Three local teams win soccer playoff games; only VUHS girls win twice

ADDISON COUNTY — In playoff action for local high school soccer teams between Wednesday and Saturday last week the Vergennes girls fared best, upsetting a high seed to reach the Division III semifinals. The Middlebury and VUHS boys also won first-round games before bowing out in D-I and D-III, respectively, while the MUHS girls and the Mount Abraham boys fell in a first-round D-I game and a D-II quarterfinal, respectively.
The Eagle girls advanced to a D-II semifinal with a dramatic home win on Saturday; see story on Page 26.
On Friday the No. 12 VUHS girls became the lowest D-III seed to make the final four by upsetting No. 4 host Rivendell, 1-0. Middie Leah Croke scored in the 16th minute for VUHS on a play started by senior striker Kaitlyn Brace to the left of the Rivendell goal. Brace threaded a ball between two defenders to Croke, who had beaten her defender into the box, and Croke touched it past the keeper.
VUHS Co-coach Peter Maneen called the game “pretty even,” but said Commodore goalie Anya Sonwaldt (nine saves) came up big a couple times, including tipping one late first-half shot over the crossbar and coming out to catch the ball in traffic twice in the second half to defuse threats. Rivendell’s Mikayla DeBois also hit the crossbar in the late going, while goalie Cora Day made eight saves for 13-2-1 Rivendell.
The 6-10 Commodores will travel to Ludlow on Wednesday at 3 p.m. to take on undefeated top seed Green Mountain Union.
On Wednesday the No. 5 Tiger boys got past No. 12 Brattleboro, 2-1, in a D-I matchup. All the goals came in the second half.
Camden Simpson gave MUHS the lead with a goal five minutes after the break, with an assist from Ben Turner. Then Colonel Alex Lier converted a 25-yard free kick to tie the game.
Five minutes later J.D. Goettelmann netted the game-winner with 12 minutes to go, with an assist from Owen Palcsik.
Tiger goalie Santiago Fernandez made one save, and Emmett Dews stopped eight shots for the 5-9-1 Colonels.
On Friday, host No. 4 Burlington, the D-I defending champion, ended the Tigers’ season with a 1-0 win. MUHS saw its 13-game unbeaten streak end and finished at 10-2-3, the program’s second-best record in two decades.
BHS (13-2) got its goal from Julian Segar-Reid in the first half, from Heritier Badibanga. Both Seahorse goalie Niels Arentzen and Fernandez finished with four saves.    
On Wednesday the Commodore boys, No. 7 in D-III, ousted No. 10 Hazen, 4-1. Bailey Smith, from John Willis, gave VUHS a 1-0 lead before Hazen equalized before the break. Ezekiel Palmer, from Ben Kayhart, gave the Commodores the lead 10 minutes into the second half, and Josias Salomao, from Kayhart, and Palmer, from Avery Husk, scored as VUHS pulled away. Goalie Jeffrey Stearns made four saves for VUHS, and Wyatt Bellavance stopped eight shots for Hazen (5-10).
On Saturday defending champion Stowe ended the Commodores’ season with a 4-0 win. Alex Pelletier led the 13-1-1 Raiders with two goals and keeper Sam Schoepke made four saves.
VUHS finished at 7-7-1, the program’s best record in recent years.
On Saturday host No. 4 U-32 blanked No. 5 Mount Abraham, 4-0, in a D-II quarterfinal. Max Sabo led the Raiders with a goal and two assists as the 11-4-1 Raiders advanced. Both the U-32 goalie and the Eagles’ Ethan DeWitt finished with eight saves. Mount Abe wrapped up at 10-6.
On Wednesday host No. 8 North Country ousted the No. 9 MUHS girls from the D-I playoffs, 2-1. NCU’s Carly Giroux scored twice in the second half, both on headers, to make it 2-0 before Tiger senior Isabel Rosenberg found the net in the late going, converting on a restart in the Falcon penalty box.
Goalie Addison Cook stopped two shots for the 8-7 Falcons. Senior Abby Gleason made 13 saves for the 7-8 Tigers, several of them “pretty spectacular” according to Coach Wendy Leeds, and goalie Carly Burger came on late to stop two shots.

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