BEDFORD - The Bedford High Girls' Soccer Jamboree started the same way the regular season ended last year, with Bedford facing off against Exeter.
This time the Blue Hawks came out of top 2-1, not that anyone was too concerned with the score. "I wouldn't call it a rematch," said Exeter coach Megan Young with a laugh. "That was a long time ago and it's still early in the season. It's not even close to what was at stake the last time we met."
Nashua North's Shannon Miller controls the ball against Spaulding during the girls soccer jamboree held at West High School on Saturday in Manchester. (Thomas Roy/Union Leader)
Bedford coach Michelle Winning didn't put much meaning into facing Exeter either. "Whatever happened in November doesn't matter at this point," said Winning. "We just have to go out there and play and just keep working and focusing on ourselves and what we need to improve on."
(THOMAS ROY/Union Leader)
This was the second year that GPS Soccer organized this girls' soccer jamboree featuring 15 schools from around the state, and one from Connecticut.
"We were in some events Connecticut but our captains wanted to play in Vermont or New Hampshire. Kind of a team bonding thing," said Nick Libera, coach of Middletown High School, a team that won its division last year and was ranked as high a number seven in Connecticut.
Pinkerton Academy of Derry played its first game against the squad from Middletown and came away with a 2-0 win. Astros coach Steve Gundrum is building a team without last year's star scorer, Katy Ann Gronchmal.
"She was an offensive force for us last year, but we have kids who can score," said Gundrum. "That's a tough hole to fill but we're going to fill it with the players we have."
Pinkerton did make some great plays on offense only to miss the net on the shot. But at least the scoring chances were there.
"A lot of the girls played over the summer in a league in Derry," said Gundrum. "They come in in decent shape. A lot of the girls have played together a long time. I think it showed today."
Amy Sparks, coach of defending Division II champion Souhegan was happy with her team's performance but admits it will be a rebuilding year for her Sabers.
"We lost some key players. But I'm really please with th senior leadership we have this year," said Sparks. "They've stepped up and really taken control."
Sparks said her team lost 10 players from last year's champion squad. "We're focused on learning what we need to work on," said Sparks, who welcomes the competition of the jamboree. "They're building confidence and learning how to talk to each other and work together."