BURLINGTON — With a dominant performance not only in the regular season but in the most important game of the year, the Windsor Yellow Jackets returned home to a huge victory parade with the Division 3 championship trophy after a 3-0 win over Stowe on Saturday at the University of Vermont.
When the Windsor program took a 2 year hiatus because of low numbers only 3 years earlier, nobody would expect them to recover and climb back so quickly except the players and their coaches. “ I knew if we kept at it, we would be ok” said senior Angelina Bigwood who played and won a title with the Springfield team in 2016.
This year’s squad was all green and gold as Windsor alumnus and head coach Jody Wood has created a winning tradition in a very short time. Windsor soared through the first 2 rounds of the tournament and stepped on the vast turf field to face #2 seeded Stowe. “ I knew that Stowe is a good team but our job today was to play Windsor field hockey as hard and as fast as we could for 60 minutes today” said J. Wood. That mentality showed right from the start as the Yellow Jackets were aggressive early as Bigwood began the assault with a run at net as Windsor dominated the time of possession. Hannah Wood would finally light the scoreboard for Windsor with her blast midway into the first half as that 1-0 score would hold up into the break as Stowe was in a complete defensive mode. Windsor’s attacking line of Alyssa Slocum, Bigwood, Peyton Richardson and H. Wood kept the pressure on Stowe as the center of the field was swarming with Yellow Jackets Meagan Holling, Chloe Husser and Karen Kapuscinski. “The first half was the kind of play we wanted but the second half we really hit our stride” said J. Wood.
Slocum would score for Windsor less than 5 minutes into the final half of the season from a feed by Kapuscinski as the large Windsor following began to feel like it was their day but Stowe wasn’t about to give up. “ It was a rush on net and Alyssa just kept working hard until she slipped it in for a goal, she earned it” said Kapuscinski who was awarded the goal in the official book but said it was Slocum who scored.
With Stowe’s back to the wall, Stella Frame made a rush on the Windsor goal for Stowe but the Yellow Jacket defense behind Sadie Baclch’s diving stop prevented any pressure on Glenna Ricard as Miranda Todt and Cicely Harrington swooped in for the clear sending Windsor on the attack again. “ I wasn’t even sure how much time was on the clock and we just kept playing hard, if this was going to be our day, we needed to keep focused and play until it was over and couldn’t let up for a second” said H. Wood. The last Windsor goal came off the stick of the Windsor single season scoring record holder, Bigwood at 16:30 to push the lead to 3-0.
As time clicked down and the Windsor bench who stood the entire game, began to substitute often, the play still remained intense and aggressive until the last few seconds” It wasn’t until I heard the crowd counting down the last few seconds that I could feel the excitement of winning a state championship and It felt great” said H. Wood. Once that final horn sounded, the team rushed the field as hugs and tears flowed non stop while the celebration was just beginning. “ It’s hard to describe how happy I am right now and to have a coach that believed in this program and bring it back shows what Windsor pride is all about” said Bigwood after the game. After the individual medals were awarded to the team and the championship trophy was handed to the captains, it was a mad rush across the field to the fans with more hugs and tears before a team photo and interviews from the media.
I caught up with head coach Jody Wood and her assistant coach and daughter, Haley Wood after the game. “The dedication of this team is just remarkable, they are already asking me today when we can start getting ready for the next season” said the soft spoken and modest elder Wood as the Windsor Athletic Director Andy Tufts was making arrangements for the reception once the team arrived back home. “The last time we won a state championship was in 2009 and this feel so much better, its a great day for Windsor” said Haley Wood, who was a member of that 2009 championship team.
Windsor would end the season with a 14-2-1 record outscoring their opponents 83-16 along the way while earning the Vermont Division 3 state champion title for 2019.