REGION – There are four games to go for two undefeated area teams. One team, the Bellows Falls Field Hockey team, has been there before. They are the undefeated defending Vermont State Champions. In fact, they are two-time Vermont Division III defending champions and have moved up to Division II this fall.
The other present undefeated team is the Green Mountain Girls Soccer team. They have fielded strong teams in recent years, knocking on title’s door the past two seasons, advancing to the semi-finals a year ago, before falling short. They are undefeated and probably even hungrier than their southern field hockey neighbors, who have enjoyed the ultimate success before. It is interesting the teams both have the four contests remaining.
When we last visited Green Mountain Girls soccer, they were 4-0. When one adds victories over Windsor 4-0, Otter Valley 6-0, Leland & Gray 3-2, West Rutland 3-1, Bellows Falls 6-0 and Twin Valley 3-0, everything’s adds up to 10-0. They play Leland + Gray again Wednesday and Coach Carolynn Hamilton worries about the toughness of this get-together.
“Except for us, everybody seems to be beating everybody. Leland & Gray may be a rivalry, but especially this year. They played us tough, Hannah Buffum had the game winner and although we went through a stretch when we were a little lax in our game, we played well enough to win, but Leland & Gray was really tough.” The fact that Buffum transferred from Townshend to Chester may just have added a little to this rivalry. Hamilton noted, “Because of her, it made it more dramatic.”
When the team was in that lax state and not scoring goals, Hamilton credited the GM midfielders and defense to keep the streak going. She presented a game ball to Rachel Guerra specifically for her play in one game. The team has certainly shown depth and strong play from many, because the Lady Chieftains recently went through a few games without top goal scorers Paige Karl and Erin Otis, who were both injured. Hamilton expects both players to return for the Leland & Gray game but knows every team is now aiming for her team. “We are definitely taking things one game at a time, but we are playing really good soccer.”
Karl leads the team in scoring with 13 goals and three assists, while Micah White has eight goals and seven assists. Otis has tallied seven goals and three assists and Avery Prescott’s numbers are seven goals and two assists. Eleven GM players have scored in all.
Following the Leland & Gray match, GM travels to Windsor Saturday at 11 a.m. and then next week faces Otter Valley at home on Senior Day at 4 p.m., before completing their regular season at Bellows Falls next Friday. The Chieftains hold the top seed in Division III Soccer ahead of Thetford 8-1, Peoples Academy 7-3, Rivendel 9-1, Bellows Free Academy of Fairfax 8-2, and Enosburg Falls 7-3, who will all be in contention come play-off time. L & G only has a breakeven record, but they lost a close one to Thetford 3-2.
Although Green Mountain has at times dominated opponents, the BF Field Hockey team has taken things a step further. Their last six victories were versus Hartford 5-0, Rutland 6-1, Fair Haven 9-0, Mount Anthony 8-0, Woodstock 7-0, and Windsor 10-1 and the numbers are piling up similar to GM. Windsor has BF’s old top ladder spot, first in the state in the Division III standings.
The Lady Terriers have outscored their opponents 70-3 and their closest game was a 4-0 triumph over Hartford. Coach Bethany Coursen said, “That was a close game. It was 0-0 at the half and then we made a few adjustments and were able to open things up in the second half. That was a good challenge. We must be getting better because we didn’t have such a tough time with them the second time.”
Dani Marchica leads the Purple and White in the goal department with 18, followed by Abbe Cravinho with 16, Reaghan Baldasaro has totaled 13 with Molly Kelly 11, Sophia Hyslop 7, and Madison Streeter 5 adding plenty of help. Coursen also pointed out the strong halfback play of a couple of sophomores Halle Dickerson and Taylor Goodell as making a major compliment to the teams play. Emma Lober “has done well in goal.”
The team plays a night game on Tuesday at Brattleboro as this paper is printing and then hosts Rutland on Thursday and hopes to complete their 14 game season perfect, just like Green Mountain Girls Soccer hopes, with success in games at Burr & Burton next Tuesday and on Senior Day at home a week from Thursday again against Brattleboro.
Spaulding is at the top of the Vermont Division II standings, also unbeaten, with Coursen pointing further down the list at number 5 as the team’s biggest challenge, where Mount Abraham’s Connie Larose’s team sits.
Two undefeated teams putting things together on the local scene once again this fall. Fall has been the areas’ best season in recent years. Here’s hoping they both stand in the winners’ circle when the leaves have fallen from the trees.