WINDSOR, Vt. — Bragging rights for the SVL-B division will head to Otter Valley after the Otters brought their “A” game to Windsor on Saturday morning and headed home with a 2-0 win but the Yellow Jackets have a bigger prize on their minds.
“This was the kind of game that makes you ready for playoff action,” said Karen Kapuscinski as the Jacks begin their quest for a third state title in a row. “I thought we dominated at times but just couldn’t finish. Our heads are up and we are more than ready for the playoffs. I know we have our best games ahead of us.”
The speed of Otter Valley gave Windsor fits especially in the midfield area as Windsor sharpshooter Peyton Richardson was a target of a stingy Otter defense. Otter Valley would find the back of the cage early with a lightning quick attack after the Yellow Jackets seemed to be in control. That breakout and score seemed to resonate with Windsor as they chewed up the clock for most of the rest of the half but left with nothing to show for their effort.
“I thought we had long stretches of dominating effort but we just couldn’t get the ball in the cage,” said Windsor coach Jody Wood.
During the second period, Windsor had seven corners in a row in a short time with Richardson, Kapuscinski, Janich Young and Annie Preece looking skyward as they had pressure on Lily Morgan but were left empty handed.
“I don’t think any team has had more shots on goal against us all season than Windsor did today,” said Otter Valley second-year head coach Jody Keith.
That denial of Windsor scoring opportunities trickled into the third period as Otter Valley seemed to have more spring in their steps and were just quicker to the ball.
“I definitely think we picked it up in the second half,” Ryleigh LaPorte said. “We knew we had to keep our intensity sky high.”
The Otter Valley defense led by Marissa Connors seemed to be everywhere at times double teaming Richardson and Kapuscinski. Alexina Peckinpaugh and Janich Young were closing the gap on Otter Valley in net looking for a tally while underclassmen Gwen Ambrose and Gabriella Gilbert were flying around the midfield area trying to keep possession.
As the Otters defense was stellar all day limiting Yellow Jacket chances, Brittney Jackson’s rush on net and tally to put the Otters up 2-0 as time was winding down.
“Once we had that second goal I think we became even more focused,” said Keith after the game. “We knew if we stayed with our game plan, we would be OK.”
Windsor would close out he regular season with an 8-5-1 record and look forward to the playoffs. With four of their first five games against out of division powers like Bellows Falls, Burr and Burton and Rutland, the young Jacks have run off a 7-2 record and appear to sit atop the Division III standings.
Otter Valley ends the regular season with a sparkling 11-2-1 record and sit near the top of Division II as they await pairings for tournament play.
“This was huge for us to come out of here with a win. We’re ready for the playoffs,” LaPorte said. “Finally we beat Windsor. They are the two-time defending champions and it feel great to finally get the best of them.”