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Windsor wallops Thunderbirds in field hockey semifinals

  • Karen Kapuscinski, with her arm in the air, and her Windsor teammates celebrate their 7-0 semifinal win over Missisquoi in Windsor, Vt., on Oct. 28, 2020. (Valley News - Geoff Hansen) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Windsor's Hannah Wood works to push the ball across the line as Missisquoi goalie Kali Favreau-Ward defends late in their semifinal game in Windsor, Vt., on Oct. 28, 2020. Windsor won, 7-0. (Valley News - Geoff Hansen) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Windsor's Paige Kleefisch, left, and Missisquoi's Natalee Harvey battle for control of the ball early in their semifinal game in Windsor, Vt., on Oct. 28, 2020. Windsor won, 7-0. (Valley News - Geoff Hansen) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 10/28/2020 9:55:40 PM
Modified: 10/28/2020 9:55:35 PM

WINDSOR — Come playoff time, the Windsor High field hockey team is all business.

The Yellowjackets haven’t lost a playoff game since the 2018 postseason. And they definitely weren’t going to break that streak on Wednesday afternoon at MacLeay-Royce Field, especially with a trip to their second consecutive VPA Division III championship game at stake.

Karen Kapuscinski tallied a hat trick and Hannah Wood added two goals as the top-seeded Yellowjackets scored three in the opening 10 minutes, dismantling fourth-seeded Missisquoi, 7-0, in the semifinal contest.

Windsor will defend its title on Saturday against No. 2 Stowe, the same team it defeated in last year’s state final. The Jacks faced down the Thunderbirds, 5-0, in the semifinals a year ago, too.

“I think we all put our heads down and work hard,” said Kapuscinski, who has scored seven goals this season. “And I just think with playoffs, we really want it. Just have to control from the beginning.”

Kapuscinski opened up the scoring for Windsor (8-0-0) only 1 minute, 16 seconds into the contest on an unassisted play, taking the ball from the right side and hitting a hard shot to the left corner before the Thunderbirds could respond. She then gave her squad a 2-0 advantage with 9:06 to play in the first quarter off of a goalie deflection.

She shared some of the wealth, too.

Peyton Richardson attempted to take a shot off an entry pass on a penalty corner, but it ricocheted off a defender’s stick to Ashley Grela near the right post. Grela sent over a pass to Jenna Hood for an easy goal, extending the Yellowjackets’ lead to three with 5:48 remaining in the first period.

“Karen stepped up today, holy moly,” said Windsor coach Jody Wood, who has compiled a 41-10-2 record in four seasons at her alma mater. “Karen started the season off really strong, and then when she was struggling someone else would step up. I was happy to see her have a good day.”

Hannah Wood added to Windsor’s pile of goals with five minutes to play in the half. The senior took Alyssa Slocum’s penalty corner entry pass and lifted the ball past Missisquoi netminder Kali Favreau-Ward.

Wood scored her second goal 40 seconds into the third period, putting the Jacks up, 4-0, and the game out of reach. The senior has scored 46 goals in her career, and the total could’ve been more if not for a shortened season.

“We have to be undefeated in the postseason,” said Hannah Wood, who finished the game with two assists. “That was the best we have played as a team this season. We all knew in our heads that we needed to come out strong and the game would take care of itself.”

Alexina Peckinpaugh and Kapuscinski each added a score in the fourth quarter to seal the victory. Slocum finished with two assists.

The Jacks have allowed only three goals this season and recorded shutouts in five of their eight games. It all starts with the offense that controls possession and forces opponents to stop shots.

But Windsor’s midfield and defense don’t allow teams to enter their circle. On Wednesday, the Thunderbirds (5-3) didn’t take their first shot until the third period and were held to only one penalty corner opportunity.

Paige Kleefisch, Sadie Balch and Reese Perry led the Jacks’ effort to keep opponents at bay. And Jody Wood was able to rotate in three goalies on Wednesday — Glenna Ricard, Madison Leduc and Lindsey Young.

Meanwhile, Windsor created 13 penalty corner chances, and Favreau-Ward had to make 15 saves.

The Jacks will try to close out their perfect season and win back-to-back titles on Saturday.

How?

“For us, it’s just playing our game,” Jody Wood said. “We don’t look at other schools, we just come out and play Windsor field hockey. And if we do that, we should do OK.”

Notes: The game time and location for the championship game won’t be announced until Friday afternoon. Usually the game would be played at the University of Vermont, but college campuses aren’t hosting playoffs this year because of COVID-19. ,,, MacLeay-Royce field was in rough shape with some heavy chunks of mud spread throughout. Still, Jody Wood joked that she wishes the Jacks could play the championship game on their home turf. ... The Windsor football team cheered on their peers before the start of their practice.

Pete Nakos can be reached at pnakos@vnews.com.




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