3 area teams reach final
BRATTLEBORO — During the fall sports season, the moon and the Bellows Falls varsity field hockey team were both super.
While the sphere in the sky only had people glued to it on the night of Sept. 27, the Terriers were drawing a crowd from Labor Day to Halloween. Their magical run included a 12-2-2 regular season, the top seed in the Division 3 state tournament and the program's first championship since 1991.
"These girls worked very hard all season, played a hard schedule and never let down. They learned from each game. They pushed each other harder in each practice. They found a hunger that can't be taught," said Bellows Falls coach Bethany Coursen.
The Terriers outscored their opposition by a combined 30-5 on the season, with Molly Kelly and Leia Robinson leading the way with seven goals apiece. The back line of Paxton Santorelli, Emily Stoddard and Murphy Hicks teamed up with netminders Brigid Hodsden and Emma Lober for 14 shutouts.
Two other area teams settled for the silver medal after running into a juggernaut in the title game.
The Bellows Falls varsity football team, which was powered by physical running backs Jacob Lober and Jahyde Bullard, suffered just two losses all season. "The Purple Gang" lost to Burr and Burton 19-14 during the regular season and then again 28-7 in the D-2 finale.
The two-time defending champion Twin Valley boys soccer team rode shooting stars Justin Hicks and Nick Nilsen to an impressive 15-2-1 record on the pitch. But the team's nine-game postseason winning streak would come to an end with a 4-0 loss to Stowe in the D-3 championship.
"Stowe is the best team we've seen this season. That's a quality program," said Wildcats coach Buddy Hayford. "They are big, fast and strong. We ran into a machine. They are very deserving."
As for Brattleboro Union High School, first-year head coach Chad Pacheco guided the varsity football team to a 4-4 record and the program's first playoff appearance in 10 years. And then things got crazy — a blocked field goal by visiting CVU as time expired, an apparent game-winning scoop and score by Kolton Ravenna, and an inadvertant whistle that cost the Colonels a trip to the Division 1 semifinals.
The only question is, was that the most memorable game in southern Vermont during the fall or was it that showdown on Hayford Field in Wilmington on Sept. 17? You know, when Leland & Gray's Bryce Karg tallied twice to snap Twin Valley's 39-game winning streak and run of 28 in a row at home.
Hinsdale High did its damage on the trails, with the school's boys and girls cross-country teams each placing fourth in the Granite State Conference Championships in Portsmouth, N.H. Danny O'melia wound up seventh overall in 18:49 to lead the Pacers.
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