THE NHIAA ruled on Monday that a warning issued by official Lyn Cusack in Saturday’s girls’ game between Hanover and Windham was incorrect.
The result of that game, an 18-11 Windham win, will not be changed, however, because Hanover did not file the protest at the correct time.
With approximately five minutes remaining in the first half Saturday and Windham leading 6-5, Hanover coach Chris Seibel instructed his team to hold the ball. Windham did not press, leading to both teams literally standing around until Hanover made an offensive push in the final 30 seconds.
At halftime, Cusack warned Seibel that she would call Hanover for delay of game if the team employed that tactic in the second half. As it turned out, Windham went on a run to take a large lead and Hanover did not want to stall.
Seibel did not make his protest until after the game, which was too late, according to NHIAA executive director Pat Corbin.
“The substance of the Hanover protest was upheld. The officials clearly misinterpreted the rule. There is no rule in our lacrosse rules about playing a stall offense,” Corbin said. “However, there is a protest procedure that we have in our handbook and it requires that the protest be filed at the time of the misinterpretation. (Coach Seibel) did not protest at that point in time and waited until the end of the game. That’s too late.”
Corbin said that if the protest had been filed at halftime when the ruling was made then the second half of the game would have been replayed on Monday. It was a key game because it determined the No. 1 seed (Windham) in Division II.
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Playoff storylines: The Division III boys’ tournament gets under way tonight with eight first-round games at the home of the higher seed.
Top-ranked, undefeated and the defending state champions, Derryfield School of Manchester (16-0) will face No. 16 Windham (5-11).
The game between No. 9 Laconia (8-6) at No. 8 Merrimack Valley (10-4) should be a nail-biter. Laconia won the regular season meeting 7-6.
Wednesday kicks off girls’ playoff action with all three divisions on the field.
In Division I, defending champion Pinkerton Academy of Derry (15-3) is the No. 2 seed behind Souhegan of Amherst (16-2). The Sabers will be trying to break through after finishing as runner-up the past two seasons.
In Division II, the team to watch is Windham. The Jaguars (13-2) won the past two Division III state titles before moving up this year. The Division II girls’ ranks might be the best from top to bottom and should make for some great second-round matches Saturday.
In Division III, Derryfield (15-0) will be out to cap a perfect season with the first state championship in program history.
The boys’ Division I and II playoffs open Thursday. No. 1 Bishop Guertin of Nashua (16-2) is trying to win a fifth consecutive championship in DI and could be on a collision course with rival Pinkerton (15-3), last season’s runner-up.
And finally in Division II, the Bulldogs of Bedford will put their 58-game winning streak — believed to be the nation’s best — and two straight state titles on the line. No. 1 Bedford opens against No. 8 Dover (6-10). Bedford won 13-4 in the regular season.
Ian Clark covers high school lacrosse for the New Hampshire Union Leader and Sunday News. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.