NORTH COUNTRY HOLDS OFF COMETS

BFA senior May Gratton races North County goalkeeper Addison Cook in the Falcons’ 3-2 win over the Comets on Wednesday. Ben Kaufmann, County Courier

By Ben Kaufmann
County Courier

ST. ALBANS – North Country knew just what to do once it took a second-half lead, playing a frustrating possession game and pouncing on a late opportunity to hold on for a 3-2 win over BFA-St. Albans on Wednesday.

The Comets (1-2) had rebounded quickly from an early Falcon (2-1) goal and went into halftime knotted at 1-1. The response to a somewhat fluky North Country goal midway through the second half was slower and a Falcon score with seven minutes left made Meghan Connor’s penalty kick with 17 seconds left a mere footnote.

“It just wasn’t our day today,” said BFA Coach Ben Marlow. “They did a good job of just continuously bringing everyone back. They’d lose the ball and then they did a really good job of recovering.”

Just over nine minutes into the first half Wednesday, North Country’s Riann Fortin hit a flawless header from the six-yard line on a Falcon corner kick, offering Comet goalie Maren McGinn no realistic chance at a stop and putting the visitors up 1-0. 

BFA’s Jocelyn Chun fires a shot in the Comets’ 3-2 loss to North Country on Wednesday. Ben Kaufmann, County Courier

Six minutes later, BFA’s Chelsea Raymond rolled a pass from one corner of the Falcon box to Lily Laughlin at the other. Laughlin wound up and hit a perfectly placed shot to the lower-left corner with enough pace to beat Falcon goalie Addison Cook and make it a 1-1 game.

Marlow praised the equalizing shot from Laughlin, and said more play like the setup to that goal is all his team is missing.

“The consistent piece is what we’re talking about there,” he said. “Just moving the ball to feet and playing the ball to a touch and finishing. That’s what we need to see more of, just that consistent play instead of settling for some of the further shots we took.”

BFA’s May Gratton collides with North Country’s McKenna Marsh in the Falcon box during North Country’s 3-2 win over the Comets on Wednesday. Ben Kaufmann, County Courier

The final 24 minutes of the first half was fairly even, with BFA getting a handful of chances from Meghan Connor, May Gratton and the rest of its attacking core and North Country forcing a pair of spectacular saves from McGinn (14 total saves) in the final minutes before halftime.

“I thought we had some good effort today, I thought our forwards played very well, they really pressured their backs,” said Marlow, who also acknowledged a strong game from McGinn.

“Maren made a lot of great saves, she made the saves she needed to make.”

The comment about McGinn making the saves she needed to make hinted at some unfortunate luck in BFA’s defensive end. Just before the midway mark of the second half, North Country’s McKenna Marsh lofted a ball from nearly 40 yards away toward the Comet goal. A combination of fortunate placement and the sun glare McGinn faced with BFA aimed west allowed the Falcons to take a 2-1 lead when the ball snuck under the crossbar.

BFA junior Lily Laughlin blasts the Comets’ first goal in from 18 yards out during the first half of BFA’s 3-2 loss to North Country on Wednesday. Ben Kaufmann, County Courier

“Those are the types of shots that go in the net sometimes and sometimes they go off the crossbar,” said Marlow, whose team would go down another goal when North Country’s Alexis Lefaivre knocked in a loose ball from a few feet in front of the BFA net with 7:33 left.

Now down 3-1, BFA pushed valiantly but ran out of time. The Comets’ earned a penalty kick with 17 seconds left and Connor’s strike froze Cook to make it 3-2, but North Country blasted the ensuing kickoff far enough down the field to allow the clock to run out.

Marlow was able to pick a few tweaks he’d like to see his team make, but is overall pleased with where his team is at this early point in the season.

“I thought at times we got exposed on the wings a little bit, it’s just something we need to work on,” he said. “The effort is there, our effort is there all around. I think we just need to play more consistently. It’s in spurts; we play really well then we let off the gas.”

“It’s got to be more consistent and I think that starts from the basic technical stuff. Some of our first touches are getting out of the way on us.”

Cook stopped four shots for North Country on Wednesday.

BFA’s next chance to put 80 minutes together comes on Tuesday when the Comets host Burlington in a night game at Collins Perley.

HORNETS SURGE PAST DANVILLE, OTHER WEDNESDAY SPORTS NEWS

Ben Kaufmann
County Courier

ENOSBURG – A dominant performance capped by five goals in the second half on Wednesday gave Enosburg a second straight win to start the year, this one a 7-0 decision against Danville.

Levi Webb and Dylan Pattee each scored twice for the Hornets (2-0) against the visiting Indians (0-1). Brendan Deuso assisted a pair of EFHS goals and kicked a corner which turned into a Danville own-goal. Danny Antillon and Blaur Archambault also scored for the hosts and Shea Howrigan added an assist.

“It was a good overall performance,” said Enosburg coach Randy Swainbank, who utilized the strong Hornet outing to test some different combinations early in the season.

“It was a good chance to get all the guys in,” he said. “I thought Nick Ross played well, Ethan Hogaboom played well, Kam Lovelette. A lot of guys who didn’t get time at MVU got a lot of time today and that was a good thing for us.”

Webb got Enosburg off to a hot start, pouncing on a loose ball and placing it off the left goalpost and in to make it 1-0 just 89 seconds after the opening whistle. Nine minutes later, Webb settled a pass from Howrigan and crushed a volley past Danville keeper Jacob Leclair (11 saves) to make it 2-0. 

“Levi stepped up,” Swainbank said of his sophomore forward. “This was a good game for Levi to kind of take control in the attack. He’s another one who’s just got incredible talent. He’s not very big but he’s got a lot of talent.”

Enosburg had a massive amount of chances over 80 minutes Wednesday and the second half score was more reflective of the flow of play. Though some goals may have been left on the field, Swainbank said he was pleased with how his team handled a commanding win.

“They did well,” he said. “It was 2-0 at the half and even though you’re kind of dominating, that’s a very dangerous lead in soccer because if they pull one back it’s typically a scramble oil the end. I told them at the half that I don’t want a scramble so let’s just go do the right things, stay a little more composed in front of the goal and put a couple more in.”

Sophomore goalie Ethan Jackson earned his first career shutout on Wednesday, grabbing four saves against the Indians. 

Enosburg took on Danville without the help of senior captain Logan Jette, who scored both goals in EFHS’ 2-1 overtime win over Missisquoi to start the season last week. Jette sat out Wednesday with an injury, but his absence appeared to be precautionary and Swainbank is optimistic that Jette will be back when the Hornets take on BFA-Fairfax (0-2) on Friday. 

MORE WEDNESDAY SPORTS NEWS

BFA-St. Albans boys topple Mt. Mansfield, 2-1, on the road to improve to 2-0

The Bobwhites picked up a second straight win to open the 2019 season with a bang on Wednesday with a 2-1 win at Mt. Mansfield. Kameron Dunsmore continued his otherworldly start to the fall season with an assist and a goal against the Cougars. Dunsmore set up a Derek Nadeau finish just five minutes after the opening whistle before converting a penalty kick to break a 1-1 tie midway through the second half. BFA’s victory was made all the more impressive by the fact that the Bobwhites played the final 60 minutes Wednesday with just 10 men after picking up a red card midway through the first half.

An interesting note: Mt. Mansfield may be happy to not see Dunsmore for awhile. The senior is also the kicker for BFA’s football team and kicked two field goals in BFA’s 12-8 win over the Cougars in Jericho on Saturday before bringing a goal and an assist to the Bobwhites’ soccer win Wednesday.

BFA-Fairfax drops heartbreaker at Hazen, losing 3-2 in double-overtime to fall to 0-2

Following an 8-0 drubbing at the hands of Milton last week, BFA-Fairfax rebounded nicely and even led at Hazen, 2-0. Unfortunately for the Bullets (0-2), Hazen (1-1) battled back with three unanswered, the final one coming in the second overtime period to secure a Wildcat win.

Missisquoi drops a close, 1-0, contest at Lamoille to fall to 0-2

THUNDERBIRDS SHUT OUT MILTON IN SEASON OPENER

MVU’s Middie Danielle Cummings gains control of the ball from Milton’s Laurie Olsaver during Saturday’s game with Milton. Missisquoi won their season opener 3-0. Rachel N. Lamoureux, County Courier

Jay Cummings
County Courier

SWANTON: The MVU Varsity Field Hockey kicked off their first game of the season by hosting Milton Saturday morning. The first five minutes was an evenly matched game as the ball flowed back and forth over the 50-yard line with neither team able to get a shot off. Milton was producing a far stronger showing than their prior scrimmage against the Thunderbirds just 10 days earlier. Six minutes into regulation, MVU had their first of many shots on net beginning with Danielle Cummings from the top of the circle. 

Rhianna Sweeney followed up with the rebound and drew a penalty corner against Milton. MVU Freshman Julia Parent made her debut shot towards the goal with a high lift just missing the far post. 

MVU then attacked with multiple advances toward the Yellowjacket goal only to be denied by Milton’s strong defense, prohibiting the Thunderbirds access to inside the circle.

MVU’s second attempt on a corner penalty initiated by Thunderbird Keira McFadden, precisely pushed out to Sweeney who rifled another shot missing the Yellowjackets’ goal to the far right. 

With a well-timed break, Coach Jeanne Rainville called the first timeout at 15:50 in the first half to reposition some of the players. Her strategic chat was well received as the Thunderbirds retook the field with a flurry of shots ensuing. Fortunately for Milton, none of the shots found the rear of the cage. 

Missisquoi’s barrage on offense had Milton’s Head Coach Meghann Rowley call a time out of her own, likely to disrupt the MVU’s assault. However, MVU again took the field focusing even more on scoring. 

MVU’s Forward Bella Bigelow spotted an opening to the right side of the cage, ripping what looked like a sure thing, only to have Milton’s goalie, Emma Philbrook, make a long left foot stretch, just catching the tip of her boot for a spectacular save. Bigelow, still hungry to get on the scoreboard for MVU, attempted to convert another corner just missing the net. 

Milton’s Ella Toner, left, and MVUs Naomi Edele preparing to back up their teammates as MVU’s Rhianna Sweeney skillfully worked the ball past defenseman Jullianna O’Halloran, and between Goalie Emma Philbrook’s feet, to score MVU’s first goal of the game. Sweeney was assisted by Anna Comisky. Missisquoi won Saturday’s season opener 3-0 Rachel N. Lamoureux, County Courier

The Yellowjackets’ luck finally ran out at 0:25 remaining in the first half when Center Forward Rhianna Sweeney pushed the ball in from a scramble in front of the net to get MVU on the board 1-0. Going into halftime the Thunderbirds were breathing a sigh of relief, by finally converting one of several opportunities.

The second half started with MVU dominating the field. Anna Comisky was able to put a shot on net, which again drew a Milton corner penalty. Keirra McFadden initiated the play with a push to Cummings, who drilled a shot just to the left of Milton’s net. 

Two minutes later, MVU made their fifth corner attempt with a McFadden push to Sweeney, but the Thunderbirds could not convert against Milton’s strong defense. 

About a third of the way into the second half, Milton finally crossed the 50- yard line. Yellowjacket Center Middie Molly Toner pushed hard toward the MVU zone and was denied by Thunderbird Middie Danielle Cummings who controlled the midfield most of the game.   

A Milton timeout helped to regroup their strategy. The Yellowjackets slightly altered their defense, moving additional players between the MVU offense and the Milton goal. 

With 14:53 left in regulation, MVU converted on a corner penalty as McFadden tipped the ball into the net with a well-placed pass from Sweeney.

Going strong, MVU’s 7th corner missed the mark with a Cummings’ shot blocked by a Milton defender. Bigelow again attempted her signature move, a reverse flick, but was stopped by the Milton goalkeeper. 

At 11:04, a Milton defender threw her stick at the ball, with MVU on the verge of a goal, causing a rare penalty shot. Lined up, Sweeney made a firm shot to the right, however, Milton’s goalkeeper came up with a textbook save. 

Taking the pass from Naomi Edele (back right), MVU’s Freshman Forward Bella Bigelow dribbles the ball past Goalie Emma Philbrook and Milton’s Julianna O’Halloran (#33) to score her first varsity goal with 4:53 left in the second half, sealing Missisquoi’s win, 3-0, over Milton in Saturday’s first game of the season. Rachel N. Lamoureux, County Courier

The Yellowjackets made one final attempt to place a shot on the Thunderbirds’ goal getting to the top of the circle, only to be denied any further advancement. 

With less than five minutes left, the Thunderbirds converted another corner with a McFadden pass to Sweeney, moving the ball toward the net with Freshman Bella Bigelow finding the back of the cage and assisted by Naomi Rose Edele. 

Missisquoi ended the season opening game 3-0, with Thunderbird Goalie Favreau-Ward untested. Milton’s goalie, Emma Philbrook, tallied 13 saves. MVU had 10 penalty corners and Milton had none.

Optimistic, Milton Head Coach Meghann Rowley was happy with her Yellowjackets, “This was a good opening game of the season. MVU is always a strong team and they moved the ball well. We know what we have to work on to move the ball up the field.” The Yellowjackets graduated a half dozen seniors in June, leaving big shoes to fill for the 2019 season. 

MVU will host North Country on Monday, September 9th at 4 pm. 

BOBWHITES SLIP PAST DEFENDING STATE CHAMPIONS IN SEASON OPENER

BFA’s Guy Ellis returns a punt block to the BFA four yard line in a key series, which propelled the Bobwhites over the Cougars on Saturday. Gregory J. Lamoureux, County Courier

By John Bonnette
County Courier

JERICHO – It wasn’t always pretty, and it wasn’t always perfect, but in the end, Bellow Free Academy did just enough to gut out a 12-8 victory over defending state champion Mount Mansfield, Saturday afternoon, in Jericho.

“Let’s give credit to Mount Mansfield, boy did they play hard,” BFA Coach Geoff Murray said. “They tackled well and they really caused us a lot of problems on offense so they deserve a lot of credit.”

“It was kind of a game one feeling. It wasn’t perfect but we got out of someone’s home field, who just won the state championship, who is fired up and has a chip on their shoulder because they believe they have something to prove and we were able to get out of here with the win.”

The Bobwhites (1-0) controlled the line of scrimmage for most of the afternoon as BFA held the ball for over 30 minutes on offensive thanks to a trio of senior backs combing for 204 yards on 55 carries. C.J. McAllister (17-67, TD) led the way for BFA while Parker Gratton (15-60) and Owen Bonnette (10-35) helped keep the Cougar offense on the sideline.

BFA’s Josh Reynolds ties up MMU’s Nick Trudeau on Saturday afternoon as the Bobwhites earned a 12-8 win over the Cougars. Gregory J. Lamoureux, County Courier

“We have a saying when we play these spread teams which is if we have the ball they don’t,” Murray said. “So, we like to grind it out and we have some grinders with Owen, Cj, Parker, and Dom (Liscinsky). These guys run the ball hard, and they are good athletes, and if we just get them some space, we should be able to move the chains and set some stuff up outside.”

The Bobwhites took the opening drive of the game and marched 46 yards to the Cougar six-yard line before settling for a 21-yard field goal by Kam Dunsmore to open the scoring with 7:17 left in the first quarter.  Bobwhite quarterback Robert Gamache set up the field goal when he rambled 34 yards down the right sideline to the Mount Mansfield 11-yard line.

After that, the first half became a defensive battle as neither team was able to move the ball offensively until McAllister made the play of the game with just under two minutes left in the first half.

Coming out of a BFA timeout, with the Cougars facing a fourth-and-21 from their own 24-yard line, McAllister broke through and blocked the punt which BFA’s Guy Ellis recovered and returned to the Mount Mansfield four-yard line. On the next play, McAllister then took the handoff inside right tackle and found the end zone to give the Bobwhites a 9-0 lead at the half.

“That was huge because that kind of won us the game in a lot of ways,” Murray said of the blocked punt, “It turned it (the game) because outside of our first drive nobody really had a shot to score so it was huge.”

Despite being down at halftime, the Cougars came out ready to roll and had their best drive of the game to open the second half as they marched 68 yards on 14 plays to cut the Bobwhite lead to 9-8.

Mount Mansfield converted two fourth downs on the drive including a gutsy play on the touchdown as Trudeau hit Seth Westover on a quick slant at the Bobwhite two yard line before Westover then bulled his way through a tackle for the score.

BFA’s Parker Gratton finds a hole in the Cougar defense Saturday, picking up a few key yards in the Bobwhites’ 12-8 win during the opening game of the season. Gregory J. Lamoureux, County Courier

“We preached fight and fight to the whistle all week, and those perimeter guys are the ones who we will rely on this year,” Mount Mansfield Coach Nick Michaud said. “I wish things got clicking a little earlier, but we are very happy how we came out in the second half.

“Coming into it, we knew they were a ground and pound football team, so we just tried to get the mentality all week that it was a fight for 48 minutes and certainly the defense showed up to do that.”

Dunsmore would add a 28 yard field goal with 6:11 left to finish the scoring as the Bobwhite defense locked down the Cougars for the rest of the game.

BFA finished the game holding the Cougars to just 63 total yards and sacked Trudeau three times. The Bobwhites also tallied an interception and a fumble recovery to go with the blocked punt.

Quarterback Robert Gamache lines up for a pass Saturday during the Bobwhites’ 12-8 win over MMU. Gregory J. Lamoureux, County Courier

“I thought our defense played pretty well,” Murray said, “We got a blocked punt, and we took advantage of that. We didn’t blow a lot of coverages at all and it was really good all day defensively. We challenged our de-line, this week, in that we were going to need to get some pressure and we were able to do that. I thought Nick (Voyer) was pretty good but he was not the only one, we were getting other guys in there as well.”

“Our guys were taking pretty good angles on the blitzes when we went to man. We were trying to change up the looks a little bit and confuse them but mostly we just wanted to get pressure. I thought our de-backs did a pretty nice job of coverage and kept everything in front. We did not get beat with the big one.”

Although pleased to get out of Mount Mansfield with the win, Murray said his team will need to improve offensively before their home opener on Friday against Colchester.

Dancing through a trio of Cougar defenders, C.J. McAllister picks up a few extra yards, Saturday at MMU, as the Bobwhites earned a 12-8 win over the Cougars. Gregory J. Lamoureux, County Courier

“We are going to have a tough game next week,” Murray said after the Saturday game. “We are playing a team that is going to bring it physically, so we are going to have to be ready and recover from this game. We had trouble getting things going today and we are making too many mistakes offensively.”

“We don’t have eleven guys doing the same thing on every play, so we just need to work at it and clean that up.  Once we are comfortable with that, I think we will be able to expand some things and do some other things. They really worked hard, their attitude and effort were there. We need to get back to practice and get some guys ready to go and clean that up.”

MILTON GIVES LAKERS A RUN FOR THEIR MONEY

Milton’s Damion Mitchell picks up a few extra yards during a tackle from Colchester’s David Fournier, Friday evening, during the Lakers 21-0 victory over the Yellowjackets. Gregory J. Lamoureux, County Courier

By Gregory J. Lamoureux
County Courier

MILTON: You wouldn’t have known it by the score on Friday night, but the Milton Yellowjackets gave Colchester a good run for their money.

For a young Yellowjacket team, the players played hard and made Colchester work for every score they had. Playing up a division while holding their opponent within a few scores- that in itself can be a huge accomplishment.

Shutting out the Yellowjackets 21-0, Colchester head coach Tom Perry had nothing but praise for Jim Provost’s Milton team.

“I think they are going to be pretty good, particularly in Division II,” Perry said, “The numbers balancing point is difficult, we have 10 or 15 more guys. That’s a whole team, a whole set.”

Perry called out Milton’s Caleb Barnier, a freshman running back for the Yellowjackets as one of the best players on the field.

“He can play,” Perry said, “He’s running through tackles, and then he’s the fastest guy on the field.”

Provost, who heads the Milton coaching staff said the Yellowjackets are the youngest team he’s coached in 30 years.

With five freshmen, nine sophomores, eight juniors, and seven seniors, the varsity team is spread thin when matched up against a Division I team like Colchester. Every player in the Milton Football program shows up for games, like Friday night, while Colchester has a whole JV team for depth within their program.

“I’m so proud of our effort,” Provost emphasized after the game, “I’m not proud of the result, but I’m so proud of the effort.”

Milton hosts Mt. Abe Friday, September 6th. Provost said it’s too early to know what to expect from the Eagles when they visit Milton, after graduating a significant part of their program last year, Mt. Abe is an unknown this early in the season.

Colchester is set to travel to BFA St. Albans on Friday, September 6th to take on the Bobwhites.

YELLOWJACKETS SOAR PAST BULLETS

Milton’s Chance Rose battles for ball control against BFA Fairfax’ Isaac Decker Thursday evening as the Yellowjackets soared to an 8-0 win over the Bullets in Milton. Ben Kaufmann, County Courier

By Ben Kaufmann
County Courier

Editor’s Note: The County Courier is taking on Milton High School this fall for local sports coverage. Pick up a copy of the County Courier at your local newsstand, or subscribe today at mkt.com/courier to keep up with all your local athletes. With the support of readers and advertisers, we hope this coverage will continue for years to come.

MILTON – Milton’s offense powered into the 2019 season with a dominant performance, striking four times in each half en route to an 8-0 win over BFA-Fairfax on Thursday night.

Sophomores Cooper Goodrich and Zack Logan each notched two goals and an assist for the Yellowjackets (1-0), who were in control from start to finish against the visiting Bullets (0-1).

“We’ve had a really good preseason,” said Milton coach Glen Button, “We’ve had some good matches and been able to finish, and it carried over into tonight, no doubt.”

Milton’s youth -the Yellowjackets feature eight sophomores and just four seniors- was no handicap in the season opener. The hosts took a 1-0 lead on a Caden Button goal just under 12 minutes in, then saw goals from Goodrich and Nick Desouza 30 seconds apart to storm to a 3-0 lead with 10 minutes left in the first half. Logan took a pass from Zac St. Amour inside the box two minutes later and ripped a shot down off the crossbar to put the Yellowjackets up 4-0 at halftime.

BFA Fairfax goalie Robbie Dearborn robs a breakaway attempt from Milton’s Manolis Anemekos just outside the box. Gregory J. Lamoureux, County Courier

First-year Fairfax coach Jake Hubbard knew his team was in for a battle against Milton.

“You watch the possessions they have, whether it’s his top 11 or the five or six guys on the bench, they can all make a splash,” Hubbard said. “Going into this game, we had a talk, and we wanted to play defensively and hold it as long as we could. When you get into games and give up a goal, you’ve got to try to play a little offense to create something.”

Logan scored again just 6:27 into the second half and assisted a St. Amour goal a little over a minute later in making it a 6-0 game. Chance Rose added a goal with just under a half-hour to play and Goodrich closed the scoring with a stunner of a shot into the upper-90 with 24:21 to go. Desouza assisted the first and last goals of the second half to go with his earlier goal. Ryan Cannon and Manolis Anemeikos added first-half assists to the well-rounded Milton effort.

Button said he saw plenty of strength in Fairfax, which he noted suffered from some unlucky bounces throughout Thursday’s contest.

“I think he’s got some really good athletes and they worked hard right until the end,” Button said of the Bullets. “They had a couple of unlucky shots go in, but they battled until the end.”

Asked if he was worried about the lopsided scoreline causing early-season complacency, Button said he has full faith in his team’s ability to stay grounded.

“I don’t think so. These guys have played so much soccer, we’ve got soccer players at every position, and they just feed off each other. So I’m not worried in the least.”

Likewise, Hubbard was unconcerned with the final result when thinking about the big picture and the long season ahead for BFA.

“We’re all positive here, we’re not going to take the negatives. I’m excited,” said Hubbard, noting that his Division III Bullets were opening the year with a tough test against Division II Milton. “We’re going to settle into our schedule and be just fine.”

Button echoed that calmness about BFA, “I think Fairfax is going to be a good team, I think they’re going to win some games this year,” he said. “Our guys are composed on the ball, they knocked it around pretty well, and we’ve got some guys that can finish.”

Robert Dearborn made eight saves for BFA, which is back in action at Hazen on Wednesday.

Braeden Caragher and Sam Dooley split the shutout in goal for Milton. The Yellowjackets face a tough test on Saturday, September 7th, with a trip to Hartford on tap.

BOBWHITES HOLD OFF NORTH COUNTRY IN SEASON OPENER

BFA St. Albans’ goaltender Caden Hart clears the ball as he draws a foul and a yellow card from North Country’s Gage Micknack, his second of the game. Ben Kaufmann, County Courier

By Ben Kaufmann
County Courier

ST. ALBANS – BFA St. Albans opened its 2019 campaign with a strong 2-1 win against visiting North Country on Thursday, propelled by a pair of goals from senior Kameron Dunsmore.

The Bobwhites (1-0) took a 1-0 lead into halftime against the Falcons thanks to a trio of phenomenal saves by Caden Hart. Two diving stops by Hart and one reaching out to stop a point-blank range blast highlighted a first half which also saw North Country (0-1) hit the crossbar.

Alonso Cifuentes led Dunsmore into the box just over midway through the first half, and Dunsmore calmly struck the breakaway shot into the net to put the Bobwhites up 1-0 at halftime. North Country’s Ian Applegate scored with 14:45 left in regulation to knot the score at 1-1, but Dunsmore struck for his second of the day, this time assisted by Kyrel Hawkins, seven minutes later to give BFA the lead for good.

St. Albans is looking to improve on last year’s 6-7-3 record. Momentum from a postseason upset of No. 6 Rutland in the first round appears to have carried over to this year – BFA outshot the Falcons 10-4 on Thursday. The Bobwhites play again on Wednesday, September 4th, at Mt. Mansfield.

COMETS UPSET HORNETS, EARN CHAMPIONSHIP BID WITH RIVAL THUNDERBIRDS

ESSEX: The Comets were down by five runs Tuesday going into the seventh inning. They needed everything to go right in order to defeat the top-seeded Hornets of Essex- more than that, they needed to believe, according to Coach Bert Berthiaume.

Believe they did, the Comets stunned the Hornets, forcing a pitching change, and knocking in six runs by the time the Hornets could tally up three outs.

The Comets followed that up with stellar defense in the bottom of the seventh to round out the game, propelling them into the championship game against rival Missisquoi.

That game is scheduled to be played at Caselton University Saturday afternoon a 2 pm.

Also playing on Saturday will be Fairfax, the top seed in D3 Softball taking on White River Valley at 5:30 pm at Caselton.

Pick up a copy of this week’s County Courier for extensive coverage of the semifinals games played this week.

COMETS DOWN MT. ANTHONY, HEAD TO ESSEX

By Ruthie Laroche
For the County Courier

The number four seeded BFA St.Albans Comets hosted fifth-seeded Mount Anthony on Friday evening, earning an 11-5 win over the visiting team. 

Meghan Connor, whose powerful bat has sent many softballs soaring this season, hit two homers and drove in three runs. Caitlyn Dasaro also had a homer and three RBIs for the Comets. 

“Meghan and Caitlyn have been hitting home runs all year, and those back-to-back home runs gave us a little charge today,” said Comet head coach Richard Berthiaume. “It changes the whole momentum when you hit that ball to the fence.”

May Gratton, who has been a force for BFA on the mound and at the plate, earned the win and logged two hits.

Early in the game, Comet batters struggled to put the ball in play.

“We haven’t faced quality pitching since we faced Essex three weeks ago,” Berthiaume noted, “so it took us a while to adjust to the speed and ability of Mt. Anthony’s pitcher.” 

That experience of hitting with a good pitcher may help the Comets, who will take on Essex today in the semifinal round.

It was Mount Anthony who struck first in Friday’s contest- in the first inning, Mount Anthony’s leadoff batter reached base and after two more hits they drove in their first run.

Berthiaume noted Mount Anthony’s leadoff batter went 3 for 3 until her last at-bat in the seventh inning. “She’s one of the best players in the state of Vermont,” said Berthiaume.

Mount Anthony’s final runs of the game came mid-game when the shortstop hit a two-run home run. 

BFA’s back-to-back homers by Connor and Dasaro came shortly after.

“The fact that we fell behind and kept battling against a great team like that was awesome,” said Berthiaume of his team.

Mount Anthony may have been the fifth seed this year, but historically, they are a team that must be handled carefully.

 

“Mt. Anthony has appeared in the last five state championships. They’ve knocked us out two or three times in the last five years. They have a great program,” explained Berthiaume. “To get this win today was special.”

The Comets face Essex on the road this afternoon, game time is 4:30. The Hornets, first seed in Division I, with a 14-1 record will be looking to earn their spot in the DI State Tournament this weekend. 

“Essex is another great team. They beat us 10-5 early this year. They are a great hitting team, and they have a couple of really great pitchers,” said Berthiaume, “but if we play like we did today, we have a shot.” 

If the Thunderbirds defeat Lyndon and the Comets defeat Essex, we would see the two rival Franklin County teams match up for the D-I State Title, scheduled either Friday or Saturday at Caselton State College.