Bar has been raised: Hawks are ranked 11th nationally.
A YEAR AGO, the Saint Anselm College men’s lacrosse team finished the season with an 11-5 overall record and won its first postseason game since 2009 when it beat Saint Rose in the Northeast-10 quarterfinals. The Hawks advanced to the NE-10 championship game, where it suffered a four-goal loss to Merrimack, which went on to win the Division II national championship.
The bar has been raised and expectations are even higher for Saint Anselm this season. The Hawks, who begin their season Feb. 23 at LIU Post, were ranked 11th by Inside Lacrosse in its preseason national rankings.
Saint Anselm set a team record by scoring 202 goals last season and returns two key members of that offense: seniors Anthony Busconi and Patrick Sweeney. Busconi led the team in points last season (51), when he scored 38 goals. Sweeney collected 36 goals and 13 assists as a junior, and has accounted for at least one point in each of his last 21 games.
Pinkerton Academy graduate Nick Richard is back for his senior year in goal. Richard had an 8.53 goals-against average last season, when he was in goal for each of Saint Anselm’s 11 victories.
Concord resident Andrew Lauderdale is among the players on the Arizona Hotshots rosters. The Hotshots are one of eight teams in the fledgling Alliance of American Football league, and began their regular season with a game against Salt Lake on Sunday.
Lauderdale, an offensive lineman, played at Trinity High School before continuing his football career at the University of New Hampshire. He spent time in the NFL with the Saints, 49ers and Bills. Former Dartmouth quarterback Jack Heneghan is also on the Arizona roster. Heneghan was with the 49ers in training camp last season.
The Alvirne boys’ basketball team may be a team to keep an eye on during the final three weeks of the Division I season. The Broncos (7-5) had won four in a row before dropping a 47-39 decision to Winnacunnet (11-3) on the road Friday night. Alvirne was within two points of Winnacunnet early in the fourth quarter and trailed by four with just over a minute to play.
Alvirne’s four-game winning streak included a 72-47 triumph over Salem (11-2) Tuesday night in Hudson.
“They’re tough as nails,” Salem coach Rob McLaughlin said when he was asked about the Broncos. “Against us, they moved (the ball) real well, shot it real well. They have high energy, they have some length. I think they’re a dangerous team going forward. If they’re shooting the ball well …
“No one’s touched Exeter, so I think they’re the clear-cut favorite,” McLaughlin continued. “I think once you get past that, it’s a battle every night. We’re playing teams with four, five, six wins and we’re fighting for everything we get. It’s been that way for the last few weeks.”
Former Dartmouth pitcher Duncan Robinson is among the 27 non-roster players the Chicago Cubs have invited to major league spring training, which begins Wednesday in Mesa, Ariz. Robinson has a 2.78 career ERA and a 1.109 WHIP in 288 minor-league innings. He was 8-4 with a 3.11 ERA in 26 starts last season, when he played for Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa. He limited opponents to three earned runs in his final 34 innings (five starts). The Cubs selected Robinson, a 6-foot-6 right-hander, in the ninth round of the 2016 draft.
The University of New Hampshire football program announced its latest recruits Wednesday on National Signing Day. In addition to those scholarship players, Manchester Central wide receiver/safety Nick Olibrice and Bedford running back/linebacker Ryan Toscano have committed to UNH as preferred walk-ons.
Olibrice caught 44 passes for 1,019 yards and 16 touchdowns last season, when he also intercepted two passes. Toscano rushed for 1,020 yards and 17 touchdowns, and caught 19 passes for 298 yards and three TDs as a senior. He also recorded 63 tackles, including 15 for a loss, and intercepted two passes. He’ll likely play linebacker in college.
The ConVal boys’ basketball team’s 77-21 victory over Stevens on Friday night improved the team’s record to 12-1. ConVal is tied with Pembroke for first place in the Division II standings. Oyster River (11-1) also has one loss.
ConVal will finish with a winning record for the first time since 2001-02, when the Cougars went 12-6. ConVal is 64-248 since then and, until this year, hadn’t won more than eight games in a season.
Derry’s Paul Thompson, who played hockey at Pinkerton Academy and UNH, was tied for fourth among American Hockey League (AHL) players in goals with 23 entering Sunday’s action. Thompson is the team captain for the Springfield Thunderbirds, Florida’s AHL affiliate, and scored four goals in a 7-4 triumph over Hartford on Jan. 23.
Bow’s Tom Blandini collected four hits in 13 at-bats, drove in four runs and scored five times in Southern New Hampshire’s three-game series against Cal State San Bernardino last weekend. The Penmen won Friday night’s opener, but were swept in Saturday’s doubleheader. Blandini, a junior third baseman, hit .325 for the Penmen last season.