BRATTLEBORO -- On the same day that the Red Sox will be showing off their beards and trophy during a duck boat parade in Boston, a couple of area teams hope to be celebrating as well.
On Saturday, top-seeded Twin Valley (16-0-0) will face No. 2 Proctor (11-2-4) in the Division 4 boys soccer finals at Whitcomb High School at 1 p.m., and No. 1 Bellows Falls (14-1-1) will take on second-seeded Stowe (13-3-0) in the Division 3 field hockey championship at UVM at 2 p.m.
Between them, the Wildcats and Terriers have allowed just four goals thus far. Keeper Sam Molner has 15 shutouts and a .07 Goals Against Average for the booters from Wilmington, while netminders Shea Wilkinson and Quinn Lawrence have combined for 14 shutouts in the BF cage.
And like the BoSox, they both play as a team.
"Our strategy is to change very little from the previous 16 matches -- why change now? We will need to defend like there is no tomorrow. We will win if the boys mark very tightly from start to finish," said Twin Valley coach Buddy Hayford. "Teams win championships, and we have a team."
Bellows Falls coach Bethany Coursen described her group in a similar fashion.
"I think what makes this team so good is that they are the true definition of a team. They work very hard, they are focused, they are all working towards a goal they set last year and they are a blast to be around," she noted. "People keep congratulating me for the team’s success, but really all I have to do is show up. They push each other harder than any team I have ever had. They are driven and have desire. You can’t teach that. You just enjoy coaching it."
For the Twin Valley boys soccer team, this is a rematch of last year’s championship matchup. Proctor won that one, 4-3, in overtime.
"They left the field after losing the final last year in OT with a very bitter taste in their mouth. They have been on a mission like no other team," stated Hayford, who feels that team chemistry, excellent leadership and an incredible desire to win are what makes his team so good.
Dal Nesbitt (23 goals, 22 assists) and Colin Lozito (19 goals, 18 assists) are the most dangerous players on the field for the Wildcats. Nick Nilsen has added a dozen goals, Troy Felisko has scored 10, and Eli Park has split the posts seven times.
And then there’s the defense, which has only given up one goal all year long.
"Great team defense from front to back," said Hayford, noting that Park and Cade Nesbitt anchor the middle of the defense, while Dylan Johnson, Jeremy Hunt and Oscar Smith give great contributions from the outside back spots. "And Molner has made the big stop when needed most."
The Bellows Falls stickers have outscored their foes by a combined 64-3 this season. Sarah Wells and Mariah Barnett lead the way with 25 and 15 goals respectively, while Cassidy Santorelli and Anna Clark have nine apiece. Kya Coursen has a team-high 15 assists.
"Our strategy for Saturday is to go up to UVM and have fun while playing in our last field hockey game of the season in front of our amazing fans," said the Terriers coach. "We have had a fantastic season and the icing on the season would be a state championship, but if not it has been so much fun."
Notes: The Twin Valley boys are 1-1 in championship games, with a loss to Proctor last year and a victory over Leland & Gray in the 2005 finale for D-3, and the Wilmington boys captured seven state titles. The Terriers are 1-2-1 in state finals, as they tied Hartford 0-0 in the 1989 title tilt and earned the crown with a 1-0 victory over Woodstock in 1991.
Shane Covey can be reached at email@example.com or by calling 802-254-2311, ext. 163.