Bishop Guertin is the defending NHIAA state champion, and the Cardinals will be one of the favorites to get to the state final game. Hanover, St. Thomas/Winnacunnet/Dover and Pinkerton also eye solid years.
BISHOP GUERTIN (17-0-0)
Coach: Phil DeVita
Longtime assistant DeVita takes over the head coaching position and inherits a defending state champion that lost nine seniors to graduation. “This will be a bit of a rebuilding year, but we should have a good mix of of veteran players and incoming freshmen.”
One of those veteran players is junior captain Jenna Lynch, the reigning NHIAA Player of the Year. She will lead the attack with senior captain Julie McLaughlin, juniors Jill Scanlon and Tessa Wilke, and sophomore Jasmine Shattuck.
Senior captain Mackenzie Husson, junior Riley Molongoski and sophomore Grace Menicci are defensive returners. The Cardinals also welcome back two senior goaltenders in Makenna Reekie and Evie Holt.
DeVita reports that as many as 10 freshmen could see action as well.
Coach: John Dodds
Hanover saw its long streak of state titles snapped with a loss to Bishop Guertin in the semifinal round last year. It hopes to get back there this season.
A forward nucleus will feature seniors Kaye Lindsay and Gail Morse, junior Mackenzie Liu and sophomore Maeve Lee.
A veteran defense will be led by senior captains Danielle Rudd and Lile Seelig, and senior Greta Schutz.
ST. THOMAS/WINNACUNNET/DOVER (17-1-0)
Coach: Al Oliveira
Three of the top four scorers from last year’s club that brought an undefeated record into the state final have moved on, so a key will be playing a strong defensive game.
With that, offenisve production will be needed from seniors Memphis Brown (16 pts), Payton Fleury (9 pts) and Emily Thibodeau (11 pts).
On defense, junior McKenzie Wessling (7 pts) and sophomroe Julia Grella (9 pts) will have key roles. Junior Bridget Kelly and freshman Brielle Kelly will step right in.
Junior goaltender Diana Pivirito had eight shutouts in 14 starts last winter.
Coach: Geoff Taylor
Gritty team defense and opportunistic offense will be keys to success for the Blue Hawks as they look to pick up some more wins.
A top returning forward is junior captain Caitlyn Knowles (8 pts). New sophomore Lilyan Blood and freshman Mackenzie Babine hope to give a jolt to the offense.
Defensive leaders for coach Taylor are senior captain Emma Sughrue and sophomore Allison MacDonald.
PINKERTON ACADEMY (6-3-0)
Coach: Scott Dunn
The Astros reached the semifinals last winter and hope to build on that success with the influx of nine new players to the lineup.
Up front, senior Molly Fahey (22 pts), junior Maddie Gibeault (23 pts) and sophomore Riley Dunn (18 pts) all return with good offensive numbers. Sophomore Phoebe Pouliot and freshman Emily Gosselin add quality depth.
Senior Jordyn Wasiejlko (18 pts) and sophomore Jordyn Gravel will be cornerstones on Pinkerton’s defensive group.
Coach: Craig Bartoli
Some added scoring punch will be huge this club, which should be strong defensively.
Senior Sidney Chapman (27 pts), junior Maya Wedge (16 pts) and sophomore Abby Blais (18 pts) are all coming off solid offensive seasons.
Defensively, senior Jill Hallee (32 pts) is a bona fide two-way threat, along with sophomore Ava Bartoli (26 pts).
In goal, both sophomores Olivia O’Neil and Lumanita Berry will see playing time.