Split Week for Lady Chargers

by Ken Brown

CRAFTSBURY – The Craftsbury Academy (CA) girls’ soccer team edged Winooski for their third win of the season before falling to Danville to end their week, improving to 3-4 on the year.

Sophomore Anika Leahy and eighth grader Cedar Greiner each scored their first career varsity goals to lead the Lady Chargers to a hard-fought 2-1 win over Winooski last Monday. Leahy beat the last Lady Spartan defender for a breakaway with the keeper to make it 1-0 and Greiner lofted a beautiful shot from the eighteen yard line into the corner for the eventual game-winner. Rachel Bailey led the defense with eight saves on the day.

“The girls’ came into the match with a lot of energy and were really motivated to come out here and get a win,” said head coach Patrick Houle. “They are young, fast, and athletic, and a much better soccer team than the one we faced earlier in the season. We knew it was going to be a good challenge and our defense probably played their most complete game of the season for us. The girls did a great job of controlling possession for most of the match. We created some really good scoring chances, but hit a couple posts, and just missed on a couple others. Cedar is ahead of schedule with her level of skill and footwork and she is starting to read the game well. She’s still in the process of creating chemistry with her teammates on the field and that should only continue to improve throughout the season. Overall, it was a really good team effort,” added Houle.

Lilah Hall netted a hat-trick to lead Danville to a 6-1 home win over the Lady Trojans last Thursday. Lilli Klark added a goal and an assist and Sloane Morse and Jasmine Rease ended the scoring on the day with a goal apiece. Leah Klark and Phoebe Crocker combined to make 3 saves as the Lady Bears improved to 5-3 on the season. CA goalkeeper Rachel Bailey assisted Anika Leahy on her second goal in as many matches with a booming kick past midfield for the Lady Chargers lone goal. Leahy has not played soccer since sixth grade, but her elite athleticism is starting to translate to the soccer pitch this fall for Houle and his squad. She captured two Division IV state titles as a freshman for the CA track and field team last spring, including the 800m and a runner-up in the 1500m. She also captured the 4X400m relay state title with teammate Sadie Skorstad, along with Rachel Bjerke and Ida Eames.

“Unfortunately we went into this match without any subs as we were dealing with illness and injuries. Danville did a great job of winning 50/50 balls throughout the match and our spacing issues effected our attacking shape all day. Matches like this show us what we need to continue to work and improve on and it’s an opportunity to learn. The goal Rachel and Anika created was really neat and Anika is picking up the game very quickly. She’s a phenomenal athlete, very coachable, and full of positivity. As a team we are still learning the style of soccer that we want to play as we think outside the box of passing to space and not just feet. We have some talented young players on this team and I think we’ll just be hitting our stride as we wrap up the regular season and hope to make some noise in a very open division in the playoffs,” said Houle.

The Lady Chargers host Division II powerhouse Missisquoi Valley on Wednesday before traveling to Twinfield-Cabot on Friday for a Mountain League match-up.