Lady Chargers Make a Statement in Season Opener

by Ken Brown

WINOOSKI – First-year head coach Patrick Houle and his Craftsbury Academy (CA) girls’ soccer team opened their 2022 season with a dominant performance against Winooski on the road last week.

Sophia and Adelina Augsberger each scored a goal and added an assist to lead a balanced scoring attack, as the Lady Chargers opened up their second season in the Mountain League with an impressive 5-0 road win over Winooski last Tuesday. Adelina buried a feed from Sophia early in the first half to open up the scoring for CA and Sadie Skorstad connected on a rebound in front of the net late in the first half for a 2-0 advantage heading into the break. Sophia Augsberger made it a three-goal cushion early in the second half with a fantastic individual effort and the rout was on.

“With our first match against Stowe getting rescheduled, it really allowed us to continue to work on the more modern style of soccer that we’ll be striving to play this season,” said Houle. “The girls have been working extremely hard in practice on trying to control and dictate play through possession and they are making some great strides. They really showed some moments in this match where they created space, moving with and without the ball. The match was very even and back and forth early on, but the girls did a good job of staying patient and created some nice scoring opportunities through possessing the ball,” added Houle.

Eighth graders Olive Garulio and Natalie Hill capped off the scoring on the day for CA with their first career varsity goals. Senior captain Ella Gillespie and Savannah Boyce anchored the defensive third for Houle and Rachel Bailey made a couple of key stops to tamp down any momentum from Winooski, recording her first career shutout. The loss dropped the Lady Spartans to 0-2 on the season.

“It was a great team effort by the girls and a great start to the season. They are starting to play the game together without a lot of ‘me ball’ and that’s exciting because they are only going to get better. Ella led and communicated great back there, negating one of their goals with an off-sides trap, Savannah’s motor is unreal and allows her to support the offense as well, and Rachel did a great job cutting down the angle on a couple of their breakaways. This group is in great shape and can run for days, but they are starting to understand to play the game smarter through possession, space, and precise passes. We don’t have the substitutions other teams have to chase all day, so if we can continue to improve the style that we want to play, it will pay huge dividends for us in the second half of these matches. We all understand that the competition ramps way up this week, so we’ll have to be calculated, make good decisions, and not get into footraces against teams like that. The girls are excited for the challenge and it is a chance for us to see where we are as a program and what we’ll need to continue to work on to get to where we want to be,” said Houle.

The Lady Chargers welcomed the powerhouse Stowe program to town on Monday and will host an up-and-coming Richford squad on Wednesday, before ending the week with a rematch against Winooski at Dustan Field on Saturday afternoon. Craftsbury is scheduled to travel to Oxbow next Tuesday.