Any semblance of order and predictability was thrown out the window during a wild week of boys soccer results.
There's no shortage of shake-ups in the latest Rutland Herald / Times Argus power rankings, as Mount Mansfield, St. Johnsbury and Stowe make big moves up the ladder. It was a tough stretch for Essex and Burlington, who both drop a few spots. Middlebury makes its debut in the top 10 following six straight victories, while Harwood stays at No. 9 after posting four shutouts in a row.
Lake Division powers Milton and Mount Abraham are still on the outside looking in, but it's clear that the Yellowjackets and Eagles have all the tools to win a Division II title. Woodstock (7-3-2) and Montpelier (6-3-1) are currently facing first-round road games for D-II playoffs, while D-I contenders Colchester (4-6) and BFA-St. Albans (5-5-1) are in the same boat.
The D-III picture is just as jumbled after mighty Winooski (10-0) survived a 2-1 scare against BFA-Fairfax (4-6). Proctor (9-0-1) still leads the D-IV standings in front of Rivendell (9-2), Twin Valley (7-2-1) and Arlington (8-3-1). Twinfield (7-4) is poised to host a D-IV playoff game for the first time in a decade.
1. CVU (10-0-1) Cullen Swett, Erik Stolen and James Schmidt scored in a 3-1 come-from-behind victory over Essex. Goalie Jeff Barbic and the Redhawks defense posted their eighth shutout during a 4-0 win over Rice. The Redhawks will host BFA-St. Albans on Friday before facing Mount Mansfield and St. Johnsbury next week.
2. Mount Mansfield (8-3-1) Will Hauf and Tabor Crary led MMU to a 2-1 victory over Colchester, while Chuck Rodjenski and Liam Thompson scored in a 2-0 win over Rice. The Cougars boast five shutouts and are riding a seven-game winning streak. Mount Mansfield will host Essex on Friday before visiting CVU on Wednesday.
3. St. Johnsbury (8-3) Two weeks ago, the Hilltoppers were mired in a three-game losing skid, but now they're one of the hottest teams in Vermont. Henry Heilman and Gregor Vogel scored in a 2-1 win over South Burlington before teammate Tamilore Ikomi contributed one goal and one assist in a 4-1 win over Burlington. St. Johnsbury will carry a four-game winning streak into Friday's game against Colchester before making trips to Rice and CVU next week.
4. Stowe (11-0) The Raiders are seven-time defending champs in D-III and they made an ambitious leap this year to D-II. So far the results have been impeccable, with first-year goalie Isaiah Schaefer-Geiger producing 10 shutouts. The Raiders have outscored opponents 31-2 and will face a major challenge Friday at U-32. Stowe will wrap up the regular season against Thetford and Lake Region.
5. South Burlington (8-3) The Wolves bounced back from a loss at St. Johnsbury by rolling to a 3-0 victory over BFA-St. Albans. Tommy O’Leary had two goals and one assist against BFA and he also scored against the Hilltoppers. South Burlington will finish up with home games against Rutland, Burlington and Rice.
6. Essex (7-3-1) The Hornets scored a total of 17 goals in their first three matches but struggled offensively during losses against South Burlington and CVU last week. Essex is sixth in the D-I standings but could move as far up as No. 2 before playoffs. The Hornets visit Mount Mansfield on Friday before playing Burr and Burton and BFA-St. Albans next week
7. Burlington (5-3-3) The Seahorses were ranked No. 2 just a week ago before suffering a 2-0 loss to Mount Mansfield and a 4-1 defeat against St. Johnsbury. Jake Manley has been the most reliable scorer for BHS, which faces Rice on Friday. The Seahorses will close out the regular season at South Burlington and Colchester.
8. BFA-St. Albans (5-5-1) Damian Dattilio and Kam Dunsmore scored in a 2-1 victory over Rice and teammate Caden Hart made two saves in goal. The Bobwhites beat Mount Mansfield and North Country at the start of the season and could still lock up a home playoff game. Matches versus CVU, Colchester and Essex are on tap.
9. Harwood (8-2-1) Keeper Ollie Hammond has not allowed a goal in regulation for six straight matches. Harwood has scored 10 unanswered goals after shutting out Lyndon and Thetford last week. The upcoming stretch could be tricky with contests against Peoples, Montpelier and North Country.
10. Middlebury (9-2) The D-II Tigers beat D-I opponents Rutland, Mount Anthony and Spaulding to improve their line on a No. 2 seed for playoffs. Middlebury has recorded five shutouts in the last six matches, with Alex Bleich assisting Eben Jackson in the second overtime to fuel a 1-0 victory over Vergennes. Two goals by Jackson sparked a 2-0 victory over Missisquoi. The Tigers will host Spaulding on Saturday before visiting Milton and Mount Abraham next week.
On the bubble: Brattleboro (6-2), Colchester (4-6), Lake Region (8-2-1), Milton (8-2-1), Mount Abraham (7-2-2), Montpelier (6-3-1).