High school athletes got the news they’ve been waiting for on Sept. 22 — the fall sports season can now proceed.
Education Secretary Dan French gave the green light to start the season and allow teams to play other schools, effective Sept. 26.
He said the Agency of Education and the Vermont Principals Association (VPA) wanted to get the fall season started last weekend to give schools an extra day for games in a season that has already been shortened a month due to COVID-19 concerns.
Brattleboro wasted no time. Athletic Director Chris Sawyer immediately rescheduled games that were to be played on Sept. 25 but were postponed, to the new Sept. 26 starting date.
That made for a busy Saturday morning at BUHS, as the boys’ soccer team hosted Hartford at Natowich Field, while the field hockey team hosted Fair Haven at nearby Tenney Field.
They were the first games played at those venues since last fall, as spring sports were cancelled by the pandemic and summer baseball was played in Dummerston rather than Tenney Field.
Meanwhile, the BUHS girls’ soccer team and the football team traveled north to Springfield on Saturday to play their respective season openers.
All four teams won their opening games, which made for a very happy opening day for Colonels fans, who masked and distanced themselves properly to help ensure there will be more games played this fall.
• Ayoub Lajhar scored the tying and winning goals as Brattleboro needed two overtimes to defeat the Hartford Hurricanes, 2-1, in the first-ever soccer game played on Natowich Field.
“That was one hell of a game to start the season with,” said Colonels coach Ben Brewer, who got his first varsity victory in his debut as head coach. “The team that played the best won the game.”
The Colonels had several quality chances, but their shots were hitting the goalposts instead of the back of net. Nick Martin gave the Hurricanes a 1-0 lead with a goal in the 23rd minute.
Lajhar scored the equalizer in the 51st minute and got the game-winning goal in 2:36 left in the second overtime.
Colonels goalkeeper Paul McGillion stopped a penalty kick in the 10th minute and, aside from Martin’s tally, played a strong game in goal.
• Bellows Falls lost its home opener to the Rivendell Raptors, 4-0, on Sept. 26. Derek Vogelien scored one goal for the Raptors and drew fouls that led to a pair of penalty kicks. Chris Pierce converted one of the penalty kicks for a goal, Kyle Carter scored off a corner kick, and Josiah Welch scored from 30-yards out.
Rivendell put 27 shots on the BF net and had nine corner kicks. Raptors goalkeeper Owen Mansur made three saves to earn the shutout.
• Brattleboro got off to a fast start with a 7-1 road win over Springfield on Sept. 26. Alina Secrest and Kiki McNary each had two goals and Sophie Mikijaniec, Juliana Miskovich, and CC Albert also scored. McNary picked up a pair of assists and Sylvie Normandeau, Allembert, and Secrest also assisted on goals.
Bella Powell and Normandeau split the goalkeeping duties, with Powell getting the start and making seven saves. Normandeau finished up in goal and made three saves. Ari Cioffi scored Springfield’s only goal.
• Erin Cooke made her debut as the Colonels’ varsity coach, and her squad gave her a 1-0 overtime win against the Fair Haven Slaters on Sept. 26 at Tenney Field.
The two teams were scoreless in regulation time, but it was the Colonels who got the winning goal in the 7-on-7 overtime. Junior midfielder Taylin Bauer drove the ball ahead to senior inner Rosie Carignan, who shot the ball toward the Slater goal. Noble deflected Carignan’s shot and tipped the ball into the cage just 2:36 into the extra period.
Fair Haven put up a strong attack on offense throughout regulation time, with 14 penalty corners to the Colonels’ six. Kaylyn Bailey and Brittney Wright split time in goal and each finished with two saves to combine for the shutout.
Cooke had plenty of praise for her team and the work they put in to get ready for a season that no one was sure would happen. “It’s been a challenge for everyone, but their love for the game came through,” she said. “Everyone has been positive and boosting each other up.”
• This season’s COVID-tized version of football in Vermont — a passing-only, 7-on-7 game with no tackling — puts the focus on the quarterback and receivers. But it was a kicker — Brattleboro’s Reed Sargent — who booted a field goal with 8.8 seconds remaining to give the visiting Colonels a 24-21 win over the Springfield Cosmos.
Quarterback Devin Speno threw three touchdown passes as Brattleboro rallied from a 14-7 deficit at halftime. Josh Curtis, Thad Sawyer, and Trinley Warren each had a touchdown catch. On defense, Nick Lawrence picked off a pass for Brattleboro.
Springfield quarterback Sam Presch threw a touchdown pass to Riley Ward to tie the game late in the fourth quarter before Sargent’s last-second heroics.
• The Bellows Falls girls picked up where they left off last year as the 2019 state Division III champions turned in a solid performance in their opening meet at Thetford Academy on Sept. 26.
Two-time defending individual state champion Abby Broadley covered the Thetford course in a time of 20:25, despite taking a detour on the mismarked course. Teammate Steph Ager finished two minutes behind Broadley to take second place. Host team Thetford won the girls’ meet with 18 points to BF’s 21.
• Leland & Gray is fielding a cross-country team this season, and they got started on Sept. 26 with a multi-team meet in White River Junction. The Rebel girls finished second behind host team Hartford in their meet, while the Rebel boys did not have enough runners for a team score.
Senior bowling roundup
• Time to catch up with the Brattleboro Senior Bowling League, which completed its fourth week of competition at Brattleboro Bowl on Sept. 24.
Team 3 and Team 4 (both 15.5-4.5) are tied for first after the four weeks of play, followed by Team 5 and Team 6 (both 10-10), Team 1 (7-13), and Team 2 (2-18).
In week 4 play, Doris LaFortune had the women’s high handicap game (221) and Nancy Dalzell had the high handicap series (610). Michael Hurd had the men’s high handicap game (269) and Peter Gilbert had the high handicap series (699). Team 6 had the high team handicap game (896) and series (2,510).
In scratch scoring, Robert Rigby had games of 250, 209, and 180 to complete a 639 series to lead the men. Warren Corriveau Sr. had a 509 series. Hurd had a 203 game while Jerry Dunham rolled a 190.
Josie Rigby rolled a 162 as part of her high scratch series of 477 to lead the women in week 4.
Pat Bentrup had the women’s high handicap game (245) and series (678) in week 3 play, while Corriveau had the men’s high handicap game (305) and Duane Schillemat had the high handicap series (698). Team 5 had the high team handicap game (941) and series (2,510).
In scratch scoring, Robert Rigby rolled a 246 and a 226 to complete a 666 series to lead the men. Corriveau had a 277 game as part of his 599 series and Schillemat had a 211 as part of his 530 series.
Josie Rigby rolled a 201 as part of her high scratch series of 494 to lead the women in week 3.
Week 2 saw Bentrup with the women’s high handicap game (249) and series (695), while Wayne Randall had the men’s high handicap game (275) and Norm Corliss had the high handicap series (689). Team 3 had the high team handicap game (688) and series (2,002).
In scratch scoring, Robert Rigby had games of 216, 215, and 214 to complete a 645 series to lead the men. Corriveau had a 197 game as part of his 545 series and Jerry Dunham had a 194 as part of his 543 series. Randall had a 215 game.
Shirley Aiken rolled a 170 as part of her high scratch series of 489 to lead the women in week 2. Bentrup also had a 170 game.
Fall paddling with the BOC
• The Brattleboro Outing Club announced its line-up of fall paddle trips, focusing on New England’s annual spectacular color show.
Pandemic paddling guidelines will be enforced, including group sizing, avoiding congested areas (parking areas, launch, landing sites, and rest stops), masks worn at all times (until adequately dispersed on the water), car-pooling (only within your own “bubble,” spacing between boats, staying abreast or up-wind of other boats, and (of course) always wearing a life jacket.
All paddle trips are free and open to the public, with no reservation required. Just show up at the prescribed location at the time set with your own canoe, kayak, or SUP. Required and recommended items to bring along are listed at www.BrattleboroOutingClub.org (click on “Paddling/BRING.”)
On Saturday, Oct. 3, Somerset Reservoir is the destination. Come for an all-day fall foliage paddle trip on a out-of-the-way, protected reservoir. Paddlers often see loons, bald eagles, migrating waterfowl, and other wildlife on this trip.
“Five years ago, a pair of moose put on quite a show, and six years ago, it was so warm, nobody wanted to end the trip till dark. This could be the last swim of the season,” said BOC paddling organizer Larry McIntosh.
Bring snacks, lunch, and something warm to drink; it’ll be a beach picnic. Meet at 9 a.m. at the Coffee House in Wilmington (Junction of Routes 9 West and 100 South, across from the Flea Market), or at the “car-top” launch site at Somerset (very end of the road) around 9:30 a.m. Paddlers are asked to not block, or use the trailer ramp.
The paddling trip on Wednesday, Oct. 7 will be a “Leader’s Choice” excursion to wherever the colors are peak. Meet at 9:30 a.m., in front of the closed Home Depot store, next to Hannaford’s on Putney Road in Brattleboro, for an all-day outing to view fall foliage from the water, somewhere in the tri-state area.
For more information, or weather questions, call 802-254-3666, or email Lmacyak@gmail.com.
A little help, please...
• We hope that the sports roundup will be a weekly feature again in The Commons, as long COVID-19 can be held in check enough so we can start doing more things in real life instead of via a video stream.
That’s where you, the readers of this page, come in. If you are a coach of a school team, or are running any sort of athletic activities this fall, I would love to hear from you so I can get your information into the paper.
Email is the best way to reach us, at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll help spread the word for you. Thanks!