The leaves on many a tree are beginning to turn early. That hardly ever happens before the official beginning of fall, which this time around falls on Friday. This is also one of the warmest Septembers I ever remember. Don’t tell me there is no such thing as global warming. Hopefully persons from a number of communities will be warmed by today’s column:
The Bellows Falls Field Hockey team is as hot as the weather, likely even hotter. They have two Vermont Division II State titles in a row, but can’t earn a third, regardless of how hot they become. That’s because they now play in Division II. Does that mean if they win again this fall, it is still a three peat?
Since the Terriers opening win over Springfield, we passed along last week on this page, they have added 5-0 and 4-0 victories over Division I foes Mount Anthony and Hartford respectively and then added an 8-1 triumph over division competitor Burr & Burton. What’s the key to the team’s success? Coach Bethany Coursen says there are many.
“Speed is our biggest key. We have crazy speed,” Coursen offered, adding, “We have speed on offense, our defenders have lots of speed, and I think it’s important that we have six or seven people who can score, not just one, so no one can mark any one scorer.”
A variety of goal scorers is exactly what they have. In the four games, the goal totals are as statistically balanced as any team I have ever seen constructed. Dani Marchica leads the parade with six, Abbe Cravinho and Sophia Hyslop with five, Molly Kelly has four, Reghan Baldasaro with three, and Macie Streeter and Megan Banik have one. The goalies Emma Lober and Keily Comstock have allowed only one goal in four games this fall.
Who will the competition be for the Terriers come tournament time? Two northern teams are expected to be waiting when the fun begins. Spaulding and Mount Abraham are likely the only two who could stick close to the Purple and White to deny them of putting a Division II trophy in their case.
How good is Coursen’s crew? Well, in the preseason, they scrimmaged South Burlington, back-to-back Division I state champions, on the SB turf and outscored the top tier D I’ers, who sit atop the DI standings this morning. Obviously coaches try things out in these type of get-togethers so such a contest is not a end all, be all, but I think it is becoming clear that BF Field Hockey is presently at a level with any program in the state.
There is another defending state championship team, which is back in the mix. The Fall Mountain Soccer Lady Wildcats sit 5-1 at this writing and are third in the New Hampshire Division III standings. Bruce Ferland’s hard playing team has a 3-0 shutout triumph over Stevens as their biggest win, while their only setback, a 2-1 falling to Campbell, has to be their biggest setback to date. They have two games versus top seeded Conant on the horizon, the first Saturday at 2 p.m. on the road and then they get the unbeaten back home in Langdon on Oct.13 at 7 p.m. There is certainly much water to go over the dam before the play-off seeds are settled.
Green Mountain Girls Soccer is coming off a strong 16-3 season and they have a new coach and the players feel unfinished business is on the agenda this fall. Emily Lehet departed and headed back to her native Connecticut, where she is back on the sidelines and having a winning undefeated season thus far, just like her former Chieftain team is to date. Lehet is at Ledyard High School. Her replacement is Maine native Carolynn Hamilton, whose team has started strong in Chester. Long time area sportswriter Poody Walsh gave me a scouting report on her. She taught in Claremont in recent years, where she served as Unified Basketball coach. Walsh said, “I found her to be a very respected person, who worked hard with her players. One has to be patient coaching Unified players and she was remarkable with them. She wanted to win, but she made sure she handled everything in the right way.” Good luck, Carolynn.