High school sports coaches hope passionately that their squads can bounce into their post-seasons with a head of steam, feeling confident and having won at least a few games in a row and intent on going just as far as they can in the playoffs.
And the Londonderry High boys’ soccer squad had all of the bases covered as it rolled into the Division I tourney this week, having won five straight games including a pair of shutouts last week in ending the regular season at 12-2-2.
The Lancers scored their fourth consecutive victory and the fifth in their previous six matches with a 2-0 shutout of the host Manchester Memorial Crusaders in the Queen City last Tuesday, Oct. 17.
The locals advanced their season record to a stellar 11-2-2 with the shutout success – their seventh of the campaign – at Memorial that night.
Both Lancer goals were netted during the first half, with Owen Creed setting up Josh Ryan for the first in the sixth minute and Creed later getting an assist from Josh Rutina in minute 34.
Alex Hufford contributed six saves in the win, and coach Todd Ellis was particularly pleased with the work of his charges during the first 40 minutes of play.
“Our first half was one of the best all season, and perhaps should have resulted in more goals,” said Ellis. “Memorial stepped it up in the second half and played us well.”
The Lancers were then back at home on Friday night, Oct. 20 for its senior night game under the lights to battle the Nashua North crew which entered play with a 5-9-1 record, having been dealt two shutout losses in its previous two matches.
Londonderry capped off the regular campaign by dealing the North team their third straight blanking in a 3-0 match.
The hosts led 2-0 at the half after having Zack Deleo set up by Rutina in minute 19 and Nick Dawe pot an unassisted marker some 15 minutes later.
The LHS lead bulged to 3-0 just three minutes into the second half on a Rutina tally, and there was no comeback forthcoming from the visiting Titans.
The winners received some seven saves from keeper Hufford, and then waited until this Monday to find out precisely where they’d be seeded in the D-I playoffs and who they might be facing.
“We had great ball movement tonight and struck the post several times,” said coach Ellis. “I liked the creativity and energy I saw.”
The Lancers ended up with the second seed and a bye in the first round of the Division I tournament, awaiting the winner of the opening-round match between number seven Concord and number 10 Timberlane of Plaistow which was to be played this Wednesday, Oct. 25. The Lancers’ quarterfinal-round match against one of those two teams will be played this Saturday the 28th on the LHS pitch at 2 p.m.