Area high school sports season to kick off

ADDISON COUNTY — Leaves have yet to turn, and V-formations of geese have yet to soar over area towns, byways and pastures.
But sure signs of fall began to arrive two weeks ago: double sessions, wind sprints and pinnies.
And this weekend those pinnies will give way to clean uniforms, unblemished records and high hopes as the area’s high school fall sports teams take to the fields, trails and — for the first time — links this fall.
That’s right, the Vermont Principals Association moved to make golf a fall sport, although only Otter Valley among the four local schools still has a team. The Otters were scheduled to play earlier this week as the first squad to have an official competition, on Monday on the road. Sadly, results were not immediately available. The Otters are scheduled to host a competition this coming Wednesday at Neshobe Golf Course.
Friday is the big day for many other teams. First up is the Mount Abraham field hockey squad, which visits Harwood at 4 p.m. Coach Mary Stetson’s Eagles, the most successful program in the county since 2000, are also on the road next Wednesday before they host Middlebury on Saturday, Sept. 9, at 10 a.m.
Coach Stacey Edmunds-Brickell’s OV field hockey team also opens on the road on Friday, at Windsor at 4:30 p.m. The Otters return home on Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. for a date with Marble Valley League rival Mount Anthony. 
First-year Tiger Coach Chelsey Giuliani’s Tigers will visit Champlain Valley on Thursday before heading to Bristol on Sept. 9. The Tigers, who are dropping down to Division II for the first time ever this fall, host South Burlington on Sept. 13.
Two football teams also open on Friday. Coach Dennis Smith’s Middlebury squad, easily the region’s biggest draw, hosts Colchester at 7 p.m. The Tigers, who will rely on younger athletes in some positions, will visit defending D-I champion Hartford next Friday.
Coach Lee Hodsden’s Mount Abraham-Vergennes collective football team opens its D-II schedule at U-32 on Friday at 7 p.m. Windsor will visit Mount Abe the following Friday at 7 p.m. for the program’s annual night game.
OV, moved to D-II for this fall, will open by hosting Milton on Saturday at 1 p.m. The Otters lost their new head coach in the weeks leading up to the season and will be led by a cooperative effort. Local rival Fair Haven will visit Brandon on Sept. 9.
Coach Rick Hedding’s OV girls’ soccer team also opens on Friday, when the Otter will host Arlington at 4:30 p.m. Next up for the Otters will be Black River’s four-team tournament in Ludlow on Sept. 8 and 9.
Vergennes, MUHS and Mount Abe all open at 10 a.m. on Saturday — and Co-Coaches Dwight Irish and Peter Maneen’s Commodores will be visiting Coach Dustin Corrigan’s Eagles in a kickoff rivalry game. At the same time, Stowe will visit Coach Wendy Leeds’ Tigers.
The Commodores continue their county tour on Tuesday with a trip down Route 7 to square off with the Tigers at 4:30 p.m., while at the same time the Eagles host Milton.
Coach Kevin Hayes’ Commodores and Coach Reeves Livesay’s Tiger boys’ soccer teams both open on the road on Friday at 4:30 p.m. VUHS visits Lake Division rival Green Mountain Valley, while the Tigers take on Metro Conference foe Mount Mansfield.
Both teams then open at home at the same time, at 4:30 p.m. next Wednesday. The Commodores welcome Fair Haven from up Route 22A, and Colchester will head down Route 7 to meet the Tigers.          
Coach Dick Williams’ Otters open at home on Tuesday vs. Twin Valley, and then bus down Route 7 to Mill River on Thursday.
Last to see action will be Coach Mike Corey’s Mount Abe crew, which first visits GMVS on Wednesday at 4:30 p.m., and then on Saturday, Sept. 9, opens at home vs. Lake Division rival Missisquoi at 1 p.m.
The MUHS, VUHS and Mount Abe cross-country teams all officially open this Saturday at 9 a.m. with a major meet, the Essex Invitational, followed a week later by the Burlington Invitational.    
The only home meet set for any of the three teams comes on Sept. 26 at Mount Abraham.
The OV cross-country team opens on Tuesday at Rutland at 4:30 p.m. The Otters’ next meet is their only home race of the fall, on Sept. 12 at 4:30 p.m. 

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