Sports

Commodore girls’ soccer falls in D-III final

COMMODORE ALI CROKE, right, and Thetford’s Grace Davis race after the ball during Saturday’s Division III final at Hartford. Thetford prevailed, 6-1, over the Commodores for its second straight D-III crown. VUHS finished 11-5-1 and made its second straight title-game appearance. Photo by Holly Weber

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — For the second straight season top-seeded Thetford Academy defeated the No. 2 Vergennes Union High School girls’ soccer team in a Division III final, this time on Saturday, 6-1, at Hartford Union High School.
Thetford, a 20-minute bus ride from the site, scored three times in the first 25 minutes of the 10 a.m. game against the Commodores, who awoke early for a two-hour journey.
Co-Coach Peter Maneen said the Commodores bounced back to gain the upper hand for the next 30 minutes. Fifteen minutes into the second half VUHS striker Sydney Weber stole the ball from a Thetford back after Emily Rooney sent it into the box, and Weber drilled a shot into the upper right corner to make it 3-1.
Maneen said shortly afterward the goal the game was halted after a collision between VUHS goalie Kate Gosliga and a Thetford forward, after which the Thetford player left the game. Not long after the delay, Thetford made it 4-1, a goal that Maneen “took the wind out of our sails.”
Gosliga made 12 saves for the 11-5-1 Commodores, while Emma Berard stopped six shots for 15-2-1 Thetford.
Maneen called Rooney, a senior playing her fifth varsity season after being called up as an eighth grader, “the best player on the field for either team,” and said Gosliga “played really well.”
He also said Thetford earned its title.
“They played well. I’ve got to give them credit,” Maneen said.
The Commodores reached the final by edging visiting No. 3 Leland & Gray on Wednesday, 2-1. The Commodores controlled the first half and got goals from Rooney and senior forward Maya Praamsma (her career first) to take a 2-0 lead.
The Commodores went up in the seventh minute. Ali Croke and Hannah Kelly pressed on the right flank and the ball popped to Rooney, who raced into the box and drilled the ball into the lower right corner past L&G keeper Sydney Hescock (four saves).
Praamsma made it 2-0 in the 31st minute. Croke, from the left side, found her near the box, and Praamsma’s left-footed shot looped high over Hescock.
VUHS pressed early in the second half, but on a Rooney direct kick Hescock came out to deny Felicia Poirier and Ryley Olson and snuff the best threat.
Then Leland & Gray (14-3) came on strong. Gosliga (seven saves) twice ranged out to stop breakaways by Rebel striker Ellie Longo, once by pouncing on the ball and once by blocking Longo’s right-footed shot.
Maneen said Gosliga deserved the game ball, but credited all the Commodores, especially backs Ema Gernander, Elsa Makelainen, Sophie Hatch, Lauren Curtis and Ella Hameline.
L&G scored with 4:59 to go, when Izzy Ameden one-timed home Arin Bates’ serve from the right end line. But VUHS shut the Rebels down the rest of the way.
After Saturday’s game Maneen noted three of the Commodores’ five losses came to state champions: one to Thetford and two to D-II winner Rice. The other two were to D-II No. 2 seed Mount Abraham, and they played a tough schedule.
“We hang right in there, and our girls are always competing,” he said.

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