POULTNEY — Both teams left the field with something to hang their hat on following Saturday’s girls soccer opener. Proctor got the victory with a seven-goal outburst led by Maggie McKearin and Jenna Davine. Poultney served notice that it was done being pushed around by anyone.
Maggie McKearin, who exploded for five goals last season in a game against Long Trail, netted four this time and Davine knocked in two goals in a 7-0 Proctor win.
The game was scoreless until McKearin served a ball that Davine headed into the net after 9:33 had elapsed.
McKearin padded the lead with 10 minutes remaining in the half with a shot from in close and then McKearin got another, assisted by Katelyn Storey.
McKearin reached her hat trick and Sydney Wood scored, assisted by Jasmine Traverse, enabling the Phantoms to take a 5-0 lead into halftime.
McKearin and Davine scored in the second half.
“Poultney was definitely improved. They were a lot more aggressive,” McKearin said. The Blue Devils were going toe-to-toe with the defending state champions early so the first goal was a big one.
“Jenna and I work well together. Usually, it is the reverse,” McKearin said.
“I saw the ball coming (from McKearin) and I just put my head on it,” Davine said.
“That Poultney team is much improved,” Proctor co-coach Scott French said. “And their number 3 (Hannah Welch) is a really good player.”
The Phantoms did most of the attacking as is indicated by their 27-7 advantage in shots.
Freshman Isabel Greb and Brookelyn Kimball came with an eyelash a couple of times of scoring in their first varsity game. Janaya Richardson and Laci French also tested goalkeeper Kenzie Ezzo with some hard shots, French’s coming from the perimeter.
Ezzo, a freshman, was impressive in her varsity debut.
“Those were all good goals against her. There is nothing she could have done on those. I was very happy with her,” Poultney coach Hannah Corkum said.
“I was also very happy with Hannah Welch and with the way Grace Hayes played on defense. That was Grace’s first time on defense.
“I am so pleased with how far this team has come.”
The Phantoms came out signaling that they were ready to attack. The early minutes saw Greb, Dez Traverse, Davine and Wood all threatening Ezzo with hard shots.
The Devils could muster little in the way of an attack although Katelyn DeBonis and Courtney Ezzo made some threatening runs at the goal.
“It was a good first game. It has been a long time since they have played,” Coach French said.
“It has been 198 days since these kids played a game, the semifinal basketball game against Blue Mountain,” Proctor coach Chris Hughes said.
Proctor’s standout senior goalie Rachel Stuhlmueller played most of the game to earn the shutout. Freshman Cadence Goodwin took over late in the game and made a couple of saves on balls in the air.
The Blue Devils will try for that first win on Tuesday when they travel to Rutland to play Mount St. Joseph Academy.
The Phantoms have a big game on Wednesday when they host perennial power Arlington, the team they edged in the 2019 semifinal game.
“I am so excited to play Arlington. It is always a fight with them,” McKearin said.