The Pelham Python volleyball team was pumped up for their last home game of the Fall last week, as it was ‘Senior Night’ and coach Jen Nugent sent all all-senior lineup out on the floor for the first game against the John Stark Regional Generals. Python seniors Christine Downs, Jordan Fleckenstein, Jacque Moore, Nicole Souza, Noelle Reiss, and Leatrice Lafontaine all started off strong and grabbed an early lead that the Pythons would hang onto and would win their first game number one of the season by a score of 25 - 22. Pelham junior Jacqui Perry was getting all warmed up with her serving for the night, as she served for 23 points in the three games and that included 10 aces. The Pelham girls were able to win game 2, 25 - 12, in runaway fashion and then came back to sweep the Generals with a 25 - 18 win in the third game. Coach Nugent was very happy for the win and credited it to a complete team effort.
The Pythons had to end their season two nights later up in Somersworth against a very good Hilltopper team, and Pelham almost pulled off their second upset in a row as freshman Kathryn Mostone served for nine big points and Jacqui Perry was busy at the net with seven hits, five kills, and four blocks. The scores were 25 - 19, 25 - 12, and 25 – 20, with two of the three games being very, very, close.
Jr. Pee-Wee 1- Razorbacks 19 - Salem Rams 0:
The undefeated Junior Pee Wee (Green) team played the Salem Rams in a semi-final match-up in the Division 1 State playoffs. The big green machine's defense was outstanding and the offense was too much to handle as they rolled to a 19 - 0 victory. The defense was lead by Michael Goglia, Jack Harrington, Zach Masiello, Joe Frake, Ryan Cloutier, Shane Lafond, Nick DeCarolis, Josh Gallagher, and Kevin Anderson. Kellin Bail and Brendan McInnis lead the offense with touchdowns and runs that carved up the Salem defense. The Big Green plays Hudson in the State finals on Sunday, November 9.
Jr. Midget - Razorbacks 34 - Nashua Elks 6.
Last Sunday was a gorgeous sunny day with the weather in the high 60’s, but Coach Kevin Jean and his assistant coaches had more serious things to worry about. Their Pelham Midget Razorback team hosted defending state champion, Nashua Elks in the semi-finals, and both defenses were making themselves heard, as neither team could score in the first half. Yes there were some penalties and there were some fumbles and dropped passes, but sometimes those things occur due to great defense and tough hitting.
Both teams were still going at it tooth and nail, until Pelham caught a break and recovered a fumble with good field position at the start of the fourth period. Razorback quarterback Dean Joyce moved the team down the field behind a couple of nice runs from James Beaulieu and Joey Perrone, but he then tossed a long pass down the left sideline to Kevin Cheam, who went up and over two defenders and held onto the ball at the Nashua two-yard line. Unfortunately, he was injured falling to the ground. Cheam was helped off the field, but his Razorback teammates fumbled the ball two plays later at the two-yard line.
The Razorback defense came up big down the stretch as Kevin Ciampa, Thomas Anderson, Brett Bailey, and Anthony Spirou all came up with big hits to keep the Elks out of the end zone, and the two teams were forced to go to overtime. Pelham won the toss of the coin and decided to go first from the 20 yard line and after picking up five yards on the ground, Dean Joyce rolled out to the right and fired a perfect pass in the far corner of the end zone to a diving Evan Sage, who held onto the football for a touchdown. Joey Perrone boomed the two-point kick halfway up Rte. 111 and the Razorbacks now had to stop the Nashua Elks from scoring to win this semi-final match-up.
The Elks quarterback picked up four yards on first down, but on second down he dropped back to pass and was almost completely smothered by the Razorbacks linemen. He shook loose for a second and tried a desperation pass to his halfback, but Razorback defender Zach Bretton picked it off in mid air and that set off a big celebration at Muldoon Park. Razorback coach Kevin Jean explained it all a bit later saying, “My assistant coaches Dean Joyce, Dave Lamont, and Fred Brubaker let our kids know what they had to do, and they went out and nailed it down in overtime. We beat the Nashua Elks pretty comfortably a few weeks back in the regular season, but they were much tougher out there today. We have next week off to practice and get ready for the championship game on Sunday November 9. It will be another terrific game because we’ll be facing Seacoast again and we’re the only team to beat the Titans this year.”
About 50 Pelham football faithful fans made the trek northeast to Dover last Saturday to witness the battle between two titans! The 6 - 0 Pelham Pythons, who have won 17 games in a row, and the 6 - 0 St. Thomas Saints who, along with Pelham, are two of the four undefeated teams in the state. The faithful fans got rewarded as these two teams battle it out every inch of the way, before Pelham senior Andrew Keegan picked off a St. Thomas pass at the Saints 31-yard line, and returned it 15 yards to the 16-yard line with just over four minutes to go in the game and the score all knotted up at 3 - 3. From there, Pelham’s junior quarterback, Joey DeAngelo, took a page out of last year’s championship book and called for an option to the left, and faked the pitch and kept it himself as he raced 31-yards down the sidelines for the touchdown. Pelham added another touchdown with two minutes left in the game, when Cam Robidoux recovered a fumble at the Saints 16-yard line, and Bruce Vieira only needed one carry to “Take IT To The House”. Pelham tallied these two late touchdowns to hand the Saints their first loss of the season, 17 - 3, but there was a long list of heroes for coach Tom Babaian’s team. Pelham’s defensive line showed what they were made of early in the game when they stuffed the Saints on fourth and one from the one-yard line and took over the ball at the end of the first quarter. The next time St. Thomas threatened to score at the Python’s 36-yard line, Andrew Keegan came up with a fumble recovery for his first big play of this game. Pelham got on the scoreboard with three ticks left on the clock in the first half, thanks to a nifty 27-yard pass from Joe DeAngelo to Josh Luciano, and Wayne Parisi then came on to drill a 32-yard field goal through the uprights for the only points in the game.
In the second half, St. Thomas started moving the ball down the field again and they looked like they would take the lead with the ball at Pelham’s four-yard line, but sophomore Warren Greenhalgh, making his first varsity start ever, came up with a clutch seven yard sack of the Saints quarterback, and St. Thomas was forced to settle for a 27-yard field goal to tie it all up at 3 - 3. Both defenses were rock solid, and Wayne Parisi was putting St. Thomas deep in their own end thanks to super punts and long kickoffs into the end zone. The Saints also found it hard to move the ball on Pelham’s defensive line, because senior All-Stater Bill Helliwell was being double teamed and was still getting to the quarterback and backs in the Saints backfield. Conor McColgan, Mike Lombard, Peter Chenelle, and Dave Wesson were all clamping down and making life miserable for the Saints and Greenhalgh came up with another 7-yard quarterback sack on third down to force the Saints into trying a 48-yard field goal that would get blocked by the middle of the Pelham line (it was Parisi and Helliwell), and Josh Luciano fell on the ball at the Pythons 44-yard line. The Saints held Bruce Vieira to just 96 yards in this game, but Bruce’s last carry for 16 yards and a touchdown put the last nail in the coffin.
After the game, coach Tom Babaian hugged his father and assistant coach Archie Babaian, and coaches Tim Powers, Mike Jones, Bruce Vieira, Kevin Jean, and Dean Joyce as the Python players all knew that this had been their biggest win since the 2007 championship game. Babaian went on to say, “That was a really nice win today, we played tough defense, and we were able to get the key turnovers at the end of the game. Billy Helliwell was sensational for us. Andrew Keegan came up big on a couple of occasions, on guys like McColgan. Lombard, Wesson, and Chennelle all did great jobs on the line. Joe DeAngelo and Josh Luciano had big games, they know what it takes to win the big games, and they did it again today. Wayne Parisi also had a great game along with Timmy Schaffer, and I have to say that little Warren Greenhalgh did a super job at linebacker in his first ever start. Theses kids all came up with the big plays when we needed them, and of course then we have Bruce Vieira. Everybody in the state keys on Bruce, but you never see his legs stop moving when he carries the ball, and he wasn’t going to be stopped on that 16-yarder down the stretch. I just hope that we can have a real good week of practice and be ready for Stevens on Friday night.” That was the first time since 1996, when Babaian took over as head coach at Pelham High, that his team had ever beaten St. Thomas and their coach Rod Wooton.
Some of the students at Ultimate Shaolin in Pelham competed in the World Martial Arts Federation Fall Tournament in Boston, MA, at the Reggie Lewis Athletic Arena on October 5. Competitors included Justin O’Brien, Collin Garrett, and Cameron Genoter. Collin won second place in both fighting and forms. Not shown in the photo is Crystal Mathews who has been the women’s number one Black Belt fighter for the last seven years in a row, who currently teaches the women’s kickboxing class. For additional information on the school go to www.Pelhamkarate.com.
Pelham’s girls field hockey team came a long way in just one short month, as they traveled to Portsmouth last Thursday afternoon to meet the No. 4 seeded Clippers. Portsmouth had beaten Pelham 3-0 in the fourth game of the regular season in the second week of September. This time around was like night and day, as Coach Linda Koehler has taught her Python stickers how to win. In the last eight games of the year, the Pythons boasted a 5-1-2 record with big 1-1 ties at Oyster River and St. Thomas. Pelham entered the Class I tournament with a 6-6-2 record after starting out with a 1-5 mark, and everything started falling into the place with the work ethic highly visible.
Pelham’s sophomore goaltender, Alex Catalano was called on to make 14 saves in this playoff game and she was sharp in kicking the rebounds way out to her midfielders. Cassie Costello and Molly Smith had a couple of scoring chances early in the first half that were handled by the Clipper goalie, but with four minutes left in the first half, Catalano made a save and then there was a scrum to the left of the goal and Portsmouth’s All-State forward, Jamie Fralick, was able to flick it into the Python goal. Now there were some eye witnesses who saw it hit a foot and go into the net, but the goal was allowed and it turned out to be the only score of the afternoon.
Emily Koehler, Gina Guimond, and Kally Riddinger were all exhausted and dejected after the game, but Coach Koehler noted, “I couldn’t have been more proud of a Pelham team that battled right down to the final buzzer. That was a very good No. 4, 10-3-1 Portsmouth team, and we were the No. 13 seeded team in Class I, but you could never have old that the way out girls played.” Portsmouth beat No. 5 St. Thomas last Sunday 2-1, in overtime which tells a little about how well the Pythons played.
The Pelham Python boys’ soccer team closed out their 2008 season with two very close losses last week; they dropped a 3-0 decision to Oyster River on Wednesday and were involved in a real barnburner with Milford last Friday before the Spartans scored two late goals to take it 2-0. Pelham coach Matt Regan said the difference in his Python team now, from what they had at the beginning of the season is night and day. Regan went on to say, “Most of our freshmen and sophomores are really getting it now. They see why we do certain things and what should happen and things are looking really bright for this group next fall.”
At the start of the week, Pelham was giving Oyster River fits deep in their own end, but the Pythons had one small letdown and that was converted to a Bobcat goal near the end of the first half. Freshman goalie Brian Phinney made some great saves to keep his team in the game and he had some support from seniors Ryan Ormsby and C. J. Ziogas too. Richie Sullivan and Derek DeFranzo created several scoring opportunities on the front line, but just couldn’t put the ball past the Oyster River goalie. Freshman Alex Paradis and sophomore Brandon Skinner also pleased their coach, but Oyster River was able to score two late goals when coach Regan was forced to move his defenders up in an attempt to knot the game up.
Friday night at Pelham High was “Senior Night” and the Pythons came out on fire and had a couple of breakaways that were saves, or just slipped by the far goalpost by inches. Milford and Pelham played all-out for the first 40 minutes of action, but there was still no score at halftime. Mike Woonton had a great defensive game for Pelham. Brian Phinney stopped a Milford blast midway through the second half, but the rebound came out and was pushed by him for the Spartans first goal. Milford earned their last goal of the game in the waning moments, as they headed in a ball off a corner and it squeezed by Phinney into the net by no more than an inch. Derek DeFranzo played another outstanding game, as did Richie Sullivan who just missed two scoring chances, and Alex Paradis, who was at the top of his game.
The Pelham U12 Girls Travel Soccer Team returned to action at Muldoon Park during a festive ‘Soctoberfest’ weekend (October 25 – 26) and secured a playoff birth by defeating the Timberwolves Soccer Club 2 - 0. A feisty Jayme Sloan got the scoring started muscling her way through the 18-yard box off a pass from Baylee Duarte and netting a sliding kick. Morgan Pinksten added Pelham’s second goal in impressive style. Launching a shot from 30 yards out, Pinksten’s powerful volley managed to bounce up and out of the reach of the Timberwolves’s goalkeeper.
In Sunday’s action, Pelham maintained its momentum with a 3 - 0 victory over Hooksett Soccer Club. Baylee Duarte was quick to strike within 15 seconds of the game’s start off, a feed from Jayme Sloan. Shannon Walsh found the scoring touch, netting two for the Lady Bulldogs. Walsh’s first goal came when she overpowered the defense and intercepted a goal kick, which she quickly hammered into the left side of the net. Walsh’s second goal came off of an assist from the crafty Taylor Patterson as the two skillfully worked a ‘give and go’ and Walsh finishing with a left footed boot. Jessica Coakely, Brianna Patterson, Mary Aylaian and Morgan Walsh all had strong performances for Pelham as they fought hard in each of the Bulldogs’ victories.
Pelham’s Lady Bulldogs finished regular season play posting a 6 – 1 - 1 record with four shutouts. The girls play for the league championship this Saturday against the undefeated Lightning Soccer Club at the SUSC Complex in Epping at 10 a.m.
For more information about Pelham Travel Soccer Club contact Kim Walsh at 635-1679.
The Pelham girls went up to Oyster River last week and played tremendous defense in the first half, which would see a scoreless tie by the time intermission came around. The Bobcats were able to score a couple of late goals for the win, but coach Amy Alfaro’s Python girls really got into it last Friday night against Milford in their last home match of the season. After a slow start in which the Spartans took a 3 - 0 lead in the first half, due to a couple of breakdowns, the coach got her girls together at the break and they came out with their game faces on. About 12 minutes into the second half, senior Kim Cordeiro broke down the left sidelines and crossed a nifty pass in front of the Milford net that a streaking Alex McKinney caught up to and easily dropped it into the rear of the Spartan goal to make it a 3 - 1 game. Just about 45 seconds later, Page Maloney made a super steal and attempted to go in alone, but at the last second she spied an open Kayla Soares and Soares one-timed it into the net to cut the Generals lead to 3 - 2 with 25 minutes left in the contest. Alex McKinney came about an inch away from tying this match up at 3 - 3 with 18 minutes left as he rocket off a shot and just missed the far goalpost by an inch. Pelham had several other scoring opportunities from Brianna Diaz and Erin Mogauro, but their defensive corps of Emily Long, Sophia Hur, Tina Baird, and April Blinn were keeping the General attackers away from Python goalie Brianna Trainor. Janelle Gordon was doing a masterful job at the stopper position, and girls off the bench like Cherie Fillstowicz, Alex Decarolis, Brianna Lepine, Erika Mogauro, and Brittany Long, were all coming up with key steals and big stops on the defensive side. These girls battled right down to the final buzzer before dropping the 3 - 2 decision. Alex Kyzer also played between the pipes for the Pythons.
The Pelham High School girls cross country team competed at the Class I State Championship meet this past Saturday at Derryfield Park. It was a hard-fought season, with only six girls coming out for the team. We were hit with a few injuries (three total) throughout the entire season, one of which put Jordyn Oriole on the sidelines for all of it and unable to compete at the State Meet. The girls needed five to score, so Kate Ward fought through a tendonitis issue in her Achilles and Alex LaPierre pushed through a tough hipflexer strain during the race, so the girls could have a full team and score. Despite those injuries, both girls ran well, running 26:57 and 31:47. Alex was having a hard time running 35:00 for the past couple of races, so to pull through in under 32 minutes is a great showing. Kate had already run a personal best at the beginning of the season of 25:40, but unfortunately got injured soon after.
Melody Long ran a tough race but still ran well, finishing 83rd in 22:44, the same time she ran last year. However, she did set a new Personal Best this season with a time of 22:17. Meagan Walker, a new sophomore to the team, ran very well in her first season. She began the season running around 28 minutes and got as low as 24:17 by the middle of the season. She had run 25:52 at Derryfield for the Manchester Invitational and finished in 24:39 on the same course this past Saturday at the State Meet — a great improvement in less than a month’s time.
Team Captain junior Emily Spognardi ran a great race. Her goal was to qualify for the Meet of Champions, which sees the top runners in all Classes of New Hampshire going head to head. The top 25 qualify, and Emily finished 22nd with a time of 20:21! She is the first Pelham High athlete in four years to go, and the first female in six years! The start of the Meet of Champions is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, November 1 at Nashua South High School. This is a faster course than Derryfield, and Emily will be trying to go under 20 minutes, a time that has not been achieved since Stephanie Mendes back in 1998. Emily also ran the fastest time at Derryfield by any Pelham High female athlete since Stephanie Mendes in 1998. Congratulations and good luck at the Meet of Champions!
11-0 Pythons Win State Title over Gilford - 2007 State Division V Football Champions
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