BBA, MAU girls earn home games; Arlington tops in D4

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BENNINGTON — Four of the five girls soccer teams in the area will have opening-round home games for the upcoming state tournaments.

The Vermont Principals' Association released the pairings on Monday and both Mount Anthony and Burr and Burton are home for the playdowns — BBA as the No. 2 seed in Division I and MAU as the No. 7 seed.

The Bulldogs will be heavily favored in their first round matchup as they take on an Essex squad with just one win during the regular season. The game is scheduled for a 3 p.m. start today. BBA comes into the game after an 11-3 regular season, while the Hornets finished 1-12.

Grace Pinkus has led the way for the Bulldogs throughout the season on offense with 19 goals. The next most comes from her sister Hannah, who has seven goals.

"We have some quality players, so it's really fun to coach," said Bulldogs coach Suzanne Mears. "It's something where when you have quality players it makes everyone else around you better. The girls all respect each other and play hard for one another."

BBA comes into the playoffs as winners of their last eight games. Since a loss to CVU on September 19, BBA has been as dominant as anyone in the state, outscoring opponents 29-5 and reminding everyone they are still the defending Division I champions until further notice.

Mears has been happy with the team's play and hopes that will continue into the 'second season.'

"It's been about what we've been working on day in and day out and how we've been tweaking things along the way and capitalizing on those opportunities," Mears said. "I'm proud of the girls with how they've been able to push through. They know what it takes and how difficult it can be. They need to fight for every second of the game and never quit."

BBA could face Mount Anthony for a fourth time this season, as the Patriots are the No. 7 seed and host Rutland, a game scheduled for Wednesday at 3 p.m. at Spinelli Field.

MAU and Rutland played twice during the regular season with each side getting one win at home — Rutland a 3-1 victory on Sept. 23 and MAU a 4-3 overtime victory on Oct. 12.

MAU went 8-5 this year, while the Raiders went 5-9.

Being the third time the two teams have met, there will be no secrets when it comes to how the Patriots and Rutland will play.

"It's always tough to play a team three times," said MAU coach Mark Boudreau. "They got one on us and we got one on them. They're a team that plays a lot like we do, so it should be a really good game. It's kind of like playing ourselves."

Boudreau is hoping the home-field advantage will aid his team's efforts.

"We like to kind of bang it around a little bit," Boudreau said. "Sometimes we congest it in the defense and our smaller field might help us on that. We're very happy to be at home. That helps us a little bit."

The Patriots have four different players who have scored five or more goals this season. Kaidin Gauthier leads the way with six goals, while Jordan Mattison, Cat Worthington and Emma Arlotta all have five goals, while goalie Maddy Breese and the MAU defense have five shutouts.

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In Division IV, the Arlington girls are undefeated this season at 14-0 and have outscored opponents by an other-worldly 86-4.

They will take on a one-win Twinfield squad in a game scheduled for Wednesday at 3 p.m. in a first round matchup.

Tess Belnap has been one of the best players in the area on the offensive side with 38 goals on the season. Haley Mattison has been prolific on offense as well with 28 goals, while Xandria Hoyt cracks double digits with 10 goals.

The Arlington defense has been just as impressive, with Shaana Staab earning 10 shutouts in the team's 14 games in goal.

Long Trail School earned the No. 5 seed in the Division IV playoffs after going 7-7 and will take on No. 12 Danville, who went 3-11, scheduled for Tuesday at 3 p.m., while Stratton Mountain will be the No. 9 seed in the Division II playoffs and take on No. 8 seed Hartford in the first round Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. SMS went 6-2 this year, while Hartford went 8-4-2.

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BBA earned the four seed in the Division II field hockey pairings and got a first-round bye, setting them up for a quarterfinal matchup with Woodstock Friday at 3:30 p.m. The Bulldogs finished the season with a 6-6-2 record, while the Wasps went 6-5-3.

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Winless MAU will be the No. 12 seed in the upcoming playoffs, where they will take on Burlington, Thursday at 4:30 p.m. The Patriots were 0-12 during the regular season, while Burlington finished 7-6. The two teams faced in last year's playoffs as the same seeds and MAU pulled the upset after playing a rigorous Berkshire League schedule.


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