It’s been 24 years since a Bellows Falls field hockey team hoisted a championship trophy over their heads, but the Terriers broke the drought last Saturday with a 2-0 win over the Stowe Raiders in the Division III final at the University of Vermont in Burlington.
Stowe, which beat Lyndon to advance to the final, has always been an obstacle to contenders in Division III. Between 2000 and 2014, Stowe was in the title game 11 times, including twice against BF in 2006 and 2013, and won seven times. Stowe also knocked BF out of the 2014 tournament in the semifinal round.
BF, which hadn’t won a state field hockey title since 1991, was the only southern Vermont school in Division III this season, so it had to play a schedule exclusively with Division I and II schools.
It turned out to be good preparation for the Terriers, as they marched though the Division III playoffs with relative ease.
The Terriers shut out No. 8 Montpelier in the quarterfinal round on Oct. 23, and on a wet, raw, windy day at Burr & Burton’s Taylor Field in Manchester on Oct. 28, BF punched its ticket for the final with a 4-0 win over No. 4 Missisquoi.
As was the case in the Montpelier game, it took some time for the Terriers to get rolling against the Thunderbirds, but once they found their groove, they were unstoppable.
Freshman Abbe Cravinho scored the first BF goal off a penalty corner with nine minutes left in the first half, set up by sophomore Reaghan Baldasaro.
Seven minutes later, freshman Molly Kelly took a pass from Baldasaro at the near posts and tapped it in for a 2-0 BF lead at the half.
The second half was all BF as the Terriers sent wave after wave of attackers on the T-Birds net. Kelly got her second goal of the game six minutes into the second half, with Dani Marchica getting the assist, to slam the door shut on Mississquoi.
Against Stowe, the Terriers did not waste any time taking a lead as they scored twice in the first 10 minutes. Kelly was again the catalyst. She set up Leia Robinson’s goal at the five minute mark, then scored a goal of her own four minutes later.
That was it for the BF offense. It was up to the defense to make those goals stand up. Despite seven penalty corners and a lot of offensive pressure by Stowe in the second half, the Terrier defense was not breached. BF goaltender Bridget Hodsden made four saves to earn the shutout. Stowe goaltender Carmen DiRienzo had 10 saves.
BF finished with a 13-2-2 record and, with lots of freshmen and sophomores expected to return, coach Bethany Coursen and the Terriers have a lot to look forward to in 2016.
Wildcats fall in boys’ soccer final
• The dream of a three-peat for the Twin Valley Wildcats boys’ soccer ended last Saturday at the hands of the Stowe Raiders.
The third-seeded Raiders dominated the Division III championship game from start to finish in a 4-0 victory over the Wildcats at Bellows Falls Union High School.
It’s not that the two-time defending state champions had an off day. Stowe was that good.
“There’s no shame in losing to this Stowe team. I’m proud of my guys,” said Wildcats coach Buddy Hayford. “Stowe is the best team we’ve seen this season. That’s a quality program. They are big, fast, strong, and really have very few weaknesses.”
Matt Schwab scored the game’s opening goal in the 14th minute, tapping in a long entry pass from Will Seivwright.
Freshman Ethan Bartlett made it 2-0 for the Raiders in the 31st minute, taking a waist-high volley and firing it into the net.
Once Stowe got the two goal lead, they protected it in the second half by pulling back their midfielders and giving Twin Valley no chances to comeback.
Chad Haggerty scored an unassisted goal, knocking home his own rebound chance with 24:33 left in the second half to all but wrap up the win.
“You get down 3-0 against a team like Stowe, and it is impossible to come back,” said Hayford.
Stowe finished the scoring with 4:30 left in the game when Chris Mullin’s long diagonal ball found Cole Whitaker, who drove it home.
Stowe goalkeeper Mark Infante earned his ninth shutout in 18 games this season.
The loss broke a streak of nine consecutive postseason victories by Twin Valley, which finished the season at 15-2-1. It was the fourth straight season that the Wildcats were in the championship game.
“It’s been a heck of a run,” said Hayford.
Terriers reach Division II football final
• Bellows Falls will play for the Division II football championship after the second-seeded Terriers pulled out a 34-21 victory over the third-seeded Burlington Seahorses last Friday night at Hadley Field.
“This was a much better team than we saw the first time this season,” said BF coach Bob Lockerby. “Even when we had a 14-point lead, we didn’t feel comfortable. Burlington just kept on playing hard to the end.”
Jahyde Bullard carried the ball 24 times for 190 yards and a touchdown for the Terriers. On defense, Bullard also returned an interception for a touchdown and defensive lineman DJ Snide scooped up an errant snap by the Burlington center and ran the ball back for 20-yard score.
Quarterback Zac Streeter added a 1-yard TD run and Chris Doucet went 3-for-4 on extra points as the Terriers built up a 27-21 lead in the first half.
Burlington fell behind 14-0 in the first quarter, but got back into the game when quarterback Pete LaBracio threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to Josh Hale. A 1-yard plunge by Kevin Garrison got the Seahorses within one point, but a missed extra point left BF in front 14-13 with 11:01 left in the second quarter.
Bullard then scored the next two touchdowns, but Labracio threw a 14-yard TD pass to Zach Mazuzan with 14.3 seconds left in the half.
The second half was a defensive stalemate. Burlington’s best chance to take the lead came late in the third quarter when Hale intercepted a Streeter pass and returned it to the BF 17.
But Garrison fumbled two plays later, BF recovered and managed to eat up enough clock in the fourth quarter to win.
Streeter scored on a 1-yard sneak with 1.6 seconds remaining and Doucet added the extra point to finish the BF scoring.
The 9-1 Terriers will face top seeded Burr & Burton for the state championship this Saturday in Rutland. Burr & Burton clobbered No. 4 seed Milton, 54-14, last Saturday to advance to the title game.
The Bulldogs were the only team to beat Bellows Falls this season, and Lockerby expects another high-scoring game. The Seahorses finish 7-3.
“It’s an awesome feeling to know we going to play in the title game again,” said Lockerby. “This is what you put in all the work for, to be able to play in the last game in November.”
BF boys fourth, Colonel boys fifth at state cross-country meet
• It was a sweep for the Champlain Valley Redhawks in Division I, winning both the girls’ and boys’ events in the state Cross-Country Championship last Saturday at Thetford Academy.
CVU’s Tyler Marshall won the boys’ race, covering the 5,000-meter course in 17 minutes, 5 seconds. The Redhawks had five of the first seven finishers in the race to win the title going away, followed by South Burlington, Essex, and Stratton Mountain School.
The Brattleboro boys finished fifth in Division I. Isaac Freitas-Eagan was eighth in 17:49 for the Colonels, while Josh Meachen just missed placing in the top 10 with an 11th place finish in 18:00.
He was followed by Jonah Koch (34th in 18:42), Dan Burdo (52nd in 19:09), Colin Costa-Walsh (56th in 19:19), Tyler Clement (74th in 20:00) and Trevor Kipp (76th in 20:23).
The Brattleboro girls finished 12th overall. Sarah Gallagher was the top Colonel, finishing 20th in 21.28; followed by Liz Morse (56th in 23:11), Catey Yost (62nd in 23:34), Molly Patenaude (83rd in 26.11), Kata Blakeson (88th in 27:30), Annie Takacs (90th in 29:46), and Emily Gale (91st in 34:52).
In Division III, the Bellows Falls boys came in fourth behind Stowe, Northfield, and Randolph. Stowe’s William McGovern won the race in 16:48, while Cody Tallent was the lone BF runner to place in the top 10, finishing fourth in 18:32.
BF’s Nicholas Porter was 19th in 19:49, followed by Jackson Purdy (23rd in 20:01), Ian Wallace (38th in 20:59), Cameron Joy (43rd in 21:20), Matthew Chapin (57th in 21:59), and Ethan Lauricella (74th in 23:24).
Lia Clark, the lone female runner for Bellows Falls, finished 10th in 22:48.
Shrine game returns to Castleton
• The Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl will again be played at Castleton University in 2016.
The Shrine Bowl’s Board of Governors voted on Oct. 25 to stage the 63rd edition of the high school all-star football game at Castleton’s Spartan Stadium on Saturday, Aug. 6, 2016, at 5:30 p.m.
The game’s traditional home was Dartmouth’s Alumni Field in Hanover, N.H., but renovations to that stadium forced Shrine officials to play in Castleton earlier this year. The 2015 game turned out to be one of the best attended and most profitable Shrine Bowls in recent years.
“The goal of the game is to provide funding to support Shriners Hospitals for Children,” the Board of Governors said in a news release. “The contributions from the 2015 game far exceeded those of the past several years combined. With further enhancements anticipated for the 2016 game, expectations are high that we can do even better.”
According to the Board of Governors, the stadium rent at Castleton was less expensive than Alumni Field, and having the Vermont and New Hampshire teams hold their training camps at Castleton saved even more money. They also appreciated the cooperation from the Castleton staff. All these factors made it an easy decision to return for another year.
The head coaches for the 2016 game will be announced shortly, and the rosters for the Vermont and New Hampshire squads will be announced in February.
Grammar School holds Fun Run
• The Grammar School in Putney held its fifth annual Fun Run at Green Mountain Orchards on Oct. 14. Eighty-four runners from Academy School, Brattleboro Area Middle School, Putney Central, Ludlow, and The Grammar School.
In the individual half-mile race, Elan Dell of The Grammar School won in 3:36, followed by Ludlow runners Eli Boxer and Milo Tucker, both in 3:39.
Carmen Whitney from Academy was the first girl and fourth overall in 3:40, Alexis Martin from Ludlow was second in 3:53, and Mia Koponen from Ludlow was third in 4:01.
The mile race was won by TGS sixth-grader Beau Guenther in 6:15, a few seconds ahead of the first girl and second place overall finisher Ava Whitney from Academy in 6:22.
Sam Hill from Academy was the second boy in 6:28, and Kyran Dell from TGS was third in 7:19. Amelia Austin from Academy was second in 7:36 and Dorian Paquette from Academy was third in 7:44 for the girls.
Nolan Holmes from BAMS won the mile and a half race in 9:34, followed by Putney Central runner Darius Parker in 9:49 and TGS third place finisher Gunnar Caldwell in 9:51. Rounding out the top four was first place girl Amelia Opsahl in 9:54. BAMS runners Alexandra Miskovich and Bella Takacs were the second and third girls in 11:02 and 11:38.