Windsor girls make a long-distance connection

  • Windsor midfielder Holly Putnam and Oxbow forward Sophia Hayes fight for a ball during a girls soccer playoff game at Oxbow High School in Bradford, Vt., on Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021. Windsor beat Oxbow 2-1. (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

  • Windsor goalkeeper Sophia Rockwood defends the goal after a corner kick during a girls soccer playoff game at Oxbow High School in Bradford, Vt., on Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021. Windsor beat Oxbow 2-1. (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

  • Windsor teammates celebrate after winning a girls soccer playoff game at Oxbow High School in Bradford, Vt., on Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021. Windsor beat Oxbow 2-1. (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

  • Windsor midfielder Brianna Barton heads the ball during a girls soccer playoff game at Oxbow High School in Bradford, Vt., on Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021. Windsor beat Oxbow 2-1. (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 — Alex Driehaus

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 10/27/2021 10:21:55 PM
Modified: 10/27/2021 10:22:02 PM

BRADFORD, Vt. — Windsor High senior forward Elliot Rupp isn’t fazed by shots from distance.

The No. 11 Yellowjackets girls soccer team was tied, 1-1, with No. 6 Oxbow with about three minutes to play in Wednesday’s VPA Division III first-round playoff game. Extra time loomed.

Rupp knew she was short on time and saw the top right corner of the Oxbow goal was open. She ripped a shot from the left side of the field, just outside of the 18-yard box, and found the right side of the goal.

And Windsor (5-9-1) held on for the 2-1 win over Oxbow (8-6-1).

“I’ve worked on (long shots) for a while now, so I’m pretty confident in them,” Rupp said. “(I knew) that if we settled, relaxed and just finished the game strong, that we would come away with the win. So (I felt) relief, and (I was) also just glad that I was able to execute and finish.”

Rupp’s goal was her 19th of the season and her 25th point, both team highs. She thought senior midfielder Holly Putnam was going to take the shot, but Putnam ended up with the assist — her seventh of the season.

Windsor head coach Jeff Bachey said the winning goal was a fantastic moment.

“These girls have put in so much hard work this season, being short-benched, injured, you name it,” Bachey said. “Every excuse in the book, we’ve had this season. To see that second one go in the back of the net, you breathe a deep sigh of relief and you say, ‘Keep fighting. Don’t lose it now.’

“But in the back of my mind, I’m the biggest fan of these girls. So it’s so exciting to have that happen.”

Windsor took the lead in the 11th minute on a goal by Putnam, her third on the year. Hers was also a shot from distance — and from farther away than the winner. Putnam fired it from a straight angle, and its trajectory created a very tough play for Oxbow junior goalie Makenna Simmons.

Olympians head coach Dan Thomas praised the efforts from Putnam and Rupp on the goals.

“They were rockets. Those goals were real good. Windsor can be very proud of their shooting, because I know they have some really talented players on their team,” Thomas said. “That’s just how it goes. We accept that. They’re good, they got some good shots, and that’s how it went.”

Oxbow made some adjustments at halftime that allowed it to climb back into the game after Windsor mostly controlled the first half. Thomas moved some players into attack to put more pressure on Windsor’s defense.

And it worked. The Olympians sustained longer possessions in the second half and found better opportunities from that. They leveled the game around the 60th minute off a corner kick. The ball bounced around the box before falling to junior midfielder Rose Bohan, who placed it into the bottom left corner for her second goal of the season.

The goal opened the game even more for the Olympians, as they created more chances and better chances the rest of the game.

But Windsor’s defense held up. Freshman goalie Sophia Rockwood recorded 12 saves, including several amidst heavy traffic in the box.

Bachey said Rockwood has progressed significantly since the beginning of the season.

“Sophia has been fantastic,” Bachey said. “This is her first year ever playing the position. She’s an athlete. She’s a basketball player. But it takes a different skill set to play goalie, and you’ve got to have that mindset of, ‘I’m the last man out there,’ and she’s crazy enough to play it. So I appreciate her.”

The Yellowjackets advance to the quarterfinals, where they’ll stay on the road Saturday and take on No. 3 BFA-Fairfax on Saturday. The Bullets defeated No. 14 Vergennes, 3-0, on Wednesday.

This marked the end of the road for Oxbow and its three seniors: Madelyn Fredella, Darcy O’Connell and Emma Parkin.

Thomas noted that Oxbow faced Windsor in an early-season contest, which didn’t count toward its win-loss record, and lost, 8-0. He said this result showed how far the Olympians came this year, and he told them that after the game.

“The distance we went from the start of the season, based on how we played against this team before, to how we ended shows just how far we grew. I made sure that they knew that,” Thomas said. “We definitely made a huge difference over the season, we became a different team, frankly.”

Seth Tow can be reached at stow@vnews.com.




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