Sports

Tiger girls’ lax is now 2-0

SOPHOMORE KENYON CONNORS carries the ball up the field on Monday during a victory by the MUHS girls’ lacrosse team over Rice. Connors scored four of the Tigers’ 14 goals. Independent photo/Steve James

MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury Union High School girls’ lacrosse team took charge in the first quarter against visiting Rice on Monday and cruised to a 14-4 victory. 

Thanks to a series of weather-related postponements, the Tigers have yet to face any of the tougher Division I competition on their schedule, including one set for this Wednesday vs. South Burlington. But Monday’s victory pushed their record to 2-0 — and that’s already halfway to their win total from 2023. 

On Monday, Rice goalie Lauren Wagner made three saves during the first few minutes, but the Tigers erupted for four goals between 5:42 and 3:49 of the first period to open the scoring and take over the game. 

The first goal was also the first of sophomore attacker Kenyon Connors’s four goals, and it was set up by the first of freshman attacker Alice Livesay’s three assists. Livesay scooped a groundball behind the net and then fed the ball across the crease to Connors near the right post for the finish. 

JUNIOR MIDDIE ADA Weaber races down the field in transition during the Tiger girls’ lacrosse team’s win over Rice on Monday.
Independent photo/Steve James

Sophomore midfielder Quinn Doria made it 2-0 a minute later after the Tigers won another draw — they claimed 12 of 19 overall. Doria bolted left-to-right through the fan and whipped the ball into the lower right corner. Next, freshman attacker Isabel Quinn took a similar path through the defense, but picked the lower left corner, and it was 3-0. 

Junior midfielder Ada Weaber, a major factor in winning the draws, then made it 4-0 by taking a feed from Connors from the top of the fan and beating Wagner from close range. 

First-year Coach Jeff Weaber was pleased to see that balanced offense, which continued during the game with eight Tigers scoring goals, and was also a hallmark of the team’s opening 8-1 victory over Stowe. 

“We have a lot of girls contributing throughout the whole lineup, which is great,” Weaber said. “A lot of times in lacrosse you see one or two players put all the goals in. And we’re getting shots from between 11 and 14 girls a game.”

The Tigers made it 5-0 early in the second period. Connors lofted a transition pass over a defender to Livesay on the left side, and she bolted into the fan and finished high into the net in the second minute. 

FRESHMAN GOALIE IDA Blackwell denies Green Knight Sophie Roberts for one of her 11 saves during the Tiger girls’ lacrosse team’s win over Rice on Monday.
Independent photo/Steve James

Wagner then denied junior middie — and former two-year starting Tiger goalie — Ava Schneider twice in the next couple minutes. But Schneider persisted, bolting past the defense and hitting the right side of the net at 8:48 to make it 6-0. 

Then Connors struck twice in less than a minute, burying a Sara Kent feed from the doorstep and next netting a Schneider assist at 6:43, and the rout was on. 

Rice finally dented the Tiger defense and freshman goalie Ida Blackwell with 5:08 left in the half: Eden Roberts buried a nice behind-the-net feed from sister Sophie Roberts.

Less than a minute later, junior Pelagia Slater, off the left post, took a feed from Schneider and picked the far corner to make it 9-1, a lead that held at the half. 

Green Knight Bella Walsh picked up a ground ball at midfield and netted a breakaway goal 2:35 into the second half, but the Tigers scored the next three goals, giving them a 12-2 lead and triggering the 10-goal running time mercy rule. 

Those three goals came from sophomore middie Lia Calzini dodging through traffic, Ada Weaber converting a clever cross-crease pass from Livesay, and Livesay curling from behind the net at 6:30.

Green Knight Sophia Clough momentarily stopped the clock with a strong solo run at 1:58 of the third period, but Livesay’s spinning finish of a Schneider assist completed her hat trick and got the clock’s digits moving again. 

FRESHMAN ALICE LIVESAY fires home one of her three goals against Rice on Monday during the Tiger girls’ lacrosse team’s 14-4 victory.
Independent photo/Steve James

In the fourth quarter, Livesay set up Connors’s fourth goal, and Eden Roberts tossed in her second goal for Rice. 

Both goalies, Blackwell and Wagner, played well, each finishing with 11 saves. The Tiger defense of senior Lily Finn and juniors Lila Cook Yoder and Georgie Kiel played a solid game, especially considering that Coach Weaber said the team is experimenting with zone and man-to-man looks.

“The defense is doing well. We challenged them this year, teaching them two or three different types of defense, and they’ve really risen to the occasion. We were switching around a bit today, kind of spreading our wings a little bit and seeing what we could do,” Weaber said. 

Weaber added that an overall focus for the team will be the basics. During the game on Monday, some of the team’s play was uneven, probably due as much to its limited outdoor practice time this spring as its youth.

“There are always fundamentals that have to be worked on,” Weaber said. “It’s been a tough year with all the rain and getting the girls together.”

The lack of full field practice time has slowed down the process of sorting out roles, he said. 

SOPHOMORE MIDDIE LIA Calzini whips in a goal during the Tiger girls’ lacrosse team’s win over Rice on Monday.
Independent photo/Steve James

“Right now it’s just trying to get everybody to step into what they’re strong point is,” Weaber said.

There’s consensus among the Tigers and their coaches on hopes for the spring, he said.   

“We’ve set a goal to really improve our record over the last couple years, and they’re pretty focused on that,” Weaber said. “And we’re trying to build a team that values a team over the individual.”

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