WILMINGTON -- With four minutes left to play in Thursday night’s girls soccer match on Baker Field, Twin Valley coach Chris Walling emptied a jug of ice water onto a patch of grass near his team’s bench.
He never had to worry about being doused with it.
Mill River used good spacing, accurate passing and a slew of skilled players to whip the host Wildcats, 9-0.
"They are one of the finest teams you’re gonna see," stated Walling. "It was a good game for the first 20 minutes and then boom, we were down, 3-0."
Rylee Nichols, Haley Hull and Ella Bankert all split the posts to give the Minutemen a 3-0 advantage at the break.
Nichols would bury three more shots in the second half. Mariz Mangandeo and Hull added a winner apiece, and the visitors also got an own goal.
Courtney Lee made three saves, including one for the highlight reel, to get the shutout.
"We’ll put this one behind us, but I won’t let them forget about it. We will use it as a learning tool," said Walling, who was excited about watching the Ravens-Broncos showdown later on.
In the early going, it looked like anybody’s game. Senior striker Jordan Niles threatened often for the hosts -- she chased down lead passes from Caitlin Hunt and Savannah Nesbitt. And on the other side, Nichols got a couple of feeds to Hull for quality chances, but freshman goalie Jessica Reilly somehow stopped those missiles.
But for the remainder of the first half, it was all Mill River. Well, except for a couple of blasts from Nesbitt that Lee denied and two nice defensive plays by Hannah Swanson, who picked Hull’s pocket and later disrupted a corner.
Nichols got the Minutemen on the board 15 minutes in via a rebound opportunity. Hull made it 2-0 when she was left open in front and Bankert put away a header on a set play before the break.
Twin Valley went on the attack early in the second half. Nesbitt ripped one from the left corner and Niles had three chances -- she was set up by Jessica Fox and Karlee Walkowiak, and also got behind the defense on her own.
Lee didn’t see much action after that, aside from one laser from Nesbitt down the stretch that the Mill River keeper caught.
With the visitors controlling play, using good spacing and short passes, Nichols would score three times over the last 30 minutes of play.
"We were ball watching," noted Walling, whose team dropped to 1-1. The Minutemen improved to 3-0.
Twin Valley will host Bellows Falls on Tuesday, in a matchup that always brings back memories of the infamous Santa Claus game.
Twin Valley roster: Coaches -- Chris Walling, Suzanne Mears. Manager -- Christina Moore. Players -- Jessica Reilly, Maya Holschuh, Cassie Braton, Savannah Nesbitt, Natalie Herrick, Sam Morse, Sammy Cunningham, Caitlin Hunt, Christi Strysko, Kirsten Halbur, Jessica Fox, Jordan Niles, Karlee Walkowiak, Hailey Howe, Henriette Aas, Hannah Swanson, Kaylea Niles.
Shane Covey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 802-254-2311, ext. 163.