The Leland & Gray Rebels and Twin Valley Wildcats have long been rivals in high school boys' soccer, and their games are usually hard-fought and tense affairs. The two teams did not disappoint on Oct. 22 in Townshend in their regular season finale, as Twin Valley rallied from a two-goal deficit to force overtime and ultimately come away with a 4-3 win.
Sophomore forward Luke Rizio gave Twin Valley a 1-0 lead in the 13th minute of the game with a hard shot from the edge of the goal area that caromed off the goal post and into the net. The Wildcats controlled the flow of play in the first half, but couldn't muster any more scoring.
Jordan Persson broke the tie with a pair of goals early in the second half that gave the Rebels a 2-1 lead. Trent Pagach later popped in a slow, floating shot into the net in the 65th minute to extend the Rebels' lead to 3-1.
The Wildcats were in trouble, but coach Buddy Hayford was not worried. “We kept grinding,” he said. “That's been our M.O. all season. They never stop playing, no matter how many goals they're down.”
Twin Valley's comeback began with Aidin Joyce blasting a penalty kick past Rebels goalkeeper Hunter Fillion with 10:15 left in regulation. Noah Dornburgh then got the tying goal during a scramble in front of the Rebels' net with 2:38 to play.
The first 10-minute overtime was scoreless as the light declined. By the time the second overtime began, what was left of the twilight was fading fast. But neither team was interested in leaving the field with a tie.
In the end, it was Rizio who got the game winner with 7:35 left in the second overtime. His corner kick sailed toward the near post, and Fillion appeared to have made a save, but the ball trickled into the net to end the game.
“That was a win they could be proud of,” said Hayford. “We talked about wanting to go into the tournament on a high note, and this was like a playoff game for us.”
Twin Valley finished the regular season at 8-6 and earned the No. 5 seed in the Division IV tournament. The defending state champs will host 12th-seeded Danville in a first-round game at Hayford Field in Wilmington on Oct. 27 at 6 p.m.
• No matter what the endeavor, you find out how good you really are when you measure yourself against the best.
The undefeated Bellows Falls Terriers, the defending Division I state field hockey champions, are a formidable measuring stick for a young team like the Brattleboro Colonels. And while the odds were extremely long that the Colonels could eke out on win on their home field, what coach Erin Cooke wanted to see was improvement.
Considering the Colonels lost to BF, 10-1, in the first meeting of the season in Westminster, losing to the Terriers, 7-0, on Senior Day on Oct. 20 at Sawyer Field constituted something of a victory.
“Every minute of every game, we are trying to get better,” Cooke said. “And this team is playing better than it did at the start of the season.”
The Colonels held BF to four goals in the first half, thanks to a strong defensive effort and the goaltending of senior Brittney Wright, who made 12 saves in the face of near-constant pressure by the Terriers.
Coursen said Wright “did an amazing job in goal.” Despite 10 penalty corners and seven shots on goal, the Terriers had only a 4-0 lead at the half.
Sadie Scott scored three goals for the Terriers, while Grace Bazin scored twice, including a successfully converting a penalty stroke. Maya Waryas and Emma Bazin also scored as BF outshot the Colonels, 30-1. BF goaltender Jaia Caron only faced one shot, using her pads to block a drive by Brattleboro's Taylin Bauer.
Bellows Falls completed an undefeated regular season with a 4-1 win over Burr & Burton on Oct. 23. Scott continued to have the hot hand as she scored twice. Grace Bazin and Jules McDermid also scored while Grace Wilkinson and McDermid each finished with one assist.
The 14-0 Terriers earned the No. 2 seed in the Division I tournament, and will host No. 7 Colchester in a quarterfinal game this Friday.
The Colonels finished the regular season with 3-11 record after dropping a 4-3 decision to Woodstock on Oct. 23. Those two teams will meet again in the first round of the Division II playoffs on Oct. 27 and the ninth-seeded Colonels visit the eight-seeded Wasps.
• Bellows Falls cruised to a 49-7 road win over the Mount Abraham Eagles on Oct. 23 to finish the regular season at 8-0 and earn the top seed in the Division I playoffs. They will host the eighth-seeded Fair Haven Slaters (3-5) in a first-round game at Hadley Field this Friday at 7 p.m.
BF is by far the most dominant team in Division II this season. The closest margin of victory in their eight wins was 29 points. Against Mt. Abe, Jeb Monier and Harrison Gleim each scored two touchdowns for the Terriers. One of Gleim's scores came off a blocked field goal that he returned 70 yards for a TD. Jonathan Terry, Jed Lober, and Caden Haskell all added one rushing touchdown.
• Brattleboro completed its resurrection with a 27-6 win over Rice on Senior Night at Natowich Field on Oct. 22. After starting the season 1-4, the Colonels have won three straight games to even their record at 4-4 and earn the No. 4 seed in Division II. They will host No. 5 Lyndon (3-4) in a first-round home game this Friday at 7 p.m.
After the five seniors on the team - Aaron Petrie, Calvin Gould, Noah White, Tyler McNary, and Reed Sargent -were honored before the opening kickoff, the Colonels took a 13-0 lead into halftime. Quarterback Devin Speno scored on a 1-yard run and a 73-yard touchdown to Petrie.
The Brattleboro defense was also strong as White, McNary, and Charlie Clark all had one sack each, and Petrie recovered a fumble. Rice spoiled the shutout big with a third-quarter touchdown run by quarterback Kadin DeConinck, but the Colonels responded with two fourth-quarter touchdowns with a 1-yard run by Noah Perusse and a 20-yard reverse by Petrie.
Speno had a 5-for-12 night passing for 169 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Cam Frost rushed for 77 yards on 16 carries, while Petrie had two catches for 108 yards.
• Brattleboro got shut out by Rutland, 3-0, on Oct. 21. The Colonels finished the regular season with a 6-7-1 record and earned the No. 10 seed in the Division I playoffs. At press time, they were scheduled to head north to Newport to face seventh-seeded North Country in a first-round game on Oct. 26.
• Bellows Falls finished the regular season at 1-10 after a 3-0 loss to Twin Valley on Oct. 19 in Wilmington. Joyce converted a penalty kick in the 13th minute and scored another goal less than a minute later. The Terriers were seeded No. 13 in the Division III playoffs and, at press time, they were scheduled to head north to Vergennes to face the fourth-seeded Commodores in a first-round game on Oct. 26.
• The Rebels finished the regular season at 3-11. They are the No. 11 seed in the Division III tournament and, at press time, they were scheduled to head to the Northeast Kingdom to Hardwick to face the 11th-seeded Hazen Wildcats in a first-round game on Oct. 26.
• The Colonels finished their season at 2-11-1. They lost to Mount Anthony, 2-0, on Oct. 19, and won't be participating in the Division I playoffs.
• Leland & Gray finished with a 12-2 record and the No. 2 seed in Division III. The Rebels shut out Mill River. 7-0, on Oct. 18 and beat Windsor, 3-1, on Oct. 22. They are scheduled to host No. 15 Winooski in a first-round playoff game on Oct. 27.
• Bellows Falls finished the regular season with a 1-13 record. BF got shut out by Rivendell, 6-0, on Oct. 21, and fell to Green Mountain, 2-1, on Oct. 23. They are the 15th seed in Division III and are scheduled to head north to Stowe to face the fourth-seeded Commodores in a first-round game on Oct. 27.
• Twin Valley ended the regular season with a 10-2 loss to West Rutland on Oct. 18 to finish the regular season with a 1-12 record. Reese Croutworst scored both of Twin Valley's goals. The two teams are scheduled to meet again in the first round of the Division IV playoffs on Oct. 27 as the 14th seeded Wildcats visit the No. 3 seeded Golden Horde.
• In the final tune-up before this Saturday's state championship meet at Thetford Academy, Stephane Ager of Bellows Falls put in her claim as the best runner in Division III with a win in the Southern Vermont League large schools championship meet on Oct. 19 at Fort Dummer State Park in Brattleboro.
Ager won the girls' race in 19 minutes, 21 seconds. She beat out Thetford's Madelyn Durkee, the second-place finisher, by 33 seconds. Brattleboro's Ava Whitney was fifth in 20:40. The BF girls tied for third with Burr & Burton in team scoring, behind Thetford and Rutland. Brattleboro finished sixth.
• Emma O'Brien of Leland & Gray finished fourth in the SVL small schools championship meet on Oct. 19 in White River Junction.
Senior bowling roundup
• Week 8 of the fall/winter season of the Brattleboro Senior Bowling League at Brattleboro Bowl on Oct. 21 saw Stayin' Alive (28-12) have a 1-4 week, but still stay in first place. Pin Falls (21.5-18.5) went 4-1 to move into second place, just a half-game ahead of Old Farts (21-19), who had a 5-0 week. Alley Katz (20-20) is now in fourth, followed by Pin Setters (19-21), Trash-O-Matic and Team Four (both 17-23), and Rolling Stones (16.5-23.5).
Josie Rigby had the women's high handicap game (255), while Debbie Kolpa had the high handicap series (701). Stan Kolpa had the men's high handicap game (249) and series (658), and Alley Katz had the high team handicap game (895) and series (2,483).
In scratch scoring, Robert Rigby led the men with a 623 series, with games of 238, 202, and 183. Warren Corriveau Sr. had games of 231 and 183 as part of his 587 series. Stan Kolpa had a 178 game.
Josie Rigby had the high scratch game (191) and Debbie Kolpa had the high series (497) to lead the women. Shirley Aiken had a pair of 182 games.