Exeter (N.H.) girls' soccer takes national No. 1

The Exeter (N.H.) High School girls' soccer team is ranked No. 1 in the National Soccer Coaches’ Association of America poll that was released earlier this week.

Exeter improved its Division I record to 8-0 and stretched the program’s winning streak to 32 games by defeating previously unbeaten Bedford, 3-0, Tuesday. Bedford entered that contest with a 7-0-1 record and had surrendered two goals in those eight games.

“I think [the ranking] is built on your reputation and your record,” Exeter coach Megan Young said. “It’s a reflection of the program, not of this individual team. We have to establish our own identity. It is nice, but at the same time we’re keeping it in perspective.”

Exeter has outscored its opponents 33-4 this season. Six of the team’s eight victories have been shutouts. Junior Casey Estey, who collected two goals in Tuesday’s victory over Bedford, is the team’s leading scorer with 17 goals.

Young, who played soccer at Exeter and for Norwich University, is in her 13th season as the program’s head coach. This year’s Exeter team has eight seniors, 10 juniors and one freshman.

The Blue Hawks were ranked No. 1 in the Sept. 17 NSCAA poll, but dropped to No. 2 on Sept. 24. Exeter moved back to the top spot after Houston High School of Germantown, Tenn., slipped into a tie for No. 2 this week.

There are three other New England teams in this week’s poll: Massachusetts No. 1 squad Central Catholic is No. 7, Falmouth, Maine is No. 13 and Champlain Valley Union of Hinesburg, Vt. is No. 21.

Exeter, which has won the last four Division I state championships, hasn’t lost a game since the 2011 season. The Blue Hawks have won six of the last seven Division I titles. The program has a 130-8-3 record since the start of the 2006 season.

“Quietly, I think the girls do get excited by it (the national ranking),” Young said. “I think they enjoy the publicity that it’s gotten. At the same time I have to remind them to stay level-headed.”

Exeter will try to pass another tough test Thursday, when it plays Pinkerton Academy (8-0-0) in Derry, N.H.

NSCAA Top 25 national poll:

1. Exeter (Exeter, N.H.) 7-0-0

2. South Side (Rockville Centre, N.Y.) 6-0-1

2. Houston (Germantown, Tenn.) 12-0-1

4. Maria Carillo (Santa Rosa, Calif.) 9-0-1

5. Northern Highlands (Allendale, N.J.) 6-0-0

6. Rocky River (Rocky River, Ohio) 11-0-1

7. Cumberland Valley (Mechanicsburg, Pa.) 12-0-0

7. Central Catholic (Lawrence, Mass.) 8-0-0

9. Our Lady of Good Counsel (Olney, Md.) 6-0-3

10. Northport (Northport, N.Y.) 7-0-0

11. Immaculate Heart Academy (Township of Washington, N.J.) 7-0-0

12. Twinsburg (Twinsburg, Ohio) 11-0-1

13. Falmouth (Falmouth, Maine) 6-0-0

14. Jesuit (Portland, Ore.) 6-0-1

15. Sacred Heart Academy (Louisville, Ky.) 11-0-2

16. Arlington (LaGrangeville, N.Y.) 7-0-0

17. Neshaminy (Langhorne, Pa.) 9-0-0

18. Gig Harbor (Gig Harbor, Wash.) 5-0-0

19. Carmel (Carmel, Ind.) 11-1-2

20. Winfield (Winfield, W.Va.) 14-0-0

21. Champlain Valley Union (Hinesburg, Vt.) 8-0-0

22. Massapequa (Massapequa, N.Y.) 7-0-0

23. Montgomery (Santa Rosa, N.Y.) 9-1-0

24. Zionsville (Zionsville, Ind.) 11-2-2

25. Alta (Sandy, Utah) 10-1-0

25. McDonogh School (Owings Mills, Md.) 5-1-1