Mack Plaque Recap: Lancers have success against rival Pinkerton

Bryan Murphy, Sports Editor

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Every Lancer looks forward to it. The athletes are anxious to square off with the red and white, the fans eager to yell until their vocal cords snap. Even diss tracks have been made to strengthen the rivalry. All for two days of intense games that are seen nowhere else in NH.

Mack Plaque weekend.

And this year, the Lancer athletic teams enjoyed success, as Londonderry took three out of the five games this weekend against their cross-town foes, the Pinkerton Academy Astros. The Lancers grabbed wins in both boys’ and girls’ soccer and field hockey, while the Astros won in football and volleyball.

Football:

On a pouring, cold Friday night, the Lancers football team pushed and persevered through the muddy field at Lancer Park, only to fall a touchdown short against the Pinkerton Astros, losing 21-14. The Lancers were led by senior quarterback Jake Stevens, who was 12-22 passing for 111 yards and two touchdowns, and also ran for an additional 70 yards.

Senior Peter Navarro takes a handoff during the Mack Plaque game. Navarro finished with four catches for 48 yards.

Senior Peter Navarro takes a handoff during the Mack Plaque game. Navarro finished with four catches for 48 yards.

The Lancers got on the board first with about 1:30 left in the first quarter when Stevens found senior Peter Navarro for the 18 yard touchdown. However, the Astros would score three straight touchdowns before the half ended to give Pinkerton the 21-7 lead.

The Lancers would get a break late in the third quarter when the pass by Stevens deflected off a Pinkerton defender’s hands and was caught by junior Jack Connors in the end zone to cut the lead in half. But that was all the Lancers would get as Stevens was stopped for a loss on a fourth down with one yard to go and about a minute left in the game.

“We had a really good game,” senior Eric Doran said. “The defense played their hearts out, the offense improved, but it was just that we weren’t able to finish on key drives and it cost us.”

This game marks the second time the Lancers have been within a touchdown of winning the game against a top ranked team in DI. Their other close loss came against the Goffstown Grizzlies, who came into this year the defending champions.

“Our defense has shown that they can play with the top teams,” Doran said. “We know that we have time to fix our mistakes and have a winning record this year.”

The football team have now dropped the first four games of the season, leaving them with an 0-4 record and sitting at the bottom of their division. The team will be home this Friday to take on the Concord Crimson Tide.

 

Volleyball:

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Girls volleyball talks in a huddle to strategize how to approach their next set.

The Lancer volleyball team put in a strong effort against their rival Pinkerton Astros, but the young team found themselves with the short end of the stick, losing the match 3-0.

“It was a tough game,” senior Morgan Grant said. “I think we could have played better if we really focused and put our minds to it.”

The Astros won the first set by a score of 25-13, never losing the lead. The Astros also dominated in the second set, winning 25-14. The last set was a bit closer, as the Lancers and Astros battled back and forth, before the Astros went on a streak and won 25-15.

“The game challenged us to be patient with one another,” Grant said. “We need to work as a team and help each other out. Communication and determination play a big role in volleyball.”

The volleyball team’s record fell to 0-9 on the year, as they are currently last in the division standings at the halfway point of the year.

 

Field Hockey:

Freshman Courtney Shay had not played a minute in regulation. She had stood on the sidelines, watching her teammates go back and forth for 60 minutes against the Astros, only to hear the buzzer go off with a 0-0 tie left on the scoreboard. As her team prepared for the 15 minute overtime, Coach Federico called on Shay to take the field for the Lancers.

Junior Caroline Russell loads up to fire a shot on the Pinkerton goaltender.

Junior Caroline Russell loads up to fire a shot on the Pinkerton goaltender.

And it was Shay who potted the game winning goal about seven minutes into the overtime period, to give the Lancers the 1-0 victory over the Astros. Goaltender Danielle Ziv made eight saves for the Lancers in the shutout.

“It was pure bliss winning the game,” senior captain defender Sophia Poulin said. “I was very proud of my team for working as hard as they did.”

The Lancers and Astros went back and forth all game. The Astros did score a goal late in the second half, but it was called back for a penalty on Pinkerton. Pinkerton’s discipline ended up hurting them, as a penalty in overtime caused them to be a man down. The Lancers capitalized on this opportunity with their goal coming on the man-advantage.

“The team played their hearts out,” Poulin said. “The passing up the field and the movement of the ball is exactly how we practiced and it was amazing to see them use it on the field so well.

With the win, the Lancers improved to 6-2-1 on the season, and they are currently fourth in the DI field hockey standings.

 

Girls’ Soccer:

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Senior goalie Ryann Boudreau and defenders prepare to stop a Pinkerton corner kick. Boudreau finished the game with a total of six saves for the Lancer victory.

 

Back and forth. Back and forth.

The game was a constant up and down field battle between the Lancers and the Pinkerton Astros. No one had been able to put home a goal, and it appeared as though the game would be heading to overtime. But the Barnes’ sisters had other ideas.

After junior Erin Barnes received a pass from her sister, freshman Gwen Barnes, she fired a shot into the low, left side of the goal, passed the Pinkerton goalkeeper. With only two minutes left on the clock, it was all the Lancers needed to pull off the 1-0 win over their rivals. Goaltender Ryann Boudreau made six saves for the Lancers in the win.

“Overall as a team, we played really well once we got past the nervousness of having half the student body there,” senior defender Sami Lecaroz said. “The team really brought in in the second half.”

The Lancers’ record improved to 6-2, as they pulled leapfrogged the Astros in the standings. The Lancers currently sit fifth in the division.

“It was really just overwhelming excitement to win that game,” Lecaroz said. “It just really feels good to beat a team that no one really thought you could beat.”

 

Boys’ Soccer:

The chemistry on a team is always a key to success. And it sure was a key to the boys’ soccer team’s victory over Pinkerton.

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Cam Wheeler takes a goal kick. Wheeler only had to make three saves against the Astros.

Juniors Josh Rutina and Luca Amerena both scored and assisted on the other’s as the Lancers took a 2-0 victory against the Astros. Senior goalkeeper Cam Wheeler only had to make three saves as the Astros spoiled an abundance of opportunities by missing the net.

In the 13th minute, Amerena crossed a pass to Rutina, who one-timed the shot into the far side of the net, giving the Lancers an early 1-0 lead. The goal was Rutina’s seventh of the season. And then in the 62nd minute, Rutina sent Amerena a pass in between two Pinkerton defenders, and Amerena made no mistake off it, firing the shot in the inside of the post, giving the Lancers a 2-0 lead.

“It wasn’t our best game tactically,” senior midfielder Brian Frechette said. “But our intensity propelled us and we were able to capitalize on our scoring chances when they were presented to us.”

With the win, the Lancers improve to 5-2-1, putting them eighth in the DI standings.

“It was exciting to get the win towards Mack Plaque,” Frechette said. “But we were more excited that our team was able to move up in the standings, considering Pinkerton was ahead of us.”

 

Both girls’ and boys’ cross country were defeated by Pinkerton the weekend before Mack Plaque. Golf will play Pinkerton in their match this Friday. Cheer will compete against Pinkerton at one of their competitions in November. Currently, Pinkerton is winning the Mack Plaque 4-3.

 

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