by Ken Brown
NORTHEAST KINGDOM – Local soccer stars were honored last week as the Vermont Girls’ All-State soccer team was officially announced.
Hazen Union seniors Caitlyn Davison and Tessa Luther, along with junior Sloane Morse from Danville-Twinfield-Cabot (CCSU), were recognized for their outstanding play on the pitch this past fall as some of the best soccer players in the state.
Davison returned to patrol the midfield for head coach Harry Besett and the Lady Cats, while Luther provided leadership and quality play in the middle and on the wing. Both players were tasked with nurturing a very young but talented team and were All-Mountain League First Team Selections for their stellar play. It’s been a steady progression for Luther, who has started for Besett since a freshman and developed into one of the top seniors in the state. Davison wasn’t asked to be the scoring threat she’s been in the past, but her orchestration offensively and defensively from her midfield spot made her an easy choice for her second consecutive All-State selection.
“We had a big team this season with a large freshman class and players coming over from Craftsbury Academy. We looked to our seniors to lead a big team like this socially and to help keep us focused during practice sessions. Tessa and Caitlyn did a great job leading our play in the middle of the formation and in possession. They’ve been mature leaders that consistently work hard and help everyone around them, and they’ll be a big loss on and off the field,” said Besett.
Morse was a First Team All-Mountain League selection last season for Danville and the talented center midfielder followed that up with an equally impressive season to earn All-State honors in her junior campaign. Morse was thrust into a leadership role for head coach Spencer Morse this past fall, as the program brought in several new players from Twinfield-Cabot in a transition to a cooperative CCSU team, along with a step up to a new division. The junior captain battled through injuries to help lead the Lady Bears on a four-match winning streak that included four straight shutouts to end the season, culminating in the program’s first division III playoff win against Lake Region in the first round of the tournament. Morse will be a handful for Mountain League defenders in her senior season next fall.
“Sloane has incredible field vision and can pass to a dime. She is very good at controlling the ball in tight spaces and still finds the open player with incredible accuracy. She is also an unselfish player that makes those around her better. She prefers to set up teammates, but she is very capable of making a move to open herself up for a shot. She is also a tough defensive player and tends to control the play in the middle of the pitch. Her friendships forged with Twinfield-Cabot players prior to our season were a huge help in bringing these two rival schools together and making all feel welcome,” said Morse.
Other local stars rounding out the roster as All-State selections were: Lamoille’s Ila Rankin, Lucy Nigro of Peoples Academy, and Stowe’s Sarah Hailey, Tanner Gregory, Kate Tilgner, and Noelle Lyden. Nigro led the Lady Wolves to a stunning first round upset over second-seeded Woodstock in the Division III tournament, before narrowly falling to Paine Mountain in the quarterfinals. Stowe’s trio of seniors, along with their talented sophomore Gregory, dominated Windsor in the title game to capture their fourth straight Division III state championship.