ROANOKE, VA >> The Bennington chapter of Special Olympics in Vermont spilt their first two game of the Special Olympics North America Softball Invitational on Friday.

After losing their first game to the Mississippi Warriors 16-7, the Rockets got a bounced back in the second game when Ashley Finklestein got the game-winning hit to score teammate Dave Ballou to give Bennington a 12-11 walk-off win over Virginia Valley.

The four day event ended on Sunday.

Castleton University to host soccer clinic in Manchester

MANCHESTER >> The Castleton University men's soccer team, lead by head coach John O'Connor, and the town of Manchester and its parks and recreation department will host a free youth soccer clinic on Sunday, Aug. 28, from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

The clinic is open to all boys and girls entering grades fourth, fifth and sixth grade this fall.

All participants will be required to register for the clinic and sign a standard liability release form. Participants must bring a properly inflated soccer ball (ideally size 4), proper footwear, shin pads and a water bottle.

The clinic will be held on the newly constructed McClellan Field, one of the two fields constructed just north of Applejack Field this summer.

McClellan Field is located at 340 Recreation Park Road in Manchester Center, Vermont. It is part of the Dana L. Thompson Memorial Park.

The clinic will be held rain or shine, with the exception of lightning.


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"We're excited to be able to set aside some time during pre-season to get down to Manchester to do the clinic. Working with kids in the community is important and a win-win for everyone involved," O'Connor said. "Hopefully there will be some future Spartans attending and they can not only see what we are all about but learn something in the process. It should be a lot of fun."

Castleton will host the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts at Applejack Field later that day at 6 p.m. as part of the 2016 Manchester College Soccer Series.

Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for students and seniors.

Coach O'Connor is heading into his fourth season at Castleton.

In 2015 O'Connor led the squad to one of its best seasons in program history, as the Spartans posted a 15-5-2 record and finished tied for first place in the North Atlantic Conference with an 8-1 mark. The Spartans also reached the North Atlantic Conference Championship game and ECAC Division III Tournament Semifinals for the first time since 2011.

Prior to Castleton, O'Connor served as the head coach for the University of Rhode Island from 2006-2012. During his tenure with the Rams he won an Atlantic 10 Tournament Championship and reached the tournament semifinals on two other occasions. Five of his former players went on to play professional soccer, and three of which played in Major League Soccer, including Geoff Cameron, who is currently a member of the U.S. Men's National Team and Stoke City of the English Premier League.

In addition to his work at the Division I level, O'Connor also served as the head coach at Division III University of Chicago from 1995-2006. In just his second season the team reached the national semifinal and he was named the NSCAA Division III National Coach of the Year. He reached the NCAA Tournament again in 2001 and 2005 when his teams were ranked in the top-15 nationally.

From 1990-95, he spent five seasons as an assistant coach at Dartmouth under Bobby Clark, the present coach at the University of Notre Dame. He was a part of two Ivy League Championships with the Big Green, who reached the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division I Tournament twice during his tenure in Hanover.

The 21-year collegiate head coach earned a USSF "A" License and holds a NSCAA Premier Diploma. He is active in coaching education through the NSCAA, works with the Vermont Olympic Development Program and is the Technical Director for Summit Football Club.

Participants should arrive at the field at least 20 minute in advance to register. The registration form can be downloaded at: http://manchester-vt.gov/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/MPR-registration-form-and-waiver.pdf

Registration forms will also be available at the clinic.

For more information, call the Manchester Parks and Recreation Department at 802-362-1439 or email parks@manchester-vt.gov.

College soccer coming to Manchester

MANCHESTER >> College soccer is coming to Manchester this summer as the town hosts the 2016 Manchester College Soccer Series.

The Series kicks off on Wednesday with Division I women's soccer when the University of Vermont Catamounts take on the University of Massachusetts Amherst at 6 p.m. in a preseason matchup at Applejack Stadium, which is owned and operated by the Town of Manchester and its Parks and Recreation Department. Applejack Stadium is one of the premier grass fields in Vermont with field lighting and seating for about 1,000 fans, plus standing room for additional fans.

The Manchester College Soccer Series continues on Sunday, Aug. 28, at 6 p.m. when the Castleton University men host the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in a preseason matchup and wraps up on Saturday, Sept. 3, with the Middlebury College women hosting the defending NCAA Division III national champions Williams College at noon, and the Southern Vermont College men hosting a regular season game against SUNY Cobleskill at 7 p.m. In between, the Burr and Burton Academy women's team, state championship finalist in 2015, take on St. Johnsbury at 4 p.m. on Sept. 3 in an action packaged day. At 2:30 p.m., town officials, Burr and Burton representatives and a host of local sports leagues dedicate the town's newest athletic fields, Eckhardt Field and McClellan Field.

Concessions will be available for all the games. Admission is $3 for students and seniors and $5 for adults. Applejack Stadium is located at the Dana L. Thompson Memorial Park, 340 Recreation Park Road in Manchester Center, VT.