“It was a rough and tumble, physical game,” said Hayford after the game. “A lot of big bodies were banging on each other last night.”
The game was scoreless through regulation. Both teams had opportunities to put the ball in the net, but neither could capitalize. Twin Valley appeared to have the better of the play in the first half, but came up empty.
“We missed some fairly easy looks at goal,” said Hayford. “Shots went wide right or over the bar. We were knocking on the door but couldn’t finish.”
Arlington also had chances to score, especially in the second half. Twin Valley goalkeeper Josh Carpenter-O’Hearn came up with two stellar saves to keep the score sheet clean.
“Josh played extremely well in the second half,” said Hayford. “Those two stops saved the game.”
After playing to a draw in regulation, the two teams headed into overtime. It didn’t take long for the Wildcats to end the game.
With less than eight minutes played in the overtime, Twin Valley was awarded a corner kick. James “Jimmer” McGovern played the kick, and hit the ball into the goalie box. Colin McHale was able to get his head on the ball and send it home for the golden-goal game winner.
“Jimmer took the kick and hit a really good corner,” said Hayford. “It was a nice in-swinging kick. There were a lot of bodies in the box, so many I had no idea where the ball went. It got lost in a mass of humanity. I didn’t see the ball go in, just heard the boys celebrating. Out of the pack, it was Colin. He was at the right place at the right time. Bang, bang, it was over that quick.”
Hayford noted that midfielder Gunnar Nilsen had a hand in the goal by screening the goalkeeper. “Gunnar did a really good job of getting in his line of sight. Gunnar’s a big boy, it makes it really difficult to see around him.”
Hayford complimented the play of Logan Park, Dylan Howe, Jack McHale, and Izaak Park up the middle and wings Jack Kehoe, Willie Queenie, Tommy Therrien, and Joey Rafus.
When asked about the 400 wins, Hayford cited the players over the years for his success.
“It’s all about the guys. I’ve just been blessed with so much talent over the years. I appreciate all that they do. They’re the ones out there doing the physical labor.”
Hayford has now won 400 or more high school varsity games in both boys’ soccer and girls’ basketball during his three-plus decades of coaching at Wilmington and Twin Valley.
“I’ve been blessed with not only great players, but players who buy into what I sell. That’s why we’ve been able to keep this train rolling.”
The win also had deeper meaning for Hayford. The tournament is named for Vermont soccer coaching legend John Werner, a longtime friend and mentor of Hayford, who has cancer.
“To be in the final, it’s special for me, because John is such a great friend who is having such a rough time.”
Twin Valley will be going for its fifth consecutive title, and sixth in the 10 years of the tournament. The Wildcats will play Springfield, which beat Otter Valley in the early game Monday. That match had to go to a second round of penalty kicks for the tiebreaker, after the two teams played to a double-overtime draw. Arlington and Otter Valley will play the consolation game beginning at 5 pm today. Twin Valley and Springfield were scheduled to begin at 7 pm.
On Tuesday, October 3, the Wildcats are back in action. They host Green Mountain at 6 pm at Hayford Field.
TV 10, BF 0
WILMINGTON- On Friday, September 22, the Twin Valley Wildcats completely dominated an overmatched Bellows Falls team, winning 10-0.
“Everybody got a lot of playing time,” said coach Buddy Hayford. “We spread it around, everybody got a lot of quality minutes.”
Twin Valley had five first-half goals, but not before Bellows Falls gave them some challenges in the opening minutes.
“For the first 14 minutes, Bellows Falls played tough,” said Hayford. “They had a lot of energy. But you could tell it wasn’t going to last. I turned to Ryan (assistant coach Ryan Holton) and said ‘This is one of those games, when the flood gates open, they’re going to really open.’”
Once those gates opened, Twin Valley hit the Terriers with a wave of goals.
Colin McHale opened the scoring with an unassisted goal in the 14th minute. Brother Jack McHale scored five minutes later, then Colin McHale again at the 26-minute mark on a pass from Logan Park. Gunnar Nilsen scored on a pass from Lucas Messing. Then Jack McHale closed out the first-half scoring at the 35-minute mark, taking a nice one-two pass from Park for the goal.
Twin Valley was able to double the 5-0 halftime score, adding second-half goals from Park, Colin McHale, and three from Tommy Therrien.
“The boys took care of their business and looked good doing it,” said Hayford. “No one got injured. A game like that, when it’s so lopsided, sometimes the other team gets frustrated and may take it out on the other players. But that didn’t happen. Bellows Falls players were great sports. They played the game hard from start to finish.”