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Speedy Stowe Soccer Stuns Rivendell in Double Overtime

  • Fans salute the Rivendell boys soccer team after the Raptors' loss to Stowe in the Vermont Division III semifinals yesterday.<br/><br/>Valley News - James M. Patterson

    Fans salute the Rivendell boys soccer team after the Raptors' loss to Stowe in the Vermont Division III semifinals yesterday.

    Valley News - James M. Patterson Purchase photo reprints »

  • Rivendell goalkeeper Josh Marshall reaches for a save as Stowe's Pascall Schmitt, center, and Rivendell's Tanner Hibbard crowd the box yesterday.<br/><br/>Valley News - James M. Patterson

    Rivendell goalkeeper Josh Marshall reaches for a save as Stowe's Pascall Schmitt, center, and Rivendell's Tanner Hibbard crowd the box yesterday.

    Valley News - James M. Patterson Purchase photo reprints »

  • Fans salute the Rivendell boys soccer team after the Raptors' loss to Stowe in the Vermont Division III semifinals yesterday.<br/><br/>Valley News - James M. Patterson
  • Rivendell goalkeeper Josh Marshall reaches for a save as Stowe's Pascall Schmitt, center, and Rivendell's Tanner Hibbard crowd the box yesterday.<br/><br/>Valley News - James M. Patterson

Orford — One of the main challenges facing the Rivendell boys soccer team in yesterday’s Vermont Division III semifinal with Stowe was having to contend with the Raiders’ speed.

In double overtime, it didn’t take long for the visitors to show just how quick they were.

On the first possession of the second extra session, streaking Stowe freshman Chad Haggerty found Vince Van Patten with a touch pass on the right side in stride, and Van Patten kept it on the ground while driving it to the left corner to beat Raptors’ goalie Josh Marshall for a 2-1 Stowe win.

It’s the fourth trip to the final in six years for the Raiders (9-6-2), who won three consecutive state championships from 2007-09, but struggled at times this season in the difficult Capitol League and finished No. 7. They knocked off second-ranked Leland & Gray in the quarterfinals to earn yesterday’s visit to Orford and now await the winner of today’s semifinal matchup between No. 5 Thetford and top-ranked Peoples.

It was the second semifinal loss in three years for the Raptors (13-3-1), who were hosting a semi for the first time and whose No. 3 seeding was their highest since 2004.

“I told my guys to be very proud of what they did this season and in this game,” said Rivendell coach Bob Thatcher, whose team sent a shot off the crossbar in the first OT. “I told them after last year (a 13-3 campaign) that we weren’t taking any steps backward this year, and we didn’t.” The evenly-matched teams put together identical totals in shots (16 apiece) and goalie saves (six each).

Marshall — who registered four shutouts after taking over for injured senior Shawn Farnham partway through the season — allowed his first goal of the playoffs on a penalty kick in the 48th minute. After a pass into the box from Robert Buonnano, Stowe’s Blake Duffy sent one off the arm of Rivendell’s Jake Welch to earn the PK.

Duffy drilled it to the upper-right corner for a 1-0 Raider lead and the Raptors’ first deficit since they also lost 1-0 in double overtime to Thetford in the regular season finale Oct. 20. Marshall, a junior playing his first year of high school soccer, had postseason shutouts against Green Mountain (3-0) and BFA-Fairfax (1-0) to pave the way to yesterday’s semi.

“He’s a guy who stepped in and did a great job for us,” Thatcher said of his keeper. “He’d never played goalie and hadn’t even played soccer since sixth grade. Then he comes in and four shutouts and allows his first playoff goal in the third round on a penalty kick. Then in the second overtime, he took the correct angle on (Van Patten’s goal) and just got beat.” Rivendell netted the equalizer just four minutes after Duffy’s goal. Playing through a right foot injury sustained against Thetford in the regular-season finale, Raptor senior Jack Steketee beat the Stowe defense to a ball on the right side of the box and crossed it to Scott Calhoun, who needed only to tap the ball in for a 1-1 tie with 28:34 left.

Rivendell defenders Tanner Hibbard and Nathaniel Eastman converged to stymie a partial breakaway by Stowe’s Buonnano in the 55th minute, and Calhoun’s spot-on bid off a corner kick was gobbled up by Raiders netminder James Brochhausen in the 64th. With less than five minutes to play, the Raptors’ Logan Gardyne put a direct kick on net, but Brochhausen was there again.

Steketee, whose injury woes were compounded when he aggravated his left ankle, was on the sidelines taping it during the final minutes of regulation. Steketee led the team with 12 assists this year.

The Raptors controlled the first overtime and nearly netted the game-winner twice in the 90th minute. Gardyne sent in an indirect kick for Cole Stever, whose shot to the right was headed away at the last instant by lunging Stowe defender Andrew Chambers. A follow-up bid by Calhoun glanced off the cross bar.

“We owned that first OT,” Thatcher said. “We were prepared for their speed. They wanted to play physical and we were prepared for that. This group had each other’s backs all year and we were a crossbar away from going to the state final.” à Free Kicks: It was the teams’ first meeting since the Raiders’ 7-2 win in Stowe in the first round in 2007. ... There were just eight corner kicks in the game, five by Stowe. ... On the final day of breast cancer awareness month, the Raptors wore knee-high pink stockings in recognition. ... With Rivendell having run out of athletic tape on the sidelines, Raptors’ girls soccer coach Tim Goodwin ran to his car for some to help treat Steketee. “I almost took my kit out (of my car) today,” said Goodwin, whose team fell 1-0 in the girls’ D-III quarterfinals on Saturday, also against Stowe. ... The Raptors graduate seven seniors: Jason Daley, Ryan Farnham, Shawn Farnham, Gardyne, Hibbard, Steketee and Christian Knowlton.

Jared Pendak can be reached at jpendak@vnews.com or 603-727-3306.