action:article | category:SPORTS13 | adString:SPORTS13 | zoneID:40

Home » Sports » Soccer

October 22. 2012 9:58PM

NHIAA soccer tournament: Who will rise to the top?


Bedford's Abby Kokkinos, left, and Exeter's Casey Scott go for the ball during the first half of their match up hosted by Bedford High School Tuesday. (MARK BOLTON/UNION LEADER)

It's only fitting Bedford, Londonderry, Hanover and Manchester Central earned one of the top four soccer boys' playoff berths in Division I this season.

“If you look at the recent past, Londonderry and Central played for the state title last season,” said Exeter head coach Jim Tufts. “Over in Division II, Bedford won the state title last year and Hanover won the previous six state titles. Those four teams are highly skilled, well coached and the cream of the crop this season. It's very realistic to think one of them will be holding the winning trophy.”

The boys' soccer tournament in Divisions I, II and IV begin Thursday at the sites of the higher seeds. There are four prelim games today in Division III beginning at 3 p.m.

Bow returns as the Division III defending state champ while Wilton-Lyndeborough will be trying to nail down its third straight Division IV state title.

The girls' soccer tournament in all four divisions begins Wednesday at 3 p.m.

Exeter shows no signs of relinquishing its hold on the Division I title in girls' soccer. The four-time defending state champion Blue Hawks are undefeated at 16-0 and have outscored their opponents by an overwhelming 80-14 margin.

They did get a scare on Sept. 13, beating fifth-ranked Pinkerton Academy of Derry, 1-0, in Exeter.

Can anyone beat Exeter?

In 2003 fourth-seeded Manchester Central, under head coach Peter Lally, knocked off undefeated Manchester West in the semifinals and went on to win the state title.

“Crazy things can happen in the tournament,” said Lally. “Make no mistake about it. Exeter has a terrific program. To beat them, you have to play a near-perfect game and hope at the same time that Exeter has a hiccup or two along the way. If you happen to take a lead on Exeter, you can't suddenly play not to lose. You have to play to win and some teams with little or no tournament experience tend to play not to lose.”

Lally said tournament games tend to be tighter because it's a one-game elimination format.

Lally said if Exeter wins the state title this year, giving the Blue Hawks six in seven years, people can start making the comparisons to Manchester West, which won 15 state titles, including eight in nine seasons under former mentor Jack Amero.

“West is still tops with 15 Division I titles and five runner-up plaques, but Exeter would be in the discussion,” said Lally.

Souhegan looks to defend its title this season in Division II. Bow is the returning champ in Division III and Sunapee, which snapped Derryfield's three-year reign last season, is the reigning champ in Division IV.

jhabib@unionleader.com


  • Do you support minimizing risk of injury in high school ice hockey by making the penalty for boarding or checking from behind an automatic major?
  • Yes
  • 67%
  • No
  • 33%
  • Total Votes: 937
 NH Sports Angle ╗ more
Links to news and happenings around the world of sports with a Granite State connection, updated daily.

State sells Windham golf course site for $3.06M

Ex-minor leaguers sue MLB over low salaries

$14M to beaten Giants fan returns security focus

Matt Bonner and brother bring rock show back to Redhook

GM: Twin State Speedway progressing with revival

Foot golf arrives on Seacoast

New Hampshire's Burns gets more than he could ever ask for

Pro runner's yoga class will raise money for clean Kenyan water

Menard wrecks as New Hampshire testing concludes

Lawyers try to bar Patriots from paying Hernandez $3.2M bonus

Pease Golf Course celebrates opening of lower nine holes

NFL rule could signal end of Justin Tuck signature facemask and that's a good thing according to UNH findings

NH man almost wins first $500k winner-takes-all open basketball tournament

Blue Jays move Dalton Pompey up to New Hampshire

Field set for 110th anniversary ĹClimb to the Clouds' car race

Contractors volunteer to complete renovations for 5th Annual Jericho ATV Festival

Dartmouth dismisses menĺs lacrosse coach

Jay Perrin looks to take his MMA career to the next level at Combat Zone 49

Dartmouth runner poised for long-term success on pro circuit

'Great Race' makes pit stop in Rochester

CHIP KELLY

Chip Kelly: Last practice not Fred Flintstone leaving work

Traffic jams expected with 30,000 fans at Epping dragway

Calgary Stampsĺ St. Pierre, complete with tattoos and plenty of brawn, not your typical NH wedding planner

Laconia man wins grueling 500-mile race in 9 days

NH native, famed NASCAR engine building, dead at 98

MORE

 New Hampshire Events Calendar
    

   ╗ SHARE EVENTS FOR PUBLICATION, IT'S FREE!

Upcoming Events

 New Hampshire Business Directory

  

   ╗ ADD YOUR BUSINESS TODAY!