D-II girls lacrosse: Wasps upset top-ranked Hartford for second straight year

Woodstock players Lila Beckwith,left, Mikayla Myers, Fiona Piconi and Claudia Shoemaker congratulate Hannah Gubbins on scoring one of her six goals during their semifinal game with Hartford on Tuesday, June 11, 2024 in White River Junction, Vt. Woodstock won, 12-5.  (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Woodstock players Lila Beckwith,left, Mikayla Myers, Fiona Piconi and Claudia Shoemaker congratulate Hannah Gubbins on scoring one of her six goals during their semifinal game with Hartford on Tuesday, June 11, 2024 in White River Junction, Vt. Woodstock won, 12-5. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. valley news photographs — Jennifer Hauck

Hartford player Izzy Sirois drives to the net with Woodstock's Aleksandra Cirovic, left, and Maeve Roylance defending during their semifinal on Tuesday, June 11, 2024, in White River Junction, Vt. Woodstock won, 12-5.  (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Hartford player Izzy Sirois drives to the net with Woodstock's Aleksandra Cirovic, left, and Maeve Roylance defending during their semifinal on Tuesday, June 11, 2024, in White River Junction, Vt. Woodstock won, 12-5. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Valley News — Jennifer Hauck

With a 7-0 lead at halftime, Woodstock lacrosse coach Amanda Hull talks with her team at the midway point during their semifinal against Hartford on Tuesday, June 11, 2024 in White River Junction, Vt. Woodstock won, 12-5. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

With a 7-0 lead at halftime, Woodstock lacrosse coach Amanda Hull talks with her team at the midway point during their semifinal against Hartford on Tuesday, June 11, 2024 in White River Junction, Vt. Woodstock won, 12-5. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Jennifer Hauck

Mckenzie Borgel, 3, of Jupiter, Fla., stands with the Hartford lacrosse team at the start of their semifinal against Woodstock on Tuesday, June 11, 2024, in White River Junction, Vt.  Borgel is the granddaughter of Hartford coach Heather Hartford. Borgel and her mother made the trip to support the coach and team. Hartford fell to Woodstock, 12-5. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Mckenzie Borgel, 3, of Jupiter, Fla., stands with the Hartford lacrosse team at the start of their semifinal against Woodstock on Tuesday, June 11, 2024, in White River Junction, Vt. Borgel is the granddaughter of Hartford coach Heather Hartford. Borgel and her mother made the trip to support the coach and team. Hartford fell to Woodstock, 12-5. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Jennifer Hauck

By BEN HOOKE

Valley News Correspondent

Published: 06-12-2024 4:31 PM

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — For two straight years, Woodstock girls lacrosse coach Amanda Hull has ushered her Wasps into the Alumni Sports Complex to do what no team in Vermont had done so far: beat the Hartford Hurricanes.

And for a second straight year, her squad got the job done.

Powered by a brilliant offensive performance from senior attacker Hannah Gubbins and a swarming team-wide defensive performance, the fourth-seeded Wasps jumped all over top seed Hartford to win, 12-5, and return to the VPA Division II state final.

The win marks just the second time Hartford has been defeated since their move to Division II in 2022. In three years, the Hurricanes are 49-2 — with both losses coming to Woodstock in the state semifinals.

“Hartford is a really good team. They’ve had two really good seasons, so we knew we had to bring our best game,” said Hull post-game. “Last year’s big win was really exciting, and we knew we could do it again this year.”

If Woodstock brought its best game, mistake-prone Hartford brought a game far from that.

The Hurricanes were undisciplined on defense, giving up a swath of penalties, and careless with the ball, allowing Woodstock to quickly strike on breaks following turnovers.

“We had to keep our composure, do the things we know we do well … defend well, pass quickly, and we knew we could get them.” said Hull.

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After some scoreless opening minutes, Woodstock got on the board with a powerful free-position shot from Gubbins halfway through the first period. The Wasps doubled their advantage three minutes later when Claudia Shoemaker neatly finished in front of goal on a man advantage.

The potential for an upset became real in the second quarter.

Gubbins scored twice in under a minute to double the Woodstock advantage to 4-0. Gubbins scored again before Fiona Piconi scored Woodstock’s third free position of the half with a close-range finish.

A Shoemaker goal on the break sent both teams into halftime with the scoreboard reading the news: Woodstock 7, Hartford 0.

Hartford came out determined in the second half, scoring just a minute in with a low shot from Madison Barwood, but the Hurricanes struggled to maintain possession long enough to mount a comeback.

Two untimely turnovers produced quick counterattacks that resulted in two Woodstock goals, sending the Hurricanes into the final quarter with a seven-goal deficit still to overcome. Hartford pulled within six halfway through the quarter but never truly threatened.

Barwood’s second goal of the day with three minutes to go was the final tally as Woodstock ran down the clock in the final minutes to reach the final horn.

Gubbins led the day for Woodstock with six goals. The senior was everywhere offensively, constantly challenging the Hartford defenders and creating consistent opportunities with her speed and stickhandling.

“The great thing about our team is that we have a bunch of players who can lead us,” said Hull. “Today it was Hannah, and I thought she was great. She put her heart into it today.”

The Woodstock trio of Gubbins, Shoemaker and Piconi accounted for 11 of the Wasps’ 12 goals. Barwood, Nella Bowen and Audrey Rupp scored Hartford’s goals.

For Hartford, it’s a disappointing end to a year that exceeded all expectations. With just one senior starter following the loss of star attacker Addison Cadwell to a knee injury, the Hurricanes still managed a stellar season. The Canes could be right back in the mix next season, with netminder Dakin Kovatch the lone departing senior.

Woodstock advance to a rematch with U-32 for the D-II state championship. The Wasps fell, 8-4, in 2023’s edition of the game but have revenge in their sights.

“I know the girls are going to dig deep and really give it our all to get it done this year,” said Hull.

The final is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Saturday at Norwich University’s Sabine Field in Northfield, Vt.