Will Springfield girls soccer one day return to its glory days?

girls soccer
Bellows Falls’ Julia Nystrom tries to maintain possession of the ball from Springfield’s Ari Cioffi. The visiting Terriers were no match for the Cosmos during the Wednesday afternoon match. Photo by Denise E. Hunter, Eagle Times Staff

SPRINGFIELD, Vt. – Once upon a time, Springfield girls soccer was one of the most dominant programs in Vermont Division II soccer. They have had three Vermont Division II title game appearances in their history and during one stretch under the tutelage of Coach Gary Blodgett advanced to the semi-finals seven times in an eight-year period. Blodgett had stretches in his career in which over a six-year time had a 57-18-8 record and another three-year season mark of 29-8-4.

Those were the good old days.

Ray Curran is the coach now and after his first two seasons his teams put together a 16-6-2 record. Certainly not a bad start at all. This fall the Lady Cosmos are 3-3 and Curran believes this group could still make some noise.

“Hopefully, we can have a winning record,” he told us, noting, “Right now we are about where we are supposed to be, but I feel good about who we could be.”

Springfield’s latest game was an 8-1 domination of Bellows Falls. The Terriers have not had much success in the win column this fall, but for the most part have played good, hustling, improvement directed soccer. The Cosmos were in control on this day though.

Ari Cioffi led the scoring parade on the afternoon with four goals and an assist. She leads the team in scoring with six net finders this fall. Laila Buskey had two goals versus BF and Emma Snyder and Kayla Quelch each added a single tally. Lexi Tewksbury had two assists in the victory and leads the Green and White with three assists on the campaign.

Curran considers this team a defensive team first and has been more than pleased with the goaltending of Megan Stagner with her backup Kylie Nadeau who shutout BF in the second half of the recent contest. Three additional Springfield players have paced the team on the defensive end most of the fall: Mia Moriglioni, Macie Stagner, and Jillian Muther.

The coach is already looking to the future hoping to expand his program’s early success.

Curran told us, “We are working on our numbers. Not everyone has a JV program any longer and we are focusing on keeping the interest in the program up.”

The only game this fall the Cosmos haven’t been in is the 7-0 loss to Fair Haven. They fell to Brattleboro 2-1 and Hartford 1-0, but Curran believed, “Those are games we were capable of winning.” The team proved one half of that equation to be true by defeating Hartford in a return meeting 2-1. In addition to this week’s victory over Bellows Falls, Curran’s team also won an exciting overtime thriller over Leland & Gray 3-2 in overtime.

 

Could Curran keep the numbers coming and the winning seasons churning? Of course he could, but what about recent history? Before he came along, the program had five straight years of losing records. Before that, Coach Christian Craig had revived success for most of a five-year tenure, which included a three-year mark of 28-12-2 and the third and final program’s championship game appearance.

But prior to that, there were only two winning seasons in eight years, and the team was an afterthought when experts thought of respectable programs in Vermont Division II soccer. Blodgett and Craig both feel there are keys to help Curran out on where he is going.

Craig offered, “We had some success because we had some talent, and they worked hard.”

Blodgett echoed those beliefs; however, he took matters a step further telling us, “We were very fortunate to have a lot of good kids, but more importantly we had groups of good kids.”

Put all that together and it looks like Curran is headed to putting it together too. He is working on the numbers, and his early success on the field shows he has the leadership skills to pull it all together.

Written by Bill Murphy, Eagle Times

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