The Montpelier boys Ultimate team pieced together a 5-1 record and triumphed twice in thrilling fashion to earn a podium result Sunday in the B division during the two-day Pioneer Valley Invitational in Northampton, Mass.
The Solons went 3-0 in the pool play and were also sharp in the final round to place third at the “Rally in the Valley.” Montpelier entered the event seeded 24th overall and wound up moving up to the 19th spot in the regional showcase event.
“It was an incredible outcome and I’m super proud of the boys and the hard work that they put in all weekend,” MHS coach Cameron Mack said. “Forrest Holloway really came alive for us as a primary handler. He worked really well with Evan Benoit and both of those guys had constant assists and constant D’s and many points. And Fletcher Turner had a game-changing point to help us secure third place. Beorn Morrow-Caron also played really well and had the type of All-Star stuff that we’ve come to expect from him. And Jovan Strange was getting a lot of attention for all of the tournament.”
The Solons won their first two pool-play games before facing off against Maine powerhouse Forrest City. Things came down to the wire against the Portland-based squad before Montpelier held on to secure an 11-8 victory, giving the Capital City squad a berth in the championship bracket.
“Forrest City has a very tall, athletic team and we locked them up,” Mack said.
Montpelier took on in-state rival Burlington in the semifinals. The Solons faced all they could handle before wrapping up a 10-8 victory over the Seahorses.
“It was highly competitive against Burlington and much closer than our regular-season game,” Mack said.
Maine title contender Cape Elizabeth spoiled Montpelier’s perfect record in the semifinals by hanging on by a thread during the final minutes.
“It was very competitive and we played super well,” Mack said. “That was a game where we had several defensive blocks that held up in the wind and fell right into our opponent’s hand, so that really hurt us. But we brought it back. We were down two breaks and we broke them twice and came back and tied it and we managed to not score on the upwind point that we needed to force Universe point.”
Mack’s crew took on Concord in the third-place game and prevailed on Universe point to earn a 6-5 victory.
“Concord is a very good team,” Mack said. “I think that the four best teams in the division were clear — and we were one of them. It was a very light-hearted game and they had a couple players who were injured or very tired. And we explored different lines and got more playing time for some of our players who didn’t get a lot of playing time in the earlier games.”
Montpelier will host Burr & Burton at 4:30 p.m. Friday.
“Just like last year, we’re coming back feeling really good about ourselves and feeling really good about the effort we put in,” Mack said. “And we are ready to practice hard this week and prepare for Burr & Burton at the end of the week.”
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