Steering The Ship: Marauders Field Hockey Coach Honored

  • Hanover High School’s head coach Jean Essex embraces Aiden Stone (21) on Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017, after winning a NHIAA Division II field hockey semifinal game against Souhegan High School at Exeter High School in Exeter, N.H. (Valley News - Charles Hatcher) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Stevens goalie Tess Whitney makes a diving save in front of Mascoma's Alyssa Hammond in the second half of their playoff game in Claremont, N.H., on Oct. 19, 2107. Stevens' Lexi Eitapence (6) and Clara Avery also defend. Mascoma won, 1-0. (Valley News - Geoff Hansen) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Souhegan High School’s Avery Karavas (9) fights for the ball against Hanover High School’s Diana Schwarz (1) on Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017, during a NHIAA Division II field hockey semifinal game between Souhegan and Hanover at Exeter High School in Exeter, N.H. (Valley News - Charles Hatcher) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Lebanon field hockey players Leah Mayes, left, and Emily Hunnewell celebrate a goal in the second half of their game with Merrimack Valley in Lebanon, N.H., on Aug 29, 2017. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Valley News Sports Editor
Monday, November 13, 2017

West Lebanon — The Hanover High field hockey team may not have come home with the ultimate prize of a state championship, but longtime coach Jean Essex’s work with the Marauders this fall apparently impressed her peers.

The New Hampshire Field Hockey Coaches Association bestowed upon Essex its Division II coach of the year award last week upon release of its all-state teams. Essex will also be a part of the Granite State coaching staff for next summer’s Twin State Classic, whose roster will include one of her graduating Hanover stars.

A year after losing key parts of her squad to injuries, Essex guided the Marauders to the NHIAA Division II finals last month, their first such visit since the 15-year coach guided Hanover to a Class I crown in 2009. The fourth-seeded Marauders beat No. 5 Kingswood, 3-0, in last month’s quarterfinals and top-ranked Souhegan, 2-0, in the semifinals before a 1-0 loss to No. 2 Windham in the title game on Oct. 29 at Exeter High School. Hanover finished the season with a 12-3-2 record, upping Essex’s career mark at the school to 109-102-22 since replacing Sarah Copeland Hanzas following the 2002 season.

Hanover placed three players on the all-state team. Upper Valley leading scorer Diana Schwarz (18 goals, six assists, 24 points) joined midfielder Hannah Curtis (0-8-8) on the first team, while middie Jasmine Lou made the second team. Curtis was also named to next summer’s Twin State roster.

Lebanon sent three to the all-state squad as well following the Raiders’ 4-9-1 campaign under first-year coach Amanda Valliere. Senior forward Leah Mayes (9-6-15) and senior midfielder Emily Hunnewell (7-7-14) were chosen for the first unit, and midfielder Katie Berthasavage joined the second team.

Stevens senior goaltender Tess Whitney came away with the Division III goalie of the year award from the NHFHCA. Whitney’s Cardinals went 9-6-0 this past season, recording six shutouts and only twice allowing more than one goal in a contest.

Whitney and leading Stevens scorer Elyse Scott (11-2-13) joined Mascoma goalie Abby Duhaime and Newport’s Kennedy Pysz (5-6-11) and Kendall Hamilton on the D-III first team, with the Royals’ Kaitlyn Pushee (4-8-12) and Alyssa Hammond (11-4-15) making the second unit along with Newport’s Hailey Perry and Stevens’ Emily Mudge. Hamilton and Whitney were also chosen for the New Hampshire Twin State Classic team.

Par for the Course: The Hanover high golf team put three players on the all-state golf team to cap off a season that included the program’s latest state championship.

Senior Phin Choukas represented the Marauders on the D-II first team. Choukas, who won last year’s D-II individual championship, finished second to Kingswood’s Sam Barton at Rochester Country Club last month and was the anchor of Hanover’s undefeated squad this season, which won the 20th NHIAA team title in program history. Teammates David Lehmann and Peter Lukovits were named to the all-state second team; Lukovits will return to front a team next year looking for its sixth state championship in eight years.

Lebanon’s Kyle Pelletier made the all-Division III first team after a steady season in which he averaged 42.18 strokes per nine-hole round followed by an 88 at the D-III state tournament at Owl’s Nest Resort and Golf Club in Thornton. Pelletier nipped Stevens senior Teagan Daignault for the final first-team spot; Daignault averaged 43.23 strokes per round on a young but improving Cardinal team that earned the final team spot at states.

CVL Superlatives: Fresh from winning the school’s first boys soccer championship, Rivendell placed four players on the all-Central Vermont League team.

Senior striker Owen Pelletier (25-4-29) went from standout football wide receiver to standout futbol scorer, landing on the all-league first team with junior fullback Max Haehnel. Defender Griffin Formica and forward Johnny Vogelien (14-5-19) landed on the second team.

The boys soccer first squad also included Sharon defender Cole Ward, Whitchester striker Max Stearns (16-2-18) and South Royalton forward Alvaro Sanabrio (17-6-23) and midfielder Jacob Hewitt (8-4-12). The second team included Sharon’s Olly Skeet-Browning (12-10-22) and Sam Knoerlein (11-5-16) along with Whitcomb-Rochester’s Carter Stearns and Gavin Turner.

Rivendell placed three athletes on the all-CVL girls soccer first team in center midfielder Riley Thomson (11-13-24), attacking midfielder Mikayla DeBois (19-17-36) and middie Mikayla Stever (17-11-28). Sharon’s Kaila Skeet-Browning and Novah Conway (7-4-11) made the squad, as did South Royalton’s Emma Gillette (12-2-14) and Whitchester’s Toni Turner (7-0-7). The Raptors’ Jenna Gilbert and Sienna Carter (6-4-10) and South Royalton’s Kylie Hebard (9-5-14) gained second-team mention.

Rivendell’s Meadow Yvon was the only Upper Valley athlete chosen for the all-CVL cross country squad.

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