After a tough four-game winless skid in which it lost one match and tied three others, the Londonderry High girls’ soccer squad busted out and won two contests in impressive shutout fashion last week to move its season record to a strong 8-3-3 with the 2016 tournament coming up.
The Lancers thumped the Dover High Green Wave by a 3-0 tally at LHS Tuesday, Oct. 11 to bust the winless skid, and they followed that up with a 6-0 thrashing of the Keene High Blackbirds at home two days later.
“If you look at us over the last few years, we always have a mid-season slump,” said coach Derek Dane. “This year, the injury bug bit us. We lost our two central defenders after the Mack Plaque win. During the week after PA (ties with Salem and Timberlane) we played with a makeshift defensive unit that, at times, included three freshmen. We got through that week without losing. Early in the Timberlane game we lost a key attacking player, Erin Barnes. The Bedford game was the first time we had our usual back line together. They had not played together, competitively, for more than a week. We went to Central and got into a dogfight with them. We had beaten them in last year’s semifinal, in penalty kicks, so that rematch was about something. We played well on their field and came out with a tie.”
In the aforementioned downing of Dover, the Lady Lancers carried a 1-0 lead to halftime after Hailey Laliberte was set up by Sarah Desmarais in the fifth minute of play.
It became a 2-0 match 25 minutes into the second period when Olivia Stowell was set up by Lea Baum, and Sammy LeClair closed out the scoring 12 minutes later after being set up by Desmarais.
Londonderry hammered 16 shots on the Dover net, while at the other end of the field Ryann Boudreau made two saves her contribution to her team’s fifth shutout of the campaign.
The Thursday, Oct. 13 crowning of Keene at LHS was the Lady Lancers’ sixth blanking of an opponent this season.
It was a 2-0 match at halftime after the locals received a tally from Desmarais (assist to Laliberte) just four minutes in and Stowell got set up by Kat Rivard some 11 minutes later.
Londonderry added to its lead considerably by scoring four times in the second half. Erin Barnes tallied five minutes in on an assist from Devynn Enwright, Gretchen McGrath made it a 4-0 contest 15 minutes later, Barnes bopped home another shot with just two minutes remaining in the match, and Keene accidentally put the ball into its own cage a minute after that to make the final score 6-0.
The Lancers peppered the Keene net with 24 shots in the resounding victory, with LHS keeper Boudreau turning aside six Lady Blackbirds’ blasts in contributing to the shutout.
“Today we had everyone back,” said Dane. “We looked sharp for periods of time. We had 17 players available to play, and all 17 got on the field and contributed. We scored one goal that was special because we played from our goalkeeper, got to the other end of the field in six passes, and scored. A fantastic team goal. And we now have not conceded a goal in three games.”
The Lancer squad rolled into the final week of the regular season with the expectation of keeping the successes coming. They were slated to play the two teams sitting at the bottom of the Division I standings, with a road match at 1-13 Manchester Memorial on Tuesday, Oct. 18, after Londonderry Times press time, and then on Friday, Oct. 21 at the 1-11-2 Nashua North Lady Titans in the Gate City.
LHS soccer standout Halle Hamilton returned from an injury recently to help her squad jump out of a winless skid it was in. Photo by Chris Paul