It's not often you see a matchup between two teams with 15-2 records outside of a state championship match, but that’s exactly what’s on tap tonight in Amherst.
The regular season finale in girls’ Division I lacrosse will decide the No. 1 seed as Pinkerton Academy of Derry visits Souhegan of Amherst for a 6:30 p.m. game. The game features a handful of players on both sides that will be playing college lacrosse next season at the Division I level.
Pinkerton comes in fresh off avenging one of its two losses on the season on Tuesday when the Astros defeated Exeter, 18-10. Pinkerton’s only other blemish came at the hands of a very good North Andover, Mass., team, 12-10 on May 5.
One of Souhegan’s losses also came against out of state competition, 12-6 vs. Notre Dame of Hingham, Mass. back on April 24. The other Sabers’ loss was to Division II contender (and reigning Division III champion) Windham in the second game of the season, 15-14.
Whatever tonight’s result, it could very well be the state championship preview. That would be a rematch of last season’s final game, which went to Pinkerton in a 12-10 win. Division I’s next two teams, Nashua North (11-5) and Exeter (10-5), will be out to spoil the rematch when the playoffs begin next week.
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Division II battle: While the top spot in girls’ Division I is up for grabs tonight, the battle in Division II rages for spots one through five.
Hanover (14-2) could have sewn it up with a win over Dover Wednesday. On Friday, the Marauders will play a tough Windham team that stands at 12-2 in its first season in DII. Much like Pinkerton/Souhegan, the Hanover/Windham game could be a regular season finale that previews the state final.
But having a say in that will be the next three teams in the division. Bedford (12-3), Winnicunnet of Hampton (11-3) and Bishop Guertin of Nashua (10-4) are all very good teams with legitimate state title hopes.
“On any given day, these teams can beat each other,” said Hanover head coach Chris Seibel. “It’s not a year where you’re winning games and thinking ’oh, yeah, this will be a clear path to the final.’ It’s not that way. You’ve got to pay attention. It’s going to come down to Bishop Guertin, Hanover, Windham, Bedford or Winnacunnet. One of those teams is going to be ranked fifth and that means starting the (playoffs) on the road.”
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Crutchfield honored: St. Paul’s School senior midfielder Madison Crutchfield, who will be attending Duke University to play lacrosse, was named to the Under Armor All America Lacrosse Classic roster last week. The game will be played at Towson University on July 12.
Ian Clark covers high school lacrosse for the New Hampshire Union Leader and Sunday News. His email address is email@example.com.