Boston High School: BFA-St. Albans

New England Roundup: Vermont

May, 22, 2013
5/22/13
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Rice Memorial's Cassidy Derda has her immediate plans in place.

After spending next season playing for Tilton (N.H.) Prep, Derda will begin her Division I basketball career by joining the St. Francis University program in New York City. Derda, a 6-foot-1 forward, gave a verbal commitment to St. Francis last week.

According to the Burlington Free Press, Derda also considered LaSalle and Farleigh Dickenson.

“I was very indecisive about it,” Derda told the Free Press. “I went back and forth. I believe in my heart that's where I'll be the happiest.

“That's been my goal since I was a freshman – to play at a Division I school. I talked to my family and coaches and we decided it would be be better for college after a year of prep.”

Derda transferred from South Burlington to Rice after his sophomore year. She led the Green Knights to the Division I championship game in her junior and senior seasons. Rice defeated Champlain Valley 46-41 to win the Division I title when Derda was a junior. She led Rice with 14 points and 12 rebounds in that game.

Derda averaged 16.1 points, 7-2 rebounds and two blocked shots per game last season.

Derda's decision to spend a year at Tilton Prep was made, in part, because a scholarship wasn't available at St. Francis until the 2014-15 season.

ST. JOHNSBURY HIRES ALERCIO
Former Castleton State College coach Rich Alercio has been named the head football coach at St. Johnsbury Academy.

Alercio served as Castleton State's coach for the program's first two seasons, but resigned after he allegedly violated NCAA rules by arranging student loans for one of his players. Alercio will also serve as St. Johnsbury's assistant athletic director.

“I am honored to be St. Johnsbury Academy's head football coach and assistant athletic director, and am thrilled with the opportunity to have a positive impact on the lives of our student-athletes and particularly the young men in our football program,” Alercio said in a press release. “I look forward to being a part of the Hilltopper community with its dedicated and loyal fan and alumni base.”

Alericio replaces Sean Murphy, who resigned earlier this spring.

Alerico guided Castleton State, a Division III program, to a 3-6 record in 2009 and a 5-4 record in 2010.

OFFENSE CARRIES U-32
Kristen Keene collected four goals and an assist, and Maggie Lague added three goals and an assist as the U-32 girls lacrosse team improved its Division II record to 10-0 by beating Rice, 13-12, last Wednesday.

Rice (7-2-1) beat U-32 in the quarterfinals last year en route to the Division II title.

The 13-goal effort was U-32's lowest offensive output of the season. BFA-St. Albans (9-0) is the only other unbeaten team in Division II. BFA-St. Albans lost to Rice in last year's championship game.

STILL PERFECT
Essex (Division I) and BFA-Fairfax entered the week as the only unbeaten softball teams in the state.

Essex, last year's Division I champion, was 11-0 and had scored at least 10 runs in seven of those games. The Hornets had also held their opponents to two runs or fewer in eight contests.

BFA-Fairfax was 12-0 and had scored 23 runs or more four times.

TWIN-STATE BASKETBALL COACHES SELECTED
Connie LaRose of Mount Abraham (girls) and Rutland's Mike Wood (boys) will serve as the Vermont head coaches for this summer's Twin-State Basketball Classic against New Hampshire.

The basketball doubleheader will be played at Essex High School on July 13. The girls contest will begin at 6 p.m., and the boys' game is scheduled to start at 7:45.

Roger Brown is a staff writer for the New Hampshire Union Leader, and has been covering high school sports throughout New England since 1992.

New England Roundup: Vermont

May, 16, 2013
5/16/13
6:38
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The Rochester girls’ softball team was outscored 50-2 on May 4, when it lost both ends of a doubleheader against West Rutland. Rochester dropped the first game, 27-1, and lost the second contest, 23-1.

VermontA 19-2 loss to Rivendell Academy on Monday dropped the team's Division IV record to 0-7, but the news hasn't been all bad.

The doubleheader against West Rutland marked the first time Rochester had played a game at home since Hurricane Irene ruined the school's softball field in 2011.

“It was awesome to be out there,” Rochester coach Lisa Blair told The Burlington Free Press. “The players were just so excited to finally play there. The girls get a better field.”

Rochester, which won the Division IV state title in 2011, traveled to each of its games last season while a new field was constructed. Rochester's field now features a new electronic scoreboard.

LAMOTHE RETURNS TO HOME FIELD
Former Lyndon Institute pitcher Buddy Lamothe was honored before Lyndon's baseball game against Montpelier last week.

Lamothe, who led the Vikings to the Division II state title in 2009, suffered a spinal cord injury during a swimming accident two years ago that left him paralyzed from the waist down. Lamothe was playing for San Jacinto College in Texas when he was injured.

Lamothe had a 0.77 ERA with 28 strikeouts in 23 1/3 innings for San Jacinto. He was drawing interest from professional teams before the injury, and the Houston Astros picked Lamothe in the 40th round that year after the accident occurred.

MOVING UP
Girls’ lacrosse will likely have a new look next season.

The Vermont Principals' Association has proposed that BFA-St. Albans, Burr and Burton and Rice move from Division II to Division I starting in 2014. Rice and U-32 were both unbeaten after six games this season. Rice was 4-1-1.

If the proposal is approved, those three teams would join Brattleborough, Burlington, Champlain Valley Union, Essex, Middlebury, Mount Anthony, Mount Mansfield, Rutland, South Burlington and Spaulding in Division I.

Division II would have 15 teams: Chelsea, Colchester, Green Mountain Valley, Hartford, Harwood, Lamoille, Montpelier, Oxbow, Randolph, St. Johnsbury, Stowe, Stratton, U-32, Vergennes and Woodstock.

REPEAT PERFORMANCE?
The Essex softball team won the 2012 Division I state championship, and may be the team to beat again this season.

At 7-0, Essex is the only unbeaten team in Division I. The Hornets have outscored their opponents 83-17 in their seven victories.

TOUGH TO HIT
"Kayla Wood didn't allow a hit through nine innings of the Brattleborough softball team's season opener against Hartford, but the scoreless game was suspended in the 10th inning. Wood will try to complete her no-hit pitching performance when the suspended game resumes on May 29.

"Randolph Rachel Johnson had thrown two no-hitters through her team's first four games this season. Johnson, a sophomore, didn't allow a hit in victories over South Royalton and U-32.

Roger Brown is a staff writer for the New Hampshire Union Leader and has been covering high school sports throughout New England since 1992.

New England Roundup: Vermont

April, 24, 2013
4/24/13
2:55
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There was no shortage of candidates to replace Brad Parker as Champlain Valley Union's girls' soccer coach.

VermontAccording to a story in the Burlington Free Press, a five -person search committee narrowed the field to five individuals – four of whom were interviewed – before selecting former CVU boys' soccer assistant coach Stan Williams.

Williams graduated from CVU in 1989, and was an assistant coach with the CVU girls program in 2001, 2003-04 and 2010. He also served as the program's co-head coach with Parker in 2002.

Parker, who resigned in February, guided CVU to a 340-45-42 record and 11 state championships in his 25 seasons as head coach. He was selected as the national coach of the year in 1997.

“It's a program with pressure, but also a program that anybody would want to coach,” Williams told the Free Press. “It's obviously an exciting position. This job has always been something I've held out there as a job I've wanted.”

CVU has won the last two Division I titles. Fifteen players are eligible to return from last year's team.

Williams has spent the last two seasons as an assistant coach for the CVU boys soccer team. He also coached the CVU girls basketball team from 2002 to 2009.

MMU BASEBALL ADDS FAMILIAR FACE
The Mount Mansfield Union baseball team posted a 9-2 triumph over Milton in its first game under interim coach Bob Slayton, who agreed to a one-year commitment to the program when head coach Brian Chandler decided not to coach the team this spring after the birth of his second child.

Mount Mansfield appears to be in capable hands since Slayton, 66, guided MMU to four Division I state championships and 356 victories in 34 seasons before he retired in 2008.

Chandler was an assistant under Slayton for nine seasons before he became head coach when Slayton retired.

GOAL-ORIENTED
Rice Memorial's Emily Cutting recorded her 100th career varsity goal in a season-opening lacrosse victory over St. Johnsbury.

Cutting collected five goals in last year's Division III title game, a 13-11 triumph over BFA-St. Albans. She also scored five goals in Rice's second game of the season, a 10-9 loss to BFA-St. Albans. Kate Dillon scored with one second remaining to give BFA-St. Albans the victory.

ALL-STAR BASKETBALL GAMES RETURN
The Twin-State Basketball Classic, two all-star games between players from Vermont and New Hampshire, will be held July 13 at Essex High School. The girls game is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m., and the boys game will follow.

The Twin-State Basketball Classic was once a must-see event for high school basketball fans in each state, but was discontinued in 2010 after a 30-year run. The New Hampshire boys and girls each have an 18-12 edge in the series.

The rosters and coaches for each team are expected to be released in May.

WILLINGHAM HEADED TO PREP SCHOOL
Rice Memorial forward Marcus Willingham announced that he will attend Tilton (N.H.) Prep next season. Willingham had 17 points and 14 rebounds when Rice defeated St. Johnsbury in last month's Division I championship game.

Roger Brown is a staff writer for the New Hampshire Union Leader and has been covering high school sports throughout New England since 1992.

New England Roundup: Vermont

November, 28, 2012
11/28/12
11:40
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Recapping Vermont's three state championship football games:

VermontDivision I - Hartford 35, BFA-St. Albans 27: The top-seeded Hurricanes received 149 yards rushing and three touchdowns from Josh Claflin and stretched their winning streak to 26 games. Hartford has won the last three Division I titles, and five of the last six.

Hartford, which has gone 11-0 in each of the last two seasons, led 35-19 after Claflin scored his third TD with 6:08 to play, but the Bobwhites responded with a 21-yard touchdown pass from Nick Jaslowich to Darren Callan. Jaslowich added the two-point conversion to make it 35-27.

BFA-St. Albans (9-2) made things even more interesting when it recovered the onside kick, but the Bobwhites turned the ball over on downs with 2:11 remaining. Callan finished the game with six receptions for 69 yards.

Hartford became the first team to win three consecutive Division I championships.

Division II - Rice 23, Bellows Falls 14: Billy O'Brien rushed for 111 yards and two touchdowns to help top-seeded Rice complete an unbeaten season (11-0).

O'Brien's second touchdown came on a 46-yard run that increased Rice's lead to 23-14 with 5:48 to play. The Green Knights won their second championship in three years despite three fumbles and an interception in the first half.

Second-seeded Bellows Falls (9-2) trailed 16-6 before Ian McKeen scored on a 16-yard run midway through the fourth quarter.

Rice beat Bellows Falls 8-0 during the regular season.

Division III - Woodstock 38, BFA-Fairfax 18: Top-seeded Woodstock (11-0) repeated as the Division III champion, but it wasn't as easy as the score would indicate.

The Wasps trailed 12-0 before they ran an offensive play from scrimmage, and were down 18-14 entering the fourth quarter. Fullback Ed Doton scored two TDs in the fourth, the first of which gave Woodstock the lead for good with 11:51 to play. Doton rushed for 117 yards and three touchdown on 17 carries in the victory.

Kris Wehner led BFA-Fairfax (9-2) with 125 yards on 16 carries. The Bullets were making the program's first appearance in a championship game.

SOUTH STARS SHINE
Burr and Burton quarterback Jake Stalcup passed for 308 yards and four touchdowns to lead the South All-Stars to a 39-36 victory over the North All-Stars in the 12th Annual Senior Bowl at Castleton State College.

Stalcup's fourth touchdown pass came with 1:25 left in regulation and gave the South its first lead in the second half. Fair Haven's Dakota Euber caught passes for 178 yards and two TDs, including the go-ahead touchdown for the South in the fourth quarter.

The victory gave the South a 7-5 lead in the series.

Woodstock's Ed Doton (3-yard run), Hartford's Josh Claflin (10-yard run) and Rutland's Kyle Arnold (3-yard catch) also scored for the South, which trailed 36-20 with 12:05 to play.

BFA-St. Albans running back Doug Saffo rushed for 158 yards and two TDs on 26 carries to lead the North offense. Mount Abraham's Cody Alexander also scored twice.

PURRIER REMAINS ON FAST TRACK
Champlain Valley Union's Elle Purrier won her second consecutive New England high school cross country championship earlier this month in Cumberland, Maine.

Purrier, a Richford resident, completed the 3.1-mile race in 18 minutes, 42.44 seconds. CVU's Taylor Spillane ran second in 19:03.11.

Autumn Eastman, who finished eighth (19:22.68), was the only other CVU runner who placed in the top 10. The CVU girls finished third in the team competition. Barrington, R.I., won the team championship.

Mount Anthony's Marc Brandmeyer was the top finisher among Vermont boys. Brandmeyer finished sixth in 16:29.75. South Burlington's Malcolm Plunkett (eighth/16:37.34) and Montpelier's Daniel Grosvenor (10th/16:38.16) also placed in the top 10.

Bishop Hendricken of Warwick, R.I, won the boys team championship. South Burlington, Vermont's top team, ran 10th.

Roger Brown is a staff writer for the New Hampshire Union Leader. He has been covering high school sports throughout New England since 1992.

New England Roundup: Vermont

November, 9, 2012
11/09/12
5:10
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Three Vermont football teams will try to complete unbeaten seasons Saturday, when the state's three championship games will be held at South Burlington High School. Saturday's schedule:

VermontDivision II: No. 2 Bellows Falls (9-1) vs. No. 1 Rice (10-0), 11 a.m.

Division III: No. 2 BFA-Fairfax (9-1) vs. No. 1 Woodstock (10-0), 2 p.m.

Division I: No. 2 BFA-St. Albans (9-1) vs. No. 1 Hartford (10-0), 5 p.m.

BELLOWS FALLS VS. RICE
Noteworthy: Rice is making its second appearance in the Division II championship game in the last three years. … The Green Knights beat fourth-seeded Burr and Burton, 36-14, in the semifinals. Burr and Burton led 14-6 in the third quarter, but allowed 30 points in the second half. Casey Tipson (134) and Billy O'Brien (121) each rushed for more than 100 yards in the victory. … Bellows Falls earned a spot in the championship game by beating third-seeded Milton in the semifinals. … Rice beat Bellows Falls 8-0 during the regular season. … Each program won a state championship two years ago. Rice defeated Middlebury to win the Division II title, and Bellows Falls defeated Windsor in the Division III championship game.

BFA-FAIRFAX VS. WOODSTOCK
Noteworthy: This will be the first championship game appearance for the BFA-Fairfax program. … Although it had three punts blocked, BFA-Fairfax beat third-seeded Mill River in the semifinals. Kris Wehner returned the second-half kickoff 87 yards for a TD, and threw a halfback pass for a touchdown in that victory. … Woodstock, which won last year's Division III championship, received three touchdowns from Ed Doton in a 58-7 triumph over fourth-seeded Mount Abraham in the semifinals. Doton ran for two touchdowns and caught a TD pass when Woodstock opened the season with a 48-19 victory over BFA-Fairfax.

BFA-ST. ALBANS vs. HARTFORD
Noteworthy: Hartford owns a 24-game winning streak and is seeking its third consecutive state title, and its fifth in the last six years. … Hartford won the regular-season meeting, 33-7, at home. … BFA-St. Albans advanced to the championship game by beating Essex, 35-6, in the semifinals. Hartford posted a 42-6 triumph over Middlebury in the semifinals. Hartford beat Middlebury in last year's championship game. … Hartford running back Josh Claflin has scored at least three touchdowns in each of the last three games, and has 20 TDs this season. … BFA-St. Albans is the last team that beat Hartford (42-0 in 2010). Hartford avenged that loss by beating the Bobwhites in the 2010 championship game. … Hartford has outscored its opponents, 372-100.

CORNER KICKS
No team dominated the competition like the Peoples Academy girls did this season. Katie Stames scored four goals as top-seeded Peoples completed an 18-0 season by beating second-seeded BFA-Fairfax 9-0 in the Division III championship game. Stames finished the season with 43 goals. Junior Hannah Merriman collected three goals and two assists for the Wolves, who won their fifth title in the last seven seasons. Peoples owns a 32-game winning streak and has outscored its opponents 174-11 in those 32 contests. ...Burr and Burton defeated Montpelier 2-1 to win its second consecutive Division II boys soccer championship. Each team entered the championship game with a 17-0 record. It was a 1-1 game until sophomore Reid Conde scored his team-high 16th goal of the season with 10:04 to play. … Champlain Valley Union won the boys and girls Division I soccer championships. Shane Haley scored 1:15 into overtime to lift the second-seeded CVU boys to a 1-0 victory over fifth-seeded Burlington. CVU finished the season with a 16-1-1 record and outscored its opponents, 70-7. The Redhawks didn't allow a goal in 11 of their 18 games. The second-seeded CVU girls claimed the title when Emma Davitt scored on a penalty kick in overtime to give the Redhawks a 2-1 victory over top-seeded Essex. Each team finished 16-1-1.

Roger Brown is a staff writer for the New Hampshire Union Leader and has been covering high school sports throughout New England since 1992.

New England Roundup: Vermont

October, 23, 2012
10/23/12
2:34
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The playoff pairings for Division I football were released this week, and there was no surprise at the top.

VermontHartford, which punctuated an unbeaten regular season by defeating Rutland 47-37 last weekend, earned the No. 1 seed. The Hurricanes own a 23-game winning streak and have won four of the last five Division I titles.

Hartford, which went 8-0 during the regular season, has outscored its opponents 284-100 this year. The Hurricanes will face eighth-seeded South Burlington in Friday's quarterfinals. It will be the fifth time in the last six years that the teams have met in the postseason. Hartford is seeking its third consecutive state championship.

Friday's quarterfinals, (all games at 7 p.m.):

No. 8 South Burlington (4-4) at No. 1 Hartford (8-0)
No. 7 Champlain Valley (5-3) at No. 2 BFA-St. Albans (7-1)
No. 6 Colchester (5-3) at No. 3 Essex (6-2)
No. 5 Middlebury (5-3) at No. 4 Rutland (5-3)

The six teams that did not qualify for postseason play will play consolation games this weekend:

Friday:

Spaulding at Mount Anthony, Friday (7 p.m.)
St. Johnsbury at Burlington, Friday (7 p.m.)
Brattleboro at Mount Mansfield, Saturday (1 p.m.)

Note: The Division II and Division III playoff pairings will be released next week.

TOURNAMENT TIME
The playoffs in each of the state's four divisions for boys' soccer, girls' soccer and field hockey begin Tuesday. A look at the contenders in each division, by sport:

Boys' soccer: Middlebury earned the No. 1 seed in Division I, but second-seeded Champlain Valley (12-1-1) may be the team to beat. CVU's Shane Haley scored 20 goals during the regular season. … Montpelier and Burr and Burton were the preseason favorites in Division II, and both will enter the postseason unbeaten (14-0-0). Burr and Burton, which won last year's championship, is the top seed. … Defending champion Peoples Academy (10-2-2) earned the No. 1 seed in Division III, and didn't allow a goal in eight of its 14 regular-season contests. … Proctor (12-1-1) is the No. 1 seed in Division IV, but lost to second-seeded Twin Valley (11-3) earlier this season.

Girls' soccer: Top-seeded Essex (13-0-1) is the first Division I team to enter the postseason unbeaten in seven years. Second-seeded Champlain Valley (12-1-1) returned many key players from the team that won last year's Division I championship. … Montpelier is the top seed in Division II. The Solons (10-2-0) earned a first-round bye. … Peoples Academy (13-0-0) will be attempting to win its fifth Division III title in the last seven years. The Wolves have outscored their opponents 75-4 this season. … Proctor (13-0-1) is the top-seeded team in Division IV, and is one of three unbeaten girls teams in the state. The Phantoms allowed eight goals in their 14 games.

Field hockey: Top-seeded South Burlington (12-1-1) lost to Middlebury in last year's Division I championship game, and will be looking to take another step forward this year. … Division II might be the most competitive of the three divisions. Windsor (13-0-2) and U-32 (13-1-0) are the No. 1 and No. 2 seeded teams, respectively, but third seeded Mt. Abraham (9-4-1) is the only team that beat Division I South Burlington this season. Harwood (9-4-1), the No. 4 seed, won last year's championship. … Top-seeded Rice (12-0-1) is the clear favorite in Division III. The Green Knights won 11 of their 12 games by shutout, and have allowed one goal during the regular season.

WEBB SIGHTING
Mount Anthony Union junior Jesse Webb earned himself another trophy Sunday when he won the 285-pound (heavyweight) wrestling championship at the Super 32 Challenge in Greensboro, N.C.

Webb won the title by posting a 9-4 victory over Pennsylvania's Luke Fleck in the 285-pound final. He became the first Vermont representative to win a championship at the event, which featured wrestlers from 26 states.

Webb earned state championships in his weight class as a freshman and a sophomore. He had a bye Saturday, and won three matches Sunday to earn the title.

Roger Brown is a staff writer for the New Hampshire Union Leader and has been covering high school sports throughout New England since 1992.

New England Roundup: Vermont

October, 4, 2012
10/04/12
12:00
PM ET
So much for all of the hype. The marquee high school football game played in Vermont last weekend was decided before halftime.

VermontWoodstock, last year's Division III state champion, built a 40-point lead in the first half and breezed to a 47-6 road triumph over Poultney.

Each team entered the contest with a 4-0 record, but the game was so one-sided running time was used in the fourth quarter. Poultney was coming off a 55-34 victory over Division II Fair Haven, an outcome that had many believing the Blue Devils could upset the Wasps.

Woodstock fullback Ed Doton rushed for 134 yards and two touchdowns on nine carries – all in the first half.

Poultney's lead grew to 47-0 when Tom Bauman returned the second-half kickoff 79 yards for a touchdown and Hunter Schmell added the point-after kick.

Woodstock has scored at least 42 points in each of its five victories, and is averaging 43 points per game.

“We have to put it behind us,” Poultney coach Dave Capman told the Rutland Herald. “We know we are a good team, but once it started pouring we couldn't stop it. And Woodstock is a very good team.”

Poultney fullback Tyler Rice rushed for 111 yards on 16 carries. Rice ran for four touchdowns and had a touchdown catch in Poultney's victory over Fair Haven.

Vermont High School Football Standings
Each team's record and Quality Point Rating (QPR), which determines playoff seedings in each division, is listed in parenthesis.

Division I
Hartford (5-0, 8.750)
Rutland (4-1, 7.750)
BFA-St. Albans (4-1, 7.750)
Essex (4-0, 7.000)
Champlain Valley (3-2, 4.500)
Colchester (3-2, 4.500)
South Burlington (3-2, 4.500)
Middlebury (3-2, 4.375)
Mount Mansfield (1-4, 2.250)
St. Johnsbury (1-3, 1.500)
Burlington (1-4, 1.500)
Mount Anthony (1-4, 1.500)
Brattleboro (1-4, 1.500)
Spaulding (1-3, 0.875)

Division II
Rice (5-0, 6.222)
Lyndon (5-0, 5.222)
Bellows Falls (4-1, 4.667)
Milton (3-2, 3.222)
Fair Haven (3-2, 2.778)
Burr and Burton (2-3, 2.111)
Otter Valley (2-3, 1.778)
U-32 (1-4, 0.778)
North Country (0-5, 0.000)
Springfield (0-5, 0.000)

Division III
Woodstock (5-0, 5.667)
BFA-Fairfax (4-1, 3.556)
Mill River (4-1, 3.556)
Poultney (4-1, 3.556)
Mount Abraham (3-2, 2.333)
Windsor (2-3, 1.333)
Oxbow (1-4, 0.778)
Winooski (1-4, 0.778)
Mount St. Joseph (1-4, 0.556)
Montpelier (0-5, 0.000)

TEAM EFFORT
The Colchester boys' soccer team won its first eight games, and balanced scoring was one of the main reasons for the team's early success.

Through those eight games nine different players had scored at least one goal, and there were 14 played who had collected at least one point.

The team's balanced attack was never more evident than when seven different players scored in a 7-1 victory over Mount Mansfield.

'CAT WOMAN
Camille Rainville, a senior on the Missisquoi field hockey team, has committed to play field hockey at the University of Vermont. The Catamounts are a Division I program that competes in the America East Conference.

Rainville finished the 2011 season with 21 goals and 14 assists. She helped Missisquoi win the Division III state championship. She is also a member of Missisquoi's girls' ice hockey team.

When Missisquoi defeated Stowe 2-1 in last year's Division III championship game it gave the school its first Division III championship in any sport.

Roger Brown is a staff writer for the New Hampshire Union Leader. He has been covering high school sports throughout New England since 1992.

New England Roundup: Vermont

September, 6, 2012
9/06/12
12:36
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It’s been a long time since David Ball has heard the roar of the crowd at Spaulding High School’s Pendo Field, but he’s hoping the home fans will have plenty to cheer about Saturday.

VermontBall, a three-sport athlete at Spaulding who went on to a record-setting football career as a wide receiver at the University of New Hampshire, was hired as Spaulding’s varsity football coach in July.

Spaulding was winless in 2011, but Ball guided the Crimson Tide to a 28-16 season-opening victory over North Country last Friday. Up next: Saturday’s home opener against Colchester in Barre.

“I knew I would coach, but I didn’t know when,” Ball said. “And I didn’t know I would start as a head coach. Some top candidates fell through, and some other candidates were in the picture, but [the school] wanted more. They knew I was there – I was in town.

“I haven’t coached anywhere but camps. My experience has been my coaching 101.”

His experience includes a four-year career at UNH, where he broke Jerry Rice’s FCS (I-AA) record for career touchdown receptions. Ball, 28, left UNH with 304 career receptions, 4,655 receiving yards and 58 touchdown catches (Rice’s record was 50).

UNH wasn’t on Ball’s radar when he graduated from high school in 2002. In addition to playing football at Spaulding, Ball was a 1,000-point scorer in basketball and a record-setting high jumper on the track and field team. He planned to participate in those three sports at Division III Worcester State College until a few of his friends persuaded him to join them for a year of prep school at Worcester Academy.

His time at Worcester Academy – former Hawaii quarterback Colt Brennan was his QB there -- led him to UNH, where he earned a scholarship from head coach Sean McDonnell after his second practice.

Ball spent time with the Chicago Bears, New York Jets and three Canadian Football League teams before he turned his attention to teaching, and landed a physical education position at Spaulding. A short time later he added “varsity football coach” to his resume.

Spaulding is running a spread, no-huddle offense similar to the one Ball played in at UNH. Quarterback Jon Kilian scored four touchdowns – three rushing and one on an interception return – in Spaulding’s victory over North Country.

“The heart my boys went out there with was impressive,” Ball said. “It was one of the top highlights of my career.”

Ball, who has two assistant coaches, said among his biggest challenges is convincing more students to join the football team. Spaulding, a Division I school, currently has 46 players on its roster (JV and varsity). Of course it helps when the head coach played in the same program and is one of the most famous athletes the state has produced.

“I have players come up to me and say, ‘Do you remember signing an autograph for me when I was 11?” Ball said. “There’s no doubt it helps when you’ve had a lot of success inside those walls.

“It’s our job to put a team on the field that can compete.”

BIG-GAME HUNTING
Week 2 of the high school football season could provide two of the best matchups of the year. Hartford, which has won the last two Division I championships, will face BFA-St. Albans, and Middlebury will meet Essex. Both games will be played Friday night.

These are the top four teams in the state, as ranked by the Burlington Free Press.

Hartford had a scare in its opener, but posted a 13-7 victory over Colchester. The Hurricanes will be facing a BFA-St. Albans team that received two rushing touchdowns from Doug Saffo in a 26-6 triumph over St. Johnsbury Academy last weekend. These programs met in the 2010 Division I state championship game.

Quarterback Tyler Provencher passed for two touchdowns to lead Middlebury to a 28-6 victory over Mount Mansfield last Friday. The Tigers will be up against an Essex team that performed well in the Northeast 7-on-7 tournament in New Hampshire and Massachusetts in June. Essex opened its season by beating Brattleboro, 48-7.

CHAMPIONSHIP SITE MOVED
Vermont's three state championship football games will be played at South Burlington High School this year.

The championship games have been held at Castleton State College in each of the last two years, but the Castleton State football team has a home game scheduled for Nov. 10, which is when the football tripleheader is also scheduled to be played.

Roger Brown is a staff writer for the New Hampshire Union Leader and has been covering high school sports throughout New England since 1992.

New England Roundup: Vermont

June, 25, 2012
6/25/12
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Frank Pecora's last season as the Northfield High School varsity baseball coach ended like many others: with a state championship.

VermontTop-seeded Northfield defeated second-seeded Blue Mountain 10-1 in the Division III championship game earlier this month. The victory gave Pecora his 15th state championship during his 38-year coaching tenure at Northfield.

After the contest Pecora made it clear that this season was his last.

“That [the 15 titles] says a lot for all the kids who played in this program,” Pecora told The Burlington Free Press. “I coached half their parents. Well, I always said that the first kid that walked up to me and said, 'My grandfather played for you.' I was handing him the keys.

“We haven't gotten to that point, but we're pretty close. It's been an awesome ride.”

Northfield's Billy Whaley pitched a complete game against Blue Mountain. He allowed two hits, and struck out 10.

Zach Daley collected three hits and had three of Northfield's seven stolen bases.

Northfield completed its season with a 17-1 record, which pushed Pecora's career record to 488-157-1. The Marauders had one losing season during his 38 years as the program's head coach.

Recapping Vermont's other state championship games:

Division I: Champlain Valley Union pitcher Curt Echo didn't allow a baserunner until the fifth inning as second-seeded CVU beat fifth-seeded BFA-St. Albans, 5-0.

CVU (18-2) scored four of its five runs in the third inning. Echo went the distance and allowed three hits.

Division II: Second-seeded Vergennes overcame a 3-0 deficit by scoring four runs in the sixth inning and hung on to defeat 13th-seeded Missisquoi Valley, 4-3.

Devin Hayes scored the go-ahead run on Tommy Shea's infield single. Vergennes finished with a 15-5 record. Missisquoi Valley, the first 13th seed to reach the Division I championship game, ended up with an 8-12 record.

Division IV: Top-seeded Danville scored during five of its six at-bats and repeated as the Division IV champion by beating third-seeded Mount St. Joseph 12-0.

Scott Remick, Brett Elliot and Erick Remick each had two hits and scored twice for Danville, which finished its season with a 13-5 record. Danville's Kyle Johnson pitched a three-hit shutout and struck out 10.

SOFTBALL: PROCTOR GIRLS FIND A WAY
Fifth-seeded Proctor scored four runs in the first inning without a base hit and hung on to defeat third-seeded Whitcomb 4-3 in the Division IV championship game.

Proctor's first inning featured three walks, one hit batter and two Whitcomb errors. Proctor completed its season with a 17-3 record. Whitcomb finished 15-3.

Division I: Jordi Begin broke a 2-2 tie by hitting a home run in the bottom of the fourth and top-seeded Essex went on to beat second-seeded BFA-St. Albans 6-3.

Division II: Freshman Kayla Mathieu struck out 13 and held Lyndon to three hits to help BFA-Fairfax post a 4-1 victory. It was the program's first Division II state championship, and first title since 1981 (Division III).

Division III: People's did all of its scoring in the sixth inning and won its second title in as many years by beating Windsor 3-1. It was the program's 11th state championship.

BOYS' LACROSSE: REBELS SHOW GOOD TIMING
Second-seeded South Burlington lost to top-seeded Essex twice during the regular season, but the Rebels defeated the Hornets 9-7 when the teams met in the Division I championship game.

Dan Cone scored three goals for South Burlington, which finished with a 17-2 record. Essex, which beat South Burlington 5-4 and 6-3 earlier in the year, ended its season 16-3. The team's two other losses came against out-of-state competition.

In the Division II title game, Hans Halvorsen tied the game by scoring with less than a second remaining in regulation and teammate Graham Quisenberry scored 23 seconds into overtime to give second-seeded Green Mountain Valley an 8-7 triumph over fifth-seeded Colchester.

GIRLS' LACROSSE: REPEAT PERFORMANCE IN DIVISION I
Anne-Marie Farmer and Sarah Fisher each collected three goals and an assist to lead top-seeded South Burlington to a 14-11 victory over second-seeded Middlebury in the Division I championship game.

South Burlington also beat Middlebury to win last year's Division I title. The teams split two regular-season meetings.

In the Division II title game, top-seeded Rice extended its winning streak to 13 games by beating seventh-seeded BFA-St. Albans 13-11. Junior Emily Cutting scored five goals for the Green Knights.

GRIBBON JUMPS FOR JOY
South Burlington's Mollie Gribbin won the triple jump (39 feet, 4.75 inches) at the 67th New England Track and Field Championship, which was held June 9 at Thornton Academy in Saco, Maine.

Gribbin also finished fourth in the long jump (17-9.25), sixth in the 100-meter dash (12.29) and sixth in the 200 (25-11).

St. Johnsbury's Elijah Doerfler picked up Vermont's other victory. Doerfler won the javelin (185-10).

Roger Brown is a staff writer for the New Hampshire Union Leader and has been reporting on high school sports throughout New England since 1992.

New England Roundup: Vermont

May, 25, 2012
5/25/12
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Who's the team to beat in Division I softball this season?

VermontThat's the question some were debating before last Friday's game between Essex High School and BFA-St. Albans. Each team entered the contest with a 12-0 record.

Essex seemed to put the argument to rest by posting a 12-0 victory.

Senior Alexis Perry carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning, and settled for a two-hitter with eight strikeouts. The Hornets scored in every inning.

Essex owned a 15-0 record entering Thursday's game against North Country. It was the team's final regular-season contest.

Perry, who will play softball at Division II Merrimack College, is what separates Essex from the state's other top teams. Through 11 games she had 106 strikeouts in 54 innings, and was batting .591. She has a 45-4 record in her high school career

“She's a hard-worker,” Essex co-head coach Bill O'Neil told the Burlington Free Press earlier this season. “She's not one to just sit on what she's got – she's always looking to get better.”

Perry pitched a perfect game when Essex defeated Middlebury 3-0 on May 12. She struck out 12 and threw 74 pitches in the victory.

Eight of the Hornets' 15 victories have come by shutout. The team has allowed more than one run twice this season – victories over Milton (13-3) and Mt. Abraham (6-2).

Essex won the state title in Perry's freshman season, but dropped 1-0 decisions to Brattleboro in the 2010 and 2011 playoffs. Perry pitched a no-hitter in the loss to Brattleboro last year.

“We are not going to lose to them 1-0 again,” Perry told the Free Press. “This is our year.”

MORE SOFT TOSS
The Burlington softball team hasn't won a postseason game in 15 years – a play-in victory over Rice – but that may change this spring.

Despite suffering back-to-back losses against Milton and Essex, Burlington is 10-5 entering its final regular-season game Thursday (at BFA-St. Albans).

The Seahorses, who do not have a senior on their roster, strung together nine consecutive wins earlier this season.

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New England Roundup: Vermont

March, 16, 2012
3/16/12
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Defense carried the BFA-St. Albans boys hockey team to this year's Division I championship game, and it was defense, more than anything else, that allowed the Bobwhites to claim the program's 16th state title.

VermontJunior goaltender Andre Morin made 20 saves as third-seeded BFA-St. Albans defeated fifth-seeded Colchester 5-1 in the Division I final played Tuesday night at the University of Vermont's Gutterson Fieldhouse.

The Bobwhites (19-4-0) allowed three goals in their three tournament games, which included victories over Rice (6-0) and North Country (3-2).

Taylor Raftery, Mike Schreiner and Peter Dukas provided the offense for BFA-St. Albans, which beat Colchester (15-8-1) for the third time this season.

Ryan Francis scored for Colchester, which needed five overtimes to defeat Essex in the semifinals.

Second-seeded U-32 dominated Tuesday's Division II championship game and skated to a 5-1 triumph over top-seeded Northfield.

Andrew Danyew, Forrest Smith, Kyle Ferguson, Colvin Rice and Kyle Elliott scored for the Raiders (18-3-2), who spit two regular-season games against Northfield.

Billy Whaley scored for Northfield (20-3-0).

ESSEX, BURR & BURTON FINISH ON TOP
Vermont's girls hockey season ended Monday night, when Essex and Burr & Burton each won a state title at Gutterson Fieldhouse.

Fifth-seeded Essex earned the Division I championship by beating third-seeded South Burlington 2-1; and top-seeded Burr & Burton won the Division II title with a 4-1 triumph over third-seeded Stowe.

Essex (13-8-2) and South Burlington (15-5-4) were tied entering the third period, when Melissa Moldovan collected what turned out to be the game-winning goal shortly after an Essex power-play opportunity had expired.

Freshman goaltender Victoria Gibson made 15 saves for the Hornets, who beat South Burlington in two of three regular-season meetings. All three Essex wins came by one goal.

Julia Hudson scored South Burlington's goal.

Freshman Abby Marmer scored twice in Burr & Burton's victory. Marmer finished the season with a team-high 23 goals.

Junior Erin Thompson and freshman Jordan Harmon also scored for the Bulldogs, who raised their record to 21-1-0. Burr & Burton received 16 saves from junior goaltender Meg Chandler.

Sam Haab scored for Stowe (18-4-1).

LOTS OF HOOPLA
Recaps of Vermont's four boys basketball championship games:

Division I: Tom Lacy scored 11 points and pulled down 10 rebounds as top-seeded Mount Mansfield defeated second-seeded Rice 41-34.

Mount Mansfield (23-1) also received nine points from Troy Springer – all in the second half – and eight points and eight rebounds from Eric Suder.

Casey Tipson scored a game-high 16 points for Rice, which led by five at halftime. Tim Rensch added nine points and 14 rebounds for Rice, which won last year's title.

Mount Mansfield took control by outscoring Rice (22-2) 16-4 in the third quarter.

Division II: An 18-6 run in the the third quarter helped top-seeded Mount St. Joseph defeat top-seeded Vergennes 56-48.

Shannon Murray tossed in a game-high 13 points for MSJ, which won its first title since claiming the Division I championship in 1999. John Dewey (12) and Matthew Sanborn (10) also scored in double digits for MSJ (22-2).

Shep Carter led Vergennes (21-3) with 15.

Division III: Fifth-seeded Williamstown capped a strong postseason run with a 66-42 upset victory over second-seeded Rivendell (16-7).

It was the second title in three years for Williamstown, which won the Division IV championship in 2010. Williamstown made 27 of 43 free throw attempts in the victory.

Seth Atherton (18) and Jason Manwaring (16 points, seven rebounds) were Williamstown's leading scorers. Dylan Pelletier (16) led Rivendell (21-3).

It was the third meeting between the teams. Rivendell won both regular-season meetings.

Division IV: David Codling scored 17 points and grabbed 10 rebounds as top-seeded Twinfield beat third-seeded Danville 61-52.

Twinfield (22-2) also defeated Danville (18-6) twice during the regular season, and in last year's championship game.

Avery Whitcomb scored 15 points for Twinfield, which also received 12 points and 10 rebounds from Chad Copeland.

Tony Burrington (20) and Kyle Johnson (14) led Danville.

ILLINGWORTH WINS GATORADE AWARD
Hartford's Sarah Illingworth, a 6-foot-1 senior center, has been selected as Vermont's Gatorade Player of the Year for girls basketball. She is the first girls player from Hartford to win the award, which is based on athletic excellence, academic success and high character.

Illingworth averaged 12.8 points, 10.3 rebounds and 1.4 steals during the Division II regular season. She will continue her basketball career at UMass-Lowell next season.

Roger Brown is a freelance writer who has been covering high school sports throughout New England since 1992.

New England Roundup: Vermont

February, 28, 2012
2/28/12
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In recent years Vermont's head coach for the Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl has looked like someone about to start a fistfight wearing handcuffs.

VermontNew Hampshire has nearly twice as many schools with varsity football as Vermont, and that usually translates into more talent on the field. Rutland's Mike Norman, Vermont's head coach for this summer's game, will be trying to end New Hampshire's 11-game winning streak.

“Having done this a couple times, I know we're not gonna have as many big kids or skill kids as New Hampshire,” Norman said when the Vermont roster for this year's game was announced last week. “You have to have kids who are willing to stand up to New Hampshire during the game.”

This year's contest will be played Aug. 4 at Dartmouth College. New Hampshire leads the series 43-13-2.

Norman, who has guided Rutland to seven state championships, coached the Vermont Shrine team in 1998 and 2001. Vermont won 21-13 in 1998, and New Hampshire prevailed 21-0 in 2001.

“We're gonna try to do what we do – and what that is remains to be seen,” Norman said. “I know we'll have to defend the run, have a solid kicking game and be able to run the ball enough to make them defend it.”

Mike Beliveau, the head coach at Souhegan High School in Amherst, will be New Hampshire's head coach. Believeau was New Hampshire's head coach in 2000, when Vermont posted a 47-40 victory. It was the highest-scoring game in the event's history.

Beliveau has led Souhegan to four state championships and 14 championship game appearances in the last 14 seasons.

“For me the priority was to put together a quality offensive line,” Beliveau said. “The second thing I was looking for was a couple of quarterbacks who would be able to pick up the offense quickly.”

New Hampshire has prevailed by using a power running game the last few years, but Beliveau said New Hampshire fans can expect to see his team throw the ball often this summer.

“We will be different than the last few New Hampshire Shrine teams, when their were 60 snaps and maybe five or six passes,” Beliveau said. “We'll be way more balanced than that.”

Hartford's Tucker Stone, a three-year starter, and Fair Haven's Robert Coloutti will be Vermont's quarterbacks. Each led their team to a state championship last season.

“A lot of this game is gonna be determined by who your quarterbacks are,” Norman said. “We think we have two pretty good ones.”

Practice for this year's game will begin July 26 at Kimball Union Academy in Meriden.

“I like the overall athleticism of the group,” Norman said. “We have kids who will compete, and that's important against New Hampshire.”

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New England Roundup: Vermont

January, 20, 2012
1/20/12
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BFA-St. Albans softball coach Bert Berthiaume is one of 20 coaches from across the country who have been selected 2011 National Coaches of the Year by the National Federation of High School (NFHS) Coaches' Association.

VermontBerthiaume will be entering his 25th season as the Comets' softball coach this spring. His teams have reached the Division I final 13 times and have won six state championships.

Other Vermont coaches who have been named national coach of the year by the NFHS include Mill River softball coach Shirley Brusso (2007), Essex hockey coach Bill O'Neil (2006) and Hartford field hockey coach Heather Scudder (2004).

O'Neil, who also coaches softball at Essex, has met Berthiaume's BFA-St. Albans teams in the Division I championship game three times (2005-07). The Comets won two of those three meetings.

“He sets the bar for every other coach in the state,” O'Neil told the St. Albans Messenger. “He is the master and the guru who teaches and coaches his players with an intensity, sensitivity and passion that leads them down the path of success.”

BFA-St. Albans athletic director Bob Marlow nominated Berthiaume for the award.

The NFHS, which has been recognizing coaches through an awards program since 1982, honors coaches in the top 10 girls sports and top 10 boys sports (by participation numbers). Winners of NFHS awards must be active coaches during the year in which they receive their award. This year’s awards recognize coaches for the 2010-11 school year.

Berthiaume also coaches junior varsity girls soccer and junior varsity girls basketball at BFA-St. Albans. He has coached each of those sports at the varsity level as well.

Berthiaume will be honored at the Vermont Principals' Association's annual Hall of Fame banquet in May.

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New England Roundup: Vermont

November, 16, 2011
11/16/11
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Woodstock Union High School football coach Jim McLaughlin won the 200th game of his coaching career Saturday, and it couldn't have come at a better time.

VermontMcLaughlin guided top-seeded Woodstock to a 27-7 victory over third-seeded Windsor in the Division III championship game at Castleton State College. It was the eighth state title McLaughlin's teams have won in his 30 years as a head coach.

Junior fullback Ed Doton did most of the damage for Woodstock, which began the season with back-to-back losses before winning nine in a row. Doton rushed for 255 yards and three touchdowns.

“If you look at it as a puzzle, the pieces really came together for us as the season went along,” McLaughlin said.

Woodstock, which led 14-0 at halftime, held Windsor running back Matt Rafus to 40 yards on 14 carries. Rafus finished the season with 1,881 yards rushing and 27 touchdowns.

Windsor's only touchdown came on a blocked field goal attempt that Ethan Hill returned 75 yards. Windsor completed its season with a 7-4 record.

In Saturday's other championship games top-seeded Hartford beat third-seeded Middlebury 42-6 to win the Division I title; and third-seeded Fair Haven outscored fourth-seeded Burr and Burton 57-34 to win the Division II title.

Hartford 42, Middlebury 6
Hartford dominated on both sides of the ball and won its fourth championship in the last five years.

Miles Latham rushed for 102 yards and two touchdowns, and Troy Bell ran for 109 yards to help the Hurricanes completed an unbeaten season (11-0). Hartford scored four second-half touchdowns.

Middlebury (9-2) played without quarterback Dillon Robinson, who was injured in the team's semifinal victory over BFA-St. Albans. Middlebury's only touchdown came when Marshall Hastings returned a kickoff 79 yards for a score.

Hartford, which had a 444-88 edge in net offense, outscored its opponents 508-112 this season.

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New England Roundup: Vermont

November, 3, 2011
11/03/11
1:54
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Fair Haven Union quarterback Robert Coloutti made a mistake that could have haunted him for the rest of his life.

VermontColoutti was called for two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties and was ejected following a touchdown during last Saturday's game against Otter Valley. An ejection often results in a one-game suspension, which meant Coloutti could miss his team's Division II semifinal at Milton on Friday.

The Vermont Principals' Association ruled Tuesday that Coloutti will not have to serve a suspension, however, and will be allowed to play in Friday night's playoff game.

“Based on the information that was gathered, there will be no further suspension,” VPA associate director Bob Johnson told the Burlington Free Press. “When there’s an ejection, if a school wants to contest, they notify me. This happens routinely; not a new case. In soccer this year, we’ve had at least eight and of those eight times, at least half of those decisions were changed.”

Second-seeded Milton (7-2) sacked Coloutti five times during a 28-19 victory over third-seeded Fair Haven (7-2) during the regular season. Coloutti completed 19 of 41 passes for 203 yards and two touchdowns in the loss. He also ran for a touchdown.

The Milton/Fair Haven winner will face either top-seeded North Country (9-0) or fourth-seeded Burr and Burton (6-3) in the Division II championship game.

North Country received two rushing touchdowns from Nick LeClair and beat Burr & Burton 36-26 during the regular season. Burr & Burton quarterback Jake Stalcup completed 23 of 37 passes for 297 yards and two touchdowns in the loss.

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