Tournament games held on Wednesday, on tap for weekend

ADDISON COUNTY — Although the high school sports playoff season is in full swing, only one postseason game was scheduled before the Wednesday morning deadline for this edition of the Independent: The Mount Abraham boys’ soccer team, the top seed in Division II, hosted No. 16 Bellows Falls on Tuesday afternoon — see story on Page 1B.
Another half-dozen girls’ soccer, field hockey and boys’ soccer games were scheduled on Wednesday afternoon, and at least brief reports on those games may be found on Thursday at addisonindependent.com in an “On the ball” blog posting.
Those Wednesday games included:
•  The No. 5 Mount Abe girls’ soccer team (8-4-1) hosted No. 12 Woodstock (5-9) in a D-II matchup. The Eagles carried an undefeated record in D-II into that contest. If they advanced, the Eagles will meet the winner of another Wednesday game between No. 4 Harwood (10-3-1) and No. 13 Lamoille (4-10) on Saturday at 2 p.m. If Lamoille pulls off the upset, that contest would be in Bristol.
The Eagles did not play either team this fall. The D-II semifinals will be played on Tuesday at 3 p.m., and Randolph will host the final on Saturday, Nov. 2, at a time to be announced. Mill River (13-1), Lake Region (12-2) and Milton (10-3-1) are the Nos. 1, 2 and 3 seeds, respectively.
•  The No. 9 Vergennes girls’ soccer team (6-7) was set to travel to meet No. 8 Springfield (6-7-1). The Commodores, who had expected to earn a home game, had not faced the Cosmos this fall.
The winner of that game earned a date with the winner of another Wednesday game involving a local team: No. 16 Otter Valley (1-13) visited No. 1 Mill River. MRU defeated OV twice this fall, 8-1 and 1-0. VUHS and OV did not meet, but MRU defeated the Commodores, 4-1, in the season opener for both squads.
•  The No. 8 Middlebury field hockey team (3-7-3) hosted No. 9 Mount Mansfield (4-7-1) in D-I. The Tigers were looking to avenge a 6-1 loss at MMU in which they were playing without two injured starters. The winner of that game will travel to top-seeded Essex (10-1-3) on Saturday at 3 p.m. MUHS fell at Essex, 6-0, this fall, but again while not at full strength. The D-I semifinals will be played at South Burlington on Tuesday, and the final at the University of Vermont on Nov. 2.
•  The No. 10 VUHS boys’ soccer team (4-8-2) visited No. 7 U-32 (6-6-1) in another matchup of teams that did not face one another during the regular season. Whoever prevailed in that game will face the winner of another Wednesday game, between No. 2 Montpelier (9-3-2) and No. 15 Fair Haven (4-9-1). The Commodores have not met either of those teams this fall, either.
The D-II quarterfinals are set for Tuesday, and Randolph is also hosting the boys’ D-II final. Green Mountain Valley is the No. 3 seed behind the Eagles and Solons.
•  The No. 13 Otter Valley boys’ soccer team (5-9) visited No. 4 Rice (8-5-1) in another D-II game. Those teams had not met this fall. The winner of that contest will meet either No. 5 Harwood (8-6) or No. 12 Lamoille (4-9) on Saturday at 2 p.m. Those would also be unfamiliar foes for the Otters.
Another five area teams will open their postseason quests this weekend.
First up will be the Mount Abe field hockey team, the No. 3 seed in D-II at 7-3-3. The Eagles will host No. 6 Spaulding (9-5) on Friday at 3:45 p.m. in a quarterfinal game. The Tide and the Eagles have not met this spring.
Who the Eagles would meet next depends on the result involving another local team, No. 2 Otter Valley. The 11-3 Otters are set to host their quarterfinal at 3 p.m. on Saturday against the winner of a Wednesday game between No. 7 Harwood (9-5) and No. 10 Woodstock (1-12-1). The Otters have not faced the Highlanders this spring, but have twice defeated the Wasps in tight games, 1-0 and 2-1 in overtime.
The winners of those games — Mount Abe and OV if the higher seeds prevail — will meet in a semifinal scheduled to be played on Middlebury College’s turf field on Wednesday at 7 p.m. UVM will host the final on Nov. 2 at a time to be announced. Rice (12-0-2) is the top seed in D-II.
Of course, the top-seeded MUHS football team (8-0) opens its second season on Friday at 7 p.m., when the Tigers will host No. 8 St. Johnsbury (3-5). MUHS and the Hilltoppers, who were thumped by D-II Lyndon in their regular season finale, have not met this fall.
Next up for the Tigers on Nov. 1 would be the winner of another Friday first-round game: No. 5 Essex (5-3) will travel to three-time defending champion Harwood (5-2), the No. 4 seed. The Tigers opened the fall by defeating the Hornets, 35-7, and followed that up the next week by blanking the Hurricanes, 23-0, on Sept. 6.
The championship game will be played on Nov. 9 at Rutland High School. South Burlington (7-1) is the No. 2 seed, and Champlain Valley (6-2) is seeded third.
Finally, on Saturday at 1 p.m. the area’s other two football teams will square off in a D-III quarterfinal: No. 4 Mount Abe (6-2) will host Otter Valley (5-2) in a game that will feature two 1,000-yard rushers, the Eagles’ Tommy Lee Hodsden and the Otters’ Mike Winslow.
Almost certainly awaiting the winner of that game will be undefeated top seed Woodstock, the three-time defending D-III champion, in a Nov. 1 or 2 semifinal. Neither the Eagles nor Otters met the Wasps this fall. Rutland will also host the D-III championship game on Nov. 9. 
Look for results of Wednesday’s games in today’s Scoreboard and in an update of Andy Kirkaldy’s “On the Ball” blog.

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