Girls’ soccer: Tigers’ upset run ends in semi

Courtesy St. Albans Messenger
MILTON — The No. 3 Milton High School girls’ soccer team ended Middlebury’s surprising playoff run in the semifinals Tuesday by scoring three goals in the first 20 minutes in a 4-2 win.
Milton (13-3-1) will play for the Division II title Saturday in Randolph against No. 1 seed Mill River (16-1), a 3-2 victor Tuesday over No. 4 Harwood.
MUHS (4-13) had taken a tough route to the semifinal after drawing the 15th seed in the 16-team Division II field. The Tigers had dropped 12 straight matches after winning their first two of the season, and had been shut out in nine consecutive games to finish their schedule.
But the Tiger offense came alive in the playoffs, with six goals in three games, two more than in their 14 regular season contests, and the defense allowed just two goals in the first two rounds.
However, it took Milton less than six minutes to open the scoring on Tuesday, with Dallas Brodhead striking from 16 yards out with an assist from Caitlyn Dabagian at 5:36.
Exactly eight minutes later Dabagian doubled the lead when she bodied in a bouncing ball off a corner kick. With 20:21 left in the half Brooke Phillips made it 3-0 on a tap-in of Erin Turner’s end line chip over Middlebury freshman keeper Riley Fenster.
Middlebury surged late in the half and cut the deficit to 3-1 with 5:34 remaining on a Katie Holmes penalty kick — the Tigers’ first shot on goal — after Hannah Lawrence was knocked down in the box.
Yellowjacket goalie Kayleigh Reid had to scramble to keep the lead at two with a minute left, coming out to stop a breakaway.
Milton regained control of play at the start of the second half. Phillips forced an aggressive play by Fenster with an early rush past the defense before Hailey Flynn scored 7:36 in for a 4-1 lead.
The Tigers also finished the second half strongly. Sara Boe scored the final goal with 9:36 left in the game, shortly after her first burst up the middle was stopped by Milton sweeper Addi Wennar. Fenster, who made several outstanding saves and helped force other shots to miss the target in the first 20 minutes, ended her day with 13 saves.
Boe finished with three goals and an assist in three playoff games, and Holmes converted two penalty kicks in the Tigers’ second run to the D-II semifinals in four years after starting with a low seed. Milton also ended that tournament surge.
This year, the Tigers stunned No. 2 seed Lake Region when they met in the first round at Orleans, 2-0, and got past No. 7 Montpelier in the quarterfinals, 2-1. 

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