Wildcats, Eagles to play for title Saturday

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BRATTLEBORO — Talk about a tough act to follow.

Just 38 days after they faced off in the thrilling John Werner Tournament final, which was decided by penalty kicks, the Twin Valley and Arlington boys soccer teams will go toe-to-toe with another trophy at stake.

The top-seeded Wildcats (13-2-1) and third-ranked Eagles (13-3-1) will play for the Division 4 state championship on Saturday at 10 a.m. at Bellows Falls Union High School.

"We need to score early and often to ease the pressure that comes from a championship match," stated Twin Valley's Buddy Hayford, who is the winningest soccer coach ever in Vermont with a 438-144-25 record.

Owen Grinold has a team-high 16 goals this season for the Wildcats. Colin McHale (14 goals and 8 assists), Lucas Messing (10 goals and 9 assists) and Jack McHale (9 goals and 4 assists) are also extremely dangerous.

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"We need to possess the ball and get as many balls as possible into the box to maximize scoring chances. And we must finish our chances," noted Hayford. "Defensively, we need to keep our team shape, go to the ball hard and not be too fancy in the back. If we can apply our usual dose of relentless pressure, we will have a good day."

Keeper Jack Kehoe has stopped 67 shots during his senior year and has posted five shutouts. Central backs Izaak Park and Eric Bolognani have anchored the team's stout defense.

"Extra attention must be paid to Alberto Lopez, a Spanish exchange student who is dangerous if given time and space in the middle. Lewis Whalen and brother Dominic are scoring threats and also must be accounted for," said Hayford.

This will be the third meeting between the schools this fall. Twin Valley beat Arlington on penalty kicks for the John Werner Tournament crown on Sept. 26 and then topped the Eagles 2-1 on Oct. 8.

Twin Valley roster: Coach — Buddy Hayford. Players — Lucas Messing, Eric Bolognani, Casey Sibilia, Owen Grinold, Jack Kehoe, Jack McHale, Izaak Park, Colin McHale, Finn Fisher, Aaron Soskin, Aidin Joyce, Ayden Loos, Daniel Phillips, Matt Hammond, Liam Wendel, Pat Cameron, Cooper Adams, Sebastian Arbogast.


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