Souhegan rolls past Exeter, into D1 title game

MANCHESTER – The Exeter High School girls lacrosse team had an offensive game plan that the Blue Hawks hoped could match Souhegan in Saturday’s Division I semifinal.

Sabers goalie Meaghan Allard had other plans. The freshman stopper made 13 saves and combined with the Souhegan defense to keep Exeter off the board for the game’s final 29-plus minutes.

And with the Sabers’ offense running at full speed, the division’s top seed was able to roll to a 17-3 victory over the No. 4 Blue Hawks at Southern New Hampshire University’s Larkin Field.

Madison Learned led the way for Souhegan (18-2) with five goals and four assists, while Mickenzie Larivee and Jocelyn Donahue each had four goals, as the Sabers beat Exeter (13-7) for the third time this season.

"Meaghan Allard just had a great game," Souhegan coach Maren Petropulos said. "She really settled in and did her job. They all played well. We talked about playing like a team and we did."

Exeter got two goals from Kelly Moran and Kristina Keith also scored, as the Blue Hawks fell behind 4-0 early but cut Souhegan’s lead to 6-3 with 4:37 to go in the first half. The Sabers scored three more goals before halftime and continued to pile them on in the second half.

"We wanted to be able to get the ball on the draw and convert our possessions," Exeter coach Courtney Preneta said. "When we had defensive stops, we wanted to do something with it. We didn’t do any of that."

The win sends Souhegan to the championship game for the third straight year, where the Sabers will face No. 2 Pinkerton, which defeated No. 6 Salem 18-10 in the other semifinal.

The Astros defeated Souhegan in last year’s championship game, 12-10, but the Sabers won in the regular season this year, 14-13, a little more than a week ago. The title game is scheduled for 5 p.m. on Tuesday.