In so many ways, it was an unusual ending to what has been an unusual season. The fall soccer season began late, after flooding from Tropical Storm Irene forced a delayed start and made the TVHS field unusable. Then continual rains throughout the fall have rendered the middle school fields unplayable for much of the season, forcing Twin Valley to become a vagabond team in search of a field to play its home games on.
The game was also senior day, and the team’s upperclassmen and their families were honored in a ceremony before the game. Ricardo Pereira, Beau Doucette, Dylan Brage, Xavier Wiseman, Kody Crosier, and Trey Cunningham were all recognized for their contributions to the program. The ceremony was bittersweet, however, as Cunningham was in the hospital recovering from injuries he received in an automobile accident Wednesday and was unable to attend. Crosier has missed most of the season due to a knee injury.
Then the wildcats finally took to the field for the match, they turned in a spirited game, but ultimately lost 1-0 to visiting Proctor. It was a competitive game, and Twin Valley coach Buddy Hayford was upbeat despite the defeat.
“We went out and played a pretty spirited game,” said Hayford. “I’m never happy with a loss, but it was a good loss, if there is such a thing.”
Hayford was very happy with the team’s overall play against the powerful Phantoms, who had suffered only one loss coming into the game. Earlier in the season, Proctor handily defeated Twin Valley 6-1.
“We’re a different team now,” said Hayford, “and we had a much different result this time. The game was much closer, we hung around to the bitter end and gave ourselves a chance.”
Twin Valley had a few good scoring chances in the game. Colin Lozito hit a shot that sailed high over the crossbar. Wiseman had a chance in front of the net, but couldn’t get a good shot off. Brage was able to get his head on a long free kick that was played into the box, but again the shot just missed its mark.
Proctor made the most of its opportunities, capitalizing on a defensive mistake to notch the only tally of the game. Twin Valley defenders misplayed a ball at the midfield and it ended up on the foot of Proctors’ top scorer, Ricky Carroll. He buried the shot past TV goalie Sam Molner, and that was all the scoring Proctor needed.
“He should have never gotten anywhere near the box,” said Hayford of Carroll’s goal. “We made a mistake. Come playoffs, you make a mistake and it can kill you. We can’t make any more or were done.”
Hayford said Friday’s effort gives the team something positive to build on for the upcoming state tournament. The Wildcats finished the season 6-7-1, and secured the sixth place seed for the tournament. Proctor lost its season finale on Saturday and finished 11-2-1, but still maintained the overall top seed in the D-IV tournament.
“Proctor’s a good team,” said Hayford. “They’re number one for a reason. We put a scare in them on Friday.” Hayford hopes the team can build on Friday’s game, and make a run in the tournament.
Hayford also said the team is dedicating the rest of the season to Cunningham. “They want to win for Trey, and keep winning for Trey.”
The sixth-seeded Wildcats will host number 11 Twinfield on Wednesday afternoon at 3 pm. The game will be played at Brattleboro Union High School. Twinfield ended the season with a 4-8-2 record.
Hayford doesn’t want to get caught looking past the next game, something his second-seeded team may have done in 2010 pror to losing its opening round game. “We’ll go one day at a time.”