When you have won five of the last six state championships and are unbeaten this season as field hockey goes into its stretch run, the community embraces the team. The field hockey team at Bellows Falls is a source of community and school pride.
Bellows Falls’ Shawn Burke used two adjectives to describe the crowd on Tuesday at Bellows Falls Union High school for its showdown with Hartford: Big and loud.
Bellows Falls sports an 11-0 record and retains its No. 1 ranking in this week’s Rutland Herald/Times Argus power rankings.
Tuesday’s game in Westminster was highly anticipated because Hartford took Bellows Falls into overtime in the first meeting at Hartford. The Hurricanes also brought a glittering resume to town — their only losses were to unbeaten Bellows Falls and undefeated Hanover. They had also knocked off previously unbeaten Lebanon.
Maya Waryas scored the winning goal this time in BF’s 2-1 win over Hartford. Emma Bazin had scored the Terriers’ first goal.
A minute after the Terriers’ second goal, Caroline Hamilton scored for Hartford to make things interesting the rest of the way including a fourth quarter where both teams had scoring chances.
It has been an exciting year at BF where Terrier coach Bethany Coursen notched her milestone 200th victory and the team has stamped itself as a red hot contender to win its sixth state crown in seven years.
But there is always the other end of the spectrum. Not every team can contend for state championships or even win as many games as they lose.
That’s sports, twos ides of the scoreboard — a winner and a loser.
Yet, even in a season where a team has a 2-8-1 record there can be rewarding moments and memories made for a lifetime.
The Rutland field hockey team has won its last two games, trimming Springfield 6-0 and up-and-coming Fair haven 3-1.
After the latest win at Fair Haven, Rutland player Lauren Solimano described the Ravens as “more of a family than a team.”
The scene that day was a clear illustration of her words. The players on the field were going all out and supporting one another.
Even more impressive was the energy coming from the bench. The players not in the game were vocal and supportive throughout. It might be the most energy I have seen from a bench this season.
It is a great thing when a team that had struggled without a victory for most of the season can stay energized and keep playing as hard as the Bellows Falls, South Burlingtons and Hartfords of the field hockey world.
The Ravens have a daunting stretch run beginning with Friday’s game against CVU. They finish with Hartford and South Burlington. All three teams occupy a spot in this week’s Rutland Herald/Times Argus power rankings.
If the Ravens don’t claim another win this season, they will be recalled as a team that stuck together and that made some moments for themselves that they will fondly remember.
Not everyone can win. Everyone can play hard. Playing harder is more difficult when the victories aren’t there. Rutland has managed to do it.
Here is this week’s edition of the Rutland Herald/Times Argus power rankings. Last week’s ranking is in parentheses and the rankings were constructed prior to Wednesday’s games.
1. Bellows Falls 11-0 (1) Coursen said the Terriers started slow in the first half against Hartford but began to play with “more hustle and more passing” after halftime. A fast start is advised against a pesky Woodstock that is much better than its record for Thursday’s game in Woodstock.
2. South Burlington 9-0 (3) The Wolves leap frog Hartford in the rankings. There is nothing that Hartford did to account for the drop but the Wolves are still perfect and this time of year that counts for a lot. A South Burlington-Bellows Falls matchup in the Division I state championship game on Nov. 6 would be a treat.
3. Hartford 8-3 (2) The Hurricanes are the favorite to win the title in Division II. A very slight favorite.
4. Mount Abraham 9-1 (4) The reason the ‘Canes are only a slight favorite is because these Eagles have steeled themselves against a schedule loaded with Division I teams and just might be as good as any of them. Mount Abe vs. Hartford on Nov. 6? Now, that would be special.
5. U-32 8-1-1 (5) The gang from East Montpelier is on a roll. Nobody has scored against them in the last two games, a 3-0 win over Harwood and a 2-0 blanking of a good St. Johnsbury team.
6. Spaulding 8-2-1 (6) The Crimson Tied did fall 2-1 to St. Johnsbury. The Tide will try to get that winning feeling back before the bell rings for the playoffs.
7. Essex 7-1-1 (8) The Hornets could be a tough out in the playoffs because of their defense.
8. CVU 6-4 (7) The Redhawks’ record belies just how good this team can be.
9. Otter Valley 7-2-1 The Otters’ 1-0 victory over Woodstock was their sixth shutout of the season.
10. Windsor 7-3-1 (10) Remember when the Yellow jackets were 1-3-1? Seems like a hundred years ago. They weathered a schedule front loaded with very strong teams and now they look like the favorite to snare the brass ring in Division III on Nov. 6. It would be their third straight.
On the bubble: Burr and Burton, Woodstock, Rice, and St. Johnsbury.