by Ken Brown
CRAFTSBURY – Despite a pair of losses to upper division opponents Oxbow and Burke Mountain Academy last week, the Craftsbury Academy (CA) girls’ soccer team continued to show they are trending towards playing their best soccer of the season as they ready for some key league matchups this week.
Emma Parkin converted a game-winning penalty kick seconds before halftime to give Oxbow a hard fought 2-1 road win over the Lady Chargers last Tuesday. Sophia Hayes chipped a shot over Rachel Bailey midway through the first half to give Oxbow an early lead. Ida Eames found the equalizer eight minutes later on a beautiful direct kick that found the upper right-hand corner from twenty-five yards out. Bailey made seven stops on the day for CA and played a solid second half to give her team a chance. Eames did her best to even the score down the stretch with a handful of breakaways but was turned away by the Oxbow defense as they improved to 3-2 on the season.
“The girls played really well and the match could’ve gone differently if not for a few bounces that didn’t go our way. We definitely had our chances in the second half, but we are still working on the art of finishing and honing that skill. We are starting to play some really good soccer and I’m happy with the direction we are headed,” said head coach Tom Silva.
McKenzie Leach scored four times to lead Burke Mountain to a 5-0 home win over the Lady Chargers on Saturday afternoon. Craftsbury hung tough for sixty minutes down only two scores, but Burke’s massive depth wore them down and Leach broke the match open late. Jillian Lizzoe added a penalty kick late in the second half as Burke remained perfect (3-0) on the season. Rachel Bailey had a stellar day in net for Craftsbury making 30 stops in the loss.
“Rachel gave us an amazing effort and the other team basically gave her a standing ovation after the match. They are so athletic and deep with numbers, but our girls really got up for the challenge and we gave a great defensive effort. They wore us down late, but it was a great atmosphere with a big crowd and I’m proud of how the girls competed until the end. We have a big week coming with some divisional matchups and if we can get healthy and continue to improve with every match, we have a great opportunity in front of us,” said Silva.
Craftsbury is scheduled to host Danville on Wednesday and will host Richford on Saturday.