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Hartford girls lacrosse bring the storm

  • Jasmine Jenkins, of Hartford, middle, closes in past Mount Mansfield defender Bella Gulizio, right, for a shot against goalie Merril Spofford during their season opener in White River Junction, Vt., Saturday, April 17, 2021. Hartford won 18-4. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Hartford girls lacrosse Coach Heather Hartford advises Sophie Howe after she was subbed off the field during the Hurricanes' 18-4 win over Mount Mansfield Union in White River Junction, Vt., Saturday, April 17, 2021. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Hartford goalie Mackenzie Arnold and Ella Perreault, number 11, defend the net against a shot by Eliza Waite, of Mount Mansfield Union during their season opener in White River Junction, Vt., Saturday, April 17, 2021. Hartford won 18-4. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • After their 18-4 win, Hartford goalie Mackenzie Arnold leads her team as they tap sticks with opponents Mount Mansfield Union in White River Junction, Vt., Saturday, April 17, 2021. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Valley News Correspondent
Published: 4/17/2021 10:00:14 PM
Modified: 4/17/2021 10:00:13 PM

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — The Hartford High School girls lacrosse team was robbed of a formal competition season in 2020, but that didn’t keep its players from improving at their sport.

The Hurricanes’ commitment to offseason training was evident Saturday at the Alumni Athletic Complex, where they defeated Mount Mansfield Union, 18-4, to kick off the spring campaign.

The Canes (1-0) scored three goals before as many minutes elapsed, prompting the visitors to call an early timeout.

Sophie Howe scored Hartford’s first goal by taking a pass from Caroline Hamilton, driving one-on-one against MMU goalie, Merril Spofford and launching a one-hopper into the back of the net.

Zoe Pfeiffer scored next on a swift catch-and-shoot assisted by Jasmine Jenkins. Pfeiffer found Hamilton for a goal a moment later as Hartford’s array of dangerous scoring combinations was on full display.

Six different players contributed at least one goal and one assist to the winning cause.

“There’s a lot of depth on this team,” said Hurricanes coach Heather Hartford. “Having that depth to score, to be able to work the offense the way they do, is impressive. (I’m) very pleased.”

Hamilton (six goals and three assists) and Pfeiffer (four assists, three goals) were both highly effective on Saturday.

“I feel like my role is to get (teammates) the ball,” Pfeiffer said. “Get them confident in their shot and scoring and stuff and really share the ball.”

Hamilton, who handled draws against the Cougars, is Hartford’s junior captain along with seniors Pfeiffer and Ryelee Potwin, a defender.

The Canes led 5-0 before Caellen Foley scored MMU’s first goal 5:49 into the contest. The Cougars mustered three more goals in the first half but were shut out after intermission.

Hamilton scored on a pass from Howe to make it 14-4 and triggered running time with 17 minutes remaining in the game.

Howe (one goal, one assist) was joined on the Hartford scoring sheet by Jenkins (three goals, two assists), Reilly Slusser (two goals, two assists) and Addison Cadwell (two goals, three assists).

Junior goalie, Mackenzie Arnold, posted nine saves for the Canes.

“She came out ready today,” Pfeiffer said of Arnold. “She had a great game.”

Hartford — which led, 8-4, at halftime — held the advantage in both ground ball controls (12-7) and shots (29-15).

“(It) was a great first start,” Coach Hartford said. “Their transition game looked good, the offense was settling down, they were cutting well. (It was) good overall team play. I was really happy.”

Foley led MMU (0-1) with two goals and one assist; Allie Bliss and Eliza Waite added unassisted goals, and Spofford finished with six saves.

Hartford said a big challenge facing her team is grappling with rule changes from 2020 that weren’t implemented due to the COVID shutdown.

The new rules have to do with “free movement and self starts and the kids understanding the strategies of when to do what where,” she said. “I thought they picked up on that pretty well today, and we’ll just continue to move forward.”

Saturday marked the opening day for spring sports in Vermont, though Friday’s storm forced the postponement of multiple baseball, softball and tennis contests throughout the state. Lacrosse games, however, were largely unaffected, in part because rubber balls are impervious to moisture.

“Typically we try to get right out there when we can as long as we don’t damage the fields,” Hartford said. “Having missed a whole season, the kids were really excited and anxious to get out on the field again and play, and bring some normalcy back to their lives.”

The Hurricanes return to action Tuesday at St. Johnsbury Academy. Game time is 4:30 p.m.




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