Woodstock sent shock waves through the Vermont boys lacrosse world with Tuesday’s 8-6 victory at CVU.
Keaton Piconi (five goals, two assists) and Field Willis (two goals, one assist) led the Wasps (11-2) to their most impressive result of the season. And it was an upset that may have been overdue.
The Redhawks (12-1) are seven-time defending champs who have lost a combined six games during the past five seasons. This spring has been no walk in the park for CVU, which barely held off Burr and Burton and Essex. The team faces another big test Saturday at Middlebury in an attempt to lock up the top seed entering playoffs for the seventh time in 11 seasons.
All good things must eventually come to an end, but the 2021 Redhawks have no intention of watching their dynasty disappear.
The 2021 squad has outscored opponents by an average of 14-6, reaching double digits on offense in all but two games. Winning an eighth straight crown won’t be easy, and every D-I challenger is going to be fired up to take down the champs.
Two weeks ago the Redhawks pulled out a 12-9 victory over Mount Mansfield (4-9), and they might face the Cougars again in the quarterfinals. The reward for advancing could be a semifinal date with Woodstock or possibly Burr and Burton, which suffered an 8-7 loss to CVU in the season opener.
The Hinesburg school remains atop the Rutland Herald/Times Argus boys power rankings, followed closely by Woodstock. On the girls’ side, St. Johnsbury rejoins the top 10 after earning a 10-9 victory over BFA-St. Albans. The Hilltoppers avenged an early-season loss while snapping the Comets’ nine-game winning streak.
GIRLS1. Burr and Burton (14-0) Tatum Sands powers an offense that’s averaging 14 goals per game. Goalie Lola Herzog and the BBA defense have limited opponents to an average of five goals per contest. The D-I Bulldogs coasted to a 17-4 win over Rice and will host Rutland on Friday.
2. Hartford (14-1) The Hurricanes’ 12-game winning streak ended with an 11-9 loss to D-II rival Vergennes. The team bounced back with an 18-4 win at Stratton and a 17-4 victory over Milton. Hartford has competed in the post-season since 2002 and made its only semifinal appearances in 2018 and 2019. Friday’s regular-season finale at GMVS is likely to have big playoff implicatons.
3. GMVS (7-1) The Gumbies earned their fourth straight victory by defeating Vergennes, 9-5. An early-season 19-4 win over St. Johnsbury is another highlight on the team’s resume. Hosting Hartford will be a good way to prepare for the post-season, with the winner likely to snag the No. 1 seed.
4. Vergennes (11-2) The Commodores avenged a mid-season loss by downing Hartford, 11-9. Three days later the defending champs struggled to generate much offensively in a 9-5 loss to GMVS. Vergennes still has a chance to snare the No. 2 seed, setting up a potential home semifinal.
5. South Burlington (11-2) An 11-10 loss at Burr & Burton four weeks ago was the last time the Wolves walked away from a game empty-handed. They extended their winning streak to eight games with decisive victories over Essex, Burlington and Middlebury.
6. Rutland (11-2) The Ravens’ only two losses were against the top-ranked teams in D-I: BBA and South Burlington. Kendra Sabotka (four goals) and Karsyn Bellomo helped the Ravens pull away late during a 10-6 victory over Woodstock. Rutland’s defense was also sharp last week during an 8-3 win over the Wasps and a 15-3 victory over Brattleboro.
7. CVU (10-4) The Redhawks own a five-game winning streak and are shooting for the No. 3 or 4 seed seed in the D-I tourney. CVU’s offense has scored at least a dozen goals every game, most recently in a 17-8 win over Middlebury and a 17-4 victory against Burlington.
8. Essex (7-4) The Hornets have never played for a title, made their last semifinal appearance in 2002 and won their last playoff game in 2016. Victories over BFA-St. Albans and CVU prove that this year’s team is legitimate. Essex capped a regular-season sweep over Middlebury before falling to South Burlington, 13-7.
9. St. Johnsbury (8-3) The Hilltoppers are on the rise after rattling off four straight victories. The offense was unstoppable during a 25-7 victory over Colchester, and a highly anticipated rematch with Spaulding ended in a comfy 12-5 victory. St. Johnsbury advanced to its first title game in 2000, enduring a 12-7 defeat vs. Randolph. The program’s only other championship appearance was a 10-9 loss to Vergennes in 2019.
10. BFA-St. Albans (9-3) The Comets have come a long way since an 0-2 start. They opened the season with an 18-7 loss at Rutland and would relish an opportunity for payback in the playoffs. Last week they beat Mount Mansfield, 14-6, in a potential first-round playoff preview.
BOYS1. CVU (12-1) The Redhawks boast 10 crowns and will be eyeing their 25th trip to the semis. The 2021 offense scored a combined 37 goals during a regular-season sweep over South Burlington. That high-powered attack was mostly neutralized against Woodstock, but the good news is that CVU kept its No. 1 ranking intact.
2. Woodstock (11-2) The Wasps’ only hiccups were a 7-6 loss to Middlebury and a 14-8 setback at Burr and Burton. A 10-3 payback win over BBA last week gave Woodstock plenty of confidence heading into the CVU clash. Players on both sides of the ball excelled again during this week’s 17-1 win over Brattleboro.
3. Burr and Burton (12-3) The quality of opponents has been inconsistent lately, which could be partially responsible for BBA’s lackluster offensive performance vs. Woodstock. The Bulldogs entered the game fresh off a 22-1 victory over D-III Otter Valley (1-8) and 10-0 win at D-II Mount Anthony (5-6).
4. Rice (9-0) Ty Samson (six goals) and Jackson Harris (two goals, five assists) fueled Tuesday’s 14-11 victory over Harwood. The Green Knights faced an impressive challenge from Hartford before prevailing, 7-6. Both teams could lock horns again in South Burlington during the D-II semifinals.
5. Essex (7-4) The Hornets will likely have to travel for the quarterfinals, but no opponent will take them lightly. They rebounded from a 10-8 loss to CVU by coasting to a 17-4 win over BFA-St. Albans and pummeling Burlington, 16-1.
6. Harwood (8-2) The Highlanders gave up three goals during a non-releasable two-minute penalty during the third quarter of their loss at Rice. The No. 2 seed in D-II is still likely if HU takes care of business Friday against D-III U-32 (0-9). Harwood’s defense struggled at times during last week’s 11-8 win at Colchester, and the Highlanders could end up hosting the Lakers (4-4) in the quarterfinals.
7. Middlebury (9-3) The Tigers are hungry for their first title since 2003, and a smothering defense should keep the team competitive in any game. Middlebury swept South Burlington and secured a 7-6 victory over Woodstock and an 8-7 win over Mount Mansfield.
8. South Burlington (9-5) Recent losses to Middlebury and CVU dropped the Wolves down to the No. 6 spot in the D-I standings. Offensive production has not an issue most games, including a 22-6 win over Rutland and a 16-4 rout over Mount Mansfield.
9. Spaulding (7-2) The Crimson Tide will have plenty of rest after closing out the regular season with Tuesday’s 18-3 romp at U-32. A mid-season 8-7 victory over Hartford helped Spaulding make a strong bid for the No. 3 seed in D-II. The Tide’s early-season 14-12 loss vs. Rice was a winnable game, giving the Barre bunch another reason to dream big entering playoffs.
10. Hartford (8-3) The Hurricanes’ defense worked overtime during a 7-6 loss to Rice and an 11-3 victory over Montpelier. Hartford beat Mount Anthony, 6-2, four weeks ago and could face the Patriots again the quarterfinals.