The fall high school varsity sports season opens this week, and the Brattleboro Union High School’s teams have nowhere to go but up.
Last season was a disappointing one for BUHS girls’ soccer (3-8-3), boys’ soccer (5-8-1), field hockey (1-11-2), and football (2-7).
Field hockey struggled the most, and they are getting a shot of experience at the helm. Long-time varsity coach Sherryl Libardoni has come out of retirement to lead the Colonels, and she will be assisted by Kelly Markol.
The rest of the BUHS teams will be led by the same familiar faces we’ve seen on the sidelines — Paul Sather for boys’ soccer, Edwin DeBrujin for girls’ soccer, and John Dimick for cross country. John Callahan is the new guy, relatively speaking, returning for his second season coaching football.
Everything gets going for the Colonels on Saturday, Aug. 30. Boys’ soccer travels to St. Johnsbury, while the girls’ team hosts St. Johnsbury — both games start at 11 a.m.
The boys could be in for a good season this year. Last year’s junior varsity team went 12-2-1, an all-time best, and many of those players will be replenishing the ranks.
The girls squeaked into last season’s Division I playoffs as the No. 16 seed, and were steamrolled by the eventual state champs, Champlain Valley, in the first round.
The field hockey team travels to Fair Haven for an 11 a.m. game, while the football team heads up to Hadley Field to take on Bellows Falls at 1 p.m.
The cross country team has its first meet on Tuesday, Sept. 2, at Thetford Academy.
Terriers back in action
• The Terriers-Colonels matchup on the gridiron this Saturday could be interesting.
Last year, the two teams faced each other at Natowich Field for the first time in years, and BF almost came away with a win. However, a second half rally gave the Colonels a 14-8 victory.
Bob Lockerby returns as the Terriers’ head coach, and he’ll have Ethan Illingworth back at quarterback. In 2013, the Terriers finished third in Division II and lost in the semifinals to Rice.
• BF came oh-so-close to a field hockey championship last season.
The Terriers finished the regular season 12-1-1 and earned the top seed in Division III before losing to Stowe in the state championship game. Coach Bethany Coursen returns to lead the Terriers, but she’ll be without many of last year’s players, due to graduation. They’ll open the season at home on Friday against Springfield at 4 p.m.
• Tim Eno returns to coach the Terrier Harriers this season. BF’s first cross country meet is Friday at Fall Mountain.
• Robert Brooks again coaches the boys’ soccer team, which opens its season at West Rutland on Friday. John Broadley is back to lead the girls’ soccer team, which has its opener in Arlington on Sept. 4.
Twin Valley in rebuilding mode
• Both Twin Valley soccer teams had much of their firepower graduate in June.
Last year, the Wildcat boys went undefeated and won the Division IV state title, while the girls were 9-7 and lost to Proctor in the Division IV quarterfinals.
The Wildcat girls lost their top-playmaker Savannah Nesbitt, who had 19 goals last season. With only six starters returning, coach Chris Walling will have some work to do. The girls open the season at home against Black River on Sept. 3.
As for the boys. they lost midfielder Colin Lozito, forward Dal Nesbitt, and defensive back Eli Park to graduation. They leave very big shoes to fill, since the trio accounted for 51 goals between them.
But veteran coach Buddy Hayford always finds a way to make his teams compete and peak at the right time of the season. The Wildcat boys open at home against Bellows Falls on Sept. 2.
Leland & Gray seeks to rebound
• The Leland & Gray girls’ soccer team was 6-10 last year, but 10 members of that team are back for this season.
That includes their top two goal scorers, Ashley Bates and Giannina Gasparo-Beckstrom, and the strong goalkeeping tandem of Emily Reilly and Jordan Gouger.
Lucas Bates again coaches the Rebel girls, which begin their season at home against BFA-Fairfax on Saturday at 11 a.m.
The Rebel boys finished 5-9-1 last year and lost in the first round of the Division III playoffs against Rivendell. They’ll also open at home against BFA-Fairfax on Saturday at 1:30 p.m.