There’s been a lot of chalk drawn through the high school girls soccer playoff brackets this year, with the top seed present in all the championship games and the second seed advancing to three of the four finals.
That should make for compelling action across the state Saturday morning. The Division I final will be contested at Burlington High School while Division II is at Randolph High School, Division III at Williamstown High School and Division IV at South Royalton High School. All four games are scheduled to start at 10 a.m. Here’s a look at the matchups in the lower three divisions:
(2) Springfield (14-2-1)
vs. (1) Montpelier (13-2)
A Montpelier team loaded with 10 seniors and two juniors has been on a redemption tour after early exits the past few years.
“This group is definitely motivated,” Montpelier coach Eric Bagley said.
Since claiming the crown in 2008, the Solons suffered three consecutive semifinal defeats as the top seed before falling to Mill River last year as the No. 3 seed in the quarterfinals, a 1-0 defeat despite having a 32-2 edge in shots.
Annie Jones’ 13 goals and nine assists paces a balanced attack for Montpelier, which hasn’t given up a goal in 11 straight contests. The Solons only losses are to Division I Burlington and Division II Peoples Academy.
Springfield makes its first trip to the final since 1989.
(2) BFA-Fairfax (16-1)
vs. (1) Peoples (17-0)
BFA coach Geri Witalec said for the first time in her coaching career she’s giving the “David-vs.-Goliath” pep talk to her players.
In other words, BFA has a tall task when it faces Peoples Academy, the high-powered defending champions who ride in on a 31-game winning streak. Vying for their fourth title in five years, the Wolves have outscored their competition by 102-4 this season, with Katie Stames and Hannah Merriam the main engines of the buzz saw.
“This is the best team I’ve ever had,” PA coach Jim Eisenhardt admitted.
BFA, paced by the 1-2 punch of Anissa Hartman and Morgan Young, has reeled off 13 straight wins since falling to Division II Mount Abraham on Sept. 14.
“We need to play aggressively against them,” Witalec said. “We need to play 80 minutes of soccer without fear. Obviously, we are coming in as the underdog but at this point anything can happen.”
(3) Black River (13-4)
vs. (1) Proctor (16-0-1)
Proctor will try to defend its title and cap an undefeated season when it takes on a Black River squad searching for its first crown since 2008.
The teams have played three times against each other this season, with Proctor winning 6-0, 4-1 and 2-0.
Abby McKearin scored three goals for Proctor in a 5-0 semifinal win over Arlington, which was a rematch of last year’s title game that the Phantoms won in overtime.