After making it all the way to the Division I tournament semifinals before being eliminated last fall, the members of the Londonderry High field hockey squad and their veteran coach Laura Federico were able to derive quite a bit of solace from the facts that they made it so far and that they would be having a slew of battle-tested veterans back in the fold for the 2016 campaign this autumn.
When she glances up and down her 2016 roster, Federico sees nine returning starters and 17 total returnees with varsity experience under their belts. Add to that impressive number four promising newcomers, and you have a Lady Lancer contingent that might even be able to do better than the 7-5- 2 regular season record it compiled last fall – tallying the seventh seed in tough Division I – on the way to the final-four finish. The returning starters include seniors Val Shay (a defender), Sophia Poulin (defense), Gabby L’Hereux (midfielder), Alison Whitehead (forward), and Olivia Polumbo (forward), and juniors Caroline Russell (defense), Ellen Kester (defense), Katie Meuse (middie), and Maeve McPhail (forward). The Lady Lancers’ other returnees include seniors Laura Batchelor, Lexi Mayo (both middies) and Paige Potvin (defense), juniors Chase Vanini (defense), Kiera Wright (middie), and Krista Fletcher (forward), and sophomores Hunter Langley (defense) and Alivia Proulx (forward). The quartet of impressive varsity newcomers includes seniors Danielle Ziv (goalie) and Nicole Chames (middie) and juniors Alli March (middie) and Lauren Mullen (forward). Federico – who sees the Keene High Lady Blackbirds, Pinkerton Lady Astros, Timberlane Lady Owls of Plaistow, and Bishop Guertin Lady Cardinals of Nashua as being potentially the toughest D-I squads this autumn – thinks her own squad’s keys to success this season being “Working together as a team at practice and on game days, and being mentally prepared as well as physically.” And the Londonderry High team has jumped right into the fire with battles against two of those tough teams in this, week one of the 2016 season. The Lady Lancers played host to Guertin Tuesday, Aug. 30 after Londonderry Times press time, and they face their first road match this Friday, Sept. 2, against Timberlane in Plaistow.