It was Championship Saturday for Vermont high school soccer and field hockey. Windham County’s two finalists — the Bellows Falls field hockey team and the Leland & Gray girls’ soccer team — both fell just short of a state title in their respective games on Nov. 6, but not before giving their fans plenty of thrills through the season.
But there is one team left standing to try for a championship — the Bellows Falls football team. After taking care of Lyndon, 34-8, in their Division II semifinal game on Nov. 5 at Hadley Field, they will be at Rutland’s Alumni Field this Saturday to face Mount Anthony for the state title.
Let’s get right to the review of an exciting weekend for our local student-athletes.
Terriers roll over Vikings
• The football semifinal between BF and the Lyndon Vikings was as advertised — a hard-nosed battle between a pair of offenses that love to run the ball.
But this game was won by BF with a stout defense that all but shut down the Vikings’ running game. The Terriers’ front seven — Dillan Perry, Peter Kamel, Patrick Barbour, Harrison Gleim, Jeb Monier, Jed Lober and Caden Haskell — limited the Vikings to 3.24 yards per carry and combined on six tackles for losses.
Lyndon running back Luke Dudas, who ran for 202 yards and three touchdowns against Brattleboro in the quarterfinals, was held to 28 yards on 14 carries with no touchdowns by the Terriers. Of the eight passes thrown by Lyndon, two of them were intercepted by Haskell and Max Hooke, respectively. Lober also returned a fumble for a touchdown.
The BF offensive line — Moore, Kamel, Perry, Barbout and Kevin Patterson — dominated the line of scrimmage as the Terriers ran for 326 yards. Lober, as usual, carried the biggest load as he carried the ball 19 times for 239 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Jeb Monier had seven carries for 87 yards and a touchdown, and quarterback Jonathan Terry also ran for a TD.
BF took a 21-0 lead into halftime with a 34-yard touchdown run on their opening drive in the first quarter. They also scored on their next two drives — a 1-yard run up the middle by Lober and a five-yard keeper by Terry.
Lyndon could get nothing started on offense. Their best chance came on their final drive of the first half after the only pass Terry threw in the half was intercepted by Trevor Lussier. The Vikings got close to the goal line, only to have an Ashton Gould pass picked off by Haskell in the end zone.
The Terriers had the ball for almost the entire third quarter, which was twice delayed for a total of 40 minutes due to injuries to a pair of Lyndon players — Gould and lineman R.J. Kittredge — that left both teams waiting in the frigid night while medical personnel tended to the injured players.
There was no shift in momentum once play finally resumed. BF ultimately scored on Lober’s scoop-and-score run on defense with 1:42 left in the third quarter, and got their final touchdown on a 37-yard run by Lober with 10:20 left in the fourth quarter.
Monier missed his only point-after kick of the game, and Lyndon would later break-up the shutout bid with a 1-yard touchdown run and a two-point conversion run by Bryon Noyes with 2:00 left in the game.
It was the smallest margin of victory of the season for the undefeated Terriers, who are heading into the Division II title game for the fifth time in six years. They will be facing a much improved Mount Anthony squad.
Mount Anthony hasn’t been in a championship game since 1994. While the Terriers beat the Patriots 45-14 in Week 2, Mount Anthony enters the title game on a seven-game winning streak and they will be a formidable foe standing between BF’s quest for an undefeated championship season.
Rebels just miss against Stowe
• Soccer can be a cruel sport, especially when a team is down by three goals in the Division III girls’ soccer championship, they come from behind, and they just miss tying the score on the last play of the game. That’s what happened to third-seeded Leland & Gray Rebels (15-3) as they lost to the top-seeded Stowe Raiders (16-0-2), 3-2, at the Maxfield Sports Complex in Hartford.
The two teams were well-matched from the get-go. The Raiders had a few opportunities to score, including one where the shot came from the left wing and it was about to go in the opposite corner of the net, but Rebels’ goalie Makaila Morse made a diving save to knock it away.
The Raiders’ finally broke through with 2:34 left in the first half. Iris Cloutier won a 50-50 ball and she passed it to teammate Sarah Hailey. Leland & Gray’s Morse was out of position and Hailey knocked it in for Stowe’s first goal of the game.
Cloutier scored the Raiders’ second goal 10 minutes into the second half. No Leland & Gray defenders were around and Cloutier had a wide open shot.
Seven minutes later, Orly Bryan fired a shot into the opposite corner of the goal, well out of Morse’s reach, and the score was now 3-0. Yet the Rebels didn’t panic and they came back in the final 10 minutes of the game that was nothing short of inspirational.
Hannah Landers got the Rebels on the board with a free kick that sailed into the net. Four minutes later, Abby Towle took a free kick and Maggie Parker waited patiently for the ball. Parker got a foot on it and put it into the back of the net for their second goal.
“We played with a lot of high confidence,” Landers said. “When the first goal went in, there was a decent amount of time left and we thought we could take it back.”
Leland & Gray had Stowe on the ropes up until the very last play of the game. With a chance to tie and head into overtime, the final kick came down to Towle.
With the ball lined up outside of the 18-yard box, Towle kicked it away but it hit the top of the crossbar and went out of bounds. The Raiders let the time run out and they won their second straight Division III state title.
Despite the devastating loss, Leland & Gray coach Lucas Bates, and much of the Rebels for that matter, were in relatively positive spirits. Tears were shed for sure, but they were quickly replaced with laughter.
“Every team has a different nature and a different focus and these girls are pretty chill,” Bates said. “All I can say is I’m extremely proud that they fought every second of that game. This has been the theme of this team all year long.”
The Rebels definitely showed that in the semifinal match against BFA-Fairfax on Nov. 3 in Townshend. The Rebels rallied from a two-goal deficit to pullout a 4-3 win that sent them into the finals for the first time since 1991.
Towle got the first goal against the Bullets, then BFA got three unanswered goals. Emma Spiller scored twice and Taylor Duquette also scored to give the Bullets a 3-1 lead at the half.
The Rebels then rallied back as Towle and Ava Lecours scored to make it 3-3 with 34:27 left in the second half. Then came one of the sharpest reversal of fortunes you’ll ever see in a soccer march. BFA was pressing late in the game and Ava Ardorino broke through and scored the apparent go-ahead goal with 4:15 to play. But the goal was waved off by an offsides call.
The BFA coaching staff was livid, and was even more outraged with an apparent hand ball committed by a Rebels player went unseen by the officials. Play continued, and Towle potted the game-winner with 4:04 left in regulation.
“In the second half, we were doing for the full 40 minutes what they did in the last 20 minutes of the first half,” Bates said at the BFA game.
Losing in the final may have hurt, but the Rebel girls had a great season and plenty to build on for next year.
Wolves topple Terriers for field hockey title
• It was the game everyone wanted to see — top-seeded South Burlington and No. 2 Bellows Falls, the two best teams in Division I, playing for the championship.
Unlike 2018, when the Terriers came out on top, it was the Wolves who ended BF’s bid for an undefeated championship season with a 3-1 victory at Moulton-Winder Field at the University of Vermont in Burlington.
It was the first game this season that BF played on artificial turf, and the Terriers had trouble adjusting to the faster playing surface as South Burlington scored twice in the first seven minutes to take control of the game.
Hope Brunet scored first for the Wolves when she knocked in the rebound of a shot off the glove of BF goalie Jaia Caron. Abby Guenther soon followed with a goal, and the Terriers never recovered. Catherine White added another goal in the fourth quarter.
Wolves goalie Izzy Redzic made 11 saves, and made some big stops to thwart the Terriers 1-2 scoring punch of Maya Waryas and Sadie Scott in the first quarter. By the time Waryas got BF’s only goal with 1:54 left in the game, the Wolves had all but wrapped things up.
To get to the final, BF beat third-seeded Essex in the semifinals, 2-1, on Nov. 2. The Terriers trailed 1-0 at the half, and it took goals from Emma Bazin and Sadie Scott in the second half to win it. Caron made 10 saves in goal for the Terriers.
BF ended its season at 16-1. The loss ended a 27-game winning streak for the Terriers.
Senior bowling roundup
• Week 10 of the fall/winter season of the Brattleboro Senior Bowling League at Brattleboro Bowl on Nov. 4 saw Stayin’ Alive (32-18) have a 0-5 week, but still stay in first place. Pin Falls (29.5-20.5) had another 4-1 week to hang on to second place. Alley Katz (26-24) moved into third place, followed by Pin Setters (25-25), Team Four (23-27), Rolling Stones (22.5-27.5) and Trash-O-Matic and Old Farts (both 21-29).
Doris Lake had the women’s high handicap game (265), while Josie Rigby had the high handicap series (706). Robert Rigby again had the men’s high handicap game (248), while Pete Cross again had the high handicap series (679). Team Four had the high team handicap game (924), while Alley Katz had the high handicap series (2,564).
In scratch scoring, Robert Rigby led the men with a 611 series, with games of 248 and 214. Warren Corriveau Sr. had a 608 series that featured two 213 games. Chuck Adams had games of 206, 199, and 193 as part of his 598 series and Jerry Dunham had a 192 game as part of his 532 series. Charlie Marchant had a 190 game.
Shirley Aiken had the high scratch game (200) and Josie Rigby had the high scratch series (541) to lead the women. Carol Gloski rolled a 199 game, Josie Rigby had a 191 game, and Pat Bentrup had a 170 game.