As opening games go, the Twin Valley boys’ soccer team had more drama off the field than on it in its 3-0 victory over Bellows Falls last Thursday night.
It was the first game back at Baker Field since flooding from Tropical Storm Irene last August left the field unplayable and forced the Wildcats to play nearly every game on the road last season.
The field was in good shape for the opener against the Terriers, but the Wildcats had to deal with a last-minute change before kickoff. Starting goalkeeper Sam Molner had his appendix burst on Thursday morning and was rushed to the hospital for treatment. He’s okay now, but he will be out for a few weeks to recover.
This left Wildcats coach Buddy Hayford with freshman Kyle Murdock as his only goalkeeper. Not only was it his first varsity start, the school had to petition the Vermont Principals’ Association for a special waiver for Murdock to play because he didn’t have the required amount of practice time for varsity players.
Fortunately for Murdock, the Wildcats played strong defense and kept the ball in the Terriers’ end for most of the game. He did make a couple of big saves in the second half, however
Twin Valley was held scoreless in the first half, and scored all their goals in the second half. In the 50th minute, Colin Lozito scored off a shot from the corner, then got another goal a minute later with a 35-yard blast from the flank. Lozito assisted on the last goal later in the game, as he set up Tony Tarr’s wide-open shot.
It was a nice start for the Wildcats, but they’ll only have a month to enjoy the comforts of Baker Field. According to Hayford, the field is going to be ripped up again in October as the town is planning a re-do of the field to improve its drainage.
The Wildcats will then be forced to use the field at Twin Valley Middle School in Whitingham, a field with drainage problems of its own. Last season, the field was so waterlogged and torn up after a game with the Terriers that it was rendered unusable for the rest of the season.
It’s been a dry summer compared to last year so, with luck, the bus trips will be shorter for Twin Valley this season.
• The Brattleboro Colonels had their final tuneup for the upcoming season on Thursday afternoon, when they played a scrimmage against Twin Valley at Sawyer Field. The Colonels controlled the midfield against the Wildcats and used their short passing game to frustrate their opponent.
Coach Edwin de Brujin may be from Holland, but the style he wants his team to play looks more like the Spanish style of Barcelona or Real Madrid — deftly move the ball around the field and use skill and teamwork to break down an opponent’s defense.
He has the team to play this style. Midfielders Halie Lange, Maddie Rollins, Rebecca Porter, Taylor Bird, Kara Piergentili, Truuske Bailey-de Brujin, and Abbie Lesure are versatile and experienced, while Lange and forward Hannah Lynde have the talent to turn those short passes into goals.
Marissa Smith and Tori Svec will handle goalkeeping duties, while Bailey Paige, Sarah Kendrick, and Linnea Jahn anchor the defense.
• It was a rough opening night on the road for Brattleboro on Friday, as Essex quarterback Joey Picard threw five touchdown passes and ran for another in a 48-7 rout.
The Colonels fell behind early, and trailed 35-7 at the half. Colonels quarterback Tyler Higley threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to Josh LaValley in the second quarter for the only Brattleboro score. Elliot Gragen and Jake Gaboriault combined to rush for over 100 yards.
Picard might have done even more damage, but Higley intercepted two passes to lead the BUHS defense. The Colonels will seek to even their record on Friday night when they host Champlain Valley at Natowich Field at 7 p.m.
• In his varsity debut at quarterback, sophomore Ethan Illingworth connected with Mike LaBeau for a 43-yard touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter to give the Bellows Falls Terriers a 20-14 victory over Fair Haven Friday night.
The Slaters are the defending Division II champions, but BF wasn’t intimidated. Carson Fullam scored on a three-yard sweep for a 6-0 lead at the half. Illingworth later scored on a two-yard sneak. Running back Zach Rawling led the Terriers ground game with 115 yards on 25 carries.
The 1-0 Terriers will host Rice on Friday in the home opener at Hadley Field at 7 p.m.
Going for the gold
• The 2012 Summer Paralympic Games are in full swing in London, and a Putney hand cyclist has a good shot at being a medalist.
Forty-two-year-old Alicia Brelsford Dana returned to the sport last year after a decade away from competition. She was a bike racer before she fell out of a tree at the age of 17 and was left paralyzed from the waist down.
She got into hand cycle racing after her accident, and was good enough to qualify the U.S. national team in 2001 and compete internationally.
Brelsford Dana then took time off to raise her daughter, Willa, but she was persuaded to get back to serious competition in May 2011, and she soon picked up where she had left off a decade earlier.
When her bike got stolen last summer, a fundraiser was held and $10,000 came in to buy a new state-of-the-art hand cycle. With a better bike and lots of community support, she qualified for the U.S. Paralympic Team in June. Her first race in London is scheduled for Sept. 5.
This will be her second major international competition this year. Back in February, Brelsford Dana was part of the U.S. Nordic Adaptive Team, and raced in the IPC World Cup. As the top performing U.S. female skier, she put herself in a good enough position to possibly qualify for the 2014 Winter Paralympics in Russia.
• The Brattleboro Area Men’s Softball League wrapped up its season last week as Aerodyne won the Division 3 playoffs, while the Tony Farnum squad won the Division 4 title.
Aerodyne went undefeated in its march to the Division 3 title. They beat Marina/DMI, 16-15, in the opening game, then cruised past MT3/DJ’s/Goodenough, 9-1, and defeated VFW, 6-4, to reach the championship game. In a rematch with VFW, Aerodyne won, 10-7, to take the Division 3 crown.
In Division 4, Farnum’s also had an undefeated run to the title. They beat Mocha Joe’s, 13-10, in their opener, got by Frankie’s/McNeil’s. 11-10, in their second game, and reached the championship game by edging Chelsea Royal, 6-5. Farnum’s then beat Falvey Pool, 10-7, to win the Division 4 title.
Hike-A-Thon & Trail Race benefits BEEC
• The Bonnyvale Environmental Education Center (BEEC) presents its second annual Hike-A-Thon & Trail Race on Saturday, Sept. 15, starting at 9 a.m.
Hikers and trail runners will take a 9-mile journey over backwood trails, starting at the Marina overlooking the Retreat Meadows and going all the way back to the BEEC campus on Bonnyvale Road in West Brattleboro. A $50 cash prize is offered for the winner of the trail run.
Not up to hiking or running nine miles? Bonnyvale will suggest various trail entry points that will also get you to BEEC just the same. The proceeds from this event will benefit BEEC’s conservation efforts. To register, contact BEEC at 802-275-5785 or firstname.lastname@example.org.