Best of the decade: Area girls soccer teams thrive

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Ed. note: Today's the first installment of our "Best Teams of the Decade" series. We start with girls soccer and will follow with football, boys soccer and field hockey in the next few editions. Teams are listed in reverse chronological order.

By Banner Sports

2018: Arlington

- Arlington finished off its second consecutive Division IV state championship, besting rival Proctor 3-0, to go 15-1-1 on the season.

Eagles standout Tess Belnap, now on the Williams women's soccer team, scored a hat trick in her last game for Arlington.

This season had the dynamic duo of Belnap and Haley Mattison still in full force. The pair combined for 54 goals, which was 79 percent of the team's scoring output.

The defense, led by goalkeeper Shaana Staab and sweeper Lilah Ward, had 11 shutouts.

The Eagles had even more to play for as well, with the passing of Arlington soccer legend John Werner in March of that year from a long bout with cancer.

2017: Burr and Burton

- Not many teams could beat the CVU girls soccer team this decade. The Redhawks went to eight Division I state championship games and won them all.

That included the 2017 game, where they edged Burr and Burton in a defensive affair.

While it was a damper end to BBA's season, it didn't take away from a valiant effort from the Bulldogs to defend their 2016 title.

Between the breakout of sophomore Grace Pinkus, the return of Hannah Pinkus from injury, the standout play in goal by Sam Citron, among a host of other things, this BBA team was special.

The Bulldogs went 14-4 that fall and hadn't given up a goal in the playoffs, before the 65th minute goal by CVU's Charlotte Hill that was the difference in the title game.

2017: Arlington

- Losing wasn't an option for the 2017 Arlington team.

As John Werner was fighting cancer, the Eagles were hard at work to make him proud and winning a title in his honor.

The Eagles were untouchable in 2017, going 18-0, and finishing off their first state since 2009.

Their opponent in that Division IV state championship game was Proctor, a team that had won four straight championships and been to the game six years in a row.

The sophomore duo of Belnap and Mattison did what they'd been doing all season long and combined for all three goals in a shutout win against the Phantoms.

Belnap had 44 goals that year, while Mattison had 32.

The defense led by Ward, Aimee Frank and Gracie Smith was impeccable as well.

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Arlington outscored opponents 104-6 that year. Absolute domination.

2016: Burr and Burton

- Freshman Grace Pinkus' header in the 108th minute against Colchester sent all of Manchester into a frenzy.

That one goal, set up on a Sky Woodard corner kick, scored Burr and Burton its first Division I state championship, after previously winning three Division II titles in its history.

The lone loss of the year came against South Burlington in mid-September. From there, BBA went on a 14-game winning streak and finished with a 17-1 record.

Between Grace Pinkus, Georgia Lord, Brooke Woodard, Sky Woodard, Maggie Sullivan, and a host of others, this team was focused on righting their wrong from the season before.

2015: Burr and Burton

- Those dreaded Redhawks strike again.

Burr and Burton was riding high coming into the Division I state championship game, sitting at 17-0.

They had one more task on their hands though and that was to beat CVU, the team whose 48-game win streak they snapped earlier in the year.

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The Redhawks jumped out early with two goals and BBA responded on a Bella Dworkin goal, but it was too late.

The Bulldogs' undefeated hopes had been dashed, but a program record for wins in a season had been tied in what was BBA's best season to that point since jumping up to D-I.

A trio of players, Aggie Bisselle, Hannah Pinkus and Georgia Lord, were honored as all-state players at season's end.

2013: Hoosick Falls

- Coming off back-to-back Class C state championshps, Hoosick Falls had a new challenge on its hands in 2013 - Class B.

The Panthers made the jump look seamless and won the Class B championship, before falling in the Class B/BB title game to unbeaten Schalmont.

Even with the loss, Hoosick Falls, who finished at 17-3, continued to establish themselves as a preeminent girls soccer program in the state.

The scoring trio of Mackenzie Hinchcliffe, Rachel Pine and Jordyn Haynes led an offense that scored more than three goals per game.

Hannah Fricke was a wall in goal with nine clean sheets for the Panthers.

2012: Mount Anthony

- Mount Anthony had its highest Division I playoff seed of the decade in 2012, where the Patriots were seeded No. 3.

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That year, MAU hosted its first playoff game at Spinelli Field since 2001, and dominated in the first round game against Middlebury, winning 7-2.

Kate Goodell netted a hat trick and Shelby McLenithan added two goals to propel the Patriots to their first playoff win in five seasons.

MAU's run ended in the quarterfinals against Burlington, but the girls on that team set up a successful decade, where the Patriots won eight or more games in six seasons.

2012: Hoosick Falls

- There was no disputing who the Class C state champion was in 2012.

A year after being co-champions, Hoosick Falls had the top of the podium all to itself with a 1-0 win against Keshequa.

2012 was the coming out party for freshman Jordyn Haynes. The young striker, who ended her career as the school record holder in goals, dazzled opposing defenses with her goal-scoring ability and her 33rd of the season was the most important one to clinch the state title.

Goalkeeper Hannah Fricke was dominant in goal throughout the Panthers' playoff run, only allowing one goal in a sectional win against Galway.

Hoosick Falls went 21-2 to bring home the title.

2011: Hoosick Falls

- The second state championship of the Tom Husser era came with a bit of a caveat, Hoosick Falls had to share the glory.

In the Class C title game, the Panthers and Friends Academy were even and four overtime periods wasn't going to change that.

With penalty kicks not an option, the teams were named co-state champions.

Even with the unconventional end to the season, this was one of the best teams in program history.

Hoosick Falls (20-1-2) had then-all-time program leading goal scorer Meg McKee leading the way for an offense that had four different players with double-digit goals.

The 108-goal output from the team broke a record set by the state-title winning 2005 group.

Not bad for a bunch of 'soccer junkies' as Husser affectionately called them.

2010: Cambridge

- Football has always been king at Cambridge, but for a short while in 2010, the girls soccer team brought the school on a ride.

The Indians made a trip to the Class C state semifinals, the first in program history and only the second girls program at Cambridge to ever advance that far up to that point.

Senior Bridget Cuddihy powered Cambridge through the playoffs scoring 13 goals along the way, including a hat trick in the state quarterfinals against Section VII's Seton Catholic.

The semifinal ended in a penalty kick loss to Marion, but that didn't take away from the fact the girls on that team made history that fall.


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