BARRE TOWN — The unbeaten Spaulding field hockey dominated all the statistical categories Wednesday but ran into a brick wall against Lyndon goalie Emma Newland.
The Vikings standout stopped 27 shots in every way imaginable, robbing the Crimson Tide on multiple breakaways and charging at point-blank shots with no fear.
Spaulding’s Bella Bevins was as impressed as everyone, but at a certain point she decided to take matters into her own hands. The junior forward scored the opening two goals for a 2-0 halftime advantage and set up Ruby Harrington in the fourth quarter, sealing a 3-0 victory.
“(Newland) was so aggressive and she really came the ball and it was hard for us to get around her,” Bevins said. “But when we crossed the ball, that’s when we got the goals.”
Harrington finished with two assists, while Ashley Morrison notched one assist. Spaulding improves to 4-0-1 and remains near the top of the Division II standings behind Mount Abraham and Otter Valley.
“As a team we’re really starting to come together well,” Spaulding midfielder Zoe Tewksbury said. “I think we have a pretty good chance this season. We’ve done really well so far and I’m excited to keep going and see how far we can go.”
Spaulding outshot Lyndon 30-1 and held a 15-5 advantage on penalty corners. Tide goalie Abigail Geno made her only save in the second quarter but was active in the scoring circle all game. Geno and the Spaulding defense limited their opponent to zero goals for the fourth time this year.
“Abigail has had all shutouts, except for the U-32 game,” Spaulding coach Tabitha Lord said. “She’s seen some play, but certainly not a lot of plays. But every time she has seen a play, she’s strong. And she’s definitely holding us together and keeping us sane. She’s very verbal in the back and she does a lot of talking to the team. So everyone knows what’s going on, even from a distance.”
Chelsea Bell, Lilly Tewksbury, Corrina Moulton and Addison Pinard were among the defensive standouts for the Tide. Their team’s 0.4 goals-against average is one of the best in Vermont.
“Corrina and Addison did great,” Bevins said. “They play higher, so they don’t let it get past the midfield. And when they do, they’re back there.”
Spaulding faced all it could handle against Newland and the Vikings defense, resulting in a scoreless game through the first five minutes. Morrison and Harrington teamed up to challenge the LI goalie with 9:06 left in the first quarter and Bevins lifted the rebound into the upper-left corner for a 1-0 advantage.
“As a freshman I was a lot more shy with the ball,” Bevins said. “But coming into this year I knew I was an upperclassmen, so I had to take a little bit more authority.”
The Tide wasted no time searching for an insurance goal, but Newland had other plans. She stopped Harrington and Eden White outside the left post midway through the first quarter to keep things close. The Vikings earned back-to-back penalty corners with less than five minutes left in the quarter, forcing Spaulding’s defensive unit to prove its mettle.
Bevins inserted the ball to Moulton on a corner a few minutes later, resulting in a powerful drive that Newland barely stopped. Newland stole the show again with seven minutes left in the second quarter, staying close to the goal line during a Bevins breakaway and stonewalling the Tide star at the last second.
“Lyndon’s goalie was on point and she did amazing,” Lord said.
The Vikings’ good fortune had a shelf life that expired with 6:03 remaining in the opening half. Newland denied an initial scoring attempt by Bevins, but the Tide’s offensive persistence kept the play alive. Bevins knocked a second-chance bid toward the left post and immediately found herself in a 1-on-1 skirmish with Newland for the loose ball. Bevins used her upper-body mobility to extend her stick a few inches in front of her opponent and knocked in a close-range shot toward the left corner.
“We talked about going for the corners of the net and shooting above (Newland),” Bevins said. “Because she played low to the ground and most of our shots were on the ground. Once we got it above her, that was the most we did: Ruby’s lift and my lift.”
Newland was at her best in the third quarter while Spaulding recorded nine shots on goal and earned six corners. Despite the Tide’s best efforts, Lyndon was easily within striking distance entering the final 15 minutes.
“The corners were tough for us,” Bevins said. “We need to really just get shots on net. But once we do that, it works out. Hannah King had a really good drive (at the end), but we weren’t able to get it in.”
Newland made another highlight-reel save on a Bevins shot with 12 minutes left in the final quarter. Spaulding’s sustained pressure resulted in back-to-back corners a minute later, and the second attempt finally produced another goal. Bevins moved toward the left post during a scramble and passed the ball across the goal line to Harrington, who finished with ease at the far side.
“(Harrington) is an incredible player,” Tewksbury said. “She just works for the team, so to see her get a goal was good.”
Bevins echoed her teammate’s sentiments.
“Ruby had such good carriers and her goal really showed all the effort she put in,” Bevins said.
Bevins has been involved in every goal her team has scored so far. She assisted King in a 1-0 victory over St. Johnsbury, scored twice in a 2-0 victory over Harwood and found the back of the cage three times in a 6-0 win against Milton. Bevins tucked away the opening goal in Saturday’s 2-2 tie with U-32.
“We’re a pretty young team and it’s mostly sophomores,” Bevins said. “And it really looks like they’ve played for a long time with us because we jelled pretty good together.”
Another Tide veteran, Molly Bombard, agreed that the early-season chemistry has been a big part their team’s undefeated streak.
“All the new girls have integrated really well with all the older players and I think we mesh really well as a team,” Bombard said.
Spaulding is a six-time champ that won its last title in 1998. The Tide earned their only playoff victories in the past nine years during a 14-2 campaign under Lord in 2017. Spaulding earned one-goal victories over Brattleboro and Mount Abraham before falling to Bellows Falls in the championship.
“From the start of the season I’ve said to anybody who asked me that we have a championship team,” Lord said. “We saw that in summer league where a lot of us had the opportunity to play together, and they just killed it out there. It’s always a little nerve-racking to see if they can transfer those skills from turn on to grass. And they did and they continue to do it. It’s amazing that they just keep building on what they have.”
Spaulding will travel to play Montpelier at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday. The Crimson Tide will get another crack at U-32 when they visit the Raiders on Sept. 30.
“We have a very strong team and we’re very much a fourth-quarter team,” Lord said. “When we’re out there and you think we have nothing left, we have a whole lot more left.”
Stowe 4, U-32 0
STOWE — The hosts scored twice in the opening seven minutes during Wednesday’ battle between the Raiders.
“We got out to an early lead and then slowed down a bit,” Stowe coach Shane Bufano said. “Credit to U32’s defense for battling after an early deficit and applying good pressure to our midfield.”
Ben Nissenbaum paced Stowe with one goal and two assists. Woody Reichelt, Noa Barrett and Wiley Barnett also scored, while Adrian Bryan tallied one assist. The Raiders opened the scoring after earning their first corner kick of the match in the third minute.
“We spent some time on set pieces (Tuesday) for the first time this year, so it was really nice to see us execute and score two goals on corners,” Bufano said.
Goalie Luke Farley recorded a three-save shutout. U-32’s AJ Moore turned aside seven shots.
“I wasn’t sure what we were going to have for goal scoring, but we’ve been really potent offensively early this year,” Bufano said. “It was good to see four different goal scorers, with freshmen Noa Barrett contributing big minutes to push the lead to 3-0. And Wiley Barnett sealed the game in the second half by getting his first goal of the year from the center back position.”
U-32 will host Spaulding at 10 a.m. Saturday. Stowe will host Lake Region the same day at 11 a.m. The Rangers were the No. 15 seed last season when they earned a 1-0 playdown victory over Stowe, snapping the Raiders’ streak of eight consecutive championships.
Paine Mt. 2, Spaulding 1
NORTHFIELD — Travis Robillaird scored the game-winning goal in the 77th minute to complete Wednesday’s come-from-behind victory.
The Crimson Tide defense worked overtime at the start of the match to keep Paine Mountain’s offense in check. Ryan Glassford converted a penalty kick later in the first half to give the Crimson Tide a 1-0 lead.
“A breakdown in our defense allowed Glassford to make a breakaway on goal,” Paine Mountain coach Colin Crawford-Stempel said. “Our goalkeeper Ethan Miller came out to block him, but he was forced to foul him to prevent a possible goal. Ryan put an unstoppable shot into the left corner that Ethan could not save.”
Paine Mountain trailed entering the break and was on its heels at the start of the second half. Senior center back Nick Passalacqua energized the hosts in a flash by hammering home a long-range shot in the 65th minute, knotting the score at 1.
“In the second half they came out with all the energy and pressure and we struggled to get momentum and control,” coach Crawford-Stempel said. “But we started to build pressure, and finall Nick unleashed a blast from outside the 18 that leveled the game. It was Nick’s first high school goal, and probably one of a few for his career. But it is no surprise at all. He has been refining his shot over the years and has an absolute cannon of a left foot that in practice has become both deadly accurate and eye-poppingly powerful. It was just a matter of time before he blasted one in a game.”
Spaulding’s defense made a strong push to force overtime, but Robillaird moved from a midfield to a striker position and showed off his finishing touch. He collected a pass near the penalty stripe with his back to goal and swiftly turned while surrounded by Tide fullbacks. Robillaird fired a shot inside the left post to help his team prevail.
Paine Mountain will travel to play defending Division III champ Peoples Academy at 4:30 p.m. Friday. Spaulding will host U-32 at 10 a.m. Saturday.
“We showed tons of heart and grit to pull off the come-from-behind victory,” coach Crawford-Stempel said. “Lots of credit to coach (Jay) Baitz and the Spaulding boys: They have a team on the rise, for sure, and certainly played their hearts out. But we just found a way. ….For us, it is becoming one of the themes of our season to date. We play great ball — everything you’d want — but make hard work of it with some timely mistakes. Then we pull ourselves together to fight and scrap till the end. Fortunately, the last two games that has meant wins.”
Enosburg 6, Hazen 0
HARDWICK — The Hornets scored three goals in each half during a shutout victory over the Wildcats.
Gabby Spaulding served up two goals in the opening 40 minutes, while Dana Elkins also scored. Emily Adams registered her second assist of the day by setting up Elkins for a 4-0 advantage. Adams scored on a feed from Kayla Gervais before Elkins closed out the scoring.
Hazen goalie Madeline Kaiser made saves, compared to six stops by Enosburg’s Zoe McGee. The Hornets improve to 2-3, while the Wildcats fall to 0-5. Hazen will travel to play Oxbow at 4:30 p.m. Friday.
Peoples 179, U-32 189, Lake Region 189, Lyndon 223
PLAINFIELD — Three golfers shot bogey golf or better for the Wolves to fuel a 10-stroke victory over the Raiders and Rangers at the Country Club of Barre.
Isaiah Thomas (40), Ashton Tibbitts (41) and Ty Whyte (42) paced PA, while teammate Noble Beerworth (56) rounded out the scoring. U-32’s Riley Richards fired a 32 to snag medalist honors. He was followed by teammates Sawyer Mislak (43), John Mekkelsen (52) and Gavin Young (61).
Lake Region’s top golfers were Carter Montgomery (47), Logan Curtis (45), Duncan Lovegrove (48) and Joe Wilcox (49). Competing for Lyndon were James Young (50), Mason Sylvester (54), Owen Carr (59) and Griffin Kelley (60).
St. Johnsbury 181, Spaulding 196, Missisquoi 230
JAY — Medalist Will Eaton and the Hilltoppers made things look easy while downing the Crimson Tide and the Thunderbirds at the Jay Peak Resort Golf Course.
Will Eaton shot a 38 and was supported by teammates Jacob Fucci (47), Caleb Morgan (47) and Brandon Liddick (52). Evan Peloquin (39) led the way for Spaulding. Garret Cameron (47), Jamison Mast (51) and Grady Emmons (59) also contributed for the Tide. Carson Bessette (51) paced MVU in front of teammates Ried Myers (54), Keegan Zies (61) and Wade Messier (64).
Leahy siblings prevail
NORTHFIELD — Defending Division III champ Craftsbury recorded a perfect boys score while tackling “The Bear” during a 5-kilometer race hosted by the Marauders.
Cormac Leahy (first, 17 minutes, 36 seconds) led the Chargers on the challenging course. Teammates Charlie Kehler (second, 18:31), Charlie Krebs (third, 19:07), Alan Moody (fourth, 19:37) and Leo Circosta (fifth, 20:09) provided plenty of depth.
Leading the way for Lamoille were Adam Gawrys (seventh, 20:28), Hugh Johnson (eighth, 20:33), Mason Porter (ninth, 20:54), Elliot Rowe (28th, 24:58) and Joseph Orost (29th, 25:00). Harwood’s top guns were Tanner Hacket (10th, 21:19), Wyatt Popowicz (11th, 21:24), Lincoln Gage (12th, 21:25), Cooper Hansel (13th, 21:33) and Ben Nardin (17th, 22:28).
Racing for Northfield were Ian Kramer (14th, 21:41), Garrett Miller (16th, 22:02), Colin Snyder (19th, 22:55), Owen Motyka (30th, 25:40) and Gustov Ihse (31st, 25:41) Oxbow’s Hayden Palmer finished 18th in 22:55.
Craftsbury’s Anika Leahy won the girls race in 23:17. Also competing for the Chargers were Ruth Krebs (second, 23:43), Rachel Bjerke (seventh, 27:06) and Daisy Roianov (15th, 30:57). Harwood’s fastest runners were Heidi Haroldsen (third, 25:12), Aliza Levey (fifth, 26:07), Elizabeth Spina (sixth, 26:57), Susannah Smith (eighth, 27:40) and Ella Cisz (ninth, 27:46).
Lamoille’s Anna Gale finished fourth in 26:02. Oxbow’s Abagail Carson wound up 12th in 28:30, while Northfield’s Rachael Wilson placed 13th in 29:00.