Oyster River Heads to Playoffs

*Dates and times for some games have been changed due to weather since the original publication of this article. This article is up to date as of 12:40 on Friday, October 26th.

As the fall sports season comes to a close, Oyster River is sending six teams off to their respective post-season playoffs. Each series will start throughout the next week as teams begin their quest for state titles.

The varsity girls’ soccer team (12-4) finished their season ranked fourth in Division II. They’ll play in the preliminary round at home this Thursday, October 25th, at 3:30pm against Conval Regional High School (5-8-3). If they win, they’ll play again at home this Sunday, October 28th, at 2pm against the winner of the Coe Brown(12th)/Hanover(5th) game.

Madeline Alphonse (‘19), one of three captains for the girls’ soccer team, talked about some of the challenges the team had faced. “We had a rough start to the season. We played a few hard games, which kind of rocked our confidence. But we really rebounded; we collected ourselves and we focused back in, and I think that really made us a stronger team.”

Alphonse stressed the important role that team chemistry had played in their success. “We’re all really great teammates to one another, and I think that is, honestly, the most important thing.” Alphonse explained, “I think our comradery will get us farther in playoffs than we’ve ever been before.”

After playing Conval last week on their field and winning 3-1, Alphonse is confident in the team’s ability to win on Thursday. She stated, “we’re really excited to play them again and on our home turf.”

The varsity boys’ soccer team (14-2) finished second in Division II during the regular season, highlighted by an 8 game win streak to end the year. This record gave them a bye in the preliminary rounds. Their first postseason game is the quarterfinal this Sunday, October 28th,  at 4pm on the Oyster River turf against Bow (9-5-2).  Nicolas Cornejo (‘19), one of three captains for the boys’ soccer team, spoke to what he considered the team’s greatest strengths. “Our chemistry is the best we’ve ever had,” Cornejo explained, crediting their chemistry with much of their success. Cornejo added, “we always play for each other and we make sure that we always cover for each other’s mistakes.”

Cornejo was surprised by their victories after the loss of thirteen seniors at the end of last season. He’s optimistic about the game on Saturday, especially with the team’s dedication to practicing hard in preparation for the game. He stated, “we’ve been talking about playoff mentality […] every time that we step on the field for practice, we’ll be focused for the entire two hours.” With Bow being one of their two losses, Cornejo explained that the team was especially motivated to win.

The unified soccer team was undefeated at 4-0-2 during the regular season and will compete in the quarterfinals in a home game next Tuesday at 3pm. Although according to Oyster River Athletic Director, Andy Lathrop, the time is still subject to change.

Hannah Proulx (‘21), an athlete on the team was enthusiastic about the overall team improvement, “having some practices we’ve gotten more and more better.” She concluded, “I think we’re ready for quarterfinals.”

Sam Belanger (‘19), a partner to the team, described that the team has faced some challenges as some athletes had moved away or quit. But Belanger remained optimistic about the team’s ability to make it to the finals.  He concluded, “as long as we have fun, I don’t think we’re really too worried about what ends up happening.”

The varsity girls’ cross country team faces an additional challenge as they head into their championship season without their head coach after he resigned this Wednesday, October 24th, following a controversy and a period of administrative leave. Former assistant coach, Eliza Balch, a UNH Graduate student, is filling in for the remainder of the season.

Both the girls’(8th)  and boys’ (6th) teams will race against all the other teams from their division across the state, this Saturday at 12am and 12:40am respectively. The meet will take place at Derryfield Park in Manchester, New Hampshire.

Kelsey Wiles (‘19), team captain and junior varsity runner, named team unity as one of the most important keys to victory. Wiles said, “[the Varsity girls] have a really close, tight-knit group, and I think when you’re out on the course, it’s nice to know that your team is supporting you.”

Wiles explained another one of the team’s strengths, saying, “we have some really strong runners, and not only are they strong runners naturally, but they have a huge work ethic and that is the most important thing.”

Madison Hoppler (‘20), a member of the varsity team who will run on Saturday, said, “we’re a very hardworking group of girls and we’ve kind of built up this whole entire season and we’re at the point right now where we’re at our strongest; no one’s injured, no one’s sick.”

One of the captains of varsity boys’ cross country, Myles Carrico (‘20), talked about how he thinks this season has been for the team and their plan for the upcoming races. “It’s gone a little differently than expected because last year we were dropping some pretty fast times pretty early in the season and this year we’re going to more peak towards the end of the season, so we drop all of our fastest times in championship meets.”

Carrico added, “we have a little bit of a shakeup.” He explained that the team had lost an asset in that they no longer had one especially strong senior. “we don’t have that senior, Kieran Murphy (‘17) anymore, or like a  Patrick O’Brien (‘18), to drop out to the front of the race that we usually have had.” He hopes that some of their runners will be able to fill their shoes for the championship races.

Both Wiles and Carrico expressed some anxiety about Coe Brown runners, as they’re ranked first for girls and second for boys. But both are confident that they will make it to the second round meet, the Meet of Champions.

The varsity girls’ volleyball team (14-2) finished second in Division II, giving them a bye on the preliminary rounds. They will play their quarterfinal game this Saturday at 6pm on their home court against Souhegan (7-9).

Corinne Quaglieri (‘20), one of the three volleyball captains stated, “coming into this year we didn’t expect to be as strong as we were. Last year we were pretty good, but this year we’re very good.”

Quaglieri pointed out, “we really focused on team culture this year and having a good team culture. In past years, it wasn’t as family-like as it was this year.” She explained, “we really know how to work together.”

Andy Lathrop, Oyster River Athletic Director, spoke to the importance of fan support. “I can always see a difference in our teams’ play when there’s a lot of energy in the crowd versus no one being there. It really gives them a lift. So come out, pump them up, watch them play.” Whether you arrive a die-hard Super Fan or a rookie, our teams need your support. Go Bobcats!

Thursday, October 25th Girls’ Soccer Game vs. Conval – Home at 3:30pm
Saturday, October 27th Girls’ Cross Country Race – Derryfield Park, Manchester at 12pm

Boys’ Cross Country Race – Derryfield Park, Manchester at 12:40pm

Girls’ Volleyball Game vs. Souhegan – Home at 6pm

Sunday, October 28th  Girls’ Soccer Game vs. Hanover – Home at 2pm

Boys’ Soccer Game vs. Bow – Home at 2pm

Tuesday, October 30th Unified Soccer Game – Home at 3pm

You can find a more complete schedule and ongoing updates for the games here.

Photo by Michelle Ello