Lady Chiefs fall to Mill River in 2nd half rally

By Greg Hart
Telegraph sports editor

Looking to come out of the gate strong in their season opener against a tough opponent in Mill River of North Clarendon, the Green Mountain girls varsity did just that – in the first half. The second half was a different story.

Coach Julie Walton, center, has a pre-game discussion with her team./Photo by Greg Hart

Beneath overcast skies and a cool drizzle, the Lady Chiefs home and season opener began evenly with both teams alternating a bit of possession and probing attacks, resulting in quality scoring chances for each team.

About 10 minutes into the game, MR coach Dave Carr made wholesale substitutions swapping off eight of his 10 field players. With the substitutions came a bit of confusion for Mill River, and Madi Huntley took advantage quickly, running onto a nice ball in the right slot and rifling a shot into the upper left corner for the opening score.

“Everyone was executing within the system and individually,” GM coach Julie Walton noted. “Though it produced only one goal I was very pleased with our overall play throughout the first half.”

Indeed, although GM had several other opportunities, they just couldn’t add to their one goal lead. Lady Chiefs junior keeper Taylor Wilson had a solid half in the nets and, facing some late pressure, made a terrific save on a would-be goal, holding onto the 1-0 lead and finishing the half with nine saves.

In the second half, Huntley was marked closely, limiting her opportunities and touches. This in part led to some disorganization resulting in a lack of sustained possession for the GM squad.

Mill River’s passing game and ball control kicked in as the Lady Chiefs started to break down, leading to three goals in succession within the first 10 minutes of the second half, the first by MR’s Kate Fuller, followed by Ellie Hasenohr and Kyle Weatherhogg, the latter two only minutes apart.

Freshman goalie Emily Castillo made her varsity debut, starting the second half for GM. She was immediately challenged by several point blank shots by Mill River attackers and made several excellent saves on the initial shots. But Mill River beat the Lady Chiefs defense to each of the rebounds, putting their second chances in for scores.

The momentum had shifted and GM couldn’t get it back. Mill River showed their skill using space and short passes that had coach Walton’s crew chasing the ball, and chasing the game. Frustrated and tired from their efforts, the GM girls gave up a goal to Mill River’s Maddie DiIonno followed shortly by Weatherhogg’s second goal for the final 5-1 score.

With plenty of positives from the first half to build on and numerous breakdowns to learn from in the second half, the GM girls hope to use the experience from this first game as a chance to grow as a group, searching for cohesion and consistency going forward.

The Lady Chiefs’ next game is at 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 7, in the Black River Invitational Tournament against host Black River, under the lights of Dorsey Park in Ludlow.

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About the Author: Chester native Greg Hart is a 1985 graduate of Green Mountain Union High School. He earned his bachelor of Science at the University of Vermont and returned to the Chester area in 1994 to start a business and a family. He lives in Chester, owns Blue Sky Trading Co. in Ludlow and is the proud father of three. He can be reached at

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