The Lady Lancers wound up being one of three Division I squads with a record of 10-6 when their regular season came to a close following a 20-5 hammering of the Nashua North Lady Titans and a 9-8 defeat at the hands of the defending D-I champs from Pinkerton Academy last week.
The LHS crew went 3-2 in its final five matches of the regular season to end up at 10-6 along with both Merrimack and Bedford. But the LHS squad has every reason to feel good about the fact that they pushed the defending champs from PA to the limit both times they played the Astros this spring.
“The way we’ve competed has shown the girls they can beat any one of the top five teams,” said coach Bob Slater. “We just need to finish and commit a few less turnovers. I couldn’t be more proud of the way the team has played and come together this season. Our program is back on track and the future is looking great.”
It was at this time last year that the Londonderry squad underwent an emotional and controversial coaching change, and Slater stepped back into the fold for the 2015 campaign and has returned stability and optimism.
The veteran coach saw his Lady Lancer trounce the North Lady Titans by a 20-5 tally in Londonderry Tuesday, May 26, leading 7-4 at halftime and then outscoring their guests by a 13-1 count in the second half to win going away.
Senior Sarah Bell scored five times, her fellow 12th grader Noelle Lambert was good for five points on two goals and three assists, Chelsea Lewis scored four goals, Dominique Breault was good for three scores, Breda Holland contributed two goals and one helper, and Niki Skov, Jill McIntyre, Emily Holland, and Gabby Morris each potted one goal. Goalie Michaela Kewley racked up six saves in the win.
Then Friday, May 29, Londonderry hosted a rematch with the rivals from Pinkerton. Their match went down to the wire, with the Astros heading home with a 9-8 victory.
“Great game. It could have gone either way. Each team played hard,” said Slater.
The academy side led by a single goal at 5-4 at halftime, but the contest was a long way from being decided.
Pinkerton got the first two goals of the second half to push its lead up to 7-4, but after Slater called a timeout to rally his troops and the Lady Lancers kicked into high gear netting four unanswered goals to go up by one at 8-7 with a little less than four minutes remaining.
Avery Drouin knotted the score at 8-8 soon thereafter and PA senior star Maggie McCarthy scored what proved to be the game-winning goal with 1:23 left to play. The Lady Lancers worked hard to bag the equalizer but didn’t manage to do so.
“What a game,” said Slater. “We have now lost to Pinkerton, Souhegan, and Bishop Guertin by one goal. It has been a great season so far, but we are not done. We believe we can be in it at the end.”
For the second consecutive game, Bell rang up a five-goal effort, Holland contributed two goals and one assist, and June Cranmer notched the other LHS tally. Emily Dickerson and Lambert each registered assists, and keeper Kewley was good for six more stops in her net.
The Lancers wound up earning the number five seed in the Division I tourney and were subsequently placed in a quarterfinal-round battle with the fourth-ranked Exeter High Lady Blue Hawks in Exeter Wednesday, June 3, after Londonderry Times press time.