Girls’ soccer semis: VUHS reaches final, Eagles edged

ADDISON COUNTY — The Vergennes Union High School girls’ soccer team continued its march through the Division III playoffs on Wednesday, but the Mount Abraham girls came up short in their D-II road semifinal.
The No. 6 Commodores pulled off their second straight upset of a higher seed, rallying to knock off host No. 2 Oxbow, 2-1, in a double-overtime D-III semifinal in Bradford.
The 9-5-2 Commodores will face No. 1 Thetford (14-1-1) for the D-III title at 10 a.m. on Saturday. Randolph High School will host that contest. Thetford, the defending champion, edged No. 4 Peoples, 1-0, in Wednesday’s other D-III semi.
The Commodores will be seeking the program’s first title since they won or tied for three Division II championships between 2001 and 2006. In 2006 VUHS edged Montpelier, 2-1, for the crown.
In their Wednesday semifinal Emily Rooney scored three minutes into the second extra session to give the Commodores the victory. Maria Malaney assisted the game-winner.
Oxbow (14-2) took the lead on an Avery Barton goal in the third minute/ That score held until 11 minutes were left in regulation, when Ciara McClay bent home a corner kick to tie the game and force overtime.
VUHS goalie Kate Gosliga was credited with four saves, and Oxbow’s Mason Tomlinson stopped six shots. The win was the second straight for the Commodores over teams that finished the regular season with one loss. In the quarterfinal round they defeated No. 3 Green Mountain Union, previously 14-1.
In Wednesday’s D-II semifinal host No. 2 Rice hung on to edge No. 6 Mount Abe, 2-1. The setback ended a seven-game unbeaten streak for the Eagles, who played their best soccer down the stretch and upset No. 3 Harwood in a snowy semifinal.
The 9-6-2 Eagles and Rice (12-2-3) had battled to a pair of 1-1 ties in the regular season. Ultimately, after 280 minutes of soccer all that separated the two teams was one goal.
The Eagles carried play in the first half, but did not find the net as the first 40 minutes were scoreless.  
Just 1:25 into the second half Abby McKeown drilled a free kick from just outside the Eagle box into the upper right corner to give Rice the lead. Nine minutes later Rice leading scorer Alex Dostie one-timed a cross from the right side into the lower left corner to make it 2-0.
Eagle junior midfielder Mae Peterson buried a free kick with 10 minutes to go to cut the lead, but despite late pressure Rice held on against a Mount Abe team that graduated almost a dozen seniors.
Shots on goal were even, as Rice goalie Maddie Houston made 10 saves, and Justice Green stopped nine shots for the Eagles.

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