Otter Valley Airs It Out in OT Win Over Windsor

Valley News Correspondent
Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Windsor — Otter Valley had only one good rush in overtime, but that was the difference as Alia Edmunds’ hard shot eluded Windsor goalkeeper Madi Leduc with less than two minutes to play, giving the Otters the 4-3 Marble Valley League field hockey victory over the Yellowjackets on Wednesday at MacLeay-Royce Field.

While Edmunds, a sophomore, had the game-winner to cap a hat trick, her goal in the first half was the focal point of conversation after the contest.

She scored early in the second half as she air-dribbled from inside the circle right up to Leduc and lifted it over the keeper’s right shoulder, the ball never touching the ground until it came down in the goal.

Air dribbling is taking the ball and bouncing it along the flat blade part of the stick and walking forward at the same time. When she began her trek toward the goal, the Windsor defense was kind of stunned, not knowing what to do.

“They’d never seen that before,” Windsor coach Jody Wood said of her defense. “They didn’t know how to defend it.”

Edmunds’ ability to air dribble is no accident. Her mother, Stacey Edmunds, is not only the Otter Valley coach, but also an Otter Valley hall of famer who coached the Otters to the 2015 Vermont Division III championship.

But coach Edmunds deflected the credit for her daughter learning the air dribble.

“It was her sister, Maia, who did most of the work with her on that in the backyard,” she said.

Wood said that Edmunds had done the air dribble briefly the first time the teams played.

“But that time, she kept it low,” Wood said. “This time it was up high.”

Edmunds did try the air dribble later, but Windsor had adjusted and started whacking at the ball when she started her dribble which she held shoulder high.

“That can get dangerous,” Coach Edmunds said.

The teams have played two tight games, and they are not done yet. That first time they met (Sept.1), Otter Valley took a season-opening 2-1 win. The teams will play a third time on Oct. 21 at Otter Valley.

Both teams are having fine seasons despite numbers issues. The Otters (8-2-1) had two substitutes for a while, but one had to leave during the game for a school function. Windsor (6-3-0) had just one reserve. The win kept Otter Valley in third place in Division II while Windsor remained atop the D-III standings.

The overtime, which is a 10-minute, golden-goal, seven-on-seven period, was mostly spent in the Windsor offensive zone when the Otters cleared the ball for what would be a length of the field push, with the ball eventually landing of the stick of Edmunds with her back to the Windsor goal, about 10 yards out. She seemed to partially whiff her first attempt before spinning a shot that whizzed over Leduc’s late glove stab.

“I thought we dominated the overtime,” Wood said. “But that’s the way field hockey goes sometimes.”

The game was strange in that there were no goals in the first 30 minutes, but seven in the second half and overtime.

Seven minutes after the he Edmunds air dribble goal, Windsor knotted the score when Angelina Bigwood picked up a roller from Hannah Wood and got it past Otter keeper Elinior Ross.

Junior Sophie Markowski put the Otters up, 2-1, before Windsor came back and tied it with Linda Ricard hitting the back of the cage, Bigwood assisting.

Edmunds knocked in her own rebound for a 3-2 Otter Valley lead that was erased with 10:31 to play as Ricard got the equalizer.

Before the Jacks get that final crack at the Otters, they’ll have to host rival Woodstock on Friday and visit Springfield on Oct. 19.