Through nine years as the coach of the Londonderry High girls’ varsity soccer squad, coach Derek Dane has become one of the most respected coaches in Division I while compiling a jaw-dropping record of 114-41-12 and leading his Lady Lancers to two D-I championship matches.
But a state title has eluded Dane and his charges during that lengthy span, and hoisting a title trophy is the act the veteran coach and his girls have worked tremendously hard to enjoy, at long last.
As he and his Lady Lancers officially stepped into their 2017 season this past Tuesday, Aug. 29 at home against the visiting Spaulding High Lady Red Raiders of Rochester – after Londonderry Times press time – Dane found himself with a roster which featured a solid mix of battle-tested veterans and promising newcomers which should do plenty of winning this fall.
The returnees from a 2016 crew which went 11-4-3 last autumn and had its campaign ended with a loss to Exeter in the tournament quarterfinals includes seniors Erin Barnes (a forward) and Halle Hamilton (a defender), junior Sammy LeClair (a midfielder), and sophomores Gwen Barnes (defense) and the high-scoring Olivia Stowell (middie). Stowell was a key offensive cog in the LHS offense as a freshman last year, netting 16 goals and dishing out nine assists for 25 points.
Other varsity returnees include seniors Isabella Bourque (defense), Laurel Goding (forward), and Lauren Misiaszek (forward) and sophomore Lea Baum (defender).
The squad’s lengthy list of newcomers includes seniors Jackie Baumann (defense) and Kiera Tewksbury (defense), juniors Bella Cossette (middie) and Abby Follansbee (defense), and sophomores Abby Ellis (defense), Olivia Galluzzo (middie), Jasmine Richards (goalie), and Gillian Vilela (middie).
Hamilton and Stowell both claimed all-state honors last autumn, and Erin Barnes, LeClair, and the University of Rhode Island-bound Hamilton are the tri-captains on a 2017 squad which has several interesting side-lights to it as it commences play.
“For the first time in three years, we do not have a set of twins. However, we do have two sisters, two Abby’s, and two Olivia’s,” said coach Dane, who is ably assisted this fall by veteran soccer mentors Steve Czifrik and Dave Bulk.