Eagle field hockey played Wednesday for shot at title

MIDDLEBURY — While the top-seeded Mount Abraham boys’ soccer and No. 15 Middlebury girls’ soccer teams played for their berths in Division II finals on Tuesday (see stories in this section), the No. 3 Mount Abraham Union High School field hockey team had to wait until Wednesday for its chance to reach a D-II title game.
The 7-3-3 Eagles were set to play defending champion Harwood (11-5) at 4 p.m. on Wednesday. That semifinal contest was scheduled for Middlebury College’s turf field after the deadline for this edition of the Independent. A wrap-up of that game will appear in an On the Ball blog at addisonindependent.com on Thursday.
The Eagles and Highlanders, who upset No. 2 Otter Valley, 1-0, on Saturday did not face one another this fall. They did have one common foe, however: Spaulding.
The Eagles defeated Spaulding in the Division II quarterfinal round, 5-0. Harwood split two games with Spaulding, winning at home, 3-0, and losing on the road, 2-1.
Wednesday’s winner will get top-seeded Rice (14-0-2), which defeated U-32 in a Tuesday quarterfinal. The final will be played at the University of Vermont on Saturday, with the time to be announced.
Rice and the Eagles did not meet this fall, but have five common opponents: Essex, Burlington, Middlebury, Colchester and Spaulding, with results that suggest a close final if the Eagles advance.
Rice tied Essex, 2-2, in the season opener for both teams. Essex defeated Mount Abe, 2-0 and 2-1. But the Eagles were the last team to score on D-I’s top-seeded Hornets, who had allowed one goal in 12 games heading into their Tuesday semifinal.
Rice won at Burlington, 2-1, in the second game of its season. Burlington tied the host Eagles, 1-1.
MUHS tied Rice, 1-1. The Eagles defeated the Tigers twice, 4-3 and 5-1.
Rice topped Colchester, 6-0, at home. The Eagles defeated the Lakers, 10-0, at home.
Rice knocked off Spaulding, 4-1, at home, not quite as decisively as did the Eagles this past Friday. 

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