It was another banner year in NHIAA lacrosse. Some of those banners will add another year to dynasties in progress while others will mark the first in program history.
In arguably the best rivalry in the state, the battle for the boys’ Division I crown was once again contested between powers Bishop Guertin of Nashua and Pinkerton Academy of Derry. For the fifth straight season, it was BG coming away with the title.
In Division II boys’ action, the Bedford juggernaut rolls on with 61 consecutive wins and three straight state championships after beating Goffstown 12-10. In Division III, Hollis/Brookline needed overtime to knock off defending champion Derryfield School of Manchester to claim its third state title and first since 2012.
On the girls’ side, two programs won their first-ever state championships. In Division II, Bedford made it a clean sweep for Bulldogs in both the boys’ and girls’ championship by beating No. 1 Windham, 19-12. It was the first state championship for Bedford, as it was for Derryfield in Division III. The Cougars went 18-0, beating John Stark of Weare 19-2 in the finals.
In Division I, Pinkerton edged Souhegan of Amherst 13-12 for its second straight championship. The loss was the third in as many trips to the finals for the Sabers.
In the boys’ ranks, the Bishop Guertin-Pinkerton rivalry might be the best going in the NHIAA, but Astros head coach Brian O’Reilly said something is missing in order to make it a true rivalry and that’s some wins from Pinkerton.
“You can’t (say that). There are too many other sports and too many other rivalries,” O’Reilly said. “We’ve got to do our part. We are very competitive with BG, but they’ve ended our season five years in a row. I’m not sure you’d call that a rivalry right now. A rivalry has to go back and forth.”
O’Reilly said he expects to be right back there with the Cardinals next year. “We expect to be here with BG,” he said. “We’ve just got to get over this hump.”
Will Bishop Guertin and Pinkerton have some company at the top of the DI heap next year? Bedford will bring its 61 consecutive wins to Division I. The Bulldogs have already shown they can compete, beating Exeter, Hanover and even Pinkerton in the regular season.
Speaking of moving up, it was a successful jump to Division II for the Windham girls, who had won the past two DIII titles. The Jaguars went through the season as the top seed and came up just short in the finals.
“Their character and spirit and determination is second to none,” said Windham head coach Jill Bartlett of her team moving up. “To come through…everyone is like ‘anyone can do it in Division III.’ Well not everyone is. To come through and do it in Division II, it speaks volumes about their character.”Drew Shapiro was the story in the finals against Windham. The Bedford senior scored 10 of the Bulldogs’ 19 goals and added an assist.
For the Pinkerton girls, senior Maggie McCarthy was named Honorable Mention All-American and classmate Kennedy Daziel’s third goal out of her four total in the final game was her 200th. Only two other players in program history, Meagan O’Reilly and Maura Murphy, have scored 200. Daziel was the first to reach the milestone in only three varsity seasons.