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A Little Anger Goes a Long Way for Victorious Wasps

  • Woodstock's Lily Doton. (Valley News - Tris Wykes)

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 10/27/2016 12:00:01 AM
Modified: 10/27/2016 12:00:09 AM

Woodstock — When the Woodstock Union High field hockey team plays mad, it gets even. Then it wins.

Increasing their intensity after allowing a goal they felt was unfair, the No. 2 Wasps rallied for a 2-1, overtime win over No. 7 U-32 in a Vermont Division II quarterfinal on Wednesday.

Mariah Luce and Lily Doton — two of Woodstock’s 11 seniors playing their final game on Yvonne Frates Field — connected for the winner on the first shot of the 7-on-7 overtime. The Wasps’ first playoff win in five years, it sets up a semifinal date Monday at Middlebury College against the winner of Marble Valley League rivals Burr & Burton and Otter Valley, who square off in the bracket’s other quarterfinal Friday in Brandon, Vt.

It’ll be Woodstock’s first trip to the semis since 2011 under previous longtime coach Wendy Wannop.

The Wasps (9-4-1) didn’t have a winning season from 2012-15, but are a legitimate contender this year under second-year coach Annie Doton.

After receiving a feed from Luce over the middle and scoring on a quick strike past Raiders goalie Emily Crimmins, Lily Doton collapsed to her knees in exultation, four years of commitment paying off.

“I’m just doing what I needed to do in that situation, but it felt really good,” Lily Doton, the coach’s younger sister, said.

Added fellow tri-captain Sarah Yates: “Most the seniors on this team were on varsity as freshmen (when we were 1-13-1), so what you’re seeing now is a result of a lot of hard work to get to where we are.”

A microcosm of that unfolded on the field as Woodstock rallied from a 1-0 deficit for the second straight game. Neither team registered a shot on goal in the first half, and Woodstock had the lone attempt as scoring chances were seriously hard to come by in borderline wintry conditions.

U-32’s Jasmine Moody scored on the first shot of the game, assisted by Claire Coates, but Woodstock felt it was unfairly undermanned on the play. Moments earlier, Wasps senior Miranda Johnson was struck on the kneecap by a ball fired by a Raider and was carried off the field by coach Doton and teammate Loretta Blakeney.

Play resumed before Blakeney returned to her position — her stick was still lying on the grass when Moody scored — but officials upheld the goal after Woodstock protested.

“I usually don’t question officials, but (Blakeney) was off the field after carrying someone off and we didn’t think she was given the chance to get back in,” Annie Doton said. “It’s one of those things that you can’t control and we had to get over it, quick.”

Immediately after being told the goal would be upheld, Annie Doton clapped and urged her team to “Get mad!”

It worked — Woodstock largely controlled the run of play thereafter, getting the tying goal with 7:33 to play and out-shooting U-32 6-2 in the second half and overtime. Lily D’Anna set up the equalizer with a long pass to Johnson, who’d re-entered after her stinger to score her team-leading 15th goal of the year.

“This was the second game in a row where we came out a little flat, but we were able to channel our frustration and regain our confidence both times,” said coach Doton, alluding to the Wasps’ 3-1 win over Mount Anthony in last week’s regular season finale, when they also faced a 1-0 deficit. “We have a good team, so I always tell them not to hang their heads.”

Lily Doton said the team has learned to listen to their coach when it comes to putting their emotions to good use.

“It’s all about channeling our anger into hard work,” she said. “It’s our way of not giving up.”

Stick checks: The win was Woodstock’s second this year against the Raiders (7-8), having won 4-2 in East Montpelier in early September. The result also avenged Woodstock’s 2-1 loss to the Raiders in the first round in 2014. … The Wasps’ Molly Henne made one save; Crimmins made four for the Raiders. … Sixty-five whistles were blown for fouls against the Wasps, 63 against U-32. … The Wasps had six penalty corners to four for U-32. … Raiders coach Melissa Muller-Moore has been with the team for 21 years. … Woodstock’s players sang the national anthem prior to the game.

Jared Pendak can be reached at or 603-727-3225.

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