New Hampshire D3 Poll
It didn’t take long for the lead pack of four teams to establish itself early in the regular season and that’s the way it stayed. At one point, all four schools had identical records.
By tournament’s end, No. 1 Kennett (18-3-0) clearly stood alone. The Eagles wore down Berlin/Gorham in the State Championship game, 4-0, after breezing past No. 8 Pembroke/Campbell in the quarterfinals and shutting out Somersworth/Coe-Brown, 3-0, in the semifinals.
Only three players will graduate. If everyone returns, coach Mike Lane’s club will be tough to unseat a year from now.
No. 2 Berlin-Gorham (16-4-1), which won the 2016 title, put together a terrific season after graduating 14 players a year ago. Along the way, the Mountaineers knocked off Belmont/Gilford in the semifinals. This year’s graduation losses won’t be nearly so severe, so expect Mike Poulin’s crew to be a prime contender again next season.
No. 3 Belmont/Gilford (15-4-1), another team dominated by underclassmen, enjoyed a terrific first season under coach Dave Saball. The Bulldogs could bring back all but four from this year’s semifinal squad.
No. 4 Somersworth/Coe-Brown (14-5-1) developed quickly under new coach Shane Maurice and pushed Kennett hard in the semifinals. The Bearcats will also return a large group of underclassmen.
No. 5 John Stark/Hopkinton (11-7-1) proved to be the best among the division’s other teams, but struggled against the Big Four all season. Good thing? Twelve freshmen and sophomores were on this year’s roster, boding well for the long term.