GM boys advance to soccer semifinals Beats Thetford 2-0 on home turf matchup

Photo by Sepp Hölzel for Pixabay. Illustration by Cynthia Prairie for The Chester Telegraph.

By Christian Avard
©2021 Telegraph Publishing LLC


All it took were two goals in the first half for the first-seed Green Mountain Union High School boys’ varsity soccer team to beat ninth-seed Thetford Academy in Division III quarterfinals on its home field on Friday.

The weather was clear, the sun was out, and a temperature in the high 50s made it a perfect day for watching a high school soccer playoff game. It was a welcome change after all the rain and sogginess earlier in the week,  when the Green Mountain Girls’ Varsity Soccer team had to postpone their first round match against Lake Region from Wednesday to Thursday because the field was unplayable. On Friday, that field was in perfect condition.

The hillside also swarmed with Green Mountain fans comprising students, parents, and alumni. They were feeling the playoff spirit and wanted to see the first-aeeded Chieftains advance to the next round.

This was the first time that Thetford Academy and Green Mountain faced off this season and the Panthers played well in the early going. Thetford broke up the Chieftains’ passing game. They won a lot of the 50-50 balls and they got a few good chances to score but they could not get the ball in the net.

Then Green Mountain’s offense finally broke through. With 14 minutes left in the first half, the Chieftains were awarded a corner kick.

The ball was booted but then Thetford Academy goalie Mack Briglin got a hand on the ball and it rolled away. The Chieftains’ Colby Couart saw the loose ball and knocked it in for the first goal.

Nine minutes later, Green Mountain scored again. A Thetford player disrupted Green Mountain’s attack and kicked the ball out of bounds.

Tanner Swisher took the throw-in and threw to Everett Mosher, who was ready for the ball. Mosher kicked the ball past Briglin to score the team’s second goal of the game.

“The ball went out of bounds, (Tanner) got it quick and threw it in to me and it was all instinct,” Mosher said. “It was a great throw and great play.”

Green Mountain did not score again although they did have a good chance early on in the second half. Briglin came way out of the goal to race down a loose ball.

A Chieftains’ player took a shot at a wide-open empty net, but Boone Fahey of Thetford raced in at the last second to knock the out of bounds.

Overall, it was a quiet day for the Green Mountain defense and for goalkeeper Evan Hayes. That’s because midfielders, Couart, Swisher, Liam O’Brien, and Elias Stowell-Aleman did a the lion’s share of the work keeping the Panthers’ offense at bay.

After the game, Green Mountain Head Coach Jacob Walker credited their play for the shutout win. “Elias has been the perfect player (at midfield),” Walker said. “He plays relentless defense and he works hard to get the ball back. Having him and (Liam) and outside midfielders like (Colby) and (Tanner) can play off the ball well. They’re like the first defensive line.”

Their semifinal opponents will be the fourth-seed Vergennes Commodores, who defeated fifth-seed Peoples Academy 3-2 in overtime in another quarterfinal game on Friday. The winner will go on to play the winner of the semifinal game between second-seed Winooski and third-seed Enosburg on Saturday, Nov. 6, at a location and time to be determined.

With last year’s state champions, Peoples Academy, eliminated from tournament play, the Chieftains are now one step closer to making it to their third straight championship. But for now, Green Mountain is not looking too far ahead.
The team will host the fourth-seeded Commodores at 3 p.m., Tuesday at Green Mountain Union High School.

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About the Author: Christian Avard has been a journalist for more than 15 years, having written for Vermont publications such as The Deerfield Valley News, The Rutland Herald, The Commons and The Chester Telegraph. He also edited The Message for the Week and The Vermont Standard. Avard, who currently lives in Lebanon, N.H., is also a sports correspondent with The Barre-Montpelier Times-Argus.

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