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Vaillancourts give Derryfield another title

New Hampshire Union Leader

October 28. 2012 10:19PM
Derryfield School's Berklee Vaillencourt, left, moves the ball as Berlin High School's Miriam Arsenault pressures during the Div. III state final hosted at Bedford High School Sunday. Derryfield won the title, 3-2, in overtime. (Mark Bolton/Union Leader)

BEDFORD - Vaillancourt to Vaillancourt produced a walk-off third-straight NHIAA Division III field hockey championship for the Cougars.

Berklee Vaillancourt collected a corner try pass from twin sister Colbi and blasted the game-winning goal 4:52 into the first overtime to lift top-ranked Derryfield of Manchester to a 3-2 victory over second-ranked Berlin Sunday at Bedford High.

Derryfield becomes the first Division III/IMS team to win three straight state titles, amassing a 49-2-1 record since 2010. The Cougars (17-1), winners of four state titles since 2007, finished this season with 84 goals scored, a 13-game winning streak, seven goals allowed and 13 shutout wins.

'It's unimaginable,' said Berklee of the current three-peat championship run. She joins sister Colbi, Molly Provencher and Zoe PiSierra as the only members of all three title teams.

'It's always been about team, relying on each other,' said Colbi. 'We always stay confident.'

In overtime on Derryfield's 12th corner try of the game Colbi, a 24-goal scorer this season, fed sister Berklee, stationed at the top of the circle. Wasting no time, Berklee blasted her 18th goal of the season past Berlin netminder Morgan Ouellet, who had little time to react to the hard hit shot.

'I just aimed for the corner,' said Berklee Vaillancourt, whose team got three goals past a Berlin defense which had allowed just nine all season.

'Derryfield is a very good team, especially on turf,' said Berlin coach Nicole Arguin, who had a game plan for the Vaillancourt sisters. 'We tried to keep the ball away from them, but it's hard to defend when one of them gets the ball off the corner try.'

Derryfield dominated the first 21 minutes. Colbi Vaillancourt, off a corner, scored the game's first goal 3:06 into the contest. Berlin was held shotless 21:48 into the game until a penalty stroke was awarded and converted by Carly Perreault.

More good fortune came to Berlin which was awarded a corner try with no time left in the first half. Erika Gendron found teammate Jenna Arguin for a tap-in goal, giving the Mountaineers (15-3) a 2-1 lead.

'We talked about getting the momentum back at halftime and I told the team in order to do it we had to score the next goal,' said Cougars head coach Lenny McCaigue.

Just 2:16 into the second half, Derryfield 's Sarah Porat scored the equalizer in traffic with PiSierra gaining the assist. Over the next eight minutes Derryfield had six corner tries, but couldn't take the lead. Then the momentum shifted to Berlin, which closed out the second half with four corners and no goals.

'We had chances, but couldn't capitalize,' said Arguin, praising her goalie (13 saves) for keeping her team in the game. But so did Derryfield keeper Lulu Carter, who turned back 12 tough shots, many of them in a tie game down the stretch.

'Berlin is fast and athletic, even caught us off-guard in transition a few times,' said McCaigue. 'But I'm so proud of my girls, they never stopped playing, never stopped competing. Winning three straight championships is not easy, which is why it was never done until now. We will enjoy this because we earned it.'

Sports NHIAA Berlin Manchester Photo Feature