Bulldogs Have Their Day Over Woodstock, Again

  • Woodstock's Maggie Parker.

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 11/1/2018 12:00:49 AM

South Burlington, Vt. — It’s official. Burr & Burton Academy has the Woodstock High field hockey team’s number.

The No. 2-seeded Bulldogs piled up 14 shots on goal and 12 penalty corners in a 2-0 win over the third-seeded Wasps in Wednesday’s VPA Division II semifinal match at South Burlington High’s turf field.

BBA (10-5-1) controlled play for most of the game and scored a goal in each half to punch its ticket to the D-II championship game for the first time since 2005. The Bulldogs haven’t won a field hockey title since 2003.

It also was the third time in four years BBA has knocked Woodstock out of the D-II tournament, doing so previously in the quarterfinals in 2015 and 2017. All those games resulted in 2-0 Bulldog victories.

The last time Woodstock beat Burr & Burton in a tournament game was in 1996, a 2-0 win in the D-III quarterfinals.

“I was a little worried about the turf,” Woodstock junior goaltender Maggie Parker said. “We’ve practiced on turf once this year — it was Astroturf, too, so it wasn’t quite this (grassy turf). That’s definitely a factor. It’s a lot more slippery than normal grass. ... They were a little faster than us. Maybe we didn’t get on the second effort as much.”

Burr & Burton practices and plays its home games on turf, Woodstock on grass.

“Honestly, the turf makes a big difference,” Parker said. “They’re definitely more used to it. They know what works on turf, and they know how they have to position themselves, what works on corners. Even shooting is different. Everything is faster.”

Parker made 12 saves in the loss, including a diving stop just before halftime to keep the Bulldogs from going into the intermission with a multiple-goal lead. The two goals she allowed were off of second and third-chance opportunities by Bulldog forwards in the circle, who were tenacious on rebounds throughout the contest.

“It reminds me of last year,” Parker said of her heavy workload.

Woodstock (9-5-2) fought back in spurts, creating most of its chances in transition. The Wasps managed only five shots on goal and two penalty corners. But a threat to score on Bulldog goaltender Hannah Collen never materialized.

“We had our chances. They’re an excellent team,” said Woodstock head coach Wendy Wannop, who began her second stint at the helm of the program this year after a 5½-year hiatus. “They play well on turf; they play on turf all the time. They definitely had advantages.”

Burr & Burton opened the scoring with 16 minutes, 10 seconds remaining in the first half, less than two minutes after an apparent Bulldog goal was waived off for coming off of a stick that was outside the circle. Arden Wojtach finally broke through when she cleaned up a loose ball in front of Parker off of a corner opportunity. BBA took a 1-0 lead into halftime.

Celsey McMahon added to it 3:31 into the second half, with a rebound off of a shot from the Bulldogs’ Julia Fillion. It was all the offense BBA needed.

“We are a turf team, through and through,” Burr & Burton head coach Barbara Miceli said. “We’re a highly skilled team. That shows up on turf. When we get on grass, the ball tends to get stuck in the grass. It slows us down, and it takes us out of our game a little bit.”

Miceli added that a trip to the D-II final feels like a barrier has been broken for her program.

“We had a good feeder program coming up,” she said. “We have strength coming up, which I think has helped this program. We didn’t have a feeder program for a while. It does make a difference.”

Woodstock had its chances late in the game, including a breakaway by Mackenzie Yates that was Collen stopped.

The Wasps have made four unsuccessful trips to the D-II championship game since last winning a state title in 2007. It graduates four players — defensemen Khara Brettell and Liz Currier, and forwards Liz Currier and Lily Walker-Money — next spring.

For a season that started off with such uncertainty, Parker said she liked where the team finished. Wannop and Jane Hoisington — Wannop’s former junior varsity assistant — came to the team’s rescue after two potential coaching candidates took other opportunities at the last minute following the departure of former Wasps coach Annie Doton last year.

No matter who takes over as head coach next season, Parker said, the team next year should pick up right where this one left off, considering the talent Woodstock has returning.

“It’s definitely different than last year, but I think it’s working really well,” Parker said. “Obviously, there are elements of what we used to have that maybe I miss sometimes, but I think what we’re doing is really important — that we’re working on stuff that matters. That’s really nice.

“We might not have the same coaches next year, either. We don’t know. But I feel like we’re going to be OK.”

Josh Weinreb can be reached at jweinreb@vnews.com or 603-727-3306.

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