Bishop Guertin, Pinkerton boys lacrosse in early showdown
NASHUA- Is it that time
The season is barely a week old, but yes, what is usually seen as the biggest high school Division I game of the regular season is here as the defending champion Pinkerton Academy Astros take on Bishop Guertin tonight at Stellos Stadium at about 7:45.
For those of you who were expecting to go to Pinkerton in Derry for the originally scheduled 5 p.m. game, it’s obviously been changed. The Astros grass facility is said to be in tough shape, and Pinkerton athletic director/head coach Brian O’Reilly asked BG AD Pete Paladino if it was possible to play the game in Nashua instead. Paladino was a little surprised the Astros would give up home field in such a big game, but Paladino said O’Reilly told him, “I’d rather get the game played.”
Thus, it’s a lacrosse tripleheader at Stellos, with Merrimack-Nashua North girls at 4 p.m., and the regularly scheduled Pinkerton-BG girls game to follow at about 5:45 p.m., and that’s a big game too.
In boys, this may be a season during which some teams hope to close the gap. Exeter, which was slated to play Nashua South at Stellos Monday night, played the Astros to a 10-9 game last Friday. Both teams are 2-1 having lost to Massachusetts teams: Guertin was edged by Needham 12-11 at Stellos last Thursday, and last Wednesday the Astros fell to Lincoln-Sudbury 14-5.
The Cardinals, remember, lost nearly two-thirds of last year’s roster – a whopping 23 – to graduation. Pinkerton returns 10 starters, including 114-point man Ryan Auger and faceoff man extraordinaire Gennaro Mara. But it was Mason Drouin who rescued them against the Blue Hawks, his third goal snapping a 9-9 tie with three minutes left. Exeter had jumped out to a 3-0 lead in that game.
Guertin crushed Bedford 17-8 to start the season and recovered from the Needham loss the next day to blast Concord, 16-8. Junior Sean Cameron had hat tricks in both games and will clearly be a player to watch tonight.
Don’t discount the move to turf. The majority of the Cards’ games are played on field turf, and the game is simply faster. It took them a little bit to adjust to the mud and grass at Pinkerton when they won last year’s regular season game, 13-11.
Ah, but remember, the interesting thing about this rivalry is the last few years whoever wins the regular season game loses the title contest. The Astros prevailed in June, 11-9.
The girls game will also be big. The Astros were 2-0 going into Monday’s scheduled game at Londonderry, and the Cards, though young, are off to a 3-0 start.
The first game of the day will be interesting. Merrimack (1-1) makes its return to Stellos after just having been there on Friday in winning a highly competitive game vs. South. The rebuilding Titans have had a tough 0-3 start.
But the headliner should be the late game, as early in the campaign as it is, and then both Pinkerton and Guertin can get on with their seasons until an expected rematch in June.
“Their field’s not ready and we felt the doubleheader atmosphere would create a buzz and some excitement,” Guertin coach Chris Cameron said. “We like playing on the turf and the faster game.
“But this game hasn’t really determined the winner (champion) the last four years. We’re not showing everything. We’ll play to win, that’s for sure, but we’re keeping it pretty vanilla.”
The incredible wet spring continues as several events were wiped out on Monday, and scattered through the next three weeks for reschedulings.
Remember, next week is school vacation week for most New Hampshire schools, so some games are being played earlier in the day. In fact, the Nashua North and South baseball teams have a game scheduled at Holman Stadium next Wednesday at 1 p.m.
But here’s what some of these rainouts do for baseball teams: Really test their pitching depth. For example, including the game with Nashua North next week, Nashua South has four straight games: Monday vs. Pinkerton, Tuesday vs. Trinity, Wednesday vs. North, and Thursday at Goffstown. Should be interesting.
High school tennis fans may have noticed a name missing in the Bishop Guertin girls tennis results – usual No. 1 singles player Claire Reynolds.
No, she hasn’t left the team to play club or advanced tennis, or anything like that. Reynolds is currently injured, suffering a back injury about a week before the season started.
It’s quite possible she may miss the remainder of the season, according to Cards coach Barry Ndinya.
“The doctor said there’s a slight possibility only for the playoffs,” Ndinya said, adding that it’s a ligament issue. “She’s going through physical therapy right now.”
As a result, some players at the top of the ladder have had to move up, putting Amy Maalouf at No. 1, followed by Katelyn Nichols now at No. 2, and Natalie Sheehy, who was No. 6 last year, moving into the No. 3 spot as a result of challenge matches.
Margo Liakos also had an ankle injury and sliding in at No. 6 and doing very well until Liakos’ return last Friday was Alex Conceicao. “She’s been a surprise,” Ndinya said of Conceicao.
But Reynolds is a huge loss when it comes to matching up against the Cards’ nemesis Bedford, which beat them in the finals last year.
“The team was shocked,” Ndinya said of losing Reynolds. “She’s a big part of the team. But they rallied around each other, saying ‘We’re in this together, we have each others’ backs.'”
It has to be extremely difficult for Reynolds, a year-round player who Ndinya said was complaining of back issues for a while and finally had to do something about it.
“She’s putting on a brave face,” Ndinya said. “She’s at all practices and matches, supporting her teammates. She’s being a very good teammate right now.”
Hopefully, Reynolds will feel better over the next month, as the tournament starts May 22. If not, well, the Bulldogs just became a huge favorite.
bridge battle slate
The North-South Battle of the Bridge schedule is set for sub-varsity/varsity games and events so here goes:
Thursday, May 2 – Boys and girls JV lacrosse, freshman baseball, boys varsity tennis, all 3 p.m., all at South; Girls varsity lacrosse, 5 p.m., and boys varsity lacrosse, 7 p.m., both at Stellos Stadium.
Friday, May 3 – Girls varsity tennis at 3 p.m. at South; JV baseball at 4 p.m. and varsity baseball at 7, both at Holman Stadium.
Tuesday, May 7 – Unified track at 3 p.m.; JV softball at 3:30; boys and girls outdoor track at 4:30 and varsity softball at 5 p.m., all at South.
It will all be here before you know it.