How’s the view from Olympus, ladies?
The Bellows Falls field hockey team are the undefeated, undisputed heavyweight champions of Vermont field hockey after a 2-0 win over the three-time defending Division I state champs, the South Burlington Rebels, at the University of Vermont on Nov. 3.
It might sound like I’m laying it on thick, but the numbers don’t lie. Fifty-seven straight wins. A 118-5 scoring differential this season. And four straight state titles — two in Division III, one in Division II, and this one coming against one of the powerhouse field hockey programs in Division I.
The Terriers sailed through this with a boatload of talented players: forward Abbe Cravinho (32 goals), midfielders Madison Streeter (18 goals) and Halle Dickerson, and goalie Emma Lober. Senior Molly Kelly (19 goals) and ninth-grader Maya Waryas (13 goals) also filled up the scoresheet.
• Bellows Falls got to the finals by winning their most challenging game of the season, a 3-2 semifinal victory over the fifth-seeded Rice Green Knights, 3-2, in an Oct. 29 semifinal game at Middlebury College.
This game started, like many of BF’s wins this season, with a opening goal from Cravinho. She redirected a shot from Kelly to put the Terriers up 1-0 just 6:28 into the game.
Lisa McNamara got the equalizer for Rice with 6:19 left in the first half, but Kelly scored BF’s second goal about a minute later for a 2-1 Terrier lead at the half.
Waryas got an insurance goal for BF with 7:49 remaining in the second half off a nifty give-and-go from Cravinho. It was a goal the Terriers ultimately needed, for Rice cut the lead to 3-2 with 2:29 to play when McNamara scored with a hard shot off a penalty corner. McNamara then almost sent the game into overtime with a last-second shot on the BF net that was turned aside as the final whistle sounded.
Lober made eight saves in goal for the Terriers, and the BF defense quickly adapted to Middlebury’s artificial turf, a surface BF teams never see until the postseason.
• For all the scoring that the Terriers have done this season, their playoff run has been marked by tough defense and great goaltending. And the title game against South Burlington on a rainy and windy afternoon was no exception.
The Rebels had a 17-5 advantage in shots, but Lober stood her ground magnificently, making 14 saves. And, in the rare instances that Lober couldn’t make a save, links Halle Dickerson and Taylor Goodell each stopped a shot.
On the offensive end, BF had few chances to counterattack, but after a scoreless first half, the Terriers made the most of their chances in the second half.
Waryas finished off one of the rushes with a shot that beat Rebels goalie Ainsley Hultgren for a 1-0 lead with 14:32 left in regulation.
The second goal was another Cravinho/Streeter production. Streeter got the ball on a penalty corner and set up Cravinho for the shot. Hultgren made the save, but Streeter swooped in to knock in the rebound with 9:15 remaining.
Coach Bethany Coursen will see 13 seniors from this year’s team — the group that made Vermont field hockey history — graduate in June: Cravinho, Streeter, Kelly, Lober, Dickerson, Michelle Marchica, Megan Banik, Sophie Hyslop, Alice Salter-Roy, Emily Harris, Madi Joy, Brooke Bennett, and Bridget Hodsdon.
But Coursen’s cupboard will be far from bare. Her ninth- and 10th-graders got a lot of valuable experience during this season and will be ready to step up into starting roles. The Drive for Five is about to begin at BF.
• In the nearly four decades that Buddy Hayford has led the Wilmington/Twin Valley boys’ soccer program, it has reached the state finals 10 times since 1986, winning eight times.
However, since the Wildcats moved up to Division III in 2015, they have been unable to get past Stowe, the Division III state champion for the last six seasons.
The top seeded and undefeated Wildcats had to wait a bit before they got another crack at second-seeded (14-1-1) Stowe at Randolph Union High School in the Division III title match.
The match had been scheduled for Nov. 3 at Randolph Union High School, but had to be postponed due to poor field conditions. It will instead be played on Nov. 7, at 5 p.m., on the artificial turf at Castleton University’s Dave Wolk Stadium.
There’s a lot of anticipation for this match. The Wildcats scored 94 goals this season, a school record, and gave up only six goals. Twelve players have scored for the Wildcats, with brothers Colin McHale (20 goals) and Jack McHale (16 goals) leading the way, followed by Owen Grinold (15 goals) and Lucas Messing (10 goals).
The 16-0-0 Wildcats made it to the championship game with a 3-0 win over Peoples Academy in a semifinal match at Hayford Field on Oct. 30.
All their three goals came off set pieces. Just before halftime, Lucas Messing curled a corner kick into the back of the Peoples goal for a 1-0 lead at the break.
Then, in the 51st minute, a long free kick from Colin McHale somehow sailed past Peoples goalkeeper Dylan Haskins and into the net. A minute later, Dylan Howe headed in a corner kick by Messing that barely scraped under the crossbar.
Goalkeeper Logan Boyd made six saves for his 13th shutout of the season as the Wildcats’ defense snuffed out several runs at the goal by Peoples.
• It took just 28 seconds for the second-seeded Fair Haven Slaters to inform the third-seeded Bellows Falls Terriers that they were not relinquishing their title crown. The defending Division II champions rolled over BF, 44-6, in a Nov. 3 semifinal game that got moved to Rutland’s Alumni Field due to poor field conditions in Fair Haven.
With a fast artificial surface to play on, the Slaters raced out of the gate. In their first possession of the game, senior quarterback Cam Coloutti threw a 44-yard pass to Jesse Tucker, and then threw a 19-yard touchdown pass to Aubrey Ramey in the corner of the end zone.
Parker Morse’s point-after kick made it 7-0 with 11:32 left in the first quarter.
BF tried to answer that two-play, 63-yard scoring drive by trying to keep the Slaters offense off the field with a long ground-chewing drive. However, the Slaters defense all but shut down the BF running game.
Running back Jed Lober, who carried the ball 26 times for 140 yards in the regular season meeting on Oct. 12 at Hadley Field, was held to just 43 yards on 13 carries.
Passing wasn’t an option either, as BF quarterback Griffin Waryas completed only one pass in the first half. Waryas finished with 7-for-14 passing day for 115 yards.
A 12-play, 95-yard drive ended with a two-yard plunge by Coloutti in their second possession. A 25-yard field goal by Parker Morse made it 17-0 after the Slater’s third possession. A 23-yard TD catch by Ramey in the corner of the end zone gave the Slaters a 23-0 lead at the half.
The beat went on for Fair Haven in the second half, the only difference being that the Slaters ran the ball on nearly every play from scrimmage.
Running back Aaron Szabo had a 39-yard run, followed by a 15-yard run into end zone to complete a three-play, 54-yard drive for a 30-0 lead on the Slaters’ first possession of the second half.
BF spoiled the Slaters’ shutout bid when Waryas finally connected with tight end Zach Rawling on a catch-and-run sideline pass. Rawling caught the ball in stride and ran into the end zone untouched for a 72-yard score.
The conversion try failed but, at that point, the final result was not in doubt. Fair Haven had a 30-6 lead with 7:39 to play in the third quarter, and got two more touchdowns on a touchdown catch by Ramey and a one-yard run by Szabo.
Coloutti who entered the game having thrown 32 touchdown passes this season and for more than 10,000 yards for his four-year career with the Slaters, completed 16 of his 26 passes for 265 yards and three TDs.
Ramey finished with nine catches for 140 yards and three TDs. He also had a two-yard touchdown run. Szabo rushed for 182 yards and two touchdowns on 28 carries. In all, the Slaters had 502 yards of total offense and 23 first downs to the Terriers’ seven.
BF finished with a 7-3 record. Fair Haven will face top-seeded Burr & Burton for the state title this Saturday in Rutland.
Rifle deer hunting season starts Saturday
• Nov. 10 is opening day for Vermont’s 16-day rifle deer hunting season.
According to the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department, a hunter may take one buck during this season with at least one antler having two or more points. A point must be one inch or longer from base to tip. The main beam counts as a point, regardless of length.
Spike-antlered deer, mostly yearlings, are protected during this season.
Vermont’s regular hunting licenses, including a November rifle season buck tag and a late season bear tag (for Nov. 10-18), cost $26 for residents and $100 for nonresidents. For hunters under 18 years of age, the cost is $8 for residents and $25 for nonresidents.
Licenses are available on Fish & Wildlife’s website at www.vtfishandwildlife.com, and from license agents statewide.
The 2018 Vermont Deer Hunting Guide can be downloaded from the department’s website. The guide includes a map of the Wildlife Management Units (WMUs), season dates, regulations, and other helpful information.
Fish & Wildlife also urges hunters to wear a fluorescent orange hat and vest to help maintain Vermont’s very good hunting season safety record. Wearing orange is also a good idea for non-hunters (and their dogs) venturing outdoors this month.
Senior bowling roundup
• With a 5-0 week, Team 2 (33-12) held onto first place after Week 9 of the fall season of the Brattleboro Senior Bowling League at Brattleboro Bowl. Team 7 (29-16) moved into second, while Team 5 and Team 4 (both 28-17) are tied for third. Team 9 (27-18) is fourth, followed by Team 1 (26-19), Team 8 (25-20), Team 10 (23-22), Team 11 (21-24), Team 3 (15-30), and Team 6 (11-34).
Jackie McElroy had the women’s high handicap game (249), while Pam Greenblot had the women’s high handicap series (513). Jerry Dunham had the men’s high handicap game (272) and series (649), and Team 5 had the high team handicap game (898) and series (2,583).
In scratch scoring, Dunham (649), Warren Corriveau Sr. (614), and Robert Rigby (610) all rolled a 600-plus series. Greenblott (513) was the lone woman in the 500-plus club. Also with a 500-plus series were Marty Adams (526) and Duane Schillemat (569).
Gary Montgomery (246), Dunham (245), and Corriveau (215) were the male bowlers to top 200 for a single game, while the women were led by Greenblott (181), Bunny Fogg (179), and Debbie Kolpa (177).