Hurricanes earn 10-9 victory over U-32 in girls lacrosse

Hartford head coach Heather Hartford hugs Izzy Sirois (2) after winning a varsity girls lacrosse game against U-32 at Hartford High School in White River Junction, Vt., on Saturday, May 4, 2024. Hartford won, 10-9. (Valley News / Report For America - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Hartford head coach Heather Hartford hugs Izzy Sirois (2) after winning a varsity girls lacrosse game against U-32 at Hartford High School in White River Junction, Vt., on Saturday, May 4, 2024. Hartford won, 10-9. (Valley News / Report For America - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. valley news / report for america photographs — Alex Driehaus

Hartford’s Audrey Rupp (4) controls the ball while being defended by U-32’s Natalie Beauregard (10) and Amelia Woodard (6) during a varsity girls lacrosse game at Hartford High School in White River Junction, Vt., on Saturday, May 4, 2024. (Valley News / Report For America - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Hartford’s Audrey Rupp (4) controls the ball while being defended by U-32’s Natalie Beauregard (10) and Amelia Woodard (6) during a varsity girls lacrosse game at Hartford High School in White River Junction, Vt., on Saturday, May 4, 2024. (Valley News / Report For America - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Alex Driehaus

Hartford’s Madison Barwood (3) passes the ball to Audrey Rupp (4) during a varsity girls lacrosse game against U-32 at Hartford High School in White River Junction, Vt., on Saturday, May 4, 2024. (Valley News / Report For America - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Hartford’s Madison Barwood (3) passes the ball to Audrey Rupp (4) during a varsity girls lacrosse game against U-32 at Hartford High School in White River Junction, Vt., on Saturday, May 4, 2024. (Valley News / Report For America - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Alex Driehaus

Hartford’s Braelyn Park (11) runs the ball down the field while being defended by U-32’s Hannah Drury (16) during a varsity girls lacrosse game at Hartford High School in White River Junction, Vt., on Saturday, May 4, 2024. (Valley News / Report For America - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Hartford’s Braelyn Park (11) runs the ball down the field while being defended by U-32’s Hannah Drury (16) during a varsity girls lacrosse game at Hartford High School in White River Junction, Vt., on Saturday, May 4, 2024. (Valley News / Report For America - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Alex Driehaus

Paisley Danaher

Paisley Danaher gene soboleski—BigZig Photography

By TRIS WYKES

Valley News Staff Writer

Published: 05-05-2024 5:01 PM

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — The pass was perfect, a classic backdoor feed that arced from Paisley Danaher to Madison Barwood and resulted in the winning goal Saturday for the undefeated Hartford High girls lacrosse team.

The strike lifted the host Hurricanes to a 10-9 victory over defending VPA Division II champion U-32. The sides had been expected to clash in last year’s title game before Woodstock upset Hartford in the semifinals.

The sequence occurred with 28 seconds remaining and Danaher, who had been fouled, preparing to trigger a free-position restart from the left side. Hurricanes coach Heather Hartford called out a play, and the freshman affirmed the choice by nodding after a quick glance at the Raiders’ defensive structure.

All players, who per rule had been standing in place, broke in various directions on the whistle. Barwood ran to the right post, Danaher’s pass leading her perfectly,and resulting in a score past goaltender Linnea Darrow.

U-32 regained possession late but couldn’t get a shot off and fell to 2-2. Hartford is 6-0.

“Great teamwork wins games,” Hartford said. “They never gave up, and that’s another lesson in life through sports.”

The Hurricanes scored five consecutive goals for a 5-1 lead in the second quarter before U-32 awoke and pulled within 6-5 at halftime. The onslaught was aided by a pair of yellow-card absences for the hosts, who surrendered three goals while shorthanded during the second quarter’s final 69 seconds.

The Raiders led, 9-7, with four min utes remaining, but Hartford’s Audrey Rupp and Barwood tallied to forge a tie, the latter goal coming with 2 minutes, 54 seconds on the clock.

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“U-32 is a physical, athletic team, so this was a great test,” Hartford said. “They face-guarded Barwood and Rupp, so team-oriented, unselfish play was critical.”

Rupp, a Windsor High junior, had four goals and an assist and Barwood three goals and two assists. Hailey Vanesse had two goals and an assist, and Lucy Bloom also scored. The Raiders’ Darrow and her Hartford counterpart, Dakin Kovatch, were impressive in net.

“It was a game of momentum, as lacrosse always is, and the draws and possession were key,” said U-32 coach Emilie Connor, a physical therapist who directed the Raiders while wearing a chest carrier holding her infant daughter.

“When Hartford got up by a lot, we talked and said we had to stop playing afraid. And then we looked awesome, with some great, assisted goals.”

U-32 returned nine seniors from its 2023 title squad, one of them 100-goal scorer Willa Long, who broke that milestone during Saturday’s game.

The Hurricanes and Raiders may not have seen the last of each other this spring.

“This was a mental battle the whole way, and Hartford had composure down the stretch,” said Connor, whose team hit posts and the crossbar four times. “We definitely had chances those last four minutes, but we were a little too in our own heads.”

Notes: Lacrosse is a game of whistled starts and stops, but Saturday was beyond normal in that regard. The officials not only called the contest tightly but conferred after seemingly every second call, hindering momentum and flow for both teams. … Hartford will play all season without standout senior Addison Cadwell, who’s undergone surgeries on both knees, the latest procedure occurring earlier this year. The Thetford Academy student has committed to play basketball for NCAA Division III Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pa. The Red Devils were 19-8 this winter. … Ella Perreault, a 2023 White River Valley High graduate who, like Cadwell, played lacrosse for Hartford through the VPA’s member-to-member program, recently completed her freshman season for Bard (N.Y.) College. The Raptors were 2-15, with Perreault starting every game and scoring once.

Tris Wykes can be reached at twykes@vnews.com.