VUHS boys’ soccer stumbles in D-III playoffs

VERGENNES — Playoff misfortune continued to haunt the Vergennes Union High School boys’ soccer program on Wednesday, Nov. 2, when visiting No. 5 seed Woodstock scored twice in the final five minutes to upset the No. 1 Commodores, 3-2, in a Division III semifinal.

It was certainly another successful season for Coach Kevin Hayes’s Commodores, who finished at 12-2-2 and finished in second place in the Lake Division behind D-II No. 2 seed Middlebury. Their only previous loss this fall came in overtime at MUHS.

But the semifinal setback was the fourth in the past six tournaments for the program, and in the other two years they lost to finalists in quarterfinal rounds. In four of the previous five D-II tournaments the team that has ousted the Commodores has gone on to claim the D-III crown. Woodstock (13-5) advanced to Saturday’s final against No. 3 Peoples, an overtime winner on Nov. 2 over No. 2 Stowe.

In this past Wednesday’s semifinal at VUHS, all five goals came in the final 26 minutes. Ben McKenna gave the Wasps the lead in the 54th minute, but Shamus Rooney equalized a minute later with an assist from leading scorer Elijah Duprey. Then in the 68th minute the Commodores took the lead on Ryder Messinger’s unassisted strike.

With five minutes to go Woodstock’s Ezra Lockhart tied the game from the penalty stripe, and Declan McCullough netted the game-winner two minutes after that.

VUHS outshot Woodstock, with Wasp goalie Ethan Zayas stopping seven shots, and Commodore keeper Abram Francis making four saves.


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