Hartford girls lacrosse one win from title perfection

  • Hartford High's Ella Perreault and Spaulding's Isabella Bevins jostle for the ball during their VPA Division II semifinal game in girls lacrosse on Wednesday, June 8, 2022, in White River Junction, Vt. Hartford won, 14-9. ( Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. valley news photographs — Jennifer Hauck

  • Hartford's Elliot Rupp reacts to her goal during their VPA Division II semifinal girls lacrosse game against Spaulding on Wednesday, June 8, 2022, in White River Junction, Vt. Hartford won, 14-9, and Rupp had seven goals in the game. ( Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Jennifer Hauck

  • Hartford High's Grace Gardner tries to stay in control with Spaulding's Emily Morris (15) and Jalona Mundo (4) on her during their VPA Division II semifinal game on Wednesday, June 8, 2022, in White River Junction, Vt. Hartford won, 14-9. ( Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. valley news — Jennifer Hauck

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 6/8/2022 9:35:45 PM
Modified: 6/8/2022 9:33:37 PM

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — Evidently, the Hartford High girls lacrosse team must have decided that taking 15 seconds to score its first goal was too slow. So the Hurricanes scored again just 13 seconds later.

Top-seeded Hartford led by four after less than 90 seconds and went up by eight in the first nine minutes of Wednesday’s VPA Division II semifinal against No. 4 seed Spaulding. Although the Crimson Tide did well to hang around after that, the Hurricanes closed out a 14-9 victory to advance to their first state championship game in school history.

“It was a great start,” Canes head coach Heather Hartford said. “They’ve been ready for this. If they can get those possessions off the draws and then they get their fast breaks, it’s pretty much unstoppable. They did a good job getting the game off the ground.”

Senior attacker Elliot Rupp, a standout for Windsor High in soccer and basketball, led Hartford (15-0) with seven goals and an assist, and senior midfielder Caroline Hamilton scored three times and added two assists. Hamilton also won a majority of her draw controls to give the Hurricanes possession.

Spaulding got on the board with a pair of goals just under 15 minutes in, but every time the Crimson Tide started to draw closer, Hartford — usually in the form of Rupp — had an answer. Rupp’s third and fourth goals of the game each came after Spaulding had scored the last two, giving the Hurricanes a 10-4 lead at the half.

“Elliot and I, we have a lot of chemistry on the field and we’ve got a great friendship off the field,” Hamilton said. “It’s really fun to play with Elliot. She’s everywhere you need her to be. Her checks are solid, her shots are solid, her feeds are solid. She’s a crazy lacrosse player.”

Rupp had a hand in all four of Hartford’s second-half goals, scoring the first three and assisting Hamilton on the last one. The Tide stayed in it, cutting the deficit to four with just over 10 minutes left, but senior goalkeeper Sarah Howe made eight saves to help keep her team in front.

Addison Pinard led Spaulding with four goals and Hallee Allen added three.

Sophomore attacker Addison Cadwell, a Thetford Academy student who missed the entire basketball season with an injury, had four assists for Hartford. Freshman midfielder Madison Barwood scored twice with an assist, and seniors Grace Gardner and Abby Vanderpot each had a goal as well.

“The defense closed it in nicely,” Hartford said. “The chemistry on defense has been strong and solid all year.”

The Canes, who were winless as recently as 2015, have reached the semifinals in each of Hartford’s first four seasons at the helm but have fallen short in each of the previous three. Last year, as the top seed, they blew a late lead and allowed a last-minute goal in a home loss to St. Johnsbury.

This year, they’ve torched all opposition, having won every game by at least eight goals before Wednesday. That includes two double-digit victories over St. Johnsbury and a 17-4 romp at Spaulding in the regular-season finale.

It also includes a 16-3 blowout of No. 2 seed Vergennes, which Hartford will play in the championship game on Monday at a time and location to be determined.

The Hurricanes’ 16-member senior class would like nothing more than to go out with the program’s first title.

“It’s so exciting,” Hamilton said. “I’ve been playing with these girls since fourth grade, and there’s no other team I would rather go to the championship with. It’s been so fun to watch all of us grow on and off the field, and I’m so excited to be going to the first state championship for Hartford.”

Benjamin Rosenberg can be reached at brosenberg@vnews.com or 603-727-3302.




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