by Ken Brown
RICHFORD – Injuries took their toll down the stretch for the Craftsbury Academy (CA) girls’ soccer team and it played a major factor once again last week as their season came to a close with a first round loss to Richford.
Kyrielle Deuso netted a hat-trick to lead fourth seeded Richford to a 5-0 home win over CA last Tuesday in the first round of the Division IV tournament. Deuso and Ella Chagnon put the home team up early with two quick scores in the first 10 minutes of the match. The duo would find the back of the net again before the end of the half to make it 4-0 heading into the break. Savannah Boyce had to leave the pitch due to injury for the Lady Chargers and the rest of the match would be played 10 versus 10.
“Losing Savannah was devastating. She’s one of our best defenders and is great at supporting our attack from the back. She didn’t want to come out, but it was the best decision and she was a very vocal supporter on the sidelines. We were also down a few other key players and we knew it was going to be a challenge going in against a very good Richford team. A very classy move by them for allowing us to play the rest of the match 10 vs 10,” said Houle.
Madison Pike fed Deuso to end the scoring on the day midway through the second half for her third assist of the match. Aubrey Fadden made four stops as the Richford defense recorded their fifth shutout of the season. Their season and six match win streak came to an end on Friday with a quarterfinal loss to fifth seeded Mount St. Joseph’s Academy 1-0. Rachel Bailey made 23 saves in the loss for CA. Houle will lose only one senior to graduation in captain Ella Gillespie and hopes to return a young and experienced core that includes captains Sadie Skorstad and Sophia Augsberger next fall. He also hopes to find a little more luck with the injury bug in his second season.
“Ella leads us in many ways before matches and on the back line and this young team looks up to her and will miss her. She was a positive influence for our younger players and did whatever the team needed to try to win, including playing solid as an emergency goalkeeper earlier in the season. We have some very talented underclassmen that should be returning next year and I think they will bring a lot of lessons learned from this challenging year. There is value in experiences that are difficult or challenging and the injuries we dealt with all season were exactly that. They force you into uncomfortable situations, but the perseverance that this great group of girls showed will make them better going forward. This young program is learning a more modern style of soccer and how important it is to possess the ball against some of these great teams in our league. It will take time to develop as will the youth soccer programs here at Craftsbury, but I will continue to make myself present and put in the time to create interest at the middle school and junior high levels. This group of girls was a lot of fun to coach and they play with a lot of pride. I look forward to next season,” said Houle.