Fall Sports Preview: Phantoms look to ‘head in’ to finals for third time in a row

By RUSSELL JONES

The Proctor Phantoms girls’ soccer team is hoping that the third time is the charm. They’ve lost in the state finals game to Arlington two years in a row by the score of 3-0, but this year head coach Chris Hughes is excited about the upcoming season.

For starters, the team only graduated one player from last year and lost one who decided not to play, but that still leaves the team with nine returning starters.

“I don’t see anything stopping us from getting back to the finals except health,” he said. “If we were healthy last season, I think it would have been a different story. Health is key.”

The Phantoms have good numbers, with 22 players on the squad, which the coach said was good for a Div. IV school. The team’s two seniors, Allie Almond and Maddie Flanders, will provide experience as they work to get back to the finals.

“Allie and Maddie were on the state championship team when we won in 2016,” Hughes said. “They’re definitely the leaders on the field.”

Proctor will field 11 juniors, six sophomores and three freshmen along with the two seniors. They’ve added five new players from last year with the addition of the three freshmen and gaining two transfer students. Up front, all of their attackers are returning. The two players that are gone from last season were both defensive players.

“Hope Kelly will fill one of those spots,” Hughes said. “We have a couple of options for the other spot.”

Hughes said his team looked good in their scrimmage in late August and he believes they came into the season ready to go.

“I was really impressed with their conditioning coming in,” he said. “They’re definitely ahead of where we were at this time last year.”

Another plus for the Phantoms is they will actually be playing home games at home this season. Due to problems with Taranovich Field last season, they played their home games in Rutland.

“At least we’re not bussing to home games,” Hughes said. “We still had great turnout and support from the fans last year, but it’s nice to be back on the home turf.”

The Phantoms biggest competition this season will be West Rutland, Rivendell — who is coming down from Div. III — and of course, Arlington. “We’ve just got to finish the job this year,” Hughes said. “We have to win the final game.”

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