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Thursday, May 12, 2011

High school girls lacrosse sets pace

Tom King

While trying to figure out which will come first – the Boston Bruins-Tampa Bay Lightning Eastern Conference Finals series or a stretch of three warm, sunny days in a row – we’ve had the time to put together a few local and regional tids and bits:

 • Most of you missed it because it was in an unusually late hour, but one of the best athletic performances of the local spring high school season in one of the best games of the season took place just a week ago, last Thursday night. Nashua High School North sophomore Liz Shuman scored 10 goals, including the game-winner, in a four-overtime 16-15 lacrosse win over rival Nashua South.

That’s right, four OTs. The first three were played through until the end, with each team getting a goal during that span, but the fourth extra session was sudden death and Shuman ended things with a hard, low, shot.

The game was a clear example of the difference between girls and boys lacrosse – no hitting in the girls game, which is a faster-paced affair with few clock stoppages, if any. Despite that pace the game, because of the overtimes, took over two hours and ended well after 10 p.m. on a chilly night at Stellos Stadium.

Definitely a memorable affair, especially for the Titans. As they say, in a good rivalry you throw the records out the window. In this case both teams would love to do just that as the victory was North’s first of the season and South remained winless.

 • One of the best coaching jobs of the year has to be that of Dave Morissette with the Rivier College women’s softball team. Taking over for the popular Kelly O’Connell, who resigned late last summer, Morissette guided the Raiders to a regular season 26-14 record and a berth in the GNAC finals. Now all O’Connell had done was take the program to a pair of NCAA appearances in four years, and this was considered a rebuilding year.

But Morissette would hear none of it. The Raiders were two innings away from going back to the NCAAs, leading 4-0 in the GNAC title game before St. Joseph’s of Maine rallied for a 5-4 win. The Raiders still not only placed four players on the GNAC All-Conference team but also earned an ECAC bid and were slated on Wednesday to take on the University of New England. The team basically followed the lead of its only GNAC first-teamer, freshman shortstop Catherine Roy, who hit .435 with 37 RBI on the season. Sophomore first baseman Marissa Mercier, sophomore left fielder Amanda Thornton and freshman center fielder Nicole Peacock were all-conference second-teamers.

Even though men’s hoop is his bread and butter, bet the Raiders stick with Morissette as their women’s softball coach for the foreseeable future if he wants to keep doing it.

 • While the Nashua Silver Knights of the Futures Collegiate Baseball League will bring amateur baseball to the Holman Stadium diamond, the off-field action will be on the professional minor league level. That can’t be in doubt after the franchise mirrored some of the promotional flare of its managers, the Lowell Spinners, with a couple of Bruins and Celtics related giveaways.

Last week the Silver Knights were giving away free Powerade with the purchase of tickets until the Bruins would score a power play goal; that lasted one day as the Bruins scored on a 5-on-3 the next night. That promotion hit a couple of national and regional sports websites, getting plenty of attention.

Then the other day they declared that if Celtics guard Rajon Rondo scores a double-double, the next day fans could purchase two tickets to any Silver Knights game and get two free tickets to another game. Alas, the hobbled Rondo only had 10 points and five assists Monday, but there was always Wednesday night’s game, perhaps the last chance at those freebies.

 • Speaking of the playoffs, if you’re a hockey fan – and even if you’re not – and you haven’t caught any of the San Jose-Detroit Western Conference semifinal series, you are missing out. It is a poster child for Stanley Cup playoff hockey, with the intensity at its highest level. Tune in tonight at 9 on Versus if you get a chance, you just might put the remote down for awhile.

Tom King can be reached at 594-6468 or