On the Ball: Two teams ousted, survivors’ games set
Times, sites set for OV hockey, Tiger football
BURLINGTON — Game times have been scheduled for the Otter Valley Union field hockey team and the Middlebury Union football team, two of the three remaining active local squads for this local high school season. The Division II champion MUHS boys’ cross-country team had been already set to run in the New England meet at Thetford on Nov. 13.
On Thursday, the Vermont Principals’ Association announced that the No. 3 OV stickers (12-4) would take on top-seeded Harwood (12-1-3) at 11 a.m. on Saturday. The site of that D-II field hockey final had already been determined: the artificial turf at the University of Vermont.
Also on Thursday morning, MUHS activities director Sean Farrell confirmed the football Tigers, at 9-0 the top seed in D-II, would host No. 4 Fair Haven (6-3) at 7 p.m. on Friday at Doc Collins Field.
There had been talk earlier in the week that bad weather might force MUHS to host the game at Middlebury College’s artificial turf stadium on Saturday afternoon, but Farrell said volunteers spread tarps over most of the Tigers’ home field before rain hit on Thursday morning. The tarps will stay in place as long as possible before game time on Friday, he said.
Farrell also issued a heads-up: Friday’s game is a VPA-sanctioned event. Adults must pay $7 to attend, and students will be charged $4.
Tiger girls’ soccer run ends in semi
By JOSH KAUFMAN, ST. ALBANS MESSENGER, & ANDY KIRKALDY
MILTON — The Middlebury Union High School girls’ soccer team couldn’t pull off a third straight playoff upset, finally bowing out of the Division II playoffs on Wednesday with a 4-0 semifinal loss to two-time defending state champion Milton.
The second-ranked host Yellowjackets took a 1-0 lead in the first half on a goal by Gina Abbiati on a free kick, but the No. 10 Tigers kept it a 1-0 game with strong defensive play and some crucial saves by goalkeeper Sydney Reigle.
Middlebury was never able to get through Milton’s experienced midfield and defensive backfield to create chances, forcing goalie Hillary Turner to make just one routine save in the match. But through the middle of the second half, Milton wasn’t able to pull away and it remained a one-goal game before the Yellowjackets found their scoring touch three times in a 12-minute span to put the win away.
Sam Rock set up consecutive goals for Milton, heading a corner kick back across the goalmouth for a Jenna Morrisey score with 18:15 left, and leading Danielle Hurley on a breakaway down the middle of the field 1:07 later to make it 3-0. Hurley finished the scoring for the day with her second goal, assisted by Erin Turner with 6:57 remaining.
Reigle handled the Yellowjackets’ considerable pressure well, making some tough saves and several times charging out to prevent dangerous shots. She and Sarah Snider, who played the last dozen minutes in goal after Reigle left with an injury, combined for eight saves.
After a 2-9-3 regular season, Middlebury opened the playoffs with a 1-0 win over No. 6 Springfield then knocked off No. 14 Fair Haven in the quarterfinals, also 1-0. The season was the Tigers’ best since MUHS won four regular season games earlier this decade, and the playoff wins were the program’s first since the early 1990s.
Wednesday’s game was the final in the program for seven seniors: defenders Rosalie Wright-Lapin and Megan Myers; defender/midfielder Kiera Hoefle; midfielders Liz Kelley, Jane McCabe and Snider; and striker Nicole Brown.
Hartford ousts MUHS field hockey
HARTFORD — Defending champion Hartford scored four straight second-half goals on Tuesday, and the host No. 2 Hurricanes dealt the No. 6 Middlebury Union High School field hockey team a 5-2 setback in a Division I semifinal.
The 15-0 Hurricanes advanced to a Saturday final against No. 1 South Burlington (16-0), while the Tigers finished a successful season at 8-6-3.
MUHS managed a winning record and two playoff victories, one a 3-2 upset of No. 3 Essex, despite graduating a half-dozen starters, including three players who started for Vermont in this past summer’s Twin State victory vs. New Hampshire.
Hartford took a 1-0 first-half lead on the first of junior forward Shelby Yee’s four goals. Tiger senior Katie Ritter equalized 29 seconds into the second half on an unassisted strike.
But Yee answered, once about a minute later, again nine minutes later, and finally with 16:18 left. Ashley Brown made it 5-1 before Ritter netted her own rebound in the late going to create the final score.
Tiger goalie Anjelica Swinhart was credited with nine stops, and senior Hannah Thorpe made a defensive save. Hartford goalie Emma Seaver stopped three shots.
The game marked the final game in an MUHS field hockey uniform for eight seniors: Ritter and Sara Higgins, both forwards; midfielder Tiffany Audet; defenders Paige Cummings, Nina Edson Katrina James and Thorpe; and Swinhart.
Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at email@example.com.