by Ken Brown
MARSHFIELD – The Craftsbury Academy (CA) girls’ soccer team hope to change their fortunes this week in the playoffs with a full roster of healthy players after struggling offensively last week in losses to Twinfield-Cabot, Enosburg, and BFA-Fairfax.
Carly Mancini netted the game-winner to lead Twinfield-Cabot to a 1-0 home win over the Lady Chargers last Monday. Ida Astick made one save to earn her third shutout of the season. Ella Gillespie made nine saves for CA, playing well in her season debut in net. Twinfield-Cabot agreed to play the match 10 vs 10, so CA could play with a substitution.
“I thought we played as well as expected given our numbers due to injury. Sadie Skorstad came as close to the inside of the post as you can get without scoring and we hit the post a couple more times, but just had some tough bounces. We knew we had a tough week of opponents ahead of us and injuries have a profound impact on a team of this size at this time of the season,” said head coach Patrick Houle.
Gabby Spaulding scored twice as Enosburg pulled away late to escape with a 3-0 road win against the Lady Chargers on Tuesday. CA played to a 0-0 draw in the first 40 minutes with the Division II power before Spaulding broke through early in the second half for the eventual game winner. Mariah Lamoth made five stops on the day to earn the Enosburg defense their third shutout of the season. They improved to 7-6-1, winning three of their last four matches.
“We were shorthanded once again, but the girls did a great job of giving a very good soccer program a very tough match. The girls really battled and won a majority of the 50-50 balls, played to space, and displayed some inspiring offensive moments in that first half especially. To see them create that kind of motion and movement on the field reminds me that they are learning to play the style that we aspire to play and one of the best matches they’ve played all season,” said Houle.
Ava Ardovino continued to torch opposing defenses, scoring four more times to lead BFA-Fairfax to an 11-0 road win over CA to close out the regular season. Emma Spiller, Molly Dearborn, and Raegan Decker combined for six more scores for a Lady Bullet team that has tallied 89 goals on the season, while only giving up seven. They improved to 13-1 and will be the second seed in the Division III tournament.
“I have a lot of deep soccer ties in the community of Fairfax, I’ve seen that group of girls develop into the players they are today, and we knew going in that it was going to be a big challenge against a very well coached program. As a young program, this was another opportunity for us to learn, experience, and apply that to our own program going forward. BFA is classy, skilled, and will go far in the tournament. We are happy to have some days off to recover after the gauntlet we went through the last nine days. We know our opponent well in the first round and we have had good matches against them this season. We have some advantages speed-wise we hope to exploit and hopefully we can be a healthier squad this week heading into that first round match-up,” said Houle.
Craftsbury finished the regular season as the No. 13 seed and traveled to fourth seeded Richford on Tuesday to open the first round of the Division IV playoffs.