Boston High School: Londonderry (N.H.)

Londonderry sets eyes on return to N.H. State Final

April, 4, 2014
Apr 4
3:00
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Ask any New Hampshire high school baseball coach to identify the team to beat in Division I this season and you’ll likely hear the same answer: Londonderry.

The Lancers have two of the best pitchers in the state, and returned six starting position players from a team that earned the No. 1 seed for last year’s Division I tournament.

“The bullseye is on Londonderry,” Alvirne coach Mike Lee said. “They’re definitely the team to chase. Head and shoulders above the rest.”

Of course coaches were saying the same thing about Londonderry at this time last year, and the Lancers failed to win the state championship. Exeter, the No. 11 seed, upset Londonderry 3-2 in the Division I title game.

The Lancers are scheduled to begin their 2014 season April 17 at Manchester Memorial.

“In terms of how people look at us...We were the No. 1 team last year and look what happened,” Londonderry coach Brent Demas said. “I think the returning players on this team are drawing a lot of motivation from last year. The sour experience of last year is sticking with these guys and it’s driving them.”

There’s no denying the talent on Londonderry’s roster. Despite losing staff ace Ryan Moloney, who’s now making significant contributions for the University of Massachusetts baseball team, the Lancers have two senior pitchers who will give them an advantage on the mound for most games: lefthander Rob Del Signore and righty Tom Corey.

Del Signore, who will play for Southern New Hampshire University next season, was 6-0 with two saves and a 0.81 ERA last season. Corey, who is headed to Franklin Pierce, was 6-3 with one save and a 1.07 ERA.

“We lost a big arm in Ryan Moloney, but we do have two pitchers who will give you a chance to be competitive every week,” Demas said. “We’re probably a little more concerned with the offense.”

Del Signore plays first base when he’s not on the mound, and hit .384 with a team-high 21 RBI last season. The other returning starters are catcher Colby Joncas (.367), second baseman Mike Ryan (.343), third baseman Jeff Kayo (.293), center fielder Zach Tavano (.286) and right fielder Brett Evangelista (.300). Evangelista led the team with 21 stolen bases last spring.

Each of those six players is entering his third season on the varsity roster.

“We do have a lot coming back, and we played well last year,” Demas said. “Experience is the strength of the team. We also have some young kids who are showing a lot of potential and they’re learning from a great group of guys. We’re going to be really competitive.”

It should be a focused team as well. The loss to Exeter in last year’s title game -- Londonderry beat Exeter 16-0 during the regular season -- likely means the Lancers won’t look past any opponent this season.

“If anything, while it hurt at that point, it was a very teachable moment,” Demas said. “We didn’t show up to play and look what happened.

“I think these guys expect to have a lot of success, but they should know they can’t just show up and win. They have to outwork everybody.”

Roger Brown is a staff writer for the New Hampshire Union Leader. Follow him on Twitter: @603SportsMedia.

Snapshot: Simpson nets her 1,000th point

January, 11, 2014
Jan 11
1:10
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Last night, Londonderry (N.H.) point guard Aliza Simpson notched her 1,000th point in an 80-34 win over Merrimack (N.H.). The UNH commit needed 26 going in, and finished with 27, getting the mark on a jumper in the fourth quarter.

Courtesy of her AAU coach with the New England Crusaders, Maureen LaRoche, here are some photos of Simpson's shot, and the ensuing ceremony:

Londonderry's Aliza Simpson commits to UNH

June, 30, 2013
6/30/13
1:05
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Londonderry (N.H.) Class of 2014 point guard Aliza Simpson has verbally committed to the University of New Hampshire, per her AAU coach with the New England Crusaders, Maureen LaRoche.

The 5-foot-9 Simpson was named First Team All-State by the New Hampshire Basketball Coaches Organization (NHBCO) for the second straight year this past winter, after averaging 17.5 points and 9.5 assists per game. The Wildcats initially extended a scholarship offer to Simpson just over a year ago, in early June 2012.

Bay State Games: July 7 recap

July, 8, 2012
7/08/12
3:32
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The annual Bay State Games officially kicked off this weekend. Communications Coordinator Craig Kaufman sends along a recap of all the action from yesterday's wrestling tournament:



BOSTON -– The 2012 Bay State Summer Games officially got underway this weekend with the annual wrestling tournament highlighting the first weekend of individual sports competition.

The event saw 450 wrestlers from around New England, including many from New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine, who were welcomed to the Massachusetts games, compete over the two-day tournament. The games kicked off with Friday’s junior tournament, featuring 100 wrestlers from fifth thru eighth grade.

The scholastic and open tournaments took place on Saturday afternoon and featured 250 of the top high school wrestlers from New England, as well as 100 more competitors aged 19 and up.

More than thirty different wrestling clubs sent wrestlers to the Bay State Games, including Doughboy Wrestling in Lowell, which had two of its combatants face off in both the 106.1 pound weight class, where Ryan Stanton (Melrose) defeated Thomas Hamilton (Lincoln) and the 160.1 weight class, which saw Alec Golner (Lowell) take the crown over Vincent Benincasa (Concord, N.H.).

Ben DeFronzo (Sudbury, Mass.), also of Doughboy, took down the 120.1 weight class. Fellow Sudbury resident Joseph Rottman was victorious in the 138.1 class.

Kyle Streeter (Waitsfield, Vt.), came south to claim the 220.1 weight class in the scholastic division.

The open division featured wrestlers from many of the top colleges in New England. Those winners in the 19 and over group included David Brown (Plymouth State), Bruin Suitor (Boston University), Trevour Smith (Duke), Everett Deslips (Johnson and Wales), Howard Tobochnil (UNH), Andrew Tanner (WPI), Zach Bates (Bridgewater State) and Caleb Crump (Rhode Island College).

The winners in Friday’s Juniors Division were Andrew Fallon (Fall River), Hunter Adrian (Melrose), Cole Wyman (Brockton), Jack Darling (Boxford), Casey Broadhurst (Plaistow, N.H.), Matthew Cabezas (Methuen), Austin Cooley (Somerset), Craig Santos (Londonderry, N.H.), Ahmad Sharif (Chicopee), Ethan Bartley (Somerset), Philip Conigliaro (Dedham), Matt Kelley (Foxborough), Griffin Murray (Chelmsford), Dylan Nottingham (Melrose), Trent Goodman (Blue Hill, Maine), Connor Petros (Ellsworth, Maine), Darius Franklin (Haverhill), David O'Brien (Dalton), Joseph Rodriguez (Merrimack, N.H.) and Mathieu Messian (North Andover).



The Bay State Games continues today with weightlifting and judo competitions. The scholastic sports will begin on Monday, with the baseball and softball competitions kicking off in Waltham.

For full schedules and results, go to baystategames.org.

Win streak reaches 44 for Londonderry (N.H.)

May, 1, 2011
5/01/11
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LONDONDERRY, N.H. –- Bob Slater subscribes to a very specific philosophy regarding competition. The sixth-year girls' lacrosse coach for Londonderry High doesn't believe extending a win streak by playing a soft schedule takes priority over facing the toughest foes he can find for his team.

He won't hesitate to accept a stern test.

The Lancers received one Saturday morning. New Hampshire's two-time defending Division I champions clinched their state-best 44th consecutive win, defeating Duxbury with a down-to-the-wire 12-11 decision.

Londonderry (7-0) erased an early three-goal deficit, played a back-and-forth and end-to-end contest, and survived a frenetic final minute against Duxbury (6-3). The game was, quite frankly, filled with situations Slater's squad hasn't seen on the in-state scene in some time.

“We knew it would be a dogfight,” Slater said. “The kids were prepared for it. They worked hard at practice. We got behind, made a few adjustments … and I couldn't be more proud of them.”

Londonderry freshman midfielder Alexa Bedell scored a game-high seven points (four goals, three assists). She showed poise in traffic and speed in space. Meanwhile, Duxbury's Stonehill-bound senior attacker Keri Gould was killer on crease rolls, pacing the Dragons with a game-high six goals.

Gould scored three times in the opening 5-plus minutes. Her quick cuts to the cage, often around the right post, gave Duxbury an eye-opening 4-1 advantage.

“When we work together, it's awesome,” Gould said. “All my teammates set me up and know my strong side.”

Duxbury's strong start was a direct result of winning draws. Boston University-bound center-midfielder Siobhan McCarthy earned her team possessions.

That prompted a significant in-game adjustment: Londonderry junior midfielder Jenny Thompson (three goals) moved to the circle and matched up with McCarthy.

“Draws are key. That's where it all begins,” said Thompson, arguably New Hampshire's top college prospect. “The first thing to do is win the draw, then settle the offense and get it going.”

The Lancers -- winners of their previous six games by a 14-goal average –- regrouped. Moments after a crease violation denied Duxbury its fifth goal, Julia Wasserman (two goals) buried Bedell's feed. The pass was the third in a sequence that started with goalkeeper Sarah Ford (four saves) finding Thompson.

Thompson later knotted the game at 5-apiece with a 45-yard burst toward Sophie Fitzpatrick (13 saves). Bedell's free-position goal gave Londonderry a 6-5 halftime lead.

Neither side created separation in the second half. Over the final 25 minutes, the game was tied six times. Goals from Gould and Emily Giumetti in a 23-second span midway through the stanza briefly earned the Dragons their lone lead after halftime, 10-9.

“We travel far because we need to see more competition like (Londonderry),” Duxbury coach Kelly Jurgens said. “They're a great team. It's great preparation for tournament time.”

Leah Walter scored the game-winner with 2 minutes, 30 seconds left in regulation.

But Amy Johnson's late-game play on defense truly kept Londonderry's streak alive. Johnson knocked down a pass near the crease with 23 seconds to play, forcing a critical turnover.

A failed clear, however, gave Duxbury renewed hope –- until Johnson drew a turnover-inducing charge, with 14 seconds on the clock.

“Charges are the worst,” said Johnson, who earned the team's game ball. “You see them coming at you and you say, 'I have to stand here and take this.'"

The collision, she confirmed, was well worth it. It's 44 and counting for the Lancers, who return to league play with two games apiece against fellow powers Pinkerton Academy and Concord High.

“We were definitely aware of their win streak. We wanted to kill it. We were close,” Gould said. “We would love another shot at them.”

Knowing how Slater operates, it wouldn't be a shock if he accepts the challenge.

Marc Thaler is a staff writer for the New Hampshire Union Leader & Sunday News. He can be reached at marc.thaler@gmail.com. You can read his blog, "New Hampshire GameDay" and follow him on Twitter @marc_thaler.

New England Roundup: New Hampshire

February, 23, 2011
2/23/11
5:53
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MANCHESTER, N.H. -- Manchester High School West's Valentine's Day victory made basketball coach Nick Moutsioulis wish his wallet could support a team trip to the Magic Kingdom.

"If I could pay for every one of the girls to go, I'd do it in a heartbeat," said Moutsioulis, his reference to Disney World and the visit made by the Super Bowl MVP after winning the biggest of games.

New HampshireYou see, West entered its Feb. 14 girls' hoop contest lugging a 77-game losing streak that dated to the 2007-08 season opener. But after three consecutive winless campaigns, and another 14 straight losses this winter, the Blue Knights stopped the frustration-filled skid with a 38-33 Division II road win at Pelham High.

"I'm still processing it. I don't even know how to react to a win," said 5-foot 8-inch forward Emily Colon, one of three seniors on West's varsity team that features just eight active players.

West's low participation in athletics isn't limited to girls' hoop. The loss of Bedford student-athletes to the opening of Bedford High in 2007 has affected most sports programs at the school.

The exodus that eventually shrunk West's population from 2,000-plus students to roughly 1,100, took place over several years. But West's ability to compete in most sports quickly declined.

Colon and classmate Brooke Brown were freshman call-ups to the varsity in 2007-08, West's first winless campaign. Routinely losing was a foreign feeling to these stars of the streak-snapping win; as ninth-graders they led their freshman team to a 12-4 record.

"We tried not to think about the negative," said Brown, a 5-foot-11 center, noting the team became the punchline to jokes that spread throughout the school.

Over time, however, staying positive proved tough. One winless season grew into two, which reached three last winter.

But worse than the lopsided losses -- and jokes generated by them -- was the sinking feeling caused by looking into the stands during home games.

(Read full post)

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