2021 HS girls soccer preview: State title the target for several sides

  • Rivendell Academy's girls soccer team runs a passing drill during practice in Orford, N.H., on Aug. 23, 2021. The team opens their season at home against Mill River on Saturday, September 4. (Valley News - Geoff Hansen) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Valley News — Geoff Hansen

  • Rivendell goalkeeper Savannah Gray practices diving saves during a workout with the team in Orford, N.H., on Aug. 23, 2021. (Valley News - Geoff Hansen) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Geoff Hansen

  • Rivendell Academy's girls soccer team plays a game where they practice the difference in spacing on defense and offense during their workout in Orford, N.H., on Aug. 23, 2021. The team finished last season with an appearance in the VPA Division IV semifinals. (Valley News - Geoff Hansen) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Geoff Hansen

  • Rivendell captain Kylie Taylor, center, sends a pass between teammates Wayah Cook, left, and Shaylee Carter during a drill at practice in Orford, N.H., on Aug. 23, 2021. At far right is Shyanne Cleek. (Valley News - Geoff Hansen) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Geoff Hansen

Valley News Correspondent
Published: 9/2/2021 12:01:31 AM
Modified: 9/2/2021 12:01:39 AM

The COVID-19 pandemic caused the 2020 Upper Valley girls soccer season to be abbreviated. With life slowly returning to normal as the 2021 season gets underway, area teams are looking forward to playing full schedules once again.

Hanover saw its first NHIAA Division I season end with a successful run to the semifinals. Now playing a full D-I schedule, the Marauders will have plenty of tough opponents to get through in order to earn a high seed and set up another deep playoff run.

Windsor and Rivendell each made visits to the semis last year as well, and each has the talent to get back to that level again this fall. Coach Jeff Bachey and the Yellowjackets still have a big group of upperclassmen with a taste for winning in multiple sports and expect to be in title contention once again. The Raptors were just 4-3-1 in the regular season before making their run to the semis. Rivendell is returning the bulk of that team to the pitch for the 2021 season.

Hanover

Coach: Doug Kennedy (14 years).

Last year: 10-1-1, lost in semifinals to Windham on penalty kicks, 13-12.

League: NHIAA Division I.

Returnees: Seniors — Caroline Adams (M), Elsa Bolinger (D), Eliza Daigle (D), Izzy Kachikis (F), Skouly Kachikis (M/D), Emma Kleber (G), Danielle Rudd (D), Noor van Aalst (M). Juniors — Mia Madden (F), Riley McGuire (F/D), Emilia Torresani (F). Sophomores — Maeve Lee (F), Sydney McLaughlin (F).

Newcomers: Seniors — Amelia Berthold (F), Kaye Lindsay (G), Charlotte Pidgeon (D). Junior — Casey Havrda (F). Sophomores — Emma Campfield (M), Kiran Park (M), Sophie Wise (M). Freshmen — Nora Bradley (M), Reese Hamlin (D).

Analysis: Hanover will have plenty of new faces ready to reload the varsity team with hopes for another deep playoff run this season. This will be the first year Hanover plays an entire NHIAA Division I schedule, so plenty of new foes await. Coach Doug Kennedy is impressed with the character and attitude of this team based on practices thus far.

Hartford

Coach: Jeff Acker (16).

Last year: 5-6-0, lost to Fair Haven in quarterfinals.

Leagues: VPA Division II, Southern Vermont League.

Returnees: Seniors — Nora Knudsen (M/capt.), Katie Blood (D/capt.), Grace Pfenning (F), Erin Thompson (G), Beth Dobrich (M), Maddie Withington (M), Jenna Jasmin (D), Madi D’Amico (F), Sarah Howe (F), Sophie Howe (F). Juniors — Bella Boeri (M), Rory Salzano (D).

Newcomers: Seniors — Olivia Chase (D), Sara White (F). Juniors — Nora Lyons (D), Sydney Stillman (G), Megan Lang (G). Freshmen — Macy Bettwieser (D), Izzy Sirois (F), Geneva Durgin (D).

Analysis: With the Hurricanes boasting a roster with 12 seniors, 10 back from varsity a year ago, expectations are high for a strong season. “All 12 of them are taking on leadership roles, and so far our practices have been excellent,” coach Jeff Acker said. “They understand our system and are taking responsibility for passing that knowledge along to the younger kids both on varsity and JV. The goal is simple — improve every day and be a team no one wants to play against come tournament time.”

Lebanon

Coach: Breck Taber (6).

Last year: 6-3-1, lost to Bow in quarterfinals.

League: NHIAA Division II.

Returnees: Seniors — Catherine Cole (M), Alyssa Graber (F), Ella Longacre (D), Paige Susco (M), Kayla Taber (D). Juniors — Delaney DeShane (F), Claire Falcone (D/M), Elizabeth Kourbatski (M), Madelyn Newton (G), Mary Rainey (M). Sophomores — Sydney DeShane (M), Maddie Jewell (D), Sophie Longacre (M).

Newcomers: Juniors — Ava Ackerman (D), Amanda Brooker (D), Isabella Direnzo (G), Mikka Scholtz (M). Sophomores — Phoebe Ballard (F), Sarah Belk (D), Isabelle Hamilton (M/F).

Analysis: The Raiders lost just four players to graduation, including star goalkeeper Sally Rainey, so plenty of experience is returning to the pitch this fall. Six different players have multiple years of varsity experience.

“The overall outlook for the season is one of great optimism,” coach Breck Taber said. “Our goals every year include developing both as individuals and as a team, making the playoffs and, most importantly, having fun.”

Mascoma

Coach: Denver Greene (2).

Last year: 0-12, lost in first round.

League: NHIAA Division III.

Returnees: Seniors — Peyton Morley (D), Megan Clough (M), Liberti LaCasse (M). Juniors — Emma Bill (G), Kayli Staplefeld (D), Madisun LaCasse (F), Rhiannon Stone (M). Sophomores — Emily Seiler (M), Isabella Adams (M), Sophia Taylor (D).

Newcomers: Freshmen — Cora Peters (D), Braelyn Stone (M), Jenney Lutz (D), Emily Brewster (F).

Analysis: The Royals enter their second year as a varsity program with 10 starters returning from last season. Having gained valuable experience a year ago, Mascoma will now begin the hunt for victory No. 1. Isabella Adams and Meghan Clough look to lead the attack, while captains Liberti LaCasse and Emily Seiler anchor the midfield. Fellow captain Peyton Morley and goalkeeper Emma Bill will be charged with leading the defense.

“Our goal for the team is to continue to improve and build the program. We look forward to competing for a playoff spot,” coach Denver Greene said.

Newport

Coach: Gary McCall (3).

Last year: 3-7-0, lost in first round.

League: NHIAA Division IV.

Returnees: Seniors — Alicia Urista (D/F), Riley Skarin (F), Annalee Hall (M), Zeta Morris (M). Junior — Aura Parker (D). Sophomore — Emma O’Conner (G/D). Freshmen — Cheyanne Hunnum (D), Torrey Williams (M/F), Cassie Sanborn (D).

Newcomers: Senior — Bella Coffin (F). Junior — Maddy Aldrich (D). Sophomore — Denali Thorson (M). Freshmen — Ava Cameron (D), Leila Trott (D), Willow Booth (M), Skylar Nelson (D), Bella Sawyer (D). Eighth grade — Rachel Deniz (M).

Analysis: The Tigers have an amalgam of players with varsity experience and new faces looking to make noise on the pitch as the season gets underway.

“We have a good mix of girls who work hard and want to learn every day. We’re looking to put together a solid year and build upon what we were able to accomplish the last couple seasons,” coach Gary McCall said.

Oxbow

Coach: Dan Thomas (3).

Last year: 4-5-0, lost to Lake Region in first round.

Leagues: VPA Division III, NVAC Mountain Division.

Returnees: Seniors — Madelyn Fredella (M), Darcy O’Connell (M/F), Emma Parkin (D). Juniors — Laila Ellsworth (D), Makenna Simmons (G), Mckenna Smith (M), Meredith Young (M). Sophomores — Hadlee Allen (D/M), Lillian DeGoosh (D).

Newcomers: Juniors — Rose Bohan (M), Mackenzie Clogston (varsity/JV swing player), Brianna Gray (M). Sophomores — Aivree Bruce (swing), Desarae Fisk-Norton (M), Arissa Gilmore (swing). Freshmen — Caleigh Bean (swing), Maggi Ellsworth (swing), Liliana Dicks (swing), Valorie Hayes (swing), Christine Swift (swing), Mallori Young (swing).

Analysis: The Olympians lost six players to graduation and are reloading this season with a high turnout ready to stock the varsity roster. Oxbow hopes to have enough players to field a small JV team, which bodes well for giving everyone plenty of experience at the high school level. Coach Dan Thomas will lean on captains Emma Parkin and Madelyn Fredella to lead the team on and off the pitch.

“We have some promising new talent, which will help fill our departed seniors’ shoes,” Thomas said. “Several of the new players are returning after a two-year gap due to conflicts with the pandemic, so this will prove to be a year of growth in multiple facets.”

Rivendell

Coach: Tim Goodwin (10).

Last year: 5-5-1, lost in semifinals to Proctor.

Leagues: VPA Division IV, Southern Vermont League.

Returnees: Seniors — Iris Fukushima (D), Alex McFate (D/capt.), Kylie Taylor (M/capt.), Shyanne Cleek (F). Juniors — Ryleigh Butler (M), Sierra Flint (M). Sophomores — Colleen Underhill (D), Elisia Sonsalla (M), Lauren Smith (M), Lexa Smith (D). Freshmen — Shaylee Carter (M), Erin Ricker (M).

Newcomers: Seniors — Savannah Gray (G), Clara Schiffling (M). Sophomore — Lea Matea (D). Freshman — Eiea Morgan (D).

Analysis: The Raptors bring back plenty of experience from last season’s final four team and will be looking to make another run this fall.

“We have a great group of girls who are excited about the season. They are a resilient group who will make every game a learning opportunity as we prepare for the playoffs,” coach Tim Goodwin said. “We have some new faces who are sure to contribute. Our schedule has many strong teams, and we are excited to compete.”

Sharon

Co-coaches: Andy Ruddell and Rachel Milito (3).

Last year: 3-8-0, lost in first round.

Leagues: VPA Division IV, Southern Vermont League.

Returnees: Seniors — Mary Gage Donohue (F), Alix Livingston (M), Brandy Lewis (F), Hattie Byrne (D). Juniors — Phoebe Quackenbos (D), Maeve Miller (M), Lily Welch (G), Kailey Ekegren (D), Freya Abbey (M), Audrey Pettirossi (F).

Newcomers: Juniors — Avery Swett (M), Emma Diggs (M). Freshmen — Abigail Chase (D), Iris Puchalik (M), Avry Loftus (M), MaCallister Gray (D), Madeline Mintz (M), Elsa Skarsten (M).

Analysis: The Phoenix graduated eight players last year yet is reloading with a roster of 18 players to provide competition for virtually every starting spot. Look for the defensive work of Hattie Byrne, Phoebe Quackenbos and company to be a team strength. Speedy senior Brandy Lewis should key the attack.

“The success of the team will be dictated by how effectively we integrate the new players both tactically and in terms of team chemistry,” co-coach Andy Ruddell said.

Stevens

Coach: Tim St. Pierre (2).

Last year: 6-8-0, lost to Lebanon in preliminary round on PKs, 2-1.

League: NHIAA Division II.

Returnees: Seniors — Brynn Murphy (D), Zahna Rice (D), Hannah Miller (D), Jenna Bonneau (M), Molly Derosier (M), Riley Murphy (F), Jillian Williams (D), Lauren Fellows (D/M), Mackenzie Murray-Brown (M). Juniors — Tori Dalke (M), Stella Lavertue (F), Hailey Knight (G), Aidan Antonivich (D/M), Josie Aiken (M). Sophomores — Kiley Bundy (F), Madalyn Minckler (F), Maddie Lavarnway (F).

Newcomers: Freshmen — Bella Bovell (D), Navaeh LeBlanc (M).

Analysis: The Cardinals return the vast majority of last year’s roster and will be looking to improve upon their record from a season ago.

“We are a blue-collar, hard-working group. We’re loaded with experience, and we have depth in all positions. We can be a dangerous opponent, but we need to be disciplined and gain consistency,” coach Tim St. Pierre said.

Thetford

Co-coaches: Dave Williams and Jolene Cadwell (6).

Last year: 8-2-0, lost in quarterfinals.

Leagues: VPA Division III, NVAC Capital Division.

Returnees: Seniors — Greta Koppers (M), Lily Welch (M), Taylor Farrell (F), Madi Powers (F), Kiran Black (F), Maddie Hatch (D). Juniors — Kathy Darrah (F), Robina Wilmott (G), Madi Mousley (D). Sophomores — Whitney Lewis (D), Addie Cadwell (M).

Newcomers: Senior — Macey Smith (D). Juniors — Naima Bolles (M), Hannah Williams (D/M), Taylor West (D), Liv Hastings (M). Sophomore — Mason Fahey (D). Freshman — Heidi Hewes (G).

Analysis: Plenty of athletic, hard-working players has Thetford looking to rack up the wins again this fall.

“We have a very challenging schedule, but that’s the way we like it,” co-coach Dave Williams said. “Our goal will be to build teamwork in each game, support each other and promote good sportsmanship. We’re very much looking forward to being competitive on the pitch this fall.”

White River Valley

Coach: Kim Prestridge (3).

Last year: 2-4-1, eliminated in first round.

Leagues: VPA Division III, Southern Vermont League.

Returnees: Seniors — Emily Bean (D), Julia Morse (G/F), Wynter Simack (M/F). Juniors — Claire Allen (M), Jillian Barry (F/M), Ella Perreault (M), Ellie Prestridge (G/F). Sophomores — Tanner Drury (D), Sadie Kinsley (D), Amara Calhum-Flowers (F), Anita Miller (D), Anna Stratton (M/F).

Newcomers (positions TBD): Freshmen — Hannah Collins, Norah Harwood, Maggie Serviss.

Analysis: A big group of returning upperclassmen have the Wildcats looking forward to more wins this fall.

“I’m already seeing improved decision-making in our trainings. Additionally, the girls are stepping into leadership roles and working hard to make this a great year for us,” coach Kim Prestridge said.

Windsor

Coach: Jeff Bachey (5).

Last year: 10-2-0, lost to Stowe in semifinals.

Leagues: VPA Division III, Southern Vermont League.

Returnees: Seniors — Elliot Rupp (M), Holly Putnam (M), Ember Pikramenos (D), Sarah DeSchamp (D). Juniors — Skylar Thibodeau (M), Olivia Kelly (D/M), Estella Atwood (D). Sophomores — Olivia McClay (M/F), Miah McAllister (D).

Newcomers: Junior — Ash LaVanway (G/D). Freshmen — Sophia Dufour (M), Audrey Rupp (M/F), Sophia Rockwood (M/G), Brianna Barton (D/M), Brooklynn Currie (M/D).

Analysis: Elliot Rupp made the all-state first team as a junior and looks to build on that campaign for her senior year. The Yellowjackets graduated a quartet of four-year starters but still have a good mix of returning talent and athletic newcomers to reload the roster. Coach Jeff Bachey expects midfield play to be a strength.

“We have a lot of talent there, with a mix of veteran and young talent,” Bachey said. “The biggest goal for the team this season is to get back to the semifinals and hopefully take that next step into the championship game.”

Woodstock

Coach: Greg LaBella (22).

Last year: 2-5-1, lost in first round.

Leagues: VPA Division II, Southern Vermont League.

Returnees: Seniors — Skylar Haley (D/capt.), Kelly Jackson (M/capt.), Kellan Johannensen (M), Hannah Lockhart (D), Abi Masillo (F), Hannah Reed (F), Emma Tarleton (G/capt.), Lara Tarleton (M), Zoe Wood (F), Keira Zayas (D). Junior — Dillon Moss (D).

Newcomers: Junior — Isabel Konijnenberg (M).

Analysis: Senior goalkeeper Emma Tarleton will anchor what should be a strong defensive team for the Wasps. Classmates Skylar Haley and Hannah Lockhart will also be defensive stalwarts as Woodstock hopes to build from the back while also having an attacking offensive approach. Look for Hannah Reed and Abi Masillo to generate plenty of goal-scoring chances.

“While being successful on the field is always a goal, maintaining team unity and supporting one another is equally important to winning games,” coach Greg LaBella said.




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