×

Getting Cake, Eating It Too: Hartford Field Hockey Wins Sixth Straight

  • Hartford High School's captain, Havallah Arnold (11), runs against Rutland High School's Sophie Tanen (14) for the ball on Monday, Oct. 16, 2017, during a game between Rutland High School and Hartford in White River Junction, Vt. Hartford won, 3-2. (Valley News - Charles Hatcher) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Hartford High School's Emma Urso (9) hits the ball in to a score a goal on Monday, Oct. 16, 2017, during a game between Rutland High School and Hartford in White River Junction, Vt. Hartford won, 3-2. (Valley News - Charles Hatcher) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • The Hartford High School varsity field hockey team meets at halftime on Monday, Oct. 16, 2017, during a game between Rutland High School and Hartford in White River Junction, Vt. Hartford won, 3-2. (Valley News - Charles Hatcher) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Hartford High School's Morgan Pero (2) passes the ball passed Rutland High School's Kacey Thompson (18) to Hartford's Greer McCarty (4) on Monday, Oct. 16, 2017, during a game between Rutland and Hartford in White River Junction, Vt. Hartford won, 3-2. (Valley News - Charles Hatcher) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.



Valley News Correspondent
Tuesday, October 17, 2017

White River Junction — A large cake awaited the Hartford High School field hockey team following Monday’s game against Rutland. The Hurricanes’ dramatic victory on senior day made the delectable dessert taste especially sweet.

Michaela Ricker scored with 3:43 remaining in the contest, propelling Hartford (8-4-2) to a 3-2 victory and its sixth consecutive win.

Monday’s cake was dedicated to the Canes’ outgoing group of seven players.

“The emotions are high,” said Hartford’s 29th-year coach, Heather Scudder, who has come to learn what to expect during each season’s final home game. “The girls, every year, this means a lot to them. And they’re not robots, so for them to play emotionally is typical, so I thought this was a typical senior game.”

The annual tradition can be something of a distraction, as Scudder can attest.

“The underclassmen, they get up at the crack of dawn, they decorate a room, they’re wearing, ‘We love our seniors,’ ” she said. “And these are all little things that take you out of your normal routine.”

Hartford came out strong, dominated time of possession throughout the first half and got rewarded when Emma Urso scored on a left-side rebound during the game’s ninth minute. Urso — a sophomore who typically starts but who came off the bench on Monday — scored again 4:01 into the second half.

The latter scoring play began on a penalty corner by senior Morgan Pero and ended when Caitlin Gaudet sent a right-side roller across the Rutland goalmouth to a waiting Urso at the far post.

The Hurricanes enjoyed their subsequent two-goal lead for all of 1:01 before Rutland (5-5-2) cut it in half following a sustained melee in front of Hartford’s net. The Division I rivals stayed deadlocked for nearly 20 minutes before Ricker received a two-minute penalty for overly aggressive play (it was the Canes’ second green-card infraction of the day). The hosts survived their down-a-player disadvantage, and Ricker returned with 4:27 remaining. The center link scored the unassisted game-winner less than a minute later.

“I was just a little mad after getting that card, so I had all the adrenaline going,” Ricker said. “I just kept pushing it toward the goal, and it went in.”

Hartford goalies Hannah Cooney and Bailey Cameron combined for five saves. Cooney, a senior, got the start before yielding to the freshman after intermission but ended up returning with 4:12 to play.

“(Cameron) is my No. 1 (goalie),” Scudder said. “(Cooney) is the senior. All the seniors started, but (Cameron) took that first goal hard and wasn’t able to steady the nerves.”

The veteran Scudder is back on the sideline following a two-year hiatus from her longtime squad.

“I’m glad she’s back,” Ricker said. “She knows a lot about the game and she’s improved us as players, like all of us, which is really nice.”

Urso, who scored her third and fourth goals of the season on Monday, said the Hurricanes have benefited from their coach’s tutelage.

“I’m pretty excited to see what the future holds, especially with Scudder now here,” Urso said. “I heard from the past that she was a really hard coach, but I thought that she was really easy to learn from. She was really helpful and showed that she was really passionate and wanted everyone to learn on the team.”

Hartford, flying high after finishing the regular season on a six-game win streak, will turn its focus toward the playoffs. Seeding, of course, will be a key factor.

“I’m hoping this will keep us in sixth,” Scudder said. “And that’s where we want to be because (No. 6) 6 plays 3, then 3 plays 2, and you stay out of South Burlington’s orbit, whereas 4, 5, 7 or 8, you’d be in their orbit.”

Notes: Hartford swept Rutland in the regular season, dispatching the Raiders, 2-0, on Oct. 4. “Rutland played a better game today than they did when we met up earlier in the season, or we played a worse game,” Scudder said. ... Cooney wore a yellow jersey in the first half but was told by a referee to switch jerseys with the outgoing Cameron when Cooney returned late in the second half. Scudder said the issue was Cooney’s jersey matching the ref’s jersey, but no objections were made during the first half. ... Playoff seeds will be officially announced on next Monday. ... Top-seeded South Burlington is 11-1, with its only loss coming at the hands of Champlain Valley Union High School, 2-0, on Oct. 7. ... Hartford’s seniors are Ricker, Pero, Cooney, Havailah Arnold, Emily Ballou, Morgan Fisk and Bethany Perkins.