  • Hanover High junior Rachel Boghosian flips a ball out of a snow bank behind the Kearsarge goal during the first half of the schools’ girls lacrosse scrimmage at Merriman-Branch Field on Thursday. Like teammate Hannah Seibel, Boghosian is looking at playing the sport in college, thanks to a commitment to an offseason club team in the Boston area. (Valley News - Greg Fennell)

Hanover — New Hanover High girls lacrosse coach Chris Seibel looks upon his team as a family. And, as with any family, emotions run the gamut.

For one, there’s teasing. With Marianne Doyle stepping away from the program she guided for a dozen years, the timbre of voice coming from the Marauders’ sidelines is now a couple of registers lower. Seibel also, when yelling instruction, has a tendency to drop his Rs, turning Hanover into Hanovuh.

“They’re familiar with this voice barking at them,” the Massachusetts native confessed on Thursday after a preseason scrimmage with Kearsarge at Merriman-Branch Field. “They have fun with poking fun with my accent.”

There’s angst. At least four Marauders are bound to continue the game in college, with the oldest of Seibel’s three daughters — junior Hannah — front and center. She verbally committed to nationally ranked Georgetown last fall, but father and daughter understand nothing is guaranteed yet. The uncertainty serves as motivation for one and caution for the other.

And, as with some families, there’s inclusion. Hanover has just 29 girls in this year’s program, which temporarily brought the potential of fielding a junior varsity team in doubt.

In response, the Marauders have told their new coach to bring everyone into the fold. Their chosen motto — We Are 29 — reveals as much.

“We are really small in numbers this year, so it’s going to be a big challenge for us to be well-conditioned,” said midfielder Rachel Boghosian, a junior who was part of a 2012 unit that went 10-6 and fell in the NHIAA Division II quarterfinals to Bedford. “It’s gonna take a lot of running. It’s gonna take a lot of effort from each and every player.

“I think that if we work hard and put a lot of hours into it, put a lot of effort into it, we can make it really far. We can definitely make it farther than last year.”

A family has its worries, and Hanover’s new coach has his.

Chris Seibel, who played high school lacrosse in Brookline, Mass., and later collegiately at Springfield College, began coaching shortly after moving to Hanover in 2003 to become the high school’s student assistance counselor. When Hannah entered middle school, Seibel formed the Upper Valley Lacrosse Club to provide more opportunity for both girls and boys.

In time, Seibel directed his daughter and Boghosian to Boston-based Revolution Lacrosse, an offseason club program whose teaching and contacts have opened doors to college that might not have opened if they’d stayed in the area. While Hannah Seibel wears her interest in the form of a Georgetown sweatshirt, Boghosian is more likely to go Division III, with Gettysburg, Skidmore and Connecticut College among the suitors.

“We picked Revolution because they had a strong history of placing girls in Division I programs, and they focused highly on academics, not the lacrosse,” Seibel said. “Their rationale is the girls should try to get into the best academic school possible, not the best lacrosse school. It worked out for Hannah. …

“It’s stressful, because (a school will) commit to her, they’ll have her come to campus, have an overnight. Junior day, they invite her on campus with the other 2014 commits, watch the Georgetown game, go to dinner, watch the Georgetown basketball game. For a 16-year-old, that’s pretty awe-inspiring.”

While also wary, Hannah Seibel has latched onto the opportunity.

Technically, she hasn’t been admitted into Georgetown yet. Admissions is satisfied with what it has seen of her transcripts and SAT scores, she said, but Seibel knows she must continue to impress in the classroom. Nothing is secure until she signs a National Letter of Intent, which she can’t do until this fall.

“I think I know I want to play lacrosse in college, and I know that my academics will be a focus, too, but I really want to excel in lacrosse,” said the younger Seibel, who would be playing for U.S. national team coach Ricky Fried if she heads to Georgetown. “(I committed) this early because it’s a stress-reliever. It gives me stress in a way, because I have to keep my grades up and everything, but it’s very nice to know where I will go.”

Easing Chris Seibel’s transition to the bench is past experience; many current Marauders have had him for a coach as well. So the family that is Hanover lacrosse has expectations.

Doyle-coached Marauder teams won two state championships and reached three other finals, but the last appearance came in 2007. This year’s squad has a solid base: In addition to Boghosian and Hannah Seibel, at least two other Marauders — senior defender Suriya Lacy (Findlay) and senior attack Claudia Noonan (William Smith) — have committed to college lacrosse programs. Hanover’s new coach thinks others will follow.

For this spring, Hanover’s midfield will be its strength. Juniors Liesel Robbins, Evie Keating and Eileen Daley and sophomores Christine Croitoru and J.J. Daniell are expected to contribute both offensively and defensively in the Marauders’ plans.

Lacy leads the defense in front of improving junior netminder Emily Gougelet. Noonan pushes the attack, but she’ll receive plenty of scoring support from the midfield.

“I’m very grateful for all of our midfielders; they’re all very well-conditioned, and it’s only preseason,” Hannah Seibel said. “But we’re all dedicated. … Even though our numbers are real small, these girls really want to be here.”

So when they shout, “We are 29!” at a workout’s end, it’s as a family.

“What the girls have said is, ‘We’re 29; we don’t want anyone to be cut,’ ” Chris Seibel said. “If we can’t have a jayvee program, let’s have a huge varsity program, even though some kids are new to the game. That came from the girls. … They want to feel as one.”

Greg Fennell can be reached at gfennell@vnews.com or 603-727-3226.