Division 3 Top 5 Teams to Watch

# 5

Pelham

Head Coach: Lauren DiRenzo

Last Season: 15-3-0 (W-L-T), Division 3 Runner-Up

Key Players Leaving: Midfielder Emily Bevens, Forward Sarah Morin (team leader in assists), and Forward Shannon Weisensee (team leader in goals).

Key Players Returning: Senior forward Amy Granfield and Sophomore forward Abby Bevens (team leader in points).

Biggest Strength: Abby Bevens is returning. With a team high 38 points last season, Bevens will again be the focal point of Pelham's offense.

Biggest Weakness: Defense and Midfield. Losing a majority to graduation, Pelham could have a fragile core when the season begins.

Prediction: Quarterfinals

 


# 4

Hopkinton

Head Coach: Patty Connolly

Last Season: 10-6-0 (W-L-T), Quarterfinal loss to Gilford, 1-4.

Key Players Leaving: Goalie Emmy Campbell

Key Players Returning: Junior midfielder Chloe Wood

Biggest Strength: Wood is returning. Wood is aggressive, and can pass the ball. She'll most likely be Hopkinton's key piece when trying to controll games.

Biggest Weakness: Defense. Losing Campbell in goal could cause problems for Hopkinton, she kept them in games last year, and not having someone to replace her is something that could cost them games. 

Prediction: Final Four


# 3

Newfound

Head Coach: Karri Peterson

Last Season: 14-2-1 (W-L-T), Final Four loss to Gilford, 1-2.

Key Players Leaving: Amanda Johnston (team leader in goals and points)

Key Players Returning: Senior forward Kylee MacDonald, Senior goalie Montana Bassett, Senior midfielder Savanna Bony, and Senior defender Hailey LeTourneau.

Key Incoming Freshman: Jasmine Peterson

Biggest Strength: Their midfield to defense "spine." Bony and LeTourneau are one of the best "spines" in the state. Bony is incredibly aggressive, and a solid midfielder and LeTourneau is one the best defenders in the state, they can both play defense, score goals, and move the ball well. 

Biggest Weakness: Johnston is leaving. Although MacDonald is a good forward, the scoring power that Johnston brought to the team is second to none. If MacDonald can replace that scoring power, they'll be okay, but if Newfound can't find someone to replace that scoring power that will make other teams' defense's jobs much easier.

Prediction: Final Four


# 2

Winnisquam

Head Coach: Cherie Snow

Last Season: 8-7-1 (W-L-T), Quarterfinal loss to Newfound, 0-4.

Key Players Leaving: None

Key Players Returning: Senior midfielder Makenzie Snow, Senior defender Cailey Clogston, Senior forward Emily Decormier, Senior goalie Riley Toupin, Senior defender Kaylee Tierney, and Sophomore forward Meghan Cote (team's leading goal scorer)

Key Incoming freshmen: Ashlyn Toupin and Madison House

Biggest Strength:  Their Senior Class. Winnisquam has one of the best senior classes in the state. Clogston and Tierney are good defenders. Decormier is faster than almost anyone, and Snow is a great midfielder.

Biggest Weakness: Scoring power. Even with the talent they have returning they lack scoring power. The incoming freshmen could help them with this problem, but if they don't Winnisquam will have to grind out games and hope the teams they play won't score goals.

Prediction: Runner-Up


Dark Horse

berlin.png

Berlin

Head Coach: Nicole Arguin

Last Season: 9-5-1 (W-L-T), first round loss to Winnisquam, 0-1.

Key Players Leaving: Midfielders Myra Arsenault and Goalie Julie Downs

Key Players Returning: None

Biggest Strength: Head Coach Nicole Arguin. Arguin has built one of the best programs in the state, in the very north country of NH. With eight finals appearances (5-3), and 3 Coach of the Year awards, you can never count her team out.

Biggest Weakness: Losing Arsenault to graduation. Berlin ran everything through Arsenault, with her out of the picture Berlin could be in for a rough season.

Prediction: Quarterfinals


# 1

Gilford

Head Coach: David Rogacki

Last Season: 15-1-1 (W-L-T), State Champions.

Key Players Leaving: Defender Kaitlyn Vanbennekum

Key Players Returning: Senior midfielder Jill Lachapelle, Senior forward Kellie Ryan (team leader in goals, assists, and points), Junior forward Bri Salanitro (Tournament's Most Valuable Player), Sophomore defender Myranda Byars, and Sophomore goalie Jenna DeLucca.

Biggest Strength: Team balance and winning with youth. Gilford has one of, if not the most balanced team in the state. Their forwards are fast and can score goals at will, their midfielders can play defense, move the ball forward effectively, and they can score goals every once in awhile. Their defense is rock solid, although they lost two to graduation, Byars is one of the best in the state, and DeLucca is one of the best goalies in the state, and probably the best in D3.

But even with their balance, their youth may be the stronger thing. They started only two seniors and two juniors last season. Three sophomores, one of which had never played field hockey until last year, and four freshmen. This year they again start only two seniors, three juniors, and the rest will be sophomores and freshmen.

Biggest Weakness: Ironically, winning with youth. If their underclassmen don't stay humble, grounded, and hungry to win more, they could get their egos bruised very quickly, and that could mentally affect a very young and talented team.

Prediction: State Champions

Click here to read Gilford's Head Coach David Rogacki's preseason interview.