New Londonderry High School varsity girls’ lacrosse coach Scott Walden has a resume which would likely impress even the most jaded lax veteran. So saying he brings a huge amount of knowledge and skill to his new post in replacing Bob Slater would appear to be something of an understatement.
Walden, who coached the LHS junior varsity girls to a JV state title last spring while also serving as a varsity assistant to Slater, was a standout in high school, college, and professional lacrosse before moving to coaching.
The Windham native played his high school lacrosse in New London at Proctor Academy before moving on to a record-setting, Hall of Fame career at Plymouth State College.
A three-time Cox Conference All-Star, the new LHS varsity mentor scored at least 40 goals in each of his four seasons and became the only mens’ player in school history with more than 100 goals and 100 assists.
Walden busted onto the collegiate lax scene in 1993 by scoring 45 goals. He followed that up with 42 goals and a school-record 52 assists as a sophomore for a single-season record 94 points. He also broke the NCAA single-game scoring record with 21 points, tallying nine goals and 12 assists in a win over Norwich.
Walden netted 40 and then 49 goals over his final two years at PSC, finishing in the top six in the nation in goals, assists, and points as a senior. He broke the New Hampshire school’s 22-year-old career scoring mark, finishing with 176 goals and 323 points with his 147 assists ending up just three shy of the school mark. He also led his Panthers to three winning seasons in those four years, and was selected to play in the prestigious East-West Senior All-Star Game.
He went on to play professional lax for the Boston Blazers of the National Lacrosse League, and Plymouth State inducted him into their Hall of Fame in 2006.
His coaching experience has had him coaching boys on the junior varsity and varsity levels at Nashua High School South, and after an absence from lacrosse for several years due to work commitments he worked with Manchester high school and Kearsarge Regional High (Sutton) contingents.
“I started coaching my daughter in youth lacrosse until she was at the U-13 level, and some Londonderry varsity girls saw me coaching my daughter’s team and they got with coach Slater and he asked me to coach the JV team. I had the time finally with work and took the job,” said Walden.
That 2016 Londonderry High junior varsity girls’ team went 25-1 and won the JV state tourney, and Walden served as a valuable varsity assistant to Slater as well.
“Working with coach Slater was a great experience for me last year, and I know I have big shoes to fill,” he said. “My philosophy has always been to assess the talent and base what we run off that. We have some amazing starting talent, but we’re lacking some depth, so time of possession is something we have focused on. Our offense has a lot of motion, setting up the right match-ups. Our defense and goalie are our strengths, and we’ll lean on them this season.”
The varsity team which Walden inherits went 11-8 last spring to finish eighth in tough Division I.
The attacks include seniors Camille Lamont and Erika Tsetsilas and juniors Courtney Baharian, Katie Derhak, Shannon Fraser, Meghan Jackes, and Allie Marsh.
The midfielders are seniors Hannah Hagearty, Kiersten Hoglund, and Emily Holland, juniors Jackie Baumann, Victoria Kelly, and Katelyn Nartiff, sophomore Sarah Duarte, and freshman Grace Chicko.
The defenders include seniors Sami Lecaroz and Faye Brown, junior Isabella Bourque, and sophomore Samantha Leclair, and goalies Kaitlyn Marchant (a senior) and Morgan Brutus (sophomore).
“Just from the growth I have seen until now, I can see us being in the hunt for a title this season,” said coach Walden. “I talk to the team about getting the program back to the days when we were winning three titles in four years. I have great expectations for the girls this year.”
The new head coach and his Lady Lancers will get their 2017 season officially under way next Tuesday, April 11, with a battle against the Bishop Guertin Lady Cardinals in Nashua. But that’s if the weather cooperates.