Good Morning! With the Border Country Sports Blog, I’m Keith Harrington.
Blue Devils “Determined” Effort Comes Up Just Short
A few days ago I ran into Poultney girls soccer goalie Kenzie Ezzo in the parking lot at the elementary school. Ezzo mentioned how she thought if they advanced past Richford in the first round of the playoffs that they could defeat #2 Rivendell. After all, her team had experience playing the Raptors, falling just 1-0 to them in last year’s playoffs.
Just like a year ago Poultney battled Rivendell to the wire. And again, a penalty kick was the difference. The Blue Devils played the Raptors to a 1-1 tie and that’s the way it will be recorded in the record books. However, being a playoff game, someone must move on to the next round. Rivendell outscored Poultney 3-2 in the PK round to advance to the Vermont Division IV semifinals.
Ezzo and her defense were spectacular, holding off the Raptor’s explosive attack for nearly 117 minutes after Rivendell hit the back of the net just three minutes in. Rivendell had scored six goals in their opening round win over Long Trail. Hailey Hayes, Georgia Donaldson, Emily Hanley, Emily McFadden and Genesis Mead played solid games on the Poultney back line in front of Ezzo.
Hannah Welch and Bella Mack were also credited for their energetic play for the Blue Devils in the midfield.
The Blue Devils, who are still a young team with only two seniors, certainly have caught the attention of Rivendell coach Tim Goodwin the last two years.
“We had a great game today against a determined Poultney team,” said Rivendell coach Tim Goodwin. “Our team fought all game long and played as tough as we have played all year.”
Rivendell struck first in just the third minute of the contest. Junior Rylee Butler scored off an assist from Kylie Taylor to give the Raptors a 1-0 advantage.
One would think the early Rivendell goal might take the wind out of the sails of the Blue Devils. No way! Poultney never faltered and continued to battle until they managed to equalize. The Blue Devils didn’t get a ton of chances, but they only needed to cash in on one.
Poultney was finally able to draw even in the 65th minute. A Rivendell foul set the Blue Devils up with a direct kick to the left of the goal about 22 yards out. Katelyn DeBonis snuck her shot just between the fingertips of Raptor’s goalie Savannah Gray and the crossbar to bring the game even.
The game remained tied for the remainder of regulation and two overtime sessions forcing the PK round.
In the penalty kick session, the teams still could not be separated after four rounds. Alex McFate and Lea Matea scored for Rivendell. DeBonis and Hannah Webster answered with nearly identical shots to tie it at 2-2.
In the fifth round, after a stop by Gray, Taylor hit the back of the net on a picture perfect shot to the low left corner to hand the Raptors the dramatic win.
Ezzo finished with 14 saves for Poultney. Gray stopped five shots for Rivendell.
Rivendell moves to 11-4-1 on the season and will now meet #6 Arlington in Wednesday’s semifinals.
Poultney finishes the best season for their program in recent memory with a mark of 8-7-1. The Blue Devil’s win over Richford in the playdowns was their first playoff win since 2008. Poultney will lose two seniors, Webster and Emma Hayford, but should be primed for an even deeper playoff run next season.
Locals Runners Compete at State Cross Country Championships
The Vermont Cross Country Championships were contested Saturday on the course at Thetford High School. No local competitors were able to bring home first place finishes, but several had solid performances.
Burlington claimed the Division I girls championship, while St. Johnsbury won the boys crown. In Division II The Harwood girls and U-32 boys won titles. Thetford took top honors in the Division III girls race. Craftsbury won the boys championship.
Brady Geisler of Rutland was fourth in the Division I boys race.
Mill River's Annika Heintz crossed the line third in the Division III girls race.
Other Rutland boys in the top 50 were Owen Dube-Johnson in 19th, Karver Butler in 26th and Sam Kay in 27th.
Helen Culpo finished 22nd for the Ravens in the girls Division I race. Erin Geisler was 28th and Evengeline Taylor 50th.
Other local finishers:
Division I boys: Lane Shelton of Rutland 56th. Max McCalla of Rutland 59th. Callum Smathers of Rutland 79th.
Division II girls: Ava Shull of Fair Haven 30th
Division II boys-Caleb Barrows 70th.
Division III girls-Olivia Haley of Mill River 50th. Sara Loyzelle of Otter Valley 46th. Hennessy McPhail of Poultney 75th.
Division III boys-Luke Calvin of Otter Valley 42nd. Lucas Jensen of Mill River 67th. Zachary Davis of Poultney 89th.
High School Football Playoffs
CVU 35 Middlebury 12
Windsor 38 Poultney 7
Otter Valley 12 Mill River 6
High School Girls Soccer
Rutland 0 Mount Mansfield 0 (Rutland advances 3-1 on PKs)
Colchester 3 Burr and Burton 1
MSJ 3 Twinfield 2
New York Scoreboard
Section II Tournament
High School Girls Soccer
Waterford 6 Bolton-Warrensburg 1
High School Football
Stillwater 20 Cambridge-Salem 0
With the Border Country Sports Blog, I'm Keith Harrington.
Photo Credit-Brooke DeBonis