Who are the area’s top fall championship contenders in the state of Vermont? Any such discussion has to begin with Bellows Falls field hockey Terriers. They have been there and done that, and they presently sit poised and ready to play a Division I semifinal game versus the South Burlington Rebels Wednesday, Oct. 28 at 3:30 p.m. in Bellows Falls. Bethany Coursen is always knocking at a title’s door. The squad get to play a semifinal game at home on a grass field – a pandemic bonus that has to have them smiling.
“I don’t know the last time the semis were played on anything but turf. I also don’t remember the last time anyone had the benefit of playing on their homefield. I hope it helps,” Coursen said. She went on to say the Bellows Falls field is kept so nicely manicured it was almost like turf, but it has to be a homefield advantage for the Division I top-seeded team. During the pandemic, most games are held on home fields to better enable contract tracing.
Coursen said, “These two teams are starting to become rivals. A few years ago, we started scrimmaging them because they had such a great program and then since we moved to DI we keep meeting them in the playoffs. This should be another good game.”
Green Mountain is the soccer center of our area. Both Chieftain teams feel they have a chance to contend and begin the post-season with the homefield advantage. Jake Walker took over coaching the boys’ team this fall after serving as an assistant on the 2019 powerhouse, which had collected a state title. Walker says, “We are playing really well together and the blend of veterans and the younger kids stepping up has us in good position entering the playoffs. We showed in a number of 2-1 games that we can play some really good soccer in close games.”
The boys hosted a first round game against Randolph Tuesday afternoon. The Green Mountain boys earned the third seed.
Carolynn Hamilton’s girls’ squad may be seeded fifth, but many feel they are almost an equal chance to make some noise this fall. They host rival Leland & Gray Wednesday afternoon at 3 p.m. Hamilton said, “We seem to always match up with them in the first round. They should give us a good battle. It is always tough to beat the same team three times.”
Hamilton went on to say that she hopes some newcomers to the Chieftain program help the team down the stretch of this season. “We now have a number of good players from Black River who have made us better moving forward. We are playing well together right now.” A win by either team would advance them to the quarterfinals Saturday.
Springfield’s girls’ team hosts Lamoille Wednesday at 3 p.m., and the number seven seed in Division II hopes to play at least into the weekend. “We drew Lamoille in the first round last year and crushed them in the opening round,” coach Ray Curren told said. “We graduated 10 of those seniors and, although our younger players have played well, I don’t know what the differences will be. It’s certainly good to play at home.” Well, they are kind of playing at home. The Cosmos used Brown Field as their homefield in the regular season and – because it is not wide enough for tournament play – have moved to Gurney Field at the high school for the tourney.
Four strong teams have enjoyed their regular season. Now which one, if any, will stand tallest in the final moments of this fall?