While the football game does not kick off until 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 29, at Pinkerton, the soccer field will be the place to be pre-game as the Lancers and Astros square off in a boys and girls soccer doubleheader.

The opening boys game (10 a.m.) looks to be especially compelling as the Lancers would like nothing more than to derail Pinkerton's scintillating 9-0 start and do so on the Astros' home turf.

Leading the charge for the Lancers (6-2-1), will be 2006 Eagle Tribune boys soccer MVP Robbie McLarney who recently committed to a scholarship offer to play at Division 1 Rutgers. A four-year varsity player, McLarney says he views tomorrow's game no differently from the rest of the schedule, but also adds that you likely will not see a blowout either way.

"Where it's a Mack Plaque game you know it's not going to be a two- or three-goal game," said McLarney, who leads the team with six goals. "It's going to be a one-goal game."

Craig Gurley and Andrew Pescia have spilt the duties in goal this year for the Lancers and whoever gets the call Saturday will have his work cut out.

The Astros have five players with six or more points this season and boast 12 different goal scorers in all. Explosive junior forward Omar Kharatabil (7 goals, six assists) leads the attack for Pinkerton which has also been rock solid on defense.

Londonderry girls at Pinkerton girls, noon

Bree Robinson's Astros may be hovering around the .500 mark, but there's no doubt that record will be of little consequence for Saturday's showdown with the Lancers at high noon.

"The rivalry takes everything else out of it," said Astro coach Ken Najem. "It all comes down to who plays better that day."

While Najem boasts arguably the best female player in the state in the lightning quick Robinson (11 goals, 4 assists), the Astros have faced the inevitable growing pains that come when you return just three starters and introduce eight freshmen and sophomores into the mix.

"We're hot and cold. We're young and the immaturity shows," said the coach. "We had a great game in a loss against West and then we pulled a no-show against Salem (in a 4-2 loss)."

Attracting a steady crowd of Division 1 coaches on the sidelines for each game, Robinson has attracted an even greater crowd on the field where she has routinely been double-teamed. That attention has opened some room for talented junior Stephanie Sayward (7 goals, 3 assists) to operate.

With a 1-0 setback to Exeter the lone blemish on their record, the Lancers bring a wide array of weapons to Derry Saturday. The Lancer attack starts in the middle of the field with Katherine Donnelly. The Eagle-Tribune all-star has racked up three goals and three assists and like Robinson is a lock to play college ball at this time next fall.

Sophomore forward Kelley Griffin (3 goals, 5 assists ) leads the team in scoring; Nikki Heffernan (5 goals, 2 assists) and Tori McCombs (3 goals, 2 assists) are capable scoring threats.

"I really try not to worry too much about what they are going to do and focus on what we need to do," said Najem. "They are a seasoned team with a lot of seniors. We have to focus on our defense. If we can allow two goals or fewer we have a good chance."

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