Op/Ed

Letter to the editor: Mount Abe girls’ soccer deserved more coverage

I am really sorry to be writing this. This is not something that I typically do, but I am disappointed, and I will continue to be until I get this off my chest. I know that what I am going to address was an oversight, and that there was no intentional slight, but it still stings, so I thought I should address it. I love that our community has the Addison Independent, and I have the utmost respect for what you all accomplish on a weekly basis. I know mistakes happen, and I know that not everything can be covered. I am just looking for a call out to a fall sports team who accomplished so much, and received so little press recognition.

This fall sports season, there were five Addison County high school sports teams who reached the state semifinals in their respective divisions. They were the Middlebury boys’ soccer team, the Vergennes boys’ soccer team, the Middlebury football team, the Mt. Abe/Vergennes football team, and the Mt. Abe girls’ soccer team. All of those teams, but one, received amazing feature articles and thorough coverage in the Addison Independent about their great successes in the playoffs. Unfortunately, the team that didn’t, received virtually no coverage at all. Not even a half a paragraph about their quarterfinal victory or semifinal battle.

On Tuesday, Oct. 25, the 11 seed Mt. Abraham Union girls’ soccer team beat Number 6 Missisquoi in the play down round of the playoffs. It was an exciting game that ended 2-1 in the first overtime. Despite the fact that the game was so close, and the fact that Missisquoi was a higher seed, it was not really a huge surprise that the Mt. Abe girls took home the win. They were coming off of the most difficult regular season that any Vermont Division II girls’ team had played. They had faced four Division I opponents and the two teams who were ultimately Division II finalists, twice each. Their record showed it, and that was the main reason they were Number 11 going into the playoffs. In the Oct. 27 issue of the Addy Indy, the Mt. Abe girls were mentioned in the regular girls’ soccer wrap up on the sports page, along with the other Addison County girls’ high school teams, all of whom had been eliminated in the first round of the playoffs. On to the quarterfinals against Number 3 Harwood, with no real fanfare, and that was fine. They hadn’t really accomplished anything yet.

On Friday, Oct. 28, the Lady Eagles of Mt. Abraham travelled to Moretown to take on the Number 3 Harwood Union Highlanders. This turned out to be the most amazing game of the season, once again going into overtime with the game tied 1-1. Within minutes of the first overtime beginning, the Eagles scored the winning goal, securing their spot, for the second year in a row, in the Division II semifinals.

The Eagles moved onto the semifinals against Milton on Tuesday, Nov. 1, at Milton. It was another nail-biter with the Mt. Abe girls, unfortunately, being eliminated in the semifinals for the second year in a row. On Thursday, Nov. 3, I excitedly entered Bristol Beverage, strode to the news rack, picked up the paper, and opened it to the sports section. What I had expected to find was an article about the Mt. Abe girls’ soccer team’s amazing victory against Harwood in the quarterfinals, and their epic 2-1 battle against Milton in the semifinals, and instead, I found almost nothing. No feature article… OK, fine. No paragraph in the lower right hand corner of the last page. What I found was the scores of those quarterfinal and semifinal games listed in the scores section of the left hand margin. That was it.

My heart sank. Then, I rationalized it. The Friday quarterfinal game against Harwood was right after last week’s edition came out, and it had been forgotten. Tuesday’s semifinal game was only two days before this edition, and they didn’t have time to get something together. That’s it. I will wait until next week. Surely there will be something about the Mt. Abe girls’ varsity soccer team in next week’s edition. Today, I once again strode into Bristol Beverage, grabbed the paper, and walked over to the chest cooler where I always stand to peruse the contents. I opened it to the sports page and started looking. Once again, there was nothing. That was the moment that I knew I had to contact you.

Two things here: 1. This is not, in any way, a commentary on some inequity of reporting between boys’ and girls’ sports. Just because the other semifinal teams that I mentioned all happened to be boys’ teams, it in no way implies that the Addy Indy has any bias. I know it doesn’t. I have seen otherwise over many years. 

2. Once again, I am not criticizing here. I am merely pointing out something that I feel may have been overlooked that should not have been. This team had a great story again this year, and it would have been well received in this paper. Even if they didn’t get equal billing with these other four teams, I wish they could have at least had a paragraph somewhere about how they won the quarterfinals and played a great game in the semifinals. Just printing the scores of those two games in the left hand column in the sports scores section does this team a great injustice. They achieved everything that Vergennes and Middlebury boys’ soccer, and MAV Football did, and there was nothing about it. I am hoping that the Addy Indy might make that up to them with a little shout out. Thank you.

Andy Toy

Starksboro

Editor’s note: Andy Toy was right to be upset and quite gracious in expressing his disappointment. The Eagles’ victories over Missisquoi and Harwood, and the overtime loss to Milton, were exciting and but for the fact that they occurred out of town in the middle of a busy playoff season they would have got more coverage. But then the human element entered. We wrote a shortish story wrapping up the Harwood and Milton games for the Nov. 3 edition, edited it, proofed it, then we simply forgot to get it onto the sports pages. Doh! We apologize to Eagle girls’ soccer and all their supporters for this mistake, and we printed the story in this week’s Sports Section to wrap up the season. 

We welcome comment on the coverage in this newspaper. We think Mr. Toy set a good example of the gentle way criticism can be levied.

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