When the 2017 Londonderry High girls’ varsity soccer squad’s campaign finished last fall, longtime coach Derek Dane and his charges had a fair amount to lament. But with a strong bunch of returnees coming back for the 2018 season, they also had a lot from which they hoped to have learned.
There may not be a better girls’ soccer coach anywhere in New Hampshire than Dane, and you can be certain that he expected his 2017 contingent to do better than an 11-7 record – good for seventh place in tough Division I – and a quarterfinal-round exit from the state tournament thanks to a loss to Exeter.
Last year’s LHS girls’ team dealt with some injury trouble which hindered it, but a number of losses late in contests stung everybody on the team and were one of the chief points of lamentation for the Lady Lancers as their uniforms were being stuffed into moth balls.
Battle-tested returnees from that 2017 crew include starters and seniors Bella Cossette and Sammie LeClair (both midfielders) and juniors Gwen Barnes (defense), Lea Baum (defense), Darby Dupuis (middie), Abbie Ellis (defense), Jasmine Richards (goalie), and Olivia Stowell (middie).
Other returnees include juniors Alyssa Anderson (forward), Olivia Galluzzo (middie), Rachel Stone (defense), and Gillain Vilela (middie).
The sizable crew of promising newcomers includes juniors Kelly Calawa (forward) and Alexzandra Metro (defense), sophomores Katie McCudden (middie) and Delaney O’Leary (middie), and lone freshman Ashley Manor (middie).
“We’re talented,” said coach Dane. “Last season we lost too many games in the last 10 minutes. We need to learn from that experience, stay focused mentally, and compete for a full 80 minutes and into extra time if necessary.”
When asked to look at which Division I opponents he expects to vie for upper-echelon positions this season, Dane responded, “The usual suspects, including (defending state champs Manchester) Central and Bedford. Concord and Winnacunnet were strong last season. I’m curious to see how newly-promoted Goffstown, Portsmouth, and Windham do.”
Londonderry began its 2018 campaign at home against the defending state champs from Central this past Tuesday night – after Londonderry Times press time – and they’ll hit the road for the first time to play at Manchester Memorial on Friday the 31st.