The Londonderry High School girls’ soccer squad came about as close as any team can to collecting the Division I championship without hoisting the big plaque this fall. But the D-I crown slipped away due to a title-game loss on penalty shots to the arch-rivals from Pinkerton Academy.
However, it wasn’t that disappointing note on which the Lady Lancers’ excellent 2015 campaign ended, but with state-wide recognition of some of the impressive talent that helped veteran coach Derek Dane’s squad get as far as the championship contest.
The LHS girls’ soccer crew had junior defender Andi Nelson, senior goalie Jackie Luckhardt, and junior midfielder MacKenzie Donovan all garner all-state honors from the Division I coaches in the wake of the campaign.
Nelson was named a First-Team All-State selection, a fact which coach Dane supported whole-heartedly.
“Andi has grown into a leadership role. She is a solid defender who is not afraid to mix it up. She’s also capable of playing with finesse,” said the coach. “She works hard in every practice to get better, and she’s a quiet leader.”
Keeper Luckhardt, a stellar athlete who is beginning preparations to try to help the LHS girls’ basketball squad to its third consecutive state title, was named a Second-Team All-State pick for her soccer exploits.
“Jackie is very athletic, and she rarely gives up rebounds,” said Dane. “She anchored a defense that allowed a Division I-low of nine goals in 20 games and had 10 shutouts. She allowed no more than one goal in any game this season. What she lacks in technique, she makes up for in athleticism, and she was the heart and soul of the team.”
And talented middie Donovan received Honorable Mention all-state recognition for her noteworthy play for the Lady Lancers.
“She is very technical, can shoot with both feet, is deceptively fast, and when she’s on, there are few better players in the state,” said Dane. “She was our team leader with five goals and five assists this season.”
The LHS lady booters posted a 13-3 regular season record and won their last five matches of the regular campaign. Finishing as the number three seed in D-I, the Lady Lancers knocked off number 14 Dover in the tournament’s preliminary-round, number six Concord in the quarterfinals, and then number two Manchester Central in the semifinals on the way to the title match with Pinkerton.