BENNINGTON — More than 50 local soccer players battled hot and humid conditions for the eighth annual Lee Goldsmith memorial tournamentat Willow Park on Saturday.
When the dust settled, the Mount Anthony 'A' team defeated Rutland in the final to win for the second year in a row, but that was one part of the afternoon.
"Once the tournament's set up, it kind of runs itself," said tournament organizer and Mount Anthony boys soccer coach Mike Molloy in between games. "[MAU assistant coach] Jeremy [Neill] and I put the fields together and we put a schedule together and hope for the best. The big thing is that we get a nice day, no injuries and getting ready for the season to start."
The annual tournament is in memory of former Mount Anthony soccer player Lee Goldsmith, who passed away in 2009 after a battle with cancer. Every year, the event takes place on the Saturday before preseason camp begins in Vermont.
"We had seven teams this year. Rutland, Burr and Burton, Twin Valley and Mount Anthony have been the mainstays of our tournament since it started," Molloy said. "It's really fun to get together, I always chat with Ron [Henderson, the Rutland coach] and Buddy [Hayford, the Twin Valley coach] was in communication with me throughout. That's the good stuff, the BBA kids were great, they organized themselves to get here."
This season, BBA had three teams, MAU had two and Rutland and Twin Valley each had one.
In the final, Mount Anthony A beat Rutland in overtime, 4-3, with Franklin Cody scoring the winner off an assist from Matt Anderson.
"The tournament has been really even and probably the most competitive, top to bottom," Molloy said. "I tried to be creative with the schedule so the teams didn't have to play their classmates and you don't want multiple back-to-back games with the heat. To me it's been successful."
Two BBA players were catalyst in getting three teams of Bulldogs for the tournament in Will Sambrook and Ben Stewart.
"First of all, it's going to a great cause and we all know that coming in," Sambrook said. "We're all signed up and we try to get as many of the younger kids at BBA as possible, to show them what it's like to play with some varsity kids and get them acclimated to the environment."
Sambrook said the tournament is the first chance the players get in a competitive environment with other schools. Vermont soccer practice begins on Thursday.
"This is a pivotal point in our season, up until now, we've played during the summer, but mostly pickup against each other," Sambrook said. "So it's difficult to get the tempo going. It is competitive and fun and it's a good transition to go into the fall season."