The Brattleboro Colonels girls’ lacrosse team is in the midst of a special season, a season where all the hard work over the past few years of building a program from scratch has finally blossomed into success.
The key to any successful high school sports program is having a strong feeder system. Teach young players the skills they need to succeed, give them time to play and grow together and, by the time they are in high school, they should be ready to compete at the varsity level.
A few years ago, the Brattleboro Recreation & Parks Department started offering youth lacrosse programs as the entry point into the sport. Now, many of the kids who started off in the camps, clinics, and youth teams are on the Colonels’ varsity.
And, one of the coaches of those programs, Mike Lonergan, is leading the Colonels varsity girls’ team to one of their best seasons ever.
Last week, the Colonel girls had a tough stretch of the schedule — three games in three days at Natowich Field. After beating Burr & Burton, 16-10, on May 17, the Colonels lost a 10-8 heartbreaker to Rutland the following night.
That made the Saturday morning game against Keene, N.H., a potential trap game. Even though the Blackbirds had won only three games, having a 10 a.m. start after an emotionally draining night game meant the Colonels had little time to bounce back.
But, with the year the Colonels have had, it wasn’t a problem. Liz Day and Tobin Lonergan scored six goals each and Megyn Ayotte added five more goals in an 18-8 victory.
The Colonels put this game away early, scoring 10 goals in the first 15 minutes on the way to a 13-3 halftime lead. Keene put up a bit of a fight with a pair of goals in the first 80 seconds of the second half, but the Colonels followed with six unanswered goals to keep the game out of reach.
Sam Gragin added a goal for the Colonels, while Ayotte, Day, Lonergan, and Molly Patnaude each had an assist. Goalie Eliya Petrie came up with a few big saves, but mostly had a easy game thanks to the nearly constant pressure that the Colonels put on the Keene goal.
Callie O’Neil led the Blackbirds with four goals. Mackenzie Corrigan added three and goalie Becca Koziara had 12 saves.
We don’t know how far Brattleboro will go in the Division I playoffs but, at 11-2, they finished the week ranked third and will definitely get at least one home playoff game.
• Brattleboro had a pair of tough losses last week to drop them to 5-9 on the season.
On May 16 at Natowich Field, the Colonels got off to a slow start and never recovered in a 13-6 loss to Burr & Burton. The Bulldogs took a 5-0 lead after the first quarter, but the Colonels battled back to make it 6-4 at halftime.
Brattleboro opened the third quarter with a goal, but were outscored 7-1 the rest of the way. Ryan Tyler finished with three goals, Charlie Burroughs added two more, and Tanner Edson also scored. Goalie Caleb Martin made 14 saves.
Two days later in Bennington, Mount Anthony took a 4-0 lead after the first quarter and hung on for a 9-5 win over the Colonels.
Burroughs got the Colonels’ first goal to start the second quarter, but the Patriots responded with four unanswered goals before Tyler and Durin Hoyer each got a goal in the final four minutes of the first half to cut the MAU lead to 8-3.
The Colonels’ defense tightened up in the second half, allowing just one goal, but Brattleboro could not climb out of the hole they dug for themselves. Tyler and Hoyer both scored in the second half.
• After losses to Mount Anthony and Keene, Brattleboro got back on the beam with wins over Windsor and Fair Haven.
On May 16, the Colonels beat Windsor, 11-2, in a game that was close for the first four innings. It stayed close thanks to pitcher Hailey Derosia, who struck out 13, walked two, and hit one batter in throwing a five-hitter.
Trailing 1-0 going into the Colonels fifth, Brattleboro scored five runs and added six more in the sixth to put this one away.
Jamie Mahoney and Lauren McKenney each had a pair of hits for the Colonels. Garrett Shanks and McKenney both drove in two runs, while Mya McAuliffe, Mariah Powers, and Mahoney each drove in a run.
The next day, at Fair Haven, the Colonels held on for a 6-3 win over the Slaters. But the week ended with a 5-1 loss to Mount Anthony in Bennington on May 19.
The Colonels fell to 11-3 and dropped to seventh place in Division I, a testament to how good the northern teams are. The only other southern school in the top 10 is MAU, in second place at 13-1.
• Leland & Gray is rolling with a 10-3 record and the fourth spot in Division III. On May 16 at Poultney, the Rebels crushed the Blue Devils, 18-3. Two days later in Townshend, the Rebels hung on for a 9-8 win over Woodstock.
• Bellows Falls lost to Otter Valley, 17-4, on May 18, to fall to 1-12 on the season.
• Twin Valley is searching for their first win after a hard week where the Wildcats had to play six games in five days. After losses to Poultney (12-6), West Rutland (19-2), Black River (23-4), and Green Mountain (9-2), the Wildcats dropped a doubleheader to Woodstock (14-2 and 23-9) to fall to 0-12.
• The dream of a perfect season for Brattleboro ended on May 16 at Alumni Field in Keene, N.H., as the Blackbirds knocked off the Colonels, 3-1.
Dan Pettie gave the Colonels a 1-0 lead in the second with a home run. It looked like it would hold up as losing pitcher Leif Bigelow held Keene scoreless until they broke through in the fifth inning. A pair of walks, an error, a single, and a double steal resulted in three runs in that inning.
Aside from Petrie’s home run, Keene starter Zack Moore was on point with seven strikeouts and four walks in throwing a complete game one-hitter.
Whatever frustrations the Colonels had from losing to Keene were taken out on Windsor (a 14-0 win on May 18) and Mount Anthony (another 14-0 win on May 19). The Colonels ended the week at 13-1 and are in second place in Division I.
• Bellows Falls lost to Otter Valley, 6-0, at Hadley Field on May 18 to fall to 4-8 on the season.
• Leland & Gray is tied for fourth in Division III with an 8-4 record. On May 16, the Rebels beat Poultney, 10-8, and the next day, the Rebels outlasted South Royalton, 7-5.
• Twin Valley fell to Black River, 15-12, on May 16 at Baker Field. Hayden Reed went 2-for-4 and scored three runs, while Logan Park added one hit and scored two runs. The Wildcats are 1-10 so far this season.
Track & Field
• Jasper Reed won four events — the 100, 200, triple jump, and long jump — as the Brattleboro boys edged Bellows Falls in a multi-team meet on May 17 at the Freeman oval at Natowich field.
Evan Koch also helped with wins in the 110 and 300 hurdles for the Colonels.
Shane Clark (javelin and pole vault) and Reno Tuttle (discus and shot put) won four events to help the Bellows Falls boys secure second place.
Dakota Fillion led Leland & Gray with runner-up finishes in the 100 and 200.
In the girls’ meet, Maggie Lonardo took the 100 and 200 to lead the Brattleboro girls, while The Putney School’s Delaney Bullock won the 1,500 and 3,000.
Jaden Luebbert (pole vault), Savannah Bradbury (discus), Macie Streeter (300 hurdles), Brigid Hodsden (100 hurdles), and Jasmine Boucher (400) were all winners for the Terriers.
Pisgah Park trail race is May 26
• The Friends of Pisgah all-volunteer trails maintenance group is sponsoring its fourth annual Run in the Park on Saturday, May 26. Race time is 9 a.m., earlier than last year, at the Horseshoe Trailhead parking lot in Chesterfield, N.H.
The first 100 runners who register get a Run In The Park T-shirt. All runners get a free Friends of Pisgah membership for a year.
Proceeds from the races go to support Friends of Pisgah’s effort to build and repair trail infrastructure, maintain and develop new trails, upgrade the roads, improve signage and blazing throughout the park, and more. Go to friendsofpisgah.org for details.
Senior bowling roundup
• Team 1 (12-3) took sole possession of first place after Week 3 of the spring-summer season of the Brattleboro Senior Bowling League. Team 2 and Team 5 (both 11-4) share second place, while Team 8 and Team 7 (both 9-6) are tied for third place. Team 9 (8-7) is fourth, followed by Team 3 (6-9), Team 6 (4-11), and Team 4 (3-12).
Shirley Aiken had the women’s high handicap game (256) and series (677). Peter Cross had the men’s high handicap game (238), while Fred Bump had the high handicap series (643). Team 2 had the high team handicap game (873) and series (2,403).
In scratch scoring, Shirley Aiken (533), Warren Corriveau Sr. (567), Cross (526), and Bump (505) all rolled a 500-plus series. Aiken had a 208 game, while Corriveau had a 215 and Cross a 200 game.