Division 1 Top 5 Teams to Watch

# 5

Bishop Guertin

Head Coach: Steve Duprat

Last Season: 8-6-1  (W-L-T), first round loss to Exeter, 2-3.

Key Players Leaving: Goalie Greta Reilly

Key Players Returning: Senior forward Mckenna Gosselin, Senior midfielder Bonnie Gillis, and Senior midfielder Katie Lupo.

Biggest Strength: Offense. Guertin returns a good offensive unit in Gosselin, Gillis, and Lupo. They are extremely fast and they can very deadly on counter attacks.

Biggest Weakness: Defense. Losing Reilly won't help them. She made great saves last year keeping them in games. Replacing her won't be easy and their defense, although with a year of experience is very young.

Prediction: Quarterfinals


# 4

Exeter

Head Coach: Debra Grott

Last Season: 6-9-1 (W-L-T), Quarterfinal loss to Manchester Central, 0-3.

Key Players Leaving: Defender Grace Holler and Goalie Kate Pigsley.

Key Players Returning: Senior midfielder Bri Petruccelli, Sophomore forward Maddie Davis, and Sophomore midfielder Audrey Farrar.

Key Incoming Freshmen: Meredith King and Alexis Moreau.

Biggest Strength: Midfield. Going into the season, Exeter has one of the best midfields in the state. Farrar is young but has a lot of potential to develop into one of the best, and Petruccelli has been one of the best midfielders since she was a junior. Their ability to control a game will help Exeter pull out wins.

Biggest Weakness: Defense. Losing Holler will leave a gap in Exeter's defense, in turn, their midfield may have to do a lot more defensive work. But even with losing D1 Player of the Year, Pigsley, King is a very promising goalkeeper, who could start all four years. The only bad thing is King may see a lot more shots than she cares to imagine.

Prediction: Final Four

Going into this field hockey season, I look to be a better teammate and leader and to be a great Exeter Blue Hawk field hockey player! I always look forward to all the opportunities on and off the field, which contribute to Exeter field hockey having a winning season.
— Exeter Midfielder Sophomore Audrey Farrar

# 3

Timberlane.jpg

Timberlane

Head Coach: Mim Ryan

Last Season: 12-5-2  (W-L-T), State Champions

Key Players Leaving: Defender Julia Lanctot

Key Players Returning: Senior forward Kylie Fitzpatrick, Senior defender Taryn Mackinnon, Senior midfielder Victoria Rothwell.

Biggest Strength: Midfield Presence. Rothwell is one of the best midfielders in the state. She can dribble, make good passes, and she is a great defender. Mackinnon although a defender, is probably a better offensive weapon than defensive. She's just as good as Rothwell but has more scoring power.

Biggest Weakness: Defense. Timberlane lost both of their goalies to graduation, and the best defender in the state, Lanctot. If they can't replace at least one of their goalies and Lanctot, Timberlane may have a tough time keeping opposing teams out of their circle.

Prediction: Final Four


# 2

Pinkerton

Head Coach: Katie Van Nostrand

Last Season: 10-6-0 (W-L-T), Final Four loss to Winnacunnet, 0-2.

Key Players Leaving: Forward Madison Lolicata, Forward Abigail Amato (team's leading goal scorer), and Midfielder Delaney Conway.

Key Players Returning: Sophomore goalie Khaliyah Ellis, Sophomore forward Marley Mailloux, Sophomore midfielder Mariana Shea, Junior forward Ava Dorci, Junior Forward Taylor Marchman, and Senior forward Meaghan Michaud.

Biggest Strength: Offense and counter attack. Pinkerton will probably have one of, if not the best counter attacking team in the state. They are incredibly fast, they have great passers (Mailloux is one of the states best), and they can obviously score. On top of that Mailloux and Shea are Futures' Championships' participants and could develop into one of the most dangerous duos in the state.

Biggest Weakness: Defense. Pinkerton's defense wasn't the best last year, and to be honest it probably won't be the best this year, but with Ellis in net who proved herself as a freshman, she'll be someone who can keep them in games, if they get pinned on their side of the field.

Prediction: Runner-Up

Although we are a young team, we are a talented group with amazing leadership from our Captains. I know that with our determination, talent, and spirit we can win the State Championship.
— Pinkerton Midfielder Sophomore Mariana Shea

Dark Horse

Londonderry

Head Coach: Nichole Garneau

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

Key Players Leaving: Forward Olivia Palumbo, Forward Allison Whitehead, and Goalie Danielle Ziv.

Key Players Returning: Junior forward Lauren Mullen, Senior midfielder Katelyn Meuse, and Senior forward Maeve McPhail.

Biggest Strength:  Defense. Londonderry has a team that can grind out games by just getting 1 or 2 goals. They're extremely capable of absorbing the pressure of other teams' attacks then countering down the field.

Biggest Weakness: Scoring ability. They maybe capable of absorbing teams' attacks, but they do have a tough time scoring once they get the ball into the opposing teams' circle. No matter how good their defense is, if they can't score, they won't be winning any games.

Prediction: Quarterfinals


# 1

winnacunnet.jpeg

Winnacunnet

Head Coach: Heidi Hand

Last Season: 15-2-0 (W-L-T), Runner-Up

Key Players Leaving: Midfielder Rachel Ingham and Forward Abby Merrill (led D1 in scoring)

Key Players Returning: Junior midfielder Lauren Alkire, Senior forward Isobel Sargent, Senior midfielder Courtney Ingham, Junior goalie Nikki Tredwell, and Senior midfielder Alyssa Crochetiere.

Key Incoming Freshmen: Samantha Crochetiere, Grace Michael, and Carolyn Thompson.

Biggest Strength:  Midfield and experience. When they're all clicking, they have a midfield that can rival St. Paul's. They are very strong and good dribblers. They also only lost two starters to graduation and return nine seniors, who have been to the finals every year they've been in high school, winning two.

Biggest Weakness: Defense. Although the scoring power of Merrill can't be overlooked, they do have other players that can score goals. But their defense is something that was shaky all last season. They do return their entire defense, along with incoming freshman Grace Michael who could help in that department, but if they don't get their defensive ability down early in the year, come playoff time, Winnacunnet could be on the wrong side of the scoreboard.

Prediction: State Champions

Click here to read Winnacunnet Head Coach Heidi Hand's preseason interview.

Heading into that game (last season’s State Championship) was absolutely gut wrenching; knowing all the pressure I had of being the last person in line at defending my team’s name which was at stake. But the work I had put in last season wasn’t enough to successfully do so.

Although I had never felt more defeated after that championship loss, the year to follow it was well worth it; because that loss motivated me to become all the better player and person. When I wouldn’t want to get up for an early morning club practice, when I didn’t think I could do that final sprint, when I didn’t think I had a chance at saving a shot, I thought of how that loss made me feel and I know I never wanna feel that kind of defeat again.

This year’s “off season” work has helped me improve for all the better, and I can’t wait to see what this season has in store for me and my team and the hard work, dedication, and passion that every member of it puts in. As a goalie, having a team in front of me as dedicated and strong as the Winnacunnet Warriors, it is the only medal I could ask for.
— Winnacunnet Goalie Junior Nikki Tredwell