Lacrosse teams move up to D-I

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.”

The Bulldogs got a small taste last year, beating D-I teams in Pinkerton Academy, Londonderry, Hanover and Exeter, four of the top six teams from a year ago.

But the game that will be marked on everyone’s calendar won’t be for another month, when Bishop Guertin heads to Bedford on May 14 for a game under the lights.

“Us and Bedford,” Bishop Guertin coach Chris Cameron said when asked about how expected the season to unfold. “Pinkerton, just because of who they are and how well-coached they are, they’re always going to be there. It may not be their best team, but they’ll be in there.”

But this year the playoff field will expand in both divisions, with 10 teams making it in D-I and 12 teams in D-II. Eight teams will make the postseason in Division III.

“Having a wider field makes things more exciting in general,” Nashua South coach Bill Monsen said. “I think that any time you’re adding a team as good as Bedford is, the division only gets better. Everyone else has to step up their game at least one more time a year.”

On the girls side, Bedford, Bishop Guertin, Merrimack and Dover have moved up to join Division I, making it a 15-team division. 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).