Windham Jaguars win second NHIAA Div. III lacrosse title, move up in class next year
HOOKSETT - The girls hugged, a few cried, the crowd cheered loudly. This was a fitting finale for the Windham girls lacrosse team.
They defeated Lebanon 21-12 at Southern New Hampshire University on Thursday, June 6, to repeat as NHIAA Division III champions.
And it will be their last game in Division III.
“We will be in Division II. It’s a done deal,” said Jaguar coach Jill Bartlett.
Her Windham squad dominated the last two seasons in Division III. They went undefeated in 2012 and beat every Division III opponent this season.
Their only losses this season were against Division II Portsmouth and Division I Londonderry.
The Jaguars powered through the tournament field, starting with a bye then beating Hopkinton, The Derryfield School and finally Lebanon.
Bartlett described winning their second title as almost surreal.
“The second time is unbelievable. The girls get better and better each year,” said Bartlett.
Windham was led by players like Courney Sweeny, Alexandra Connors and Samantha Crichton.
Then there is captain Melissa Cino, who Bartlett describes as having a “lacrosse IQ” and tremendous vision of the field.
Fortunately for Windham, they will enter Division II next year with all of these players. They only lose four senior players.
So instead of being the team with the target on its back, as Bartlett described, they will be the new kids looking to prove themselves.
But Bartlett is confident of their chances.
“The girls are dedicated,” she said. “I think we’ll make a good run next year.”