September 16, 2020BERLIN — Coach Nikki Arguin and the Berlin field hockey team look forward to beginning the 2020 campaign this Friday, Sept. 18, with a road game against the Kennett Eagles. Arguin's team finished last season with a 10-5 record. After defeating Newport in the preliminary round of the NHIAA Division III playoffs, they were then eliminated in the quarterfinal round by Newfound in a hard fought 1-0 game. The Mountaineers will look to improve on last season's results with a mix of returning upperclassmen and new faces from the younger grades.
Arguin will have the help of five returning senior players in Becca Pouliot, Madison Letarte, Kelly McCormick, Mickailey Walsh and Makenna Balderama.
Arguin stated, "As we prepare for the season, we will be focusing on skills and work on creating a team that will work in sync with one another. Freshman Luma Berry will be helping us out between the pipes. Opening the season against Kennett will be a strong challenge, as they are traditionally a strategically sound team. Each game we hope to improve and become a cohesive team."
The Berlin girls' soccer team will once again be led this season by head coach Al Woodward. Although the Mountaineers finished last season with a 3-13 record, which did not qualify them for the NHIAA Division III playoffs, there is much to be optimistic about for Woodward and his ladies. As Woodward explained, "we have a young core with a splattering of senior and junior experience in just the right places. We are coming off an injury-plagued 2019 season, however, all of our returning players look to be healthy and ready to go."
Woodward will be aided this season by newly hired assistant coach Holly Munce, who brings with her a vast wealth of experience and energy to the team. Together, the duo look to continue to build upon what could very soon be a real contender in the Division III rankings.
The Mountaineer backfield will be anchored by four-year senior starters, Grace Bradley and Kyra Woodward, while Chloe Dagesse (junior) and Alexa Goulet (sophomore) split the netminding duties. The Mountaineer midfield will be filled with solid experience, as Elizabeth Gilcris, Alicia Breault and Kadence Gendron all return with high expectations from the coaching staff. However, the team's ultimate success may lie on the feet of the incredible skill and touch of Mak Peare and Jill Hallee.
The Mountaineer girls' soccer program looks to be headed in the right direction, as Woodward expects freshmen Ava Bartoli and Alyiah Paquette to provide him with quality minutes, while fellow freshmen Aspen Langlois, Abby Blais and Aubrie Woodward will be expected to learn on the fly while seeing considerable varsity time as well. The Mountaineers will open their season on the road this Saturday with an 11 a.m. tilt against the Kennett Eagles.
Coach Tony Valierre and the Berlin boys' soccer team finished the 2019 season with an 8-7-1 record, which secured them the 11th seed in the NHIAA Division III playoffs. Unfortunately, for the Mountaineers, the sixth-ranked Trinity Pioneers unceremoniously ended their season with a first round 1-0 victory over the hometown strikers. This season, the Mountaineers look to utilize a core of returning players, having only graduated three starters last year, in hopes of moving up the ranks of Division III.
The Mountaineers will have a vast amount of experience returning this season, which starts with senior goaltender Shaun Goyette. Valliere gave Goyette very high praise when he stated, "Shaun is hungry to make his senior year the best he can for this team."
A large squadron of juniors will make up a good amount of the rest of the team, which Valliere also praised, stating, "our group of juniors have been playing a vital role since their freshman year and along with a talented group of freshmen and sophomores who have been around soccer and really have a strong soccer IQ, should lead us to a strong season."
The format for the 2020 season will be different due to the late start as well as precautions made by the state in the face of the current pandemic, however, Valliere and his players appear undaunted.
Valliere continues, "with the format of the season being an open tournament it really provides a little bit of a different feel for games and an opportunity to get players some opportunities that may not always come out of a season where you are in a constant battle in the standings. We play some different opponents this year with our regional schedule and also see teams up to three times, which always makes for some great games as we look to make adjustments based on previous games."
The Mountaineers will open their season on Sept. 21 against a strong Littleton squad. However, Valliere insists that he expects his boys to take things one game at a time. "This season, more than ever, it is important to not look ahead as things can change quickly. Overall it is just great to be out on the field with the kids and I look forward to seeing them compete."
The Berlin cross country team will once again be coached by Bob Lord this season. Lord, who also doubles as the school's track and field coach, praised his athletes for their dedication to training throughout the recent pandemic.
"These kids had their spring season cancelled, yet they continued to run six to seven days a week, which is absolutely incredible. Their desire to get back into a competitive atmosphere is clear, and we are more than ready for the season," Lord said.
On the boys' team, Jace Arsenault will serve as Lord's captain and be aided by co-captain Brody Day. Day and Braden Landry should continuously be competing for top spots this fall as the Mountaineers look to dominate. Cam Sloan, Victor Morales, Cole Rudediger, Max Boyden, David Young, Elijah Gilcris and Jeremy Howry will also be competing for Lord this season.
The girls' team will be led by Alyssa Delafontaine, Cora Treiss and Candace Howry.
All told, the Mountaineers will compete in six meets this season and will split their travel between Pittsburg/Canaan, White Mountains Regional High School and Kennett. Staying healthy will be the key to success for Lord's runners.
"One injury can bring the whole thing to a halt. The training these runners have put in will help us avoid injury, however, sometimes you also need a little bit of luck as well," he said.