2012 Year in Review
Thursday, January 3, 2013
Here were the Top 10 sports stories of 2012 in the Souhegan Valley.
No. 1: Morgan Andrews
What a year for the Milford soccer star. In May, Andrews became the first New Hampshire high school athlete to win a National Gatorade Player of the Year Award, when she was named the nation’s top girls soccer player. As a captain of the U.S. Under-17 soccer team, Andrews helped her team win a CONCACAF title and reach the FIFA World Cup, and as a captain of the Milford girls soccer team, she helped the Spartans win their first title since 1988.
No. 2: Barbiasz brothers
Andrews wasn’t the only Milford athlete on the national stage. In April, Lee Barbiasz signed with the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars as an undrafted free agent and was in camp with the team until the final cut. Dwight Barbiasz, the younger of the two, helped the University of Florida men’s track team win NCAA indoor and outdoor titles, and competed in the high jump at the U.S. Olympic Trials.
No. 3: Mike Beliveau
Beliveau brought his 18-year tenure as the head coach of the Souhegan football team to an end in 2012. Beliveau’s teams made the Division III playoffs 14 times and won four titles. He also twice coach the New Hampshire Shrine team, leading the team to a victory over Vermont in the 2012 game.
No. 4: D-II soccer final
The 2012 Division II girls soccer final drew a lot of interest from fans in the Souhegan Valley. For the first time since the split, Milford and Souhegan met in a girls soccer final (and for the third time overall). The Spartans won their first title since 1988, beating the Sabers 2-1.
No. 5: Sabers win it all
The Sabers won everything there was to win in 2012. Souhegan captured its second indoor track title in three years in February, and followed that up with the school’s first outdoor title in May. And if that wasn’t enough, the cross country team won its first championship in October. The Sabers are once against favorites to win the indoor title in 2013.
No. 6: Back-to-back Sabers
At midseason, Souhegan sat at 7-4 in Division II and it faced an uphill climb if it was going to repeat as champs. That’s what the Sabers did, winning 11 in a row to win another D-II title and finish with 40-4 record over those two seasons.
No. 7: Undefeated Warriors
Wilton-Lyndeborough softball entered the season with a big question mark, thanks to a knee injury to pitcher Sam Broderick. But the senior found a way to complete the season, and not only pitched a shutout in the D-IV final, but delivered the game-winning hit in the bottom of the ninth.
No. 8: Bigley out
After just 14 months on the job, Ken Bigley stepped down in September as Souhegan Athletic Director to take a new job. Dick Miller was named interim AD, the school’s third in five years.
No. 9: East-West All-Stars
Milford’s Keith Jones led the West All-Stars to a win in the inaugural New Hampshire all-star football game.
No. 10: Realignment
The NHIAA announced in April that it would reduce the number of divisions in football from six to three. Souhegan and Milford will be members of Division II and play in the South conference with John Stark, Windham and Trinity.