Changes made to lacrosse divisions
Matt Guerard has tried not to think about what’s happened in the past.
When the lacrosse season began on Monday, his Bedford High School boys lacrosse team won its 62nd straight game and will have a fourth consecutive title as its long-term goal.
But those streaks were built in Division II, against teams the Bulldogs have dominated for three seasons but will no longer play.
Bedford, along with Merrimack and Dover, join Division I this season, part of an overhaul the NHIAA gave to both boys and girls lacrosse in an attempt to even out the number of teams – and talent level – in each division.
“It’s the big-time division and we’ve been waiting a couple of years to get here,” Guerard said. “I think we’ve worked hard enough to compete at the Division I level and we’re excited.”
Nine teams also moved up from Division III to combine with the nine remaining teams from D-II, including Hollis Brookline and Derryfield, last year’s champion and runner-up, respectively, in D-III.
HB coach Mike Soucy likes the change, considering it was one the Cavaliers were already planning.
“We had the mindset even before the NHIAA realigned the divisions that we were going to petition to move up anyway,” Soucy said. “It was time, probably a little overdue in a lot of ways. We’re excited to see some new teams and have some more competition, and we’ll really have to coach these boys up to play every night. That’s what it’s going to be in Division II for us.”
Another big change was made to the finals, as now all three championship games will be held on June 13 at Exeter’s Bill Ball Stadium.
“They’ve taken a page from football and realized it’s better to have a day for all the championships,” Nashua South coach Bill Monson said. “It’s good for the fans and the players, because they get to watch teams they haven’t seen all year.”
On the girls side, Bedford, Bishop Guertin, Merrimack and Dover have moved up to join Division I, making it a 15-team division. Merrimack Valley, Pembroke, Kingswood and John Stark moved up to D-II.
Eight teams will make the postseason in each of the girls divisions, with the championship games scheduled for June 9 at Portsmouth (D-I), Exeter (D-II) and Bedford (D-III).