Hartford field hockey shoots into VPA D-II semifinals

  • Bailey Cameron

  • Elsie Davis

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 10/24/2019 9:22:30 PM
Modified: 10/24/2019 9:22:24 PM

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — Bailey Cameron slowly moved out of the net and to her right. As Woodstock’s Mackenzie Yates tried to curl her stick around the ball, Cameron jabbbed her stick in the same direction and kicked the ball out of Yates’ shooting range. Yates’ attempt to recover was met with the 10-second horn and screams of celebration from the Hartford field hockey team.

Cameron’s performance in goal ultimately delivered No. 3 seed Hartford to the VPA Division II field hockey semifinals. The Canes and No. 6 Woodstock played to a 2-2 tie through regulation and overtime, getting a 2-1 shootout win on Thursday over the upset-minded Wasps.

The win punches a ticket for the Hurricanes to Wednesday’s D-II semifinals against No. 2 Mount Abraham at South Burlington High.

The stop from Cameron — her 23rd of the day — brought an end to a long afternoon of play, which included 60 regulation minutes and two 10-minute overtime periods.

“I’m trying really hard not to think about it at all when I’m in net,” Cameron said. “They’ll try and fake you out; that’s their job. They’re trying to do that. I tend to not think about it and just get in the zone of, ‘I need to stop this shot, and that’s what I’m going to do.’ I don’t think about it; I just go out there and do it.”

Cameron’s heroics captured the win, but sophomore Elsie Davis put Hartford (11-3-1) in position to capitalize. Attempting the fourth shot in the five-round shootout for Hartford, Davis cut to her right and was able to successfully move around Woodstock goalie Maggie Parker. Davis scored with a hard shot to the right side of the net.

Cameron then stopped the Wasps’ final shot.

“I was extremely nervous before the one-on-one with the goalie. My teammates told me it was gonna be OK,” Davis said. “So after I scored, it was just so exciting. I’m definitely pretty tired. The first two overtimes, seven-on-seven, it’s just tiring and a lot of emotions.”

Davis gave Hartford a 1-0 lead 12 minutes into the first half on a rebound to the right of Woodstock’s net. The forward has been important to the Canes’ offensive attack all year, but Thursday’s goal was just her fourth of the year.

Woodstock (7-6-1) answered two minutes later on a breakaway score from Lilia McCullough, her eighth goal of the season.

Hartford jumped out to a 2-1 lead 10 minutes into the second half on a one-timer from Kennedy Mullen thanks to a cross from Greer McCarty, but the Wasps answered with a goal from Natalie Stevens. McCullough tallied the assist.

Hartford coach Heather Scudder and Woodstock coach Wendy Wannop have a combined 51 seasons of coaching and 14 state championships. But neither had ever participated in a one-on-one tiebreaker shootout with so much on the line.

“I’ve never gotten to that level,” Scudder said. “It’s nothing we practice because if we practice the other stuff, we finish.”

Added Wannop: “That is the first time we’ve done it (shootout). We’ve practiced it every day. And you know, it’s hard to have the pressure when you practice it.”

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Notes: While the Canes’ seven seniors move on to the semifinals, the Wasps lose four: Parker, Mackenzie Yates, Natalie Stevens and Sami Yates. … Parker made 10 saves for the Wasps on 24 shots on goal. Woodstock had its chances to win the game in regulation with four corners in the last three minutes. … Both teams had their fair share of penalties as well, combining for 19 minutes in the box. Hartford had a seven-on-six opportunity with six minutes to play in the second overtime but couldn’t execute. … Hartford advances to the semifinals after last season’s disappointing 8-0 loss in the D-I quarterfinals to South Burlington. Scudder will be seeking her 17th trip to the VPA finals. … Wannop’s Wasps were confident headed into Wednesday’s showdown after winning their last three regular season games and outscoring opponents, 19-0. They lost earlier in the season to Hartford, 3-1, but felt that the second half of the season brought newfound confidence.

Pete Nakos can be reached at pnakos@vnews.com or 603-727-3306.

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