Wolves, Presidents bidding for repeat championships

Wolves, Presidents bidding for repeat championships


Wolves, Presidents bidding for repeat championships


A season full of milestones for the Peoples Academy girls soccer team could end with two more on Saturday.

The top-seeded Wolves (17-0), set to square off with No. 3 Thetford (14-3) in the Division III final, have their sights set on the program’s third straight state championship — the fifth in six seasons — and could cap the run with what would be their 50th win in a row. Saturday’s game is 1 p.m. at Williamstown High School.

“I have them write down personal goals and team downs for the end of the year. Every player on our team wanted to be back in the finals and win the finals,” Peoples coach Jim Eisenhardt said. “I just want to get there — getting there is the tough part.”

Peoples found its groove in the second half of the season, which included a 5-1 win at Thetford in the teams’ only meeting this year.

Seniors Katie Stames (33 goals, 20 assists) and Hannah Merriam (26 goals, 24 assists) power the Wolves’ attack along with junior Kelli Grimes and freshman Jamie Barrett, who each have nine goals and four assists.

Stames and Merriam, Nos. 1 and 2 in the program’s career scoring charts, and are part of a senior class that has gone 62-5-2 in its career. A final coronation requires one last win against the likes of Thetford attackers Shyann Josler and Mikayla Pomeroy, as well as athletic goalkeeper Ella Chapman.

“We aren’t going to take them lightly, that’s for sure,” Eisenhardt said of the Panthers. “They’re athletic and they work very hard. We have to match their intensity because they always play us tough.”

Division II

Among the most decorated teams in Division II girls soccer, 11-time state champion Milton (13-3-1) meets a top-seeded Mill River (16-1) side headed to the second state final in program history.

Saturday’s 10 a.m. title game at Randolph will be the third for the No. 3 Yellowjackets’ seniors, who are aiming for their second crown in three years.

“Freshman year was a completely different thought process. We were freshmen, it was fun, but we didn’t really understand how serious and how important it was,” senior Addison Wennar said. “Now we’re seniors and it’s happening again. So it’s really, really, really a good experience.”

The latest win in the Minutemen’s current eight-game win streak was a 3-2 triumph in Tuesday’s semifinal against No. 7 Harwood, spearheaded by freshman forward Ella Bankert’s three-goals-in-six-minutes outburst in the second half to erase a one-goal deficit.

Senior Brooke Phillips has paced Milton with 21 goals and 13 assists, while Erin Turner has 12 tallies and eight helpers.

“We’re going to try to go at each other in some small-sided games, full scrimmages, really play it like a game,” Milton coach Cory Payson said. “The time for learning new things is gone. You just need to go and compete and make each other ready for Saturday.”

Division IV

The teams are the same but the roles are reversed in the Division IV final. Game time is 10 a.m. at Whitcomb.

Top-seeded Black River (17-0) is defending its crown against No. 3 Proctor (11-2-4), the same team who had its undefeated season and repeat bid crumble against the Presidents a year ago.

The teams’ lone regular-season meeting was a 5-4 Black River win. Morgan Kathan leads the Presidents with more than 35 goals this fall while sophomore Abby McKearin has bagged 42 goals to lead the Phantoms.

“Both teams can score but at this point in the season you hope your defense can do things to keep you in the game too,” Black River coach Pat Pullinen said.

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