Rebel girls upset BF, but get walloped by Peoples

BELLOWS FALLS — Rivalry games are always dangerous, and they are especially dangerous in the playoffs.

But coming off a game with three red cards and fight, the officiating crew made sure that last Wednesday's Division III girls' soccer playdown between Leland & Gray and Bellows Falls didn't get out of hand.

Referee Bud Laudenslager lined both teams up at midfield before the match and gave them a pre-game lecture on sportsmanship. “Don't say anything you wouldn't say to your grandmother at the dinner table,” he said.

The two teams shook hands after Laudenslager's talk, but only one team came out fired up and ready to go.

Leland & Gray dominated play in the first half and withstood a late rally by Bellows Falls to win, 2-1.

“I wish it was 2-0,” first-year Rebels coach Lucas Bates said after the game, adding that Wednesday's match, “was a much cleaner game. The refs called it a lot tighter and they didn't let anything get out of control. ”

The Rebels dominated on offense in the first half, despite putting only three shots on goal.

Junior midfielder Brittany Bills staked the Rebels to a 2-0 first half lead. The first goal came seven minutes into the game, as Bills tapped one into the lower corner of a beautiful cross set by junior Addie Mahadavi that caught BF goalkeeper Enny Mustapha out of position.

With 12 minutes to go in the half, a group of Rebels attacked the BF goal in a giant cluster. Senior captain Chelby Nystrom passed the ball shortly to her left where Bills was in the right place at the right time to tap in her second goal of the game.

“I was really nervous before the game, knowing how important it was,” said Bills. “But when the game is happening, all the nerves go away, and like today, when you're that close to scoring, all that was going on in my head was 'Score!' With both of them, I just seemed to be in the right spot at the right time. With the first one, I guess I just lined myself up and kicked it. I felt really good about the second one, too.”

There was a scary moment in the first half when Terriers sophomore Chapin Reis, a midfielder, “injured her right femur,” according to medical assistant Dr. Ruth Dunn. Reis was removed from the rest of the game, despite her efforts to persuade head coach John Broadley to let her back in.

The Rebels endured their own injury moments later when junior goalkeeper Elizabeth Gallup collided with a Terrier striker, knee to face. Sophomore back-up Haley Buffum filled in for Gallup for about five minutes to walk off the pain. Fortunately for the Rebels, Buffum did not allow any goals in that window of time.

Broadley said after the game he was disappointed with the Terriers' play in the first half. “The first 30 minutes, we simply just stood around and watched, and that was the difference.”

But BF turned it up in the second half, and became the team that was on the offensive. However, Rebels defenders Ashley Goddard, Kate McCallister and Jacqueline Hazard worked well in warding off the opposition.

The Terriers finally broke through with about 12 minutes left in the game, when senior midfield Ashley Palmisano maneuvered through the Rebels defense and scored beautifully to cut the deficit in half. The Terriers began to build momentum, but ran out of time. The Terriers had just seven shot attempts, three of which had a legitimate chance of going in, and one of which that did.

“When we scored with 12 minutes left, I thought we had a chance,” said Broadley, whose team finished with a 7-7-1 record.

Peoples 8, Leland & Gray 0

The reward for the Rebels for beating BF was a trip north on Saturday to face top-seeded Peoples Academy, and a 8-0 shellacking.

Bates knew it would be a tall order beating Peoples, which is in the midst of an undefeated season with a 16-0 record.

“We're going to have to change our style a little, but mostly we'll keep doing what we've been doing because it's working,” he said Wednesday.

“It's just a matter of knowing that it's going to be hard and overcoming it,” added senior Jacqueline Hazard. “I think if we play at our best, we have a chance.”

Unfortunately, the Rebels were overwhelmed by Peoples' attack. Katie Stames scored three goals, Kelli Grimes added two more, and Hannah Merriam supplied a goal and two assists. Marissa Benson and Megan LaMare also scored, and goalkeeper Anna Swift needed to make only one save for the shutout.

Broadley said he felt that BF was “one of the few teams that could compete with Peoples. We certainly could coach competitively and put up a good fight.”

He turned out to be prophetic when he said Wednesday that “I don't think Leland & Gray can match them. They'll lose by multiple goals. Four or five to nothing. I guarantee it.”

Leland & Gray finished its season at 7-7-2.

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