WESTMINSTER -- Bills aren’t known for having success in big games. Just ask the NFL fans in Buffalo, who saw their team lose four consecutive Super Bowls from 1991 to 1994.
Brittany Bills, well, she’s a different story.
The sophomore midfielder tallied twice in a Division 3 girls soccer playdown game on Wednesday afternoon to give ninth-ranked Leland & Gray a 2-1 victory over No. 8 Bellows Falls.
Bills buried two shots in the first 40 minutes -- a couple of tap-ins from close range -- to give the Rebels a 2-0 lead at the break. Ashley Palmisano of Bellows Falls would score on an attack up the gut with nearly 12 minutes remaining.
"We wanted it more. We were really pumped," said Leland & Gray defender Ashley Goddard. "We won as a team."
The victory earned the Rebels the right to play at top-seeded Peoples in Saturday’s quarterfinal. The Wolves advanced with a 9-0 rout of Winooski on Wednesday.
"I remember when USA and Brazil played each other a couple years ago, and we beat them," said first-year Leland & Gray coach Lucas Bates, who hopes to pull off a similar upset at Peoples.
The refs kept their cards in their pockets during Wednesday’s prelim game, which was a rematch of a game that will be remembered for the fight that broke out.
Corina Stack and Brit Moyna had the best chances for the hosts in the first half, as each player went right up the middle and was denied by
Bills could have had a hat trick in the first 40 minutes, but she missed high on one opportunity and failed to make Mustapha pay for bobbling a stop in front of her. Jacqueline Hazard kept the ball in Bellows Falls territory to set up Bills’ first tap-in at the 34:32 mark and the sophomore super scored in similar fashion with 12:09 left before the intermission.
Lydia Pedigo made a couple of nice clears early in the second half, with Leland & Gray’s Stevie Roberts and Kate McAllister pressuring. And then Giannina Gaspero-Beckstrom made a fine feed to Addie Mahdavi, who pushed her shot just wide. And Emily Thibeault sent in a laser that Mustapha caught.
With 25 minutes left to play, the Bellows Falls field hockey players took a break from practice to cheer on the Terriers. It seemed that the "red hot" and "kick balls" chants had the home team fired up.
Darion James and Emily Perry each disrupted a crossing pass, and Palmisano would make things interesting by scoring on a give-and-go with Stack with 11:46 to go.
But the Terriers wouldn’t get a chance to pull even, thanks in part to Goddard’s strong play in the back.
"She is our sweeper/stopper. She does a phenomenal job. She is like a rock in the back," noted Bates.
The Terriers finished the season with a 7-7-1 record. They will have 14 players returning next season.
Shane Covey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 802-254-2311, ext. 163.