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NHIAA Boys' Soccer: Bedford has weapons

BEDFORD — Bedford High boys' soccer coach Stuart Pepper was eager to test his team during Sunday's 10-team jamboree.

The Bulldogs will field newcomers, as well as two key players who missed last season to injury, Dan Smushkin and Matt Martin. On Smushkin: &#';He's looking great,&#'; said Pepper. &#';He's got his energy. I think being out has made him even more hungry. I think he's one of the best midfielders in the state and he just wants to enjoy every minute.&#';&#';And Matt Martin is back,&#'; said Pepper. &#';He's another impact player who brings more physicality to the team,&#'; said Pepper. &#';Hopefully they'll be ready Friday against (Manchester) Central.&#';

Bedford, eliminated from the Division I tournament in the first round last fall, will have several new faces. Talented freshman Rich DiMarco and a European import, Magnus Dagler, a Danish exchange student, will play for the Bulldogs this year.On Sunday, two other DIvision I teams, Salem and Exeter faced off in an early match. The Blue Hawks had a solid year in 2013 at 13-5 but coach Jim Tufts says competition will be tougher this year.

&#';There are an awful lot of good teams in our division. We will see how it goes,&#'; said Tufts. &#';Today was a classroom day. We're better than we were at 9 o'clock.&#';Salem coach Tony Karibian hopes his Blue Devil squad can be more consistent this year. &#';We have some players last year who are back a little older and wiser,&#'; said Karibian. &#';Hopefully that will all pan out for us but we have work to do.&#';
Division II Goffstown, which also participated on Sunday, has former head coach Randy Lovering back with an experienced, senior-laden team. &#';Our goal is to have two playoff games at home. Our goal is to be a top-four team,&#'; said Lovering. &#';Once we're there, anything can happen.&#';


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